Intermittent fasting called and said it would no longer like to be called a “diet.” That’s reducing it to an unhealthy fad, akin to the likes of Atkins, The Cookie Diet, and The Tapeworm Diet (look it up, it’s a thing).
Excuse you, but intermittent fasting (IF), would much prefer to be called an “eating pattern.” Why? Because it doesn’t restrict nutrients, it doesn’t make your doctor facepalm, and it’s actually surprisingly good for you.
If you’ve been toying with the idea of this popular eating pattern, we’ve broken down how it works, why it’s so good for you, and a few ways to get it right.
Ready to get started?
Intermittent fasting follows a couple of different models, but the general gist is that you pick certain times of day when you eat (this is called your “eating window”) and certain times when you don’t or eat very limitedly (this is called your “fasting window”) to boost your body on a cellular and molecular level. The majority of intermittent fasters stick to a 16/8 model, meaning, they only eat within an eight hour window and fast for the remaining 16 hours per day.
Remind me why I’m not eating sixteen WHOLE hours a day?
A valid question! We’ve been told to eat three evenly-spaced meals throughout the day since we were kids, so it can be a little confusing as to why we’re suddenly rethinking the whole equation.
Intermittent fasting offers an almost too good to be true list of benefits that are currently being supported by doctors, nutritional experts, personal trainers and more. In fact, research has shown considerable connection between intermittent fasting and:
Improved heart health
Better brain function
Lower blood sugar levels and type 2 diabetes prevention
Muscle retention and healthy weight loss
How to be an ultra-productive, upbeat, quasi-superhero even while you’re intermittent fasting:
While it may seem scary and energy-draining not to eat for the bulk of your day, you don’t have to curl into a ball and cry for the entire duration of your fasting window. You can actually enjoy a surprising little boost of energy by following these simple tricks from the experts:
Replenish with electrolytes.Consuming unflavored electrolytes during fasting is one of the best ways to maintain energy, especially for those newer to fasting or those interested in fasting for longer periods of time.
Our body stores carbohydrates as glycogen in our muscles (and liver, too). Each gram of glycogen pairs with three grams of water. As we deplete our muscle glycogen stores via fasting, we're also using up water stores, too. The longer we fast, the more important it is that the water we're drinking during those fasts includes a mix of the minerals sodium, potassium, and magnesium, so that we can fully pull that water into our bodies instead of flushing it through our systems. When we do this, energy levels tend to feel more even throughout the duration of the fasting period.
––Lucia Hawley, Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner
Quickly replenish your electrolytes by adding our Wellness shot to a glass of potassium-rich coconut water. It’ll boost your energy levels by keeping you just the right amount of hydrated.
Eat hearty meals high in fat and protein.
One of the best things you can do to keep your energy up while intermittent fasting is to eat meals that keep you satisfied for a long time, during your eating windows.
Sugars and other carbs go through your digestive system pretty quickly, causing a quick rise and fall in your blood sugar. In contrast, foods that have a lot of fat and/or protein get digested a lot more slowly and make you feel satiated for a much longer period of time. Not only do fats and proteins slow down stomach emptying, they also strongly stimulate satiety hormones (like GIP & GLP-1, for example).
A few examples of foods high in fat and/or protein include:
- Meat or fish
- Olive oil or coconut oil
- Cheese or butter
––Ben Tanner, Physician Assistant at Fasting Well.
3. Supplement with a broad spectrum amino acid.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Supplementing your intermittent fasting with a broad spectrum supplement (including all 9 amino acids) can aid in energy and prevent your muscles from fatigue during exercise.
––Heather Fowler, Integrative Nutrition Consultant at ComplEATly Well
Looking for an amino supplement that’s cute, convenient, and tastes great? The primary ingredient in KOR Shot’s Green Up is wheatgrass––a no brainer superfood, composed of 17 amino acids, including magnesium, chlorophyll, and phytonutrients.
4. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate.
The biggest key to maintaining energy throughout the day while participating in any intermittent fasting program is staying hydrated. Drinking enough water not only curbs hunger pains, but assists with other key bodily functions, like cell detoxification and digestion. Bone broth is considered the gold standard to stay hydrated and replenish essential electrolytes, such as magnesium and calcium.”
––Marissa West, ACE CPT + Nutrition Specialist at West Kept Secret
5. Stick to healthy organic whole foods.
As the research shows, poor gut health is one of the main causes of chronic fatigue and tiredness. The gut is the "second brain" and responsible for our mood and energy levels. We MUST act accordingly!
To maintain energy while intermittent fasting, eat foods your gut will LOVE during your eating window, including green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, apples, cabbage, avocados (loaded with chlorophyll), magnesium, fiber, L-glutamine and healthy fats to give your body the nutrients it needs for healing and repairing cells.
Pro tip: Consuming a tonic of apple cider vinegar, lemon, manuka honey, ginger water & cinnamon at the start of your fast will stimulate the digestive juices in your gut and give you the energy boost you need all day!
––Health Coach Nnenna Animashaun at Divinely Seeded
No need to create your own tonic when you’ve got KOR Shot’s all mighty Gut Check. This digestion-friendly formula contains organic apple cider vinegar and 1 billion (yes, billion) CFU probiotics.
6. Be mindful of your cycle.
Women need to approach intermittent fasting differently from men, because of their fluctuating hormone cycle throughout the month.
In the first 2 weeks, after a woman’s period, when her estrogen is climbing, she experiences less cortisol sensitivity. Because cortisol is our stress hormone and prolonged fasting is a stressor, women will be more successful with longer fasting periods of 14-16 hours during these earlier phases in the cycle (known as the follicular and ovulatory phases). A woman’s metabolism is also lower in this phase, meaning she can tolerate less calories for longer periods of time.
In the second half of a woman's cycle (luteal and menses phases), cortisol levels will increase, and her metabolism will rev up. This will make her more prone to blood sugar imbalances and mood swings, so she should stick to 12 hrs fasts as the absolute maximum.
––Michele Herrmann, Nurse Practitioner
7. Have a cup of coffee or green tea.
Coffee is allowed during intermittent fasting, provided you do not add other food additives, such as sugar, milk or condensed milk or cream. Consumed in moderate amounts, coffee will make you feel energized and suppress appetite, which is ideal during intermittent fasting. However, excessive coffee consumption can cause unwanted side effects, such as stomach pain, nausea, dizziness and rapid heartbeat. So, try to limit yourself to a maximum of 3 cups of coffee a day, whether you are fasting or not.
If you are not a coffee drinker, you can substitute it with green tea. Similar to black coffee, green tea will suppress your appetite and make you feel energized, thanks to its caffeine contents.
––Amru Shaban, Founder at StrengthGang
You can enjoy the same benefits of coffee and green tea without the dreaded caffeine crash, by opting for our Focus Fuel. We packed this juice shot with powerful adaptogens, like Rhodiola root and lion’s mane mushroom, for boosting energy, brain function, and memory throughout the day.
8. Keep your body temperature in check
When you're cold, your body burns more calories and needs more calories to sustain itself.
So when you start to feel cold, your body will naturally do two things: 1) slow down (making you feel less energetic) and 2) crave fattier, higher-calorie foods (because it’s preparing to lose fat stores).
Stay warm throughout the day while intermittent fasting through the use of proper clothing or heating. This will allow you to maintain steadier and more consistent energy, while reducing your risk of developing intense cravings.
9. Don’t miss out on necessary nutrients.
Be sure to focus on getting enough B vitamins, zinc, chromium, and magnesium during feeding windows. All of these nutrients contribute to energy production and performance, so optimizing these levels while feeding can translate to better micronutrient stores while fasting.
Oysters, fish, poultry, leafy greens, broccoli, nuts, and seeds are some fantastic options rich in these vitamins and minerals.
––Nicole Grant, Registered Dietician with Zero Fasting
Get a big boost of Zinc from our Intense Defense, which provides 100% of your daily recommendation.
Make KOR juice shots a part of your intermittent fasting routine. Here’s how:
Remember earlier when we mentioned that you can consume SOME things while intermittent fasting? We consider KOR juice shots as one of those things. Since the fiber is removed during the juicing process, these nutrient-dense shots won’t stir up your digestive system, allowing your body to continue to rest and recover during your fasting window.
They can also help you extend your fasting window, by giving you the quick boost of energy you need to get through the next hour or two.
Just about every expert we spoke with for this article mentioned the importance of hydration, replenishing and getting in some good nutrients while you intermittent fast, which means KOR shots are a quick and effective way to follow their order!
For a quick recap of which KOR shots boost what intermittent fasting function, we’ve got you covered right here:
Wellness added to coconut water for electrolyte supplementation
Green Up for 17 broad spectrum amino acids
Gut Check for aiding your digestion and revving up your engine
Focus Fuel for maintaining your productivity during the fasting window
Intense Defense for a friendly boost of Zinc
If you’re looking for a diet *ahem* “eating pattern” that doesn’t deny you the foods you love or zap all of your energy, intermittent fasting––with the ok from your doctor––might just be the right choice!