Intermittent Fasting FAQ

04.09.2018 |

Episode #9 of the course The beginner’s guide to intermittent fasting by Theo Brenner-Roach



Today’s lesson will answer common questions people ask when considering or trying intermittent fasting for the first time.

This is not an exhaustive FAQ but should give you a good solid base to start from and hopefully dispel a few of the myths surrounding IF.


Isn’t Skipping Breakfast Bad for You?

Risking the fury of cereal companies around the world, let me shed some light on why breakfast is often thought to be the “most important meal of the day.”

Breakfast, at least in regard to it being a “must,” is a marketing fabrication—it’s as simple as that.

A look at the research that supports the idea you “need” to eat breakfast every day was found to:

• “lack probative value”

• “[involve] biased research reporting”

One study concluded that the belief we need breakfast outweighs any scientific evidence pointing to the same conclusion. [1]

Additionally, a review paper looking at a wealth of research found that existing evidence in favor of eating breakfast is weak and that studies show no cause and effect link between skipping breakfast and energy balance. [2]

The point is this: When it comes to weight change, your total calorie intake across the day will be the determining factor, not whether you ate breakfast.


It’ll Be So Hard: Won’t I Feel Hungry All the Time?

Back in Lesson 6, we discussed how often, contrary to people’s beliefs, hunger doesn’t continue to build until it reaches an almighty crescendo when you have no choice but to break your diet in fantastic fashion, undoing all your previous hard work.

Instead, hunger comes in waves; it sweeps in, testing your resolve, before dissipating and leaving you wondering what you were worried about.

Using the strategies in Lesson 6, you can use certain zero-calorie drinks to keep hunger at bay.

However, there is also a certain aspect of getting comfortable with being slightly uncomfortable at times.

This means building the mental resilience to put up with the hunger pangs and the moments where you feel ravenously hungry but still have four hours until you break your fast.

Learn to manage these moments: Have a drink, go for a walk, or distract yourself by doing something engaging.

Not only will this build up your willpower, but the rewards will greatly outweigh your momentary discomfort.


Isn’t Fasting Bad for Me?

From a “won’t fasting mess up my metabolism” point of view, research actually shows that after fasting for 60 hours, resting metabolic rate (RMR) is reduced by only 8%. [3]

Think about that: If after eating nothing for 60 hours, your RMR is only decreased by 8%, then missing a meal, fasting for 16 hours, or even fasting for a whole day will not put you anywhere near starvation mode or mess up your metabolism.

In fact, research shows that short-term (36-48 hours) fasting can even increase metabolic rate by 3.6-10%. [4][5]

The point is that for normal people in normal circumstances, fasting can be beneficial, and at worst, it’s just going to be a different style of eating with no negative effects.

On top of this, a study found that after being in near-fasted (intake of 313 kcals) conditions for two days, participants suffered no negative effects to their sleep, cognition, or activity. [6]

This should put to rest any concerns you have regarding daily fasting for 16 hours or one to two 24-hour fasts a week.

This brings us to the end of today’s lesson and hopefully, provides some clarity of the realities of intermittent fasting.

Tomorrow is our final lesson, and we’re going to be looking at the key takeaways from this course.

See you then.


Recommended book

It’s Not Lose Weight to Get Healthy, It’s Get Healthy to Lose Weight by Dr. Eric Berg



[1] Belief beyond the evidence: using the proposed effect of breakfast on obesity to show 2 practices that distort scientific evidence

[2] Meal skipping and variables related to energy balance in adults: A brief review, with emphasis on the breakfast meal

[3] Leucine, glucose, and energy metabolism after 3 days of fasting in healthy human subjects

[4] Enhanced thermogenic response to epinephrine after 48-h starvation in humans

[5] Resting energy expenditure in short-term starvation is increased as a result of an increase in serum norepinephrine

[6] A double-blind, placebo-controlled test of 2 d of calorie deprivation: effects on cognition, activity, sleep, and interstitial glucose concentrations


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