Culprit Behind That Stubborn Belly Fat | Intermittent Fasting to Lose Belly Fat | Types of Intermittent Fasting | Best TRE Fasting Window to Lose Belly Fat
Intermittent fasting must sound familiar to you, as this fasting method is trending everywhere. From the X-Men, Hugh Jackman, to the mighty Thor, Chris Hemsworth, many celebrities have openly admitted following intermittent fasting for better health and fat loss. IF or Intermittent Fasting is a great way to stay in shape, and if those extra pounds around your belly are giving you a headache, just try it once. Let’s find out – What’s the Best Intermittent Fasting Window to Lose Belly Fat?
As many kinds of intermittent fasting co-exist and each has a different modus operandi, it’s obvious to get confused and have trouble finding the ideal fasting window for losing belly fat.
In today’s guide, we will talk about this problem in detail. Read on to get the scoop.
The Real Culprit Behind That Stubborn Belly Fat
You’re seeing that fat bulge on your stomach and hate it from the core of your heart. But if you want to get rid of it, you first need to understand that:
- Which kind of belly fat is the problem?
- What causes belly fat to accumulate?
The ‘Total Body Fat,’ or TBF, comprises two components, visceral fat, and subcutaneous fat. So, let’s figure out the differences between these two first.
The first kind is visceral fat which is the fat around the liver and other crucial abdominal organs. Now, what causes this type of fat in the human body? Suppose you think your KFC and McDonald’s meals are the troublemakers here. In that case, sigh in relief as visceral fat accumulation is more because of internal factors like high cortisol production in abdominal adipose tissues, sex hormones, growth hormone levels in the body, and endocannabinoids.
Visceral obesity is also often triggered by estrogen replacement in postmenopausal women and testosterone replacement in men.
The second belly fat type is subcutaneous fat which is nothing but a fat layer beneath the skin layer. It’s a soft layer of fat that might help you to increase insulin sensitivity and decrease type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk. Yes, this fat has some health benefits and will help you unless it remains in the permitted range.
The main reason for a high percentage of subcutaneous body fat is the high intake of low-nutrition food, a sedentary lifestyle, less physical activities, aging, and hormonal status.
What Kind of Body Fat Gives You Headache?
Now that you know the type of body fat and what causes it, it’s time to learn which is dangerous.
Humans with a high percentage of visceral fat are at risk of health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Unlike visceral fat, subcutaneous fat won’t make vital abdominal organs suffocate. So, it’s less dangerous. On the flip side, it’s even a good thing to have a certain level of subcutaneous fat as it acts like a shield for the liver and aids in body temperature regulation.
As mentioned above, it even helps increase insulin sensitivity and can control the blood sugar in the body.
So, losing visceral fat should be the main priority when it comes to weight loss, as it’s a real mischief-maker here. However, you must know that losing visceral fat is not an uphill struggle, as it metabolizes quickly.
For visceral fat loss, you must combine multiple methods like lifestyle modification, changing eating habits, and increasing physical activity.
Intermittent Fasting- An Ideal Approach for Losing Belly Fat
Intermittent fasting is more than a mere trend or a weight loss fad. It’s a lifestyle modification technique wherein people must control their eating time duration. They have to limit their eating for a specific time and follow fast for the rest.
Because of the endless benefits of intermittent fasting, more and more people are trying it and experiencing positive results.
As they observe this method, they push their body into ketosis by reducing their calorie intake. When you engage in fasting, especially for an extended period, the body exhausts its immediate source of glucose, which is derived from carbohydrates.
Without sufficient glucose, the body starts consuming stored fat for energy, releasing fatty acids. The liver receives these fatty acids and starts the process of ketogenesis.
This way, intermittent fasting forces the body to extract energy from the body fat, not the carbohydrate. So, the TBF or Total Body Fat percentage will reduce, resulting in reduced visceral and subcutaneous fat. It’s a win-win situation for someone who wants to lose belly fat.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
We must admit that intermittent fasting works to get rid of body fat and maintain overall health. But before you start daydreaming of becoming slim with intermittent fasting, you must understand that there are many ways to make this practice a part of your life. Each method works differently. Here is a quick overview of the most common intermittent fasting ways.
ADF or Alternate Day Fasting
ADF or Alternate Day Fasting is the fasting method wherein you’re suggested to have a fasting period of 24 hours and eat your normal meal for the next day. The idea of keeping fast for one day can make your mind think it will help you lose body fat. But it’s not result-driven, and we’ve reasons to support this huge statement.
Body fat is burned when the body is carbohydrate deficient. It’s challenging for people to consume anything throughout the day. They might eat an apple or drink juice throughout the day, thinking they’re not eating big meals. But this doesn’t support the idea of carbohydrate deficiencies as one cup of sliced apple has approximately 15 grams of calories.
Even if you’re consuming 1 gram of carbohydrates at regular intervals, the body will continue extracting energy from it. The stored body fat will remain untouched, and your weighing scale will show the same readings.
In fact, following ADF can make things worse for you. A study found that ADF reduces the fat-burning capacity of the body. How? When one is feeling hungry and controlling the hunger, they become stressed, and high stress leads to elevated cortisol levels.
If you’ve read the article carefully, you must be aware that high cortisol levels are one of the many reasons behind high visceral body fat percentage. That’s not the end of it. High cortisol also increases the body’s insulin resistance and makes it hard to lose weight.
Overall, ADF can lead to more belly fat than reducing it. Will you still give it a try? To know more read Alternate Day Fasting: All You Need To Know.
5:2 Intermittent Fasting
This is also a long-duration fasting technique wherein you can eat normally for five days a week and consume only 1/4 of the total calories needed for the rest two days. You can pick any two days of the week as fasting days.
While it can help you lose overall body weight as it encourages fewer calories, losing belly fat will not be very impressive with this method because ketogenesis may not be initiated if one consumes those 1/4 calories throughout the day and there are no periods of fasting.
Eat Stop Eat
Another popular intermittent fasting approach is Eat Stop Eat. Developed by Brad Pilon, this fasting method involves fasting for 24 hours for one or two consecutive days per week and eating normally for five days.
Now, don’t make the mistake of considering Eat Stop Eat and 5:2 fasting methods the same as they’re not. In the 5:2 method, you can consume 1 ⁄ 4 total calorie requirements for two days a week. For best results, keep track of calorie consumption so that you don’t overconsume.
But, in the Eat Stop Eat fasting method, there is no calorie consumption for the two days of the week.
However, observing fast for 24 hours at a stretch is difficult. It requires a great deal of willpower and commitment. It can trigger stress in many ways, like alternate-day-fasting methods, and lead to more troubles.
Many people end up consuming more calories on the feeding day and develop an eating disorder. So, we’re not sure this might be a good choice for everyone.
It’s an intermittent fasting plan based on the eating pattern of old-age warriors. The credit for creating the warrior diet plan goes to Ori Hofmekler, who designed it in 2001. It’s a mix of 16:8 TRE and Eats Stop Eat fasting methods.
According to the Warrior Diet, you should have limited food intake for 20 hours and have a full meal during your 4 hours of eating window. This way, you don’t have to observe a whole-day fast that often triggers stress responses in many.
The diet generally emphasizes consuming dairy, lean protein, raw fruits, and vegetables in small quantities for 20 hours. Consumption of non-calorie fluids is also encouraged. It also avoids consuming unprocessed food and sticks to a healthy diet and healthy fats.
This diet has multiple benefits like delayed aging, diabetes prevention, and slow tumor progression. However, its role in controlling body weight is unclear as we don’t have much research. And the animal studies aren’t sufficient.
Also, one must be very careful of overconsumption and ensure that eating disorders are not developed. Keep your current health conditions in mind before following this method.
TRE or Time Restricted Eating
Other than ADF, you’ve TRE or time-restricted eating intermittent fasting. TRE doesn’t extend your fast for the entire 24 hours. The method recommends people keep their easting window open only for a limited time, out of 24 hours, and observe fast for the rest of the hours.
For instance, you can eat whatever you want 8 hours a day and not consume calories for the rest of the 16 hours. This is known as the 16/8 intermittent fasting method. Out of all the different ways of intermittent fasting, 16:8 intermittent fasting is considered the safest and best way to lose weight and reduce belly fat.
Many types of research confirm that TRE does a great job in maintaining ideal body weight and overall pink health compared to any of the non-TRE methods.
With its continual practice, one can:
- Decrease the eating occasions and control the calorie consumption
- Reduce the overall body weight
- Experience reduction in lean mass and visceral fat percentage
As much as 21.9% of eating occasions and 11% of visceral fat can be reduced with the continual practice of TRE. This is a significant number.
“TRE allows the human body to anticipate when to eat and when not. This way, the body is instructed to have a fully optimized metabolism”, says Satchin Panda, Ph.D.
There is one more good thing about the 16:8 TRE method. You can consume any non-caloric drinks during the fasting window. Besides water, one can consume green tea, black coffee without milk and sugar, ginger tea, or any other drink.
As one is not fully restricted to eating, even during a fasting window, the body doesn’t feel stressed, and cortisol levels don’t shoot up.
What’s the Best TRE Fasting Window to Lose Belly Fat?
The above text made one thing clear: if you want a slim waist, TRE is the best possible solution. In the sections that follow, we will explain the efficacy of different TRE fasting windows. You should choose the one best suited to their lifestyle.
Different People; Different Fasting Habits
The goal of TRE is to put your body on carbohydrate deficiencies for at least 14-16 hours. Now, different methods exist to achieve this 14 – 16 hour of fasting. Many prefer skipping breakfast and keeping their eating window open only from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Some prefer having a full breakfast and avoid having dinner. So, they only eat between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and avoid food intake post 5 p.m. Early risers often prefer taking their breakfast at 7 a.m and then keeping their eating window open till 3 p.m. People do make changes in the eating window according to their schedule and it’s allowed as long as the fasting window is for 14-16 hours.
With so many options, it’s obvious to get confused about the best fasting window to lose stubborn belly fat.
TRF Does Most of the Wonders
If we pay attention to certain recent research and their findings, we know that losing belly fat is easy with eTRF or early TRF. By TRF, we mean keeping eating periods between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and fasting for the rest of the day.
A study conducted on eleven overweight people figured out that people who were consuming food during the 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. window experienced a better reduction in the blood glucose level, glycemic excursions, and cortisol than those following different TRF windows.
It has been observed that eTRF-based calorie restriction encourages ketones release and lowers stress response and aging genes.
The Dilemma of Ideal Fasting Duration
Now, let’s decode the fasting duration that can produce desirable results. The suggested fasting window for TRE is 14-16 hours. But some people even follow a 12-hour fasting window, claiming that each body is different, and we agree with this fact.
But, if we speak factually, strict 16-hour fasting is what you need to get rid of stubborn belly fat, improve metabolic health, maintain ideal blood sugar levels, and enjoy the rest of the claimed benefits of TRE intermittent fasting.
We gained the confidence to declare this from the study that the University of Alabama conducted on obese people. There were two groups; one followed the 16:8 fasting window rule, while the other was allowed to consume food over 12 hours.
At the end of the study, it was observed that people who were on the strict 16:8 TRE method were able to experience a significant drop in blood insulin levels, had reduced insulin sensitivity, had controlled blood sugar and blood pressure, and controlled hunger pangs. All these things are needed to shed excess belly fat.
Considering all these factors, the best way to cut belly fat is eTRF with an 8-hour eating window. It means you’re likely to experience the best result when you eat from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. or 7 a.m.- 3 p.m. and remain fasted for the rest of the day.
This practice is going to be a lot more suitable for you. For instance, it will improve the body’s glycemic control, reduce oxidative stress and improve the biomarkers.
Conclusion – What’s the Best Intermittent Fasting Window to Lose Belly Fat?
Who likes those extra pounds around the waist? No one. Other than looking your best and feeling confident, losing belly fat is important from a health point of view. The high percentage of visceral fat invites tons of health risks and dangers.
One of the most inventive approaches to getting rid of belly fat is intermittent fasting. By controlling the cortisol level and altering body modification, this practice is here to help, provided you do it the right way.
A strict eTRF is claimed to be the best method to reduce belly fat, and we agree with this. So, are you ready to be back in shape? If yes, start intermittent fasting today with the 21-Day Hero Intermittent Fasting Challenge. We are sure that you’ll reach your goal.