Intermittent Fasting – was ist dran und was spricht dafür?

The hype around Intermittent Fasting - what speaks for it?

Intermittent Fasting represents a concept in which conscious meal breaks are inserted in order to get a bit closer to his desired body in this way. While in the Bodybuilding and fitness area the variant of Martin Berkhan gained far-reaching fame, in which 16 hours fasting is used, there are now a variety of other Intermittent Fasting methods, which are also used by people outside the fitness world. So what's the point of Intermittent Fasting Hype?

What Intermittent Fasting concepts are there?

The principle of Intermittent Fasting is always the same in principle: for the duration of a certain time window, the food supply is dispensed with, whereby the different concepts differ primarily in terms of duration.

While, as already mentioned, Martin Berkhan enjoys a great reputation nowadays, for the sake of completeness Ori Hofmekler must be mentioned as the one who first introduced intermittent Fasting among athletes. Hofmekler called his concept the Warrior Diet. As part of this variant, only small Snacks, such as a few berries or nuts, may be eaten for 20 hours, until the actual food intake takes place in the remaining four hours of the day.

Shorter, but more strict is the fasting window in Berkhan's Lean Gains variant. While men are supposed to fast for 16 hours, the window of time for women is even only 14 hours long. However, no food is actually allowed inside the fasting window. The only exception is a BCAA supplement, if you train during the fasting window.

However, the concept Intermittent Fasting 2.0 by Frank-Holger Acker looks different. Like Berkhan's variant, this is aimed at bodybuilders and strength athletes and focuses on the feeling of hunger. This means in particular that training sessions open the food window regardless of the time. In addition, so-called Speedweeks are regularly performed with Intermittent Fasting 2.0. During these weeks, over the course of six days, you eat almost only Protein in order to achieve maximum fat loss within a very short period of time.

Outside the fitness world, 5:2 fasting has received increasing attention in the recent past. The concept developed by Michael Mosley envisages two days a week during which only about 500 (women) to 600 (men) kcal are eaten per day. For this purpose, no waiver should be necessary on the remaining days in order to achieve the desired goals.

Mosley developed his variant after he himself had tried the Eat Stop Eat concept by Brad Pilon. This provides a 24-hour fasting window on one to two days a week. Unlike Mosley, however, in this variant nothing is actually allowed to be eaten. Only practically calorie-free foods with tea or coffee are allowed. After the 24 hours of a fasting day, the normal eating behavior is resumed.

Avoid circulatory problems during intermittent Fasting

No matter which variant of intermittent Fasting you choose, in any case the body will not have to cope with any food or significantly fewer calories than it consumes within this Phase for a certain period of time. So what does this mean or what are the benefits for athletes?

The cells of our body gain their energy especially from the two macronutrients carbohydrates and fat. Although Protein and Ethanol, often referred to as alcohol, also provide calories, these two macronutrients are only used for energy production under certain circumstances or to a very small extent. During the fasting phase, the body must therefore fall back on the first two sources of energy.

The body receives these from the last meals at the beginning of the fasting phase. Depending on the processing and composition of the food, the body needs about two to eight hours for the complete digestion. Only liquids, such as Whey Shakes, provide the first nutrients after up to 30 minutes. Depending on what you ate last, the body is initially supplied with carbohydrates and fats. But at the latest after waking up, every person will have eaten nothing for so long that the body had to resort to its reserves. So what exactly happens in this Phase?

Carbohydrates can be stored by the body, especially in the liver and muscles. Since the carbohydrates stored in the muscles can only be used by these themselves, only the liver stores are available to the rest of the organism. These are also quite needed. Our brain alone consumes about 120 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Since the brain does not have its own memory, it continuously gets the carbohydrates from the blood. There, however, only a few grams of carbohydrates are dissolved, so that the blood sugar level must be kept stable with the help of the liver. In particular, women who have ever gone on a low-Carb diet may know that they feel slightly dizzy (in the morning) when they do not eat. This may have to do with, among other things, the fact that the liver did not release carbohydrates into the blood quickly enough, so that the first meal of the day usually brings quick relief.

If you suffer from this Problem and still want to implement intermittent Fasting, you could help yourself to suck a piece of glucose. The sugar is absorbed directly into the blood via the oral mucosa and stabilizes the blood sugar level in this way faster than a normal meal. Drinking 250 to 300 ml of water also compensates for fluid loss during the night. Those who combine this with two to three grams of salt also increase blood pressure in the short term, so that circulatory problems should not be a Problem in the future, even during the implementation of Intermittent Fasting.

Intermittent Fasting is a fat-burning booster!

But why should the fasting window be extended at all? Because Intermittent Fasting optimizes your fat-burning! While the brain and a few other cells in the body use carbohydrates to generate energy, most of the rest of the body burns fat. Our calorie consumption is therefore largely covered by fatty acids. Since in the course of fasting again no new fatty acids are supplied through the food, the body resorts to its existing reserves. The grease pads melt!

In a previous article, we explained that carbohydrates slow down fat burning. When we eat carbohydrates or Protein, it affects our insulin levels. This increases and stabilizes not only the blood sugar level, but also slows down an enzyme called HSL, which is called completely Hormone-Sensitive Lipase. This enzyme ensures that fatty acids are released from our stored body fat and can thus be distributed through the blood in the body.

When we do intermittent Fasting, our insulin levels remain low and fat burning is not stopped.

However, as we also know, the success of a diet ultimately depends on the calorie balance. Those who consume too many calories during the eating phase would ultimately not lose weight. However, the benefits of an intermittent Fasting concept can help to reduce daily calorie intake. There is simply less time to eat. Especially if you shift the fasting phase, for example, to working hours, where Snacks such as cookies or chocolate bars may be freely available, it will be easier for you to comply with the planned calorie intake.

Is the hype around Intermittent Fasting hype justified?

No matter what intermittent Fasting concept one pursues, none of it can work miracles and cancel out the basic processes in the human body. If you want to lose body fat, the bottom line is still a calorie deficit. In the best case, this should be combined with sporting activity, sufficient protein intake and an overall balanced diet. With all this in mind, intermittent Fasting can help you achieve your goals more easily and easily.

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