Can You Eat Whatever You Want When Intermittent Fasting?
One of the most attractive features of intermittent fasting is that it focuses more on when you eat than what you eat. In some programs, you don’t even restrict your calories, so technically, you can eat whatever you want when intermittent fasting. In reality, you’ll want to consider your goals.
If your goal is to lose weight, you don’t want to binge during your eating window. You want to make sure you’re in a calorie deficit to lose weight, so you want to burn through more calories than you’re eating. If you binge on high fat, high-calorie meals during your eating windows, it’s less likely that you’ll burn enough calories and sugar for your body to tap into its fat store.
Intermittent fasting isn’t about restricting what you eat within reason. You can still eat your favorites like pizza, fast food, and sweets. However, it’s suggested that you do so in moderation as they won’t provide you with the nutrients you need to sustain yourself through your fasting window. It’s more likely that you’ll crash and give in without measured thought of your food.
Some intermittent fasting programs do restrict the type of food you can eat. For example, you cannot eat certain artificial sweeteners on a gut-healing fast. Fasting apps can help you keep your fasting rules straight as you get used to the new programs.
What Happens If I Eat Whatever I Want During Intermittent Fasting?
The best-case scenario is nothing happens to you – but that’s not necessarily a good thing. You may not lose weight, lower your blood sugar, or get any benefits from intermittent fasting if you don’t watch what you’re eating. Chances are you have a purpose for intermittent fasting, so you don’t want to undermine it by indulging too much.
The worst case is that you may develop digestive issues like diarrhea or constipation. This isn’t a side effect of the fasting windows but the eating periods. After fasting, you need to ease your body into eating again. Eating too much too fast can make you feel sick, as will eating food that’s too heavy and greasy. Your body will almost go into shock and start trying to purge the food as fast as it can, so be careful with what you’re eating, even if you don’t need to watch your calories.
Why Eating What You Want Isn’t the Best Idea
Intermittent fasting may be attractive because you don’t have to limit yourself, but you should take care of what you’re eating. Nutrient-rich foods packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats will help you feel full longer, making the fasting windows easier to handle. High-calorie but nutrient-deficient foods will do the opposite.
That doesn’t mean you can’t indulge every now and then, but you should be strategic with your eating windows to make the most of your intermittent fast. Your actions should help you reap the most benefits as you embrace this new lifestyle. Intermittent fasting can change your life if you let it.