Intermittent fasting diet plans come highly recommended. From top athletes and bodybuilders to celebrity practitioners, the concept of squeezing all your calories into a small window of time has become very popular indeed.
With research and anecdotal evidence alike expounding the virtues of intermittent fasting, the only thing stopping more people from trying it is how hard it can be to adjust when first beginning the diet plan.
Fasting for a longer period of time than normal obviously makes you hungry. Even though practitioners of the diet plan eventually report appetite suppression and increased energy, the difficulty of adapting to the diet can cause some people to crack before they really have a chance to see the benefits.
That might be not because of the length of time you are fasting, but more about what time of day you choose to eat. A new study presented by Harvard University, originally published by the University of Alabama, sheds some light on why this may be.
The study focused on a group of obese men with prediabetes (indicators of diabetes that could develop in later life). Split into two groups, one half split their meals over a 12-hour period, while others ate from 7am in the morning to 3pm in the afternoon, which is known as “16:8” in intermittent fasting terminology.
Harvard University shared the following results:
“Both groups maintained their weight (did not gain or lose) but after five weeks, the eight-hours group had dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity, as well as significantly lower blood pressure.
“The best part? The eight-hours group also had significantly decreased appetite. They weren’t starving.”
With significantly lower blood sugar, insulin sensitivity and appetite, the intermittent fasting group seemed to have an easier time sticking to the diet than expected. Harvard scholars theorise the timing of the meals – choosing to eat during the day, rather than at night – is what made this significantly easier for the group.
Harvard calls this the “circadian rhythm fasting approach”. Citing research linking nighttime eating with obesity and diabetes, the idea is to eat during eight hours of sunlight, as our metabolisms have adapted to sleep in the evening and stay active during the day.
Just as the group in the study didn’t report feeling hungry or starving, you might feel more satisfied, and find intermittent fasting easier to adopt, if you try the circadian rhythm fasting approach. If you’ve been struggling with the idea of tackling a 16:8 diet plan, place your eight-hour window from 7am till 3pm and get ready to reap the massive benefits on offer to intermittent fasters.