News Flash: We all have to eat. Even if we wanted to fast forever, we couldn’t. We simply have to eat to survive. And what we choose to eat influences our weight loss. If you are fasting, what is the best diet to accompany it?
What Is The Best Diet with Fasting?
I’m on a mission to determine the best diet for myself, my family, and my patients. And I did not want to go with the standard answer just because everyone says you should. I have not only been researching and reading extensively but I have also done trials myself.
For each of the following trials, I fasted for 24 hours 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). That was standard. By doing this, I could assure that Intermittent Fasting was included in the weight loss but not variable. I ate dinner on my fasting days and 3 meals a day on non-fasting days according to the diet.
The results I will compare below are from 1 week of dieting, though I continued many of these diet options for up to 6 weeks. As life happens and there are holidays, birthdays, etc., I chose to stop at a week in my results to leave out any confounding factors. Come on, I am a science girl, a Doctor, at heart.
Here’s My Weight Loss Results with Different Diets and Intermittent Fasting …
- Intermittent Fasting with Low-Carbohydrate Diet (typically 20 NET carbs per day) – 6.7 lbs weight loss
- Intermittent Fasting with Mediterranean Diet – 5 lbs weight loss
- Intermittent Fasting with Regular Diet (what I would have eaten with no changes) – 3.2 lbs weight loss
The Good News …
Here’s the good news – I LOST WEIGHT WITH ALL OF THESE DIETS.
I don’t think anyone would say that 3.2 lbs weight loss (the minimum of the 3) in one week is not a significant result. And I didn’t change my diet at all. In fact, I probably ate worse that week than I normally would.
Intermittent fasting helps you lose weight despite your diet. I appreciate the ease of fasting, the low cost of fasting, and the weight loss associated with fasting. That is why I chose to start with fasting in my weight loss quest and include it going forward. And it was a win across the board.
What Does Science Say is the Best Diet with Fasting?
Although this is debatable, most scientific research goes toward the low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet as being THE diet to accompany intermittent fasting.
There are a few reasons for that:
- Fasting is intended to decrease insulin levels. We will look at this insulin response further through future posts but let’s leave it to say that this is the HORMONAL view of obesity. Less insulin causes less weight gain.
- Because sugars and carbohydrates are the foods that increase insulin levels the most, a low-carbohydrate diet will challenge insulin response the least. Less carbs = less insulin release = more weight loss
- Low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diets are based on low-carbohydrate intake and, thus, would make the most sense.
Is Low-Carbohydrate Diet Best with Intermittent Fasting?
You can definitely make a strong argument for that based on the science and my results. My husband had similar results as well. He lost the most with the low-carbohydrate diet when fasting with about 10 pounds in the first week.
I will say that, over time, my results with the Mediterranean did end up about the same as the low-carbohydrate diet. And the difference of 1.7 lbs in the first week was not huge. My husband had only a 0.4 lb weight loss difference between the two diets at 5 days.
My results from a low-carbohydrate diet compared to eating the typical “American” diet – that of pizza, sandwiches, and a little Chik-fil-A were significant, though. Changing anything diet-wise is going to provide better results than keeping your diet the same. Period.
How Important is Meal Frequency with Fasting?
Snacking during non-fasting times WILL make a significant difference in weight loss. 3 meals a day (or 2 if eating during an 8 hour period daily) without snacks is as, if not more, important than the diet you chose to follow. My weight loss was always lowest on days when I let snacking sneak back in – especially night-time snacking. For the best weight loss results, snacks just have to be dropped altogether.
Which Diet Would I Recommend with Fasting?
I have heard over and over and over again that “all diets end the same.” Studies show maximum weight loss at 6 months with regain at 2 years. The question remains – why? Why can’t we keep the weight off???
And there is no definitive answer. As you know, obesity rates continue to increase. There is no magic answer that one guy is sitting in a corner twiddling his thumbs and laughing about as far as I know. Of course, we can always by on the lookout for that creepy dude but I don’t think he exists. And I’m not holding out hope for him.
In terms of intermittent fasting, my weight loss showed, and the studies suggest, low-carbohydrate diet. But the Mediterranean diet, a diet not low in carbs but emphasizing healthy fats, was not far behind. The ultimate question is: WHAT DIET CAN YOU STICK WITH for long-term success?
What Diet Can YOU Stick With?
What diet fits your lifestyle best? Your personal medical history? Your family medical history? That is the best diet for you.
We will be digging deeper into each of these diets and the studies to support them but I challenge you to start looking at your own dietary preferences now. What foods are deal breakers? What foods can you not stand?
I had a patient in last week that told me she was considering going from plant-based to ketogenic diet to speed her weight loss. Say what? Those are exact opposites. Going from one fad diet to the next is not the answer – figuring out what works for you and sticking with it is.
If you can find a diet you like and can stick with and combine that with conquering the emotions behind your emotional eating, you will be well set to succeed. And I’ll help you do it.
Simple Solution: You have to eat while fasting at some point. My own trial and scientific studies support low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet but the weight loss with other dietary changes are good too. Consider what will work for you and stick with it.
For More Blog Posts on Intermittent Fasting, check out: https://doctormome.com/post/intermittent-fasting-results-for-weight-loss/
For More on Intermittent Fasting, check out: https://obesitycodepodcast.com/