I don’t do Intermittent Fasting (IF) and I’m pretty shredded. While it has become quite popular in recent years, my take on it has always been this…
IT ALL WORKS OUT THE SAME IN THE END
Assuming total calories consumed in a given 24hr period is the same, the results will be the same whether you ate those calories over 16hrs, 8hrs, 4hrs or whatever the case may be.
The one benefit I can see is that some people that are on low calories may prefer to eat them in a smaller window because it “feels” like they’re getting more food. If that’s the case, go for it. No problem.
Even popular Fat-Shredding Plans like my Total Six Pack Abs will work with that approach; just let the book tell you the calories and macros you need, and if you want to get all that inside 8hrs every day…do it!
However, there is something else now that needs to be addressed…BELLY FAT STORAGE
(Before I delve into this, I want to quickly encourage you to download and begin my free THT workout for rapid muscle gains – no catches – completely free. There’s also a free app to track your progess 🙂 Click here to download )
2 studies point to the real possibility that having these fasting periods followed by small feeding windows can lead to MORE fat gain…but specifically MORE BELLY FAT GAIN.
 Short-term food restriction followed by controlled refeeding promotes gorging behavior, enhances fat deposition, and diminishes insulin sensitivity in mice.
 Fasting every other day to lose weight impairs the action of sugar-regulating hormone, insulin, which may increase diabetes risk.
STUDY 1 was done on 2 groups of mice. One group eating normally, and the other getting all their food in a 4hr window.
The fasting group gained more belly fat. Get this…their weight was the same, they just specifically gained fat in the belly area…a BEER BELLY, if you will.
STUDY 2 put rats on an ALTERNATE-DAY FASTING PLAN for 3 months. Basically one day you eat normally, the next 24hrs you fast. Alternating every day like this.
They lost weight. Great. But incredibly…they GAINED belly/abdominal fat! That’s crazy. In humans, this is known as “central adiposity”. Think about that. You would think it impossible to gain belly fat while you lost total body weight. But it happens.
If you know someone doing IF, share this post with them!
HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN?
How can it be that going for periods without food can specifically add fat to the belly area?
The researchers found that on the “binge and fast” style of eating promoted by IF, glucose ends up staying in the blood longer, meaning that they have stopped responding to insulin – to shut down glucose production – and this inevitably ends up stored as fat tissue.
The mice/rats were basically pre-diabetic. Researchers found:
(1) Markers of insulin resistance
(2) A “gene expression profile favoring lipid deposition”. Their bodies tended to be in “fat storage mode” – and specifically around the belly area.
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NOTE: Yes it’s an animal study, but these same systems and processes happen in the human body. What you should do with this info is simply be cautious when it comes to IF. If you know for sure that it works for you – good. If you’ve ever experienced abdominal fat gains despite fasting – stop doing it! Also, you may experience “belly fat rebound” i.e. the fasting works great, but if and when you go back to a regular eating pattern, you end up with MORE belly fat than before. If so…again…stop the fasting periods.
P.S. I know that putting together a diet for mass gains or getting shredded abs can be a pain in the butt, especially if you are new to this – that’s why I offer a service where I will do all the tough ground work for you.
You probably don’t know how many calories you need, or how many grams of protein, carbs or fat you need (based on your personal stats)…BUT I DO. Then I can take these numbers and create an exact meal plan for you to hit those numbers spot on! You’ll know what foods to eat and even when to eat them. All you have to do…is do it. No thinking involved. If you’d like me to take care of this for you, see the Get Me Shredded option on my Coaching Page here.
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Love you work bro. Can you tell us were to find the studies? I was not sure if they were public yet. I did hear about the studies though.
@Michael. I link to the studies in the article, see near the top 🙂