This article compares intermittent fasting in winter and summer. Should you do it differently? It’s intermittent fasting winter vs summer.
One might have come across the concept of eating seasonally, which encourages the consumption of food native to the local area. As the year progresses from one season to the next, the types of food available to you will fluctuate. At the supermarket, you have access to food at any time of the year.
No scientific studies exist to indicate the potential impacts of following a seasonal diet on one’s health or bodily functioning. The only potential consequence would be an unplanned decrease in calories along with a periodic ketogenic state.
- During the summer/autumn, people would mostly eat higher-carb leaner foods like vegetables, berries, fruit, fish, and greens.
- During the winter, most of the Northern regions don’t have edible vegetation, and thus people rely on fattier meats, canned foods, stored meat, etc.
Consequently, it is logical that you would experience a periodical form of ketosis which gives higher control of insulin and sugar levels in the bloodstream. You would also likely experience a moderate quantity of calories, which is known to have health advantages since you would never consume an abundance of fats and carbohydrates in one sitting.
If all dietary variables such as calorie intake, macronutrients, and meal times were set to be the same, I don’t think there would be a significant difference in terms of your health, whether you’re eating seasonally or not. Possible benefits could include a reduced carbon dioxide output, ensuring a reliable food supply, increasing the number of natural foods available, and assisting local farms.
Intermittent Fasting Seasonality
Apart from the type of meals selected, when the meals are consumed and the total time spent eating would also vary during different seasons. This is in line with the alternating periods of daylight and darkness in the surroundings, plus the body’s daily cycle of rest and activity.
- During the summer, there is more daylight, and people are more active for longer. The period of darkness lasts only during sleep for about 6-8 hours.
- During the winter, there is very little daylight, and it gets dark outside even after 4 PM. The period of darkness lasts for 14-18 hours.
Humans are supposed to be active during the day and rest during the nighttime, as we are creatures of the daylight hours. During the day, our physiology encourages us to eat, while at night, we do not have the same urge. Studies have shown that when you mostly eat within a restricted period during the day, it can be beneficial for your health. This way of eating has been found to improve insulin sensitivity and metabolism and even increase longevity.
People generally stick to a pattern of eating all of their daily food intake within 8 hours and fasting for the remaining 16 hours of the day when doing intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating. The majority of people do not consume breakfast, but they do have lunch and dinner. In the summertime, they had no problems ending their meals before nightfall, yet during the colder months, it was common for them to consume their meals in the dark.
Is there a difference in how one should fast between the winter and summer seasons? In order to determine an answer to that question, we must consider what studies typically conclude about dining earlier as opposed to dining later.
Early Time Restricted Eating VS Late Time Restricted Eating
A study conducted in May 2019 indicated that consuming food exclusively from 8 AM to 2 PM resulted in improved 24-hour glucose levels, modifications in lipid metabolism, and changes in circadian clock gene expression. In contrast to the group that ate between 8 AM and 8 PM, eTRF is superior because it entails going into a fasted state. Additionally, 11 overweight people were surveyed over a period of 4 days for this investigation. An eight-hour timeframe between 10 in the morning and 6 in the evening has demonstrated a decrease in blood pressure, a decrease in body fat, and improvements in cholesterol levels.
A further investigation in April 2019 saw 15 obese men being fed inside a 9-hour timeframe, kicking off either with breakfast (8 AM – 5 PM) or lunch (12-9 PM). They completed a specific program for a period of seven days, paused and ate as they usually would for two weeks to reset the body’s changes, and undertook the second regimen again over the course of one more week.
The results proved that it did not matter if the participants ate earlier or later; the results in terms of glycemic control, blood sugar levels, body weight, hunger response, total energy expenditure, sleep duration, gastric emptying rate, gastrointestinal hormones (namely ghrelin, GLP-1, GIP, amylin, PYY), triglycerides, and free fatty acids were all unaffected. This research conducted a much more methodical and well-designed analysis than previous studies, which compared the participants to a group that didn’t follow a time-restricted eating pattern.
It appears that the time frame for when you eat is not significant as long as you restrict your time for eating. The most important factor in achieving the advantages of fasting physiologically is having a shorter period of time for eating.
Is Eating at Night Bad
It turns out that having your main meals at night or closer to bedtime is okay as long as it doesn’t stop you from getting a good night’s rest. However, consuming food at the time of going to bed is an altogether different matter.
The pancreas produces more insulin during the day as opposed to at night. That enhances your body’s capacity to utilize carbohydrates and calories. It is more effective to maintain proper glucose levels during the morning hours, whereas it can be more difficult to do so in the evening.
Melatonin production in your body will begin to increase a couple of hours prior to when you are used to going to bed, as long as you don’t have any exposure to blue light. The increasing levels of melatonin attach to its receptor in the pancreas, instructing the pancreas to stop producing insulin. Essentially, the concept is that it is no longer necessary to have insulin flowing, and it’s time for bed. If someone is consuming a large meal at the same time, there may not be enough insulin to process the glucose in their blood.
It is not a wise decision to eat a lot of food right before sleeping because of the effects it may have on NADPH, which is a molecular variant of NAD+ that powers almost all activities of the body. NADPH keeps the capacity to renew antioxidants when they give up their electrons to fight off oxidative stress and inflammation. A majority of your body’s antioxidant repair processes occur while you are sleeping. A major user of NADPH is the process of storing fat and creating new lipids. Essentially, if your body is made to store fat, the amount of NADPH decreases, and its capacity to defend against oxidative stress and free radicals is decreased, making you more prone to them. Engaging in excessive eating and consuming additional calories at night is much more damaging than consistently keeping a daily intake near your needs.
What’s The Best Fasting Method For Longevity, Health, And Weight Loss?
Figuring out the most effective method for fasting can be a perplexing task since there are many different ways to do it.
Three of the most popular fasting methods are:
1. Time-restricted fasting (also called time-restricted feeding or time-restricted eating).
One limits their eating to a certain period of the day when practicing time-restricted fasting.
For instance, you only consume food for a period of 8 hours, such as from noon to 8 pm. You don’t intake anything for the other 16 hours and abstain from eating. This is called the 16/8 method.
There are many variations of this. Certain individuals limit themselves to having meals within a 6-hour or 4-hour duration, while others abstain from breakfast or dinner altogether.
When is the optimal time of day to plan when you will eat?
Researchers suggest that you consume your meals earlier rather than later in the day.
This is due to our metabolic rate altering throughout the day. Throughout the early part of the day until midday, we are most able to process food efficiently. Put differently, managing insulin, glucose, fats, and amino acids and responding to the extra oxidative and inflammatory stress from eating a meal are both essential.
In one study, participants who were prone to type 2 diabetes and followed a 9-hour time frame of food consumption from 8 am to 5 pm saw a 36 percent decline in their glycaemic reaction to a meal and a decline in their fasting triglycerides compared to men who ate over a later 9-hour period from noon to 9 pm.
A separate examination unveiled that insulin responsiveness, blood pressure, and oxidative tension all escalated significantly in males with prediabetes who ate within an 8-hour window (from 7 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon) in comparison to individuals who ate in a 12-hour time period (from 7 in the morning to 7 in the evening).
Research indicates that what you consume and when you consume it is a major factors concerning metabolic rate and well-being.
2. One-day fasting.
A one-day fast means going without food and drink for a period of 24 hours. For instance, certain folks prefer to practice this type of fasting one day each week, while others switch off and do it on alternating days (known as “alternate-day fasting”).
Another example is the 5:2 diet. For two days of the week, one should consume no more than 300 to 600 calories daily. This is not strictly adhering to a fast, but you will still be eating significantly less than your usual intake.
3. Multiple-day fasting (sometimes also called prolonged fasting).
One can also fast for multiple consecutive days. As an illustration, regular habits can include abstaining from food for two days in a row each week, or for 3 days each month, or for 3 days every three months.
Fasting: How to Do It Well
As is obvious, numerous methods exist for fasting. But what’s the best way to fast for longevity? What are some important factors to keep in mind when engaging in fasting?
We can state that most forms of fasting are beneficial as long as it is done in moderation and you respect certain guidelines.
Fasting initiates multiple biological processes that could reduce aging, like the self-digestion of cells (autophagy) that assists in getting rid of the waste buildup associated with aging. It also activates certain defensive genes, which code for sirtuins or reduce inflammation.
Even fasting for a brief amount of time brings about significant health improvements. An example of the benefits of fasting would be improved metabolism, cellular repair, gene expression, and insulin sensitivity. Fortunately, fasting for 12 hours is an easy process; all you need to do is not eat anything after you have your dinner (in the evening), for example, from 7 pm until 7 am the next day.
It’s, therefore, not surprising that fasting can extend lifespan. Rats that were allowed to eat only on alternate days had an 83 percent extended lifespan compared to those that were permitted to indulge in any amount of food whenever they desired.
So, what is the best fasting method?
What is the most optimal method of fasting?
The most effective way to go without food is fasting three days each month or every season. At the beginning of each season, you abstain from eating for 3 days.
Fasting for three days has been found to produce the greatest benefits for health: getting into the right ketosis, creating strong autophagy, and even potentially restarting stem cells and the immune system.
It is not possible to gain the same benefits with shorter lengths of time fasting, such as ketone production and optimization of stem cell health and reprogramming.
You must abstain from eating for a minimum of 2-3 days to attain appropriate ketosis. Blood ketone levels start to go up sooner, but it takes at least two days for them to reach their most desirable and optimal levels.
In fact, if you start fasting, the following 4 things happen:
First 4-6 hours after your last meal.
The glucose levels from your most recent meal drop in the bloodstream. During this period, one tends to begin to feel a craving for food.
4 to 24 hours after your last meal.
If your blood sugar drops too far, your body starts to use the glycogen from your liver and muscles to create glucose. Glucose is needed to keep your blood sugar up and provides the brain with the energy it needs. Your body begins to disintegrate triglycerides into free fatty acids that go into your blood to offer an alternate fuel source to glucose.
1-3 day after your last meal.
Once about 24 hours have passed, the body’s stores of glycogen are exhausted. Ketosis starts as the body produces ketones. This is mainly to maintain the brain in action, but other parts of the body can also benefit from it.
Generally, the brain utilizes glucose (not fats or proteins) for its activities. Due to the lack of glucose, the liver will make ketones, which can be used to provide energy for brain cells.
Ketones are made from free fatty acids. Triglycerides, normally stored in fat cells, have their fatty acids liberated.
When fasting, the triglycerides stored in fat cells are metabolized into free fatty acids, which are then directed to the liver and converted into ketones. These ketones are then circulated through the bloodstream, supplying energy to all parts of the body, including the brain. These ketones are acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate. Ketones can bring about numerous advantages for well-being, for example, diminishing aggravation, advancing cerebrum well-being, and empowering the formation of new neurons, just as enhancing digestion. The primary cause of why people report feeling mentally sharper after two or three days of fasting is the build-up of ketone bodies in the blood.
How to Do Intermittent Fasting During Winter
To wrap it up, as long as you are taking in the same number of calories and macronutrients, consuming your meals earlier or later in the day should not make a major difference to your well-being or physique. It is essential to ensure that you consume the proper amount of food during your intermittent fasting routine.