One of the most enticing things about intermittent fasting is that you don’t have to restrict what you eat in your eating window. If you really want, you can have all the sweets and refined carbs your heart desires, and you’ll still reap the benefits from your fasting window.
But if that sounds too good to be true, you may be on to something. Intermittent fasting has so many health benefits, and it seems a shame to lose the momentum you worked so hard for during your fast.
So if you want to take your intermittent fasting plan to a whole new level, consider making the following changes.
Coffee contains very few calories and won’t break your fast, so it will add some interest to your fasting period. But it also can help feel satiated. And some research suggests that coffee may help you lose even more weight while staving off chronic diseases like heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
And for anyone who can’t start their day without a cup of Joe, this is great news. You can continue to fast through the morning while getting a caffeine jolt from your coffee.
Some experts say it’s fine to have zero-calorie sweeteners in your coffee, but it really depends on your goals. If you’re fasting purely for weight loss, a zero-calorie sweetener won’t break your fast. But if you’re trying to improve gut health, most sweeteners will break that fast.
Stevia is one of the only exceptions to this rule, but there’s a catch. You must use pure stevia extract and not a sweetener that’s mixed with dextrose or erythritol. Erythritol won’t break a fast for weight loss, but it will break a fast for gut health.
To be very clear, collagen will break your fast, so don’t have it until you’re in your eating window. But consuming collagen shortly after you break your fast has a number of health benefits. Collagen may improve the health of your skin by reducing the dryness that causes wrinkles. It may also help increase muscle mass, relieve joint pain and prevent bone loss. Taking collagen right after a fast offers your body a great way to ease back into a healthy diet.
TAKE AWAY Heavy Meals
When you’re coming out of a fast, your body is in a very sensitive state. Your insulin levels are extremely low and your body won’t respond well to major insulin spikes. Keep in mind that anything you eat after breaking a fast will cause your insulin levels to rise, so try to stay away from really large and decadent meals.
ADD Prebiotics and Probiotics
One of the biggest benefits of the 16:8 and 18:4 fasts is that it can help restore gut health. Harmful bacteria don’t respond to fasts as well as healthy ones, so the longer you fast, the more bad buggies you’ll kill off.
When you’re finally ready to eat again, avoid feeding the bad bacteria with processed foods and refined sugars. Instead, add prebiotics (artichokes are great) and probiotics. After a fast, you’re at a unique advantage to restore your ever-important gut health.
Regardless of what drew you to intermittent fasting in the first place, you’re sure to experience some very desirable side effects that you weren’t even expecting. For example, you may find that you have increased energy, and you may finally be able to defeat alcohol addiction. The fact that you lose a few pounds is just the icing on the cake.
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