Introduction: What is Intermittent Fasting 20/4 and Why Is It Becoming So Popular?
Intermittent fasting 20/4 is a type of fasting that involves only eating during a four-hour window and fasting for the remaining twenty hours of the day. This method of eating has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its purported health benefits, such as weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, enhanced immune system, and improved digestion. In this article, we will explore what intermittent fasting 20/4 is and why it is becoming so popular amongst dieters.
Ori Hofmekler developed this diet based on his concept of how ancient warriors lived their lives. The fasting was linked to a special exercise routine and included controlled periods of indulgence. According to Hofmekler’s dietary protocol, physical activity should be included and small snacks should be consumed throughout the day with a four-hour window dedicated to eating a large meal.
Calorie counting is the foundation for healthy weight loss. If you want to lose weight, you should limit your caloric intake and create a calorie depletion. For weight gain, you can add more calories to your meals. However, if you desire to stay the same weight, you should follow your regular diet.
But what if you’re not a fan of calorie counting? And you seek a way out? I know a diet that will allow you to attain your weight-loss objectives without keeping track of the calories in each meal. Let me teach you about 20/4 Intermittent fasting. Hop in, let’s take the ride together.
The Amazing Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting 20/4
Intermittent fasting 20/4 is a popular form of dieting that has been gaining attention in recent years. This type of fasting involves eating all your meals within a four-hour window and then fasting for the remaining 20 hours. The goal is to improve overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Research has shown that intermittent fasting can have numerous positive health benefits, such as improving insulin sensitivity, reducing inflammation, and increasing longevity. It can also help with weight loss by reducing calorie intake and increasing energy expenditure. Additionally, it may improve mental health by reducing stress levels and improving focus and concentration.
Intermittent fasting 20/4 is a safe and effective way to improve overall health while still enjoying your favorite foods. It provides numerous benefits that make it an attractive option for those looking to reduce their risk of chronic diseases or lose weight in a healthy way.
A 20-hour fast has a lot of health benefits. Embarking on it has a lot to add to the body. Now, Let’s take an intent look at the numerous health benefits of 20-hour intermittent fasting.
It helps improve body composition, and the Insulin level and sensitivity of the body get improved during this process. There is usually an increased BDNF level, and HGH production increases as cellular health improve. It helps speed up weight loss. It decreased inflammation. A 20-hour fast improves the entire body’s function when carried out correctly. 20/4 Intermittent fasting practice has been shown in specific trials to help people with type 2 diabetes.
How to Get Started on Intermittent Fasting 20/4
Getting started on intermittent fasting 20/4 can seem daunting at first but with the right preparation, it can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. In this article, we will go over how to get started on intermittent fasting 20/4, what foods you should eat during your eating window, and how to stay motivated throughout the process.
What to Eat & Drink During the 4 Hours of Eating on a 20/4 Diet?
The 20-hour fasting period allows you to consume snacks such as fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy items, and hard-boiled eggs. During the 4-hour eating window, you are allowed to eat whatever you desire.
Eating healthy and nutritious foods is essential for a successful 20/4 diet. Eating the right combination of food and drinks can help you maintain the balance of calories, carbs, and proteins throughout the day. When it comes to what to eat during your 4-hour eating window, there are plenty of options available.
From light snacks such as nuts or trail mix to full meals like grilled chicken with steamed vegetables, there are plenty of delicious and nutritious choices that will keep you feeling satisfied during your 4-hour window. You can also opt to drink water or other low-calorie beverages such as herbal teas or smoothies to help keep you hydrated throughout the day. With careful planning, you can make sure that you get all the essential nutrients while still staying within your 20/4 diet plan.
The Pros and Cons of Intermittent Fasting 20/4
The main advantage of intermittent fasting 20/4 is that it has been shown to improve energy levels, mental clarity, and overall well-being. Studies have also shown that this type of diet can lead to weight loss, lower cholesterol levels, improved insulin sensitivity, and increased fat burning. Furthermore, intermittent fasting 20/4 may also help to reduce inflammation in the body and reduce the risk for chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
Intermittent fasting 20/4 can be easily incorporated into any lifestyle as it requires minimal effort on the part of the dieter. It is also flexible enough to accommodate different lifestyles and does not require any drastic changes in one’s day-to-day routine. With its many advantages, intermittent fasting
While this approach has many potential health benefits, there are some drawbacks that should be considered before starting the diet. These include potential problems with dehydration, missing out on important nutrients, and difficulty maintaining the diet for long periods of time. It is also important to seek advice from a doctor before starting any new dietary regimen as it could pose risks to your health.
Intermittent Fasting Rules
Intense Intermittent fasting, also known as 20/4, entails restricting your food and beverage intake to a 4-hour window each day. You’re allowed to drink water and other low-calorie liquids like simple coffee or tea during the remaining 20 hours but not to eat. Eating is a no when it comes to these 20 hours.
However, this cycle can be repeated as often as you’d like, anywhere from once or twice weekly to every day. Those trying to lose weight and burn fat are increasingly turning to this fasting strategy. Intermittent fasting of 20/4 hours is also thought to improve blood sugar regulation and lengthen life. You are eating for four hours and fasting for 20 hours.
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20/4 Hour Fasting Schedule
The 20/4 hour fasting is scheduled so that during the estimated 20 hours you’d be fasting, you are free to diet on raw fruits and veggies with a small portion of snacks of your choice. Taking a small number of dairy products is not a bad idea. Research has it that boiled eggs have a lot of health benefits, so take a little of it as it’s termed healthy protein. However, for the 4 hours, which is your free period, you are free to eat anything provided you don’t exceed the required Calories intake for the day.
Intermittent Fasting 20 4 Everyday Results
There are limited studies available on the efficacy of the warrior diet, so it is hard to tell how much weight can be lost while following it. It is recommended to focus on healthy and gradual weight loss instead of sudden and extreme reductions, which should limit the pounds lost per week to a maximum of 1-2.
Conclusion: Take The First Step Towards Achieving Your Healthy Lifestyle Goals with Intermittent Fasting 20:4
If you want to begin the 20/4 intermittent fasting or the Warrior Diet, you can follow the following principles or just one easy strategy: eat all of your meals within 4 hours.
Intermittent fasting could help you lose weight, especially if you’re a man with extra body fat and metabolic illness and want to lose some pounds fast. As a woman who has a healthy body weight and body fat percentage, or you want to maximize muscle gain, proceed with caution. Take the quiz today to learn more about the different intermittent fasting methods.
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— Update: 18-03-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Circadian Rhythm Fasting: Everything you Need to Know from the website www.doctorkiltz.com for the keyword benefits of intermittent fasting 20/4.
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Table of Contents
- What Is the Circadian Rhythm?
- What Is Circadian Rhythm Fasting?
- Benefits of Circadian Rhythm Fasting
- Circadian Rhythm Fasting Vs Intermittent Fasting
- How to Start Circadian Rhythm Fasting
- Circadian Rhythm Fasting: The Takeaway
Circadian fasting is a strategy for timing your meals to align with your body’s internal clock. It’s based on the idea that our metabolism works differently during each phase of the day.
Researchers are exploring how aligning what we eat with when we eat can increase weight loss, lower blood pressure, improve endurance, and reduce the risk of numerous diseases.
Keep reading to learn about circadian rhythm fasting and how it can improve your health.
What Is the Circadian Rhythm?
The circadian rhythm is a 24-hour internal clock that regulates many bodily functions including sleep, metabolism, digestion, hormone secretion, immunity, cognition, and neurobehavior.
This clock synchronizes your bodily functions with the rise and fall of the sun. Other factors such as your eating schedule can also influence the timing of your circadian rhythm. Over a period of millions of years, our bodies evolved to anticipate regular environmental changes and developed daily rhythms to function optimally.
Remarkably, almost every cell in your body follows a 24-hour clock. And nearly 80% of your genes function in a light-dark cycle.
These genes, known as “clock genes”, regulate the timing of essential bodily functions to align with wakefulness and sleep.
The control center for hundreds of different clock genes is called your suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The SCN is a group of nerve cells in the hypothalamus that act as the master clock.
The SCN and cellular clocks receive and respond to internal and external signals to maintain your daily rhythms. But when these signals alter from their normal patterns, it can have negative consequences for your health and wellbeing.
Circadian Rhythm Disorders
Your circadian rhythm easily adapts to changes in lighting and nutrient intake. During our hunting and gathering days, this allowed our bodies to adjust accordingly to different seasons. However, in today’s modern society, the constant availability of electrical lighting and food can override the natural light-dark cycle and disrupt our sleep-wake patterns.
Common causes of circadian rhythm disruptions include night shift work, jet lag, prolonged light exposure, and altered sleep schedules.
Short-term circadian rhythm disruptions may result in impaired wellness, fatigue, and loss of concentration.
Unfortunately, long-term disruptions of your internal clock are associated with numerous disorders including:
- Mental illness
- Bipolar disorder
- Metabolic disorders
- Heart disease
- Sleep disorders
- Immune system disorders
- Premature mortality
Read more 14 Best Reasons To Be A Stay At Home Mom
Thankfully, it is possible to reset your circadian rhythm at a rate of 1-2 hours per day. It may take one week or more to return to a natural circadian rhythm if you completely reverse your schedule from night to day.
What Is Circadian Rhythm Fasting?
Circadian rhythm fasting, also known as the circadian rhythm diet, is a time-restricted eating plan that corresponds with your internal body clock.
A circadian diet involves eating during the daylight hours when our bodily functions like digestion and metabolism are most active. It also involves fasting after 7 pm when these internal processes slow down.
A typical day of circadian rhythm fasting may start with eating a large breakfast at 7 am soon after waking up. If your eating window is 12 hours, you would then eat your last meal by 7 pm.
Typically, your last meal of the day is smaller and lighter, which helps you avoid blood sugar spikes and weight gain due to your insulin response and metabolism winding down. You would then fast for the rest of the night until breakfast the next morning.
Benefits of Circadian Rhythm Fasting
Circadian rhythm fasting supports optimal circadian function and overall health. Below, we’ll outline the benefits of circadian rhythm fasting.
Practicing a circadian rhythm diet can speed up your metabolism by helping restore your sleep-wake cycle. This enables you to achieve REM sleep.
REM sleep raises your basal metabolic rate to its highest level during sleep by increasing your body temperature and energy expenditure in the brain.
Improved Metabolic Health
Early meal timing on a circadian diet can also improve your metabolic health and reduce your risk of diabetes.
Research shows that your insulin response is better in the beginning of the day compared to later in the day. If you eat identical meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, your glucose levels will be the lowest after breakfast and the highest after dinner. In fact, researchers found that glucose levels after dinner are almost twice as high compared to breakfast.
Chronically high blood sugar levels are associated with many markers of metabolic disease and pre-diabetes such as insulin resistance, fatty liver and fatty-pancreas disease, and obesity. Excess blood sugar can also damage the blood vessel in the heart, leading to heart disease.
On a circadian rhythm diet, timing your meals earlier in the day may help you lose weight. This is because meal timing affects the “thermal effect of food”, which is the energy needed to digest a meal.
One study found that the thermal effect of food is 44% higher in the morning than in the evening. Following a circadian diet can increase the calories burned after a meal, resulting in negative energy balance and weight loss over time. ]
In turn, avoiding eating in the evening hours is associated with lower body fat percentage and body mass index.
Circadian fasting builds a stronger circadian rhythm, which helps you sleep more deeply and for longer.
Routinely eating in alignment with the natural light-dark schedule finely tunes your SCN–your internal nervous system maser clock. The SCN communicates with systems in the brain that control sleep such as the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the pineal gland. The HPA axis lowers cortisol levels in the body at night, which makes you feel sleepy. At night, the pineal gland produces melatonin in response to darkness, which promotes sleep. It then raises cortisol levels in the morning to cause wakefulness.
A circadian diet can also jumpstart a sluggish digestive system. Research shows that the rate of intestinal motility and gastric emptying is higher in the beginning of the day than at night time.
Following a circadian rhythm diet may also improve digestive symptoms associated with circadian disturbances such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.
Better Gut Health
A circadian rhythm diet may also have beneficial effects for your gut health. Research suggests that stabilizing your circadian rhythm may prevent inflammation and increased intestinal permeability.
Restoring your circadian rhythm to its natural state can also reduce your risk of intestinal dysbiosis. This condition occurs when the bad bacteria in your gut outnumber the good bacteria.
Robust Immune System
Early meal timing may also enhance your immune system and reduce your risk of health problems.
One study found that fasting later in the day when your melatonin levels are high, improves immune cell recovery, specifically B cell recovery. B cells are a type of white blood cell that produces antibodies that signal your immune system to destroy pathogens like bacteria and viruses.
Circadian Rhythm Fasting Vs Intermittent Fasting
Circadian rhythm fasting and intermittent fasting are similar. However, the circadian diet is more specialized than intermittent fasting alone because it times your meals to align with your internal body clock.
On a circadian diet, it’s encouraged that you time your meals early in the day, beginning as early as 7 am. On the other hand, intermittent fasting allows you to choose your own eating window. Most people who intermittent fast eat their first meal of the day at lunch.
Both circadian rhythm fasting and intermittent fasting entail an extended fasting period. Typically, circadian rhythm fasting involves fasting from 7 pm to 7 am whereas the most popular form of intermittent fasting involves fasting for 16 hours a day. This is known as the 16:8 method.
It’s also important to note that for women there are specific and more effective strategies for IF that you can learn about here
How to Start Circadian Rhythm Fasting
Follow these 5 steps to successfully stick to a circadian rhythm diet.
1. Eat Your Meals Earlier in the Day
Timing your meals earlier in the day will allow you to reap the benefits of circadian rhythm fasting. Start by eating your first meal as close to daybreak as possible.
For example, you may time your eating to windows from 7 am to 3 pm, 9 am to 5 pm, or 7 am to 7 pm. You can also extend your fasting window as long as you want as long as it fits within the light-dark cycle.
2. Limit Sugars and Refined Grains
Eating sugary foods and refined grains can spike your blood sugar levels after meals. If your diet consists mainly of these foods, it can increase your risk of diabetes. Eating a meal high in carbs before bed can also cause poor sleep.
Limit your intake of carb-heavy foods like white flour, rice, bread, cereal, crackers, and desserts. If you want to enjoy some of these foods, do so early in the day when your insulin response is most sensitive.
The optimal diet for circadian fasting consists of high-quality protein and nutrient-packed organ meats, healthy fats, and low-carb fruit and vegetables.
3. Avoid Eating at Night
Snacking or eating meals during the evening or night can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Avoid eating during your fasting window to allow your body to rest and recover.
Staying up late and eating at night can also slow down melatonin production and make it harder for you to fall asleep.
4. Follow a Consistent Daily Schedule
To stabilize and strengthen your circadian rhythm, it’s best to get up and go to bed at the same time every day.
5. Get Plenty of Light During the Day — Not at Night
Light exposure is essential to maintaining your circadian rhythm. Light enters your retina and sends a signal directly to your SCN–the control center for your circadian rhythm. This sets off a cascade of biological actions that make you feel awake and energized.
Avoiding light exposure in the evening can stimulate melatonin production and improve your ability to fall asleep. This also means limiting the use of electronic screens close to bed.
Circadian Rhythm Fasting: The Takeaway
Your circadian rhythm is best known for regulating sleep and wakefulness. But it also plays an important role in metabolism, digestion, hormone secretion, immunity, cognition, and neurobehavior.
Timing your meals early in the day when your body is most active can improve your circadian function and overall health.
Anyone can follow a circadian rhythm diet, no matter the food you eat. If you’re looking to boost your health, circadian rhythm fasting is a relatively easy adjustment that yields powerful health benefits.
- 1, 5, 17. Circadian rhythms, time-restricted feeding, and healthy aging
- 2. Diurnal transcriptome atlas of a primate across major neural and peripheral tissues
- 3, 8. The brain, circadian rhythms, and clock genes
- 4, 6. The genetics of circadian rhythms, sleep and health
- 7, 9, 12, 16. Effect of Circadian Rhythm on Metabolic Processes and the Regulation of Energy Balance
- 10. Circadian physiology of metabolism
- 11. Eating too much added sugar increases the risk of dying with heart disease
- 13. Later circadian timing of food intake is associated with increased body fat
- 14. Sleep and Circadian Rhythm in Critical Illness
- 15. Impact of Sleep and Its Disturbances on Hypothalamo-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Activity
- 18. Melatonin Effects on Glucose Metabolism: Time To Unlock the Controversy
- 19. Association between poor glycemic control, impaired sleep quality, and increased arterial thickening in type 2 diabetic patients
— Update: 21-03-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article The Best Intermittent Fasting Strategies for Women from the website www.doctorkiltz.com for the keyword benefits of intermittent fasting 20/4.
- Intermittent Feasting & Fasting
- Methods & Schedules
- The Best Intermittent Fasting Strategies for Women
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Table of Contents
- What is Intermittent fasting?
- Why Fast?
- Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Women
- Intermittent Fasting May Affect Men and Women Differently
- Intermittent Fasting and Insulin Sensitivity in Women
- Intermittent Fasting and Keto for Women
- Keto and stem cells when fasting
- Intermittent fasting strategies for women
- The Bottom Line About Intermittent Fasting and Women
Intermittent fasting offers many proven health benefits for both men and women, but women’s bodies are different and may benefit from different IF strategies.
This article will look at what intermittent fasting is, why women respond to IF differently than men, and how women can safely practice IF.
What is Intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) means cycling between daily periods of not eating and windows for eating.
There are lots of ways to practice IF, which we’ll get into later.
When done properly IF has been shown to:
- regulate blood glucose
- control blood lipids including cholesterol and triglycerides
- reduce the risk of coronary disease
- manage body weight
- help you gain (or maintain) lean mass
- stimulate human growth hormones
- activate stemcell production
- reduce the risk of cancer, and more
For many people, fasting might sound like a new diet trend. But the truth is humans have been practicing fasting for as long as we’ve been on this planet.
During the vast era when humans were hunter gatherers, what we popularly call cavemen (and women), our ancestors fasted out of necessity. Food simply wasn’t available all the time. After a hunt, we feasted, then fasted until the next successful hunt.
However, fasting isn’t always out of necessity. The health benefits of fasting have been known for thousands of years. The Greek philosopher Plato believed that fasting helped him achieve better physical and mental energy. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, recommended fasting for many different health issues.
Clearly, fasting is not new. And thanks to our evolution, our bodies have been trained not only to handle fasting, but to thrive on it.
Intermittent fasting is a safe and easy way for women to receive the benefits of fasting regularly.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Women
Supports Fat-Burning and Weight Loss
When in a fasted state, your body is not getting energy from food so it has to look for alternative sources. After burning up stored glycogen (carbohydrates), your body starts to break down stored fat–that spare tire or big bottom–into molecules called ketones. Ketones replace glycogen as fuel for your cells. As your body becomes fat-adapted, it develops better metabolic flexibility and increases fat burning. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can help fat and weight loss, and may reduce obesity.
Supports Cellular Renewal and Repair
Research has shown that fasting supports the process of autophagy. During autophagy, your body breaks down and destroys old, damaged, and abnormal cells and recycles them for energy. This cellular “spring cleaning” leaves room for your body to create new and healthy cells. It also supports cellular repair and regeneration, reduces the development of abnormal cell growth, and keeps your cells and tissues healthy.
Increases Stem cell Production
When you fast, you are essentially resetting your immune system by allowing your body to switch into repair mode. Stem cells increase because they are the primary repair system in your body. These cells work by morphing into many different types of cells, depending on which parts of your body need repair. Fasting has been shown to increase stem cells in the intestines, muscles, and brain while preserving the long-term ability for stem cells to regenerate independently. The way this works is pretty amazing. When fasting, our bodies greatly reduce our energy expenditure by rapidly shrinking tissues, organs, and populations of different cells in your blood including a whopping 28% decrease in white blood cells.
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Chronic inflammation is the root cause of most chronic disorders and diseases. Fasting can lower the production of inflammatory pathways, reduce inflammatory activities, and reduce chronic inflammation. As a result, it may improve your physical and mental health and reduce your risk of disease.
Becoming fat-adapted and experiencing ketosis through fasting can improve your energy. This improvement is due to an increase in mitophagy–a process of breaking down old, damaged, or dysfunctional mitochondria and replacing them with new and healthy mitochondria. Mitochondria are the energy factories in all our cells. Improving mitochondrial health can increase cellular energy and support energy efficiency.
Supports the Gut
Taking a break from eating offers a break for your gut as well. Digestion takes a lot of energy. When fasting, your body can spend this energy on tissue repair. Fasting supports intestinal stem cell production that supports your recovery from leaky gut syndrome and improves homeostasis.
Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of sugar in your system. Frequently consuming carbohydrates (sugars) increases insulin resistance and inflammation. Insulin is a hormone that helps deliver glucose (the end product of carbohydrates) to your cells. When there’s too much sugar in your bloodstream your cells stop responding to insulin, essentially shutting the door on sugar. We call this “insulin resistance” or “pre-diabetes.”
When your cells stop responding to insulin, your body secretes even more insulin, bullying your cells to open their doors to let in more sugar. If you continue eating sugar the insulin producing cells in your pancreas will burn out. Without the ability to make insulin your body gets toxically overwhelmed by glucose, and you have diabetes—a debilitating and deadly disease. IF can increase the ability of your body to properly use the glucose in your blood.
Lowers the Risk of Chronic Disease
Fasting reduces chronic inflammation in your body. As a result, it may also reduce the risk of chronic disorders and disease, including diabetes, heart disease, metabolic problems, obesity, hormonal issues, infertility, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.
Improves your relationship with food
Mindless snacking, emotional eating, binge eating, overeating, and craving unhealthy, sugary junk food is a common problem in our modern world. When you begin intermittent fasting, you may notice that you stop relying on food as a crutch when you’re bored, stressed, or otherwise emotional. Fasting may help to repair food addictions and reset your neurochemistry. While practicing IF you will notice that you become more mindful when it comes to food.
Boosts Human Growth Hormone
A recent study of 200 participants showed that fasting for a single twenty-four-hour period increased HGH by 2000% for men, and 1300% in women HGH is essential for building, maintaining, and repairing healthy tissue in the brain, bones, and other organs, while speeding up healing after injury and repairing muscle tissue after exercise. HGH builds muscle mass, boosts metabolism, and burns fat. Because HGH naturally drops as you age, it becomes even more important to take dietary steps to maintain and increase your HGH levels.
HGH has been shown to slow down the aging process of the skin, reducing sagging and wrinkles.
Increases BDNF, “Miracle-Gro for your brain”
BDNF is short for Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, a naturally occurring growth hormone responsible for neurogenesis—the creation of new neurons. That’s why Harvard Neuropsychiatrist, John J. Ratey deemed it, “Miracle-Gro for the brain.” Increased levels of BDNF through intermittent fasting are associated with better moods, higher cognitive ability, more productivity, and better memory while decreasing risks of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.
Exactly why BDNF gets a boost from fasting isn’t totally understood, but researchers believe it has to do with the way BDNF helps to rapidly form new neural networks. A network is formed when nerve cells in the brain fire together, forming a new thought, memory or skill. We form these networks very quickly in emergencies when we’re kicked into fight of flight mode. When we’re fasting, we are in a controlled state of threat. This same healthy dose of stress that stimulates stem cell production, HGG, and autophagy is also likely the trigger for boosting BDNF.
Intermittent Fasting May Affect Men and Women Differently
While intermittent fasting can benefit both sexes, it may affect men and women differently. The discrepancies may be the result of hormonal differences. Besides influencing insulin, norepinephrine, and HGH levels, intermittent fasting may affect female sex and hunger-hormones in specific ways.
Intermittent Fasting and Reproductive Hormones in Women
Women are more sensitive to calorie restriction and restrictive, low-calorie diets than men. Calorie restriction affects the hypothalamus and the gonadotropin-releasing hormones (GnRH). GnRH is in charge of releasing two important reproductive hormones, the luteinizing hormone (LH) and the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Disrupting these hormones can lead to a variety of hormonal issues, including irregular periods, amenorrhea, infertility, reduction in ovary size, and decreased bone density.
Intermittent Fasting and Disordered Eating in Women
Intermittent fasting may disrupt the balance of ghrelin, the hormone that tells you you’re hungry, and leptin, the hormone that makes you feel satiated after eating. Disruptions in these hormones may lead to more cravings, increased hunger, and a lack of satiety. While this may become a problem in both men and women, disordered eating, emotional eating, and eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating tend to affect women more.
If you have recovered from an eating disorder it is important that you talk with your healthcare provider before starting an intermittent fasting protocol. If you are currently dealing with an eating disorder, we recommend against intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting and Insulin Sensitivity in Women
While increased insulin sensitivity is a common benefit of intermittent fasting, it may not be the case for all women.
According to a randomized control trial published in the intermittent fasting resulted in 29% lower insulin levels and 19% decreased insulin resistance in obese and overweight female participants. A 2014 review published in has also found that intermittent fasting may lower insulin levels by 20 to 30% and blood sugar by 3 to 6% in those with prediabetes.
However, a 2005 study published in found that alternate-day fasting for 22 days resulted in worsened blood sugar in non-obese women. But in men, it did not. It seems that women with insulin resistance, prediabetes, and diabetes may experience increased insulin sensitivity from intermittent fasting. However, women without insulin resistance may experience hypoglycemic stress.
These differences between men and women do not mean that intermittent fasting is not right for women. Women can still experience the benefits of intermittent fasting. However, it’s likely that women will benefit from different IF strategies than men.
Intermittent Fasting and Keto for Women
One way for women to reduce the potential for hypoglycemic stress and related reproductive hormone imbalances is by combining IF with a ketogenic, or high-fat low-carb (HFLC) diet variation.
If you’re fasting on a carb-based diet, you’ll struggle with cravings, lack of focus, low energy, and irritability. When you break the fast, you’ll likely want to binge on a ton of carb-heavy foods, spiking your blood sugar, feeling fatigued, and lacking focus. You’ll be stuck on the low to high blood sugar seesaw. It’s this blood sugar seesaw, and not the IF, that is likely responsible for hormonal imbalances.
Ketones over carbs
When your body is using fat as its primary fuel source, most of your cells get their energy from ketones rather than glucose. Fat digests much more slowly than carbohydrates, and ketones pack more energy per unit than glucose. On an HFLC diet, you provide your body with a sustained and superior fuel source.
Your few cell types that can’t use ketones are fed by glucose created on-demand in your liver. This means that when you combine IF with a HFLC diet, your blood sugar never drops to a point where you get hunger cravings, and never spikes to a point where you lose focus. Ketones are also effective at suppressing ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry.
The ketogenic diet and fasting offer similar benefits, including reduced inflammation, improved fat burning, better cellular repair, improved insulin sensitivity, and lower risk of disease. Intermittent fasting and keto can go hand in hand to support each other and increase their complementary benefits.
Keto and stem cells when fasting
When you enjoy a keto feast at the end of a fasted period, you are fertilizing the vast crop of new cells with fat–the healthiest, most potent fuel available.
When you combine IF with keto, you’re getting rid of tons of damaged cells—especially those damaged from the bonding of sugar molecules in the destructive process called glycation. At the same time, your body is erupting with fresh, fat-fueled cells!
Lab tests on mice show fasting to result in major reductions in the incidence of lymphomas and tumors. The mechanism at work here is the decrease in glucose and insulin—if you’re not eating sugar, your body isn’t producing insulin.
Fasting along with keto starves cancer cells that rely on sugar while promoting short-term atrophy and cell death in a wide range of tissues and organs including the liver and kidneys.
This controlled atrophy and cell that occurs during IF triggers a period of cellular growth and proliferation. Replenishing these growing cells is crucial. But, and this is a big BUT, if you eat high carb, and other cancer-causing molecules when feasting at the end of a period of fasting, studies show that you actually increase cancerous activities and pre-cancerous lesions especially in the liver and intestines.
A high-fat low-carb diet is not only the best way to get the greatest health benefits out of IF, it’s also the best way to protect yourself against the possibility of doing your body harm.
Intermittent fasting strategies for women
Starting with a Simple Fast is the best strategy for anyone who is new to intermittent fasting. It is also a great choice if you have hypoglycemic issues. It’s a fantastic approach to reduce late-night eating, emotional eating, and food addictions. The Simple Fast involves a relatively short–12-hour–fasting window. This window includes your overnight sleep. You simply stop eating after dinner and don’t eat until the next day at breakfast 12 hours later.
If you are doing well with the Simple Fast, you may want to extend your fasting window to a Brunch Fast. This fast includes 14 hours of fasting window where breakfast becomes more of a late breakfast or brunch.
As you get used to intermittent fasting, try stepping up your game to Crescendo Fasting. It is less demanding on female bodies, yet still helps to lower inflammation, burn fat, and increase energy.
Crescendo fasting is an alternate-day strategy. You only IF on 2 to 3 non-consecutive days of the week. During non IF days, you eat normally.
For example IF on Tuesday and Friday, or Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. On your fasting days, aim to fast for 16 hours and eat your meals within an 8-hour window following the 16:8 rule.
When most people talk about intermittent fasting, there’s a lot of emphasis on not eating. However, our eating window is just as important. While the periods of not eating create the potential for many of the health benefits we get from IF, calorie restriction is not the goal of IF. And it can lead to hormone imbalances for women, especially if you IF on a normal carb-based diet.
Feasting (the eating window) is the time to nourish your body with nutrient-dense foods. Healthy animal fats and proteins will balance your hormones, reduce inflammation, improve your immune system, support cellular growth, aid lean tissue development, and support emotional health.
I recommend that you nourish your body with anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense foods including healthy fats, grass-fed butter and ghee, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised and eggs, wild-caught fish, and wild game.
For women, it’s also important to pay attention to your menstrual cycle. It may be best for you that when you’re ovulating (days 12 to 16), and during the week before your period (days 22 to 28), you put the fasting aside and only feast. Feasting during these times helps to support the increase in estrogen and progesterone taking place in your body.
However, on a HFLC diet, you may not need to stop fasting. This is because the healthy fats and cholesterol you get from nutrient-dense animal foods provide the building blocks for your reproductive hormones.
The Bottom Line About Intermittent Fasting and Women
Aside from combining IF with an HFLC diet, modified versions of intermittent fasting are usually the safest and most beneficial for women. It’s important to consider that fasting is only a tool. It’s best to approach IF in the context of your overall health goals, and while paying close attention to the needs of your body.
If you have an eating disorder, are pregnant, or breastfeeding, it’s best not to practice intermittent fasting. If you experience changes in your menstrual cycle, lose your period, experience a lack of energy, or mood swings, we strongly recommend either stopping or combining IF with a high-fat low-carb diet.
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Intermittent fasting affects men and women differently. Practicing a modified version of intermittent fasting, such as Crescendo Fasting may be safer and more beneficial for women.
Combining IF with a keto (high-fat low-carb) diet can increase the health benefits of IF while protecting women against possible negative side effects including hypoglycemic stress and imbalances in reproductive hormones.
Make sure to eat a nutrient-dense diet during your feasting period to support your hormonal and overall health.
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- 4. Fasting boosts stem cells
- 5. Intermittent fasting attenuates inflammasome activity in ischemic stroke
- 6. Intermittent fasting attenuates lipopolysaccharide-induced neuroinflammation and memory impairment
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— Update: 25-03-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article A Guide To The 20:4 Fast from the website www.mealprep.com.au for the keyword benefits of intermittent fasting 20/4.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a way of eating that has been used for centuries to support general health and wellbeing as well as for specific therapeutic benefits.
To intermittent fast simply means to take a designated break from consuming food for a specific time. This way of eating has been found to be effective for weight management and body fat loss and shows promise for disease prevention, improved cognitive function, metabolic health and even longevity.
One of the advantages intermittent fasting has over many diets and calorie-restrictive models is that it isn’t based on excluding particular foods or specific nutrients. While some types of intermittent fasting methods do consider your calorie intake during the hours of fasting, including the 20:4, most are focused on your eating patterns.
What is the 20:4 Method?
Often referred to as the “Warrior Diet”, the 20:4 fast was created by health and fitness writer, Ori Hofmekler, in 2001. This is one of the more extreme intermittent fasting methods and is based on Hofmekler’s observations and experience keeping fit while in the Israeli Special Forces.
The 20:4 fast is designed to reflect the eating patterns of ancient warriors and timing is the key. It’s based on the idea that in primitive times, people spent their days actively hunting and gathering before an evening feast. Those who follow the Warrior Diet claim that by eating in the evening, the body utilises the nutrients in line with its natural circadian rhythm.
By following this diet, you would fast or eat very little for 20 hours per day, followed by a 4-hour overeating window in the evening.
During the eating window, fasters are encouraged to consume up to 90% of their daily caloric intake or until they are completely full. There aren’t any guidelines around the types of food you can consume during the 4-hour period, however, it is encouraged you consume nutrient-dense whole foods where possible.
How Does it Differ from the 16:8 Method?
This plan may sound very similar to the 16:8 intermittent fast with just a smaller feeding window, however, it is actually very different to execute. Here’s why:
- You are fasting the majority of the day whereas on the 16:8 most of your fasting time is done while you are sleeping which makes it much easier to stick to.
- You are able to eat a small portion of specific foods during your 20-hour fasting window on the Warrior Diet.
- The four-hour eating window makes it much more difficult to consume your daily calories and meet your nutrient needs in such a limited time. It’s much easier to achieve this in eight hours.
- The original Warrior Diet places a much greater emphasis on the types of food you should be eating throughout the day and during your four-hour overeating period. Although the modern 20:4 diet has relaxed to allow you to eat what you want in your 4-hour window.
- The original Warrior Diet also included an exercise plan to maximise the fitness and weight loss benefits while dieting.
How to Successfully do the 20:4 Intermittent Fast
The Warrior Diet plan involves fasting for 20 hours during the day followed by overeating in a 4-hour window at night.
For example, you may set your feeding window at 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. During this time you can eat as much as you want with an emphasis on unprocessed, organic whole foods particularly those high in dietary fats and protein.
After 10:00 pm, you fast or eat very small portions of specific foods such as raw fruit and vegetables until 6:00 pm the next day. It’s important you’re eating as fewer calories as possible during this time.
The method is best suited for people who have tried intermittent fasting before or who already consume a low-carb/ketogenic diet.
Hofmekler recommends you follow a three-week, three-phase plan initially before starting the Warrior Diet. This helps the body adapt to the eating and fasting schedule and become accustomed to using body fat as energy. This three-week introduction includes:
- Phase 1 – “Detox”
- 4-hour evening eating period: consume salad with a dressing and a large or a couple of smaller meals of plant protein, whole grains, cheese and cooked vegetables.
- 20-hour fast: consume vegetable juices, bone broth, yoghurt, cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, raw fruit and raw vegetables. Black coffee, tea, water and small portions of milk can be consumed during the fasting period.
- Phase 2 – “High Fat”
- 4-hour evening eating period: consume salad with a dressing and a large meal of lean animal protein, cooked vegetables and a handful of nuts. Grains and starches are eliminated in this dieting phase.
- 20-hour fast: consume vegetable juices, bone broth, yoghurt, cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, raw fruit and raw vegetables.
- Phase 3 – “Concluding Fat Loss”
- This phase alternates the intake of high carb and high protein every second day.
- On the high carb days: Consume as above in phase 2 with the addition of one main carbohydrate such as potatoes, pasta or oats.
- On the high protein days: Consume as above in phase 2 including 227-454 grams of animal protein and a side of cooked, non-starchy vegetables.
Once you have completed the three-phase diet, it is recommended you start it again before following the 20:4 guidelines.
Depending on your goals, you may only adopt the 20:4 fasting method three times per week rather than making it a daily habit.
A Sample Day of a 20:4 Fast
7:00 am – Wake and drink 500 mL of water with lemon
9:00 am – Eat 1 boiled egg white, a handful of berries or 1 cup of green tea
1:00 pm – Drink grapefruit juice, 1 cup of yoghurt or ½ cup of raw vegetables
8:00 pm – Eat dinner containing protein, healthy fats and complex carbs
9:00 pm – Drink 1 cup of warm milk with turmeric
10:00 pm – Eat desserts such as dark chocolate or fruit custard
Tips to Start your 20:4 Fast
As this is one of the more extreme methods of intermittent fasting, it is recommended you do your research before you start and even consult with a dietitian or a nutritionist to ensure it is right for you.
The best resource for the original Warrior Diet is Hofmekler’s own book “The Warrior Diet: Switch on Your Biological Powerhouse for High Energy, Explosive Strength and a Leaner, Harder Body.”
To help you start your first 20:4 fast and successfully stick to it for the desired period of time, follow these tips.
Before you start:
- Choose the time to implement your 4-hour evening eating period
- Define your health goals and take the required measurements to collect a baseline
- Choose a date to commence your fast when you can strictly adhere to it for at least 14 days
- If you are overwhelmed or concerned about fasting, speak to a health professional or engage a coach to help you navigate the process
During your fast:
- Keep hydrated by drinking water and herbal tea throughout your fast
- Eat a substantial protein-rich meal in the evening
- Consider a quality protein powder
- Only snacking on the recommended low-calorie options in the 20-hour window.
- Focus on wholefoods, avoiding processed foods
- Exercise in a fasted state
- Practice slow and mindful eating when consuming meals
- Keep busy
Health Benefits of 20:4 Warrior Diet
The Warrior Diet is a form of intermittent fasting. However, it’s important to note, the 20:4 isn’t backed by any research. The diet was created by Ori Hofmekler and is based on his own observations and experiences during his time in the Israeli Special Forces.
There is no evidence directly linking a 20:4 fast with any of the benefits of intermittent fasting. Although there is some preliminary evidence that fasting on a 20-hour cycle or 24-hour fast may result in body fat loss and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
In some rats and mice studies, alternate day fasting for 24-hours did result in up to 30% overall calorie reductions, however, the results were mixed and the health benefits insignificant. The research was also not conducted using the Warrior Diet which is a daily regime.
Pros of the 20:4 Fasting Method
- May aid weight loss
- May enhance fitness gains
Cons of the 20:4 Fasting Method
- Little evidence linking its benefits
- Difficult to sustain
- May lead to binge-eating behaviour
- May lead to potential side effects
Side Effects and Risks of the 20:4
Any dieting plan or fasting regime does have its side effects and risks, and there is no one plan that is suitable for everyone.
The 20:4 or Warrior Diet is one of the more extreme forms of intermittent fasting with the extended period of fasting and as such the side effects may be greater. Before you commence the fast, it’s important to do your research and consider consulting a health practitioner to ensure it’s safe for you.
Some side effects of the 20:4 diet due to the duration of calorie restriction include:
- Tiredness or weakness
- Brain fog
- Irritability or mood swings
- Stress or anxiety
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Hormone disruptions
20:4 is not for Everybody
Like any dietary protocol, intermittent fasting is not an eating plan that suits everyone. As the 20:4 requires extended calorie restriction, it is recommended you speak with a trusted health practitioner before starting the plan.
The diet is not recommended for:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding women
- Individuals under 18 years old
- If you’re underweight or have a history of an eating disorder
If you have a pre-existing medical condition such as insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes or are taking medications, it is strongly recommended you consult your general practitioner before considering the Warrier.
The bottom line
The 20:4 Warrior Diet is a strict form of fasting with no scientific evidence to suggest it will lead to weight loss, increased fat burning or improved energy levels as Hofmekler implied.
The basic premise of the 20:4 fast is that you are fasting for an extended period of time and increasing your food intake for a short feasting period. This intermittent fasting protocol may be an effective way to achieve your goals when executed properly, but it may be a challenging one for beginners to start with and does come with the risk of significant side effects
If you are considering a fasting method, it is important to speak to your health practitioner before you commence. It may also be worth trying evidence-based intermittent fasting protocols such as the 5:2 or 16:8 first.
Explore in more detail
- A Beginner’s Guide To Intermittent Fasting
- A Guide To The 16:8 Fast
- A Guide To The 20:4 Fast
- A Guide To The 5:2 Fast
- Intermittent Fasting And Exercise
- Intermittent Fasting And Hormone Balance
- Intermittent Fasting And Keto
- Intermittent Fasting And Type 2 Diabetes
- Intermittent Fasting And Weight Loss
- Intermittent Fasting: Tips To Starting Your First Fast
- Side Effects Of Intermittent Fasting
- Tips For Intermittent Fasting Success
- Top FAQs Of Intermittent Fasting