Interval fasting, better known as Intermittent Fasting (IF), is a diet method that has gained much popularity in recent years. There are many different forms of interval fasting, but Lean Gains  is probably the best known. This form of interval fasting means that you place all your meals in an 'eating window' of 8 hours. The other 16 hours of the day you eat nothing. Amino acids (such as Essential Amino Stack of BCAA Powder) when you train during this period.
Opinions about interval fasting are very divided with generally two camps. On the one hand, there are supporters who swear by the benefits of fasting. Convenience, large meals and faster fat loss are often mentioned. On the other hand, there are those who do not believe in interval fasting. It cannot be good not to get nutrients for such a long time, right? Little research has been done to date on interval fasting, and certainly not with subjects who do strength training. However, that has recently changed! In this blog we take you to the content of the study  and it becomes clear whether interval fasting is actually the key to fat loss.
What was being investigated?
The research came about because there is more and more evidence about the health benefits of IF. However, this was in overweight or obese people, little is known about the effects in athletes. That is why this study focuses on the effects of IF in healthy, trained men who do strength training during the study.
34 men were randomly assigned an IF Diet (IFD) or Normal Diet (ND). The IFD group consumed all of their daily calories in a period of less than 8 hours (13:00 PM, 16:00 PM and 20:00 PM), the remainder was not eaten. The ND group also ate three meals a day, however, these were at 08:00 AM, 13:00 PM and 20:00 PM. It was ensured that both the calorie intake and the macro distribution (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) were equal between both groups. The protein intake of the groups was 1.8-1.9 g / kg body weight.
The groups were tested at the start of the study and again after 8 weeks. Body properties were tested by measuring the fat-free mass and fat mass with a DXA scan. Outlines and skin folds were also measured. A large amount of values was tested by means of blood tests. These include total and free testosterone, IGF-1 values, blood glucose, thyroid hormone (T3) and cholesterol. Finally, the 1RM was tested for bench presses and the squat.
What are the results?
In both the IFD and ND groups, there was no significant difference between lean body mass, muscle circumference, and strength statistics. What was striking, however, was that a significant reduction in fat mass had taken place in the IFD group, whereas this was not the case in the ND group. The calorie intake was maintained for maintenance during the study. This would therefore initially indicate that IF is an effective method of losing fat.
The above is associated with an increase in adiponectin and a decrease in leptin and T3 in the IFD group. Adiponectin may have an effect on weight loss. Leptin is a hormone associated with the feeling of satiety. A decrease in this is normal with fat loss, because your body is more conservative with energy and will therefore send a hunger signal earlier. T3 is one of the thyroid hormones, a decrease of which is also normal with fat loss.
However, what has not become entirely clear from the study is whether the fat loss is a result of fasting and the increase in adiponectin, or the fact that the IFD group had marginally lower energy intake than the ND group. Although the groups were instructed to eat on maintenance, the IFD group appeared to eat ~ 200 kcal / day less on average than the ND group. It should be noted that the IFD group also had a lower body weight on average. As a result, it is possible that both groups actually ate maintenance and the fat loss had a different cause.
In addition, a fall in total testosterone and IGF-1 was noticed in the IFD group. During the study, this has not had any negative effects on fat-free mass, fat mass, outlines and strength statistics. However, the importance of these hormones must be taken into account. In the long term, this could potentially have adverse effects due to interval fasting.
Finally, there was only a drop in blood glucose and insulin concentrations in the IFD group, which is in line with previous studies in overweight people. This may be a result of the increase in adiponectin and may have health benefits.
So should you start the interval fast?
This research has shown us that interval fasting may be an effective strategy for losing fat while maintaining muscle mass. The exact mechanisms behind this are not yet fully known, but there certainly seem to be benefits in terms of fat loss and health. Further research is needed to analyze the long-term effects. From this it must become clear whether a longer period of interval fasting does not have a negative effect on muscle retention.
How do you decide whether you should start with interval fasting? If you want to lose fat, it is especially wise to see how the principles of interval fasting fit into your daily life.
Because you have to consume all your calories within 8 hours, this means that you eat less often than normal, 3 meals a day is a good guideline. You have to ask yourself how these times correspond with your daily schedule and whether you prefer large or small meals. If you have an intensive job that requires you to start early and then train late in the day, it probably wouldn't be wise to stuff all your calories into 8 hours. However, do you spend all day at the office and are you not really hungry in the morning? Then it may be beneficial for you to eat your food within a certain 'window'. This way your nutrition can be used to the maximum for your training sessions and you immediately benefit from the fat burning of IF.
This point is in line with the point above: when do you train? Because of their work, some people can only train at a specific time, while this may not always be optimal. If this means that you have to keep your training outside the 'eating window', this may not be optimal for muscle retention. Your performance may also be less if you have not eaten before your training. In such cases when you train outside your window, a pre-workout supplement is like Blast!, Xtreme Energizer of Unleash! recommended. During the training you can BCAAs of Essential Amino Stack to prevent muscle loss.
Do you have any questions about interval fasting? Do you want to know for sure if it suits you? Let us know in the comments!