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How would you study IF/compressed feeding windows

by (15226)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:48 PM
Created July 01, 2012 at 4:46 AM

For my master's thesis I'm leaning towards some type of IF study. Personally I've had the most success with an 8ish hour feeding window from around 7-8am until 3-4pm, and am thinking about something like that.

If you were to design a study, what would you like to see? A solid weight training plan is a big part of the Leangains approach, but that would introduce too many variables for a study unless the subjects were already doing a similar wt training routine. Also, putting subjects on BCAA supplements may be tough due to too many variables.

What would be the best way to simplify the IF concept into something that can be quantified and complied with? What would be the ideal outcomes? Something as simple as body comp and wt change?

Martin touched on an interesting point in his new post about how average Joe's can do well with breakfast because they're already somewhat insulin resistant. In my experience as a trainer it seems that a solid breakfast of protein and fat allows people to get through the day without snacking. Once they've gotten themselves dialed in a little bit better, the compressed feeding window/IF approach seems to work great.

So, in a study of sedentary people, do you think IF will fare as well as breakfast eating?

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70 · November 16, 2012 at 6:53 PM

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, if everyone agrees with me, I know I am wrong. I get the impression from reading how people respond to IF and fasting and different classes of foods that many have metabolic state or baseline that is less Paleo than they believe. I may have misunderstood that you were talking about IF while applying the appropriate and feasible Paleo diet principles to what is eaten. Paleo diet and principles become more feasible with time as transitioning to lower carb and lower glycemic. PX.

0e84c3d1553e77af594676e971e2aa4a
70 · November 16, 2012 at 6:48 PM

Another characteristics of some primitive societies and also Western/European as documented not so long ago is the first and second sleep. Early to bed, at dusk. Then early to rise, in the middle of the night to chat, socialize, procreate, eat light meal or snacks if available. About religious fasts, I believe that for multiple day abstinence during the daylight hours with reasonably balanced people don't have hunger pangs in the morning after the first few days. Though if you were carbo loading during the single/evening meal it probably would make you hypglycemic in the morning.Not with Paleo

0e84c3d1553e77af594676e971e2aa4a
70 · November 16, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Working graveyard and swing shifts and second shifts is not the same as eating in the evening, at the end of the day. The Paleo diet should have the effect of removing any imperative to snack and eat compulsively during the day.

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15226 · November 16, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Thanks for your input. I agree with the feeling of empowerment from skipping meals. I believe religious fasting was dawn to dusk because the idea was to spend the day focused on God and not on eating, etc. I am pretty sure our paleolithic ancestors consumed food during daylight and not darkness hours because our circadian rhythms are adapted for that, and for rest and recuperation during the dark hours. If we evolved eating in the evening then we wouldn't see people who work night-shifts being as unhealthy as they are.

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1670 · July 29, 2012 at 7:28 AM

I just wrote an article on this with the studies: http://spintas.weebly.com/1/post/2012/07/the-diabetes-series-part-1-unpacking-the-false-on-breakfast.html

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15226 · July 01, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Yes Bill, do you live in a bubble? I barely know any people who can go without snacking between meals

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15226 · July 01, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Bill your comment seems to contradict itself. I'm aware that many studies show improvements with people eating high protein breakfasts. Can you clarify your statement?

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6709 · July 01, 2012 at 1:02 PM

IF (either 18/6 or 1 24hr fast week) is very difficult for sedentary people?? Ummmmm. Ok

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3
6709 · July 01, 2012 at 1:01 PM

"So, in a study of sedentary people, do you think IF will fare as well as breakfast eating?" Absolutely not, the studies have already been conducted and the information is available online. Human beings were not meant to eat breakfast.

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5775 · July 01, 2012 at 5:54 AM

Only after this pre-study protocol was done could you really get any meaningful results from looking at digestive health from a similar starting point and going forward with the variable being IF. One group would continue on the same program but not include IF. The other group would continue it (maybe even more frequently or longer) and then compare the results. I definitely think those who IF on a regular basis will see improved HCL secretion and the ability to both handle and recover from consuming problematic foods as compared to those who don't allow for rest and digest as frequently.

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905
5775 · July 01, 2012 at 5:51 AM

That would be my concern before even starting. Digestion is very difficult to study because it varies from person to person, and it's impossible to compare individuals because everyone has a different starting point. If I was designing it, I would probably control for diet, which would likely focus on a specific macronutrient ratio and the absence of the most problematic foods. This would be sustained amongst the test subjects for a certain amount of time and it would include the incorporation of some sort of IF protocol.

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15226 · July 01, 2012 at 5:33 AM

interesting, what parameters would you use to assess the efficacy?

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4266 · August 30, 2012 at 4:14 PM

There might be a gender difference for IF, how effective and the duration of the fast, and maybe also for the issue regarding breakfast.

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70 · November 16, 2012 at 3:13 AM

Twenty years ago (even more than that, make it 25) in the era when books like Fit for Life, Paleolithic Prescription, early Atkins, and others were coming out, I was a marathon runner, triathlon and other endurance competition racer. I could not handle eating breakfast, it made me more anxious, worse still with caffeine or any sugar, and I felt like a hot rock burning in my stomach. Also, toward the end of the race if I was hydrating with sweetened drinks I would start to feel depressed. Believing (correctly, I am still convinced) that the hypoglycemia is only a sequel to hyperglycemia, that all this leads to increased cortisol and then catabolism, and encouraged by those books, I switched to no breakfast (don't tell your mother) and would only drink before and during the races an herbal tea with a good dose of powdered ginger.

I continued to go without breakfast since. Once adapted, it took only a day or two with an apple instead of breakfast, I was happy to find my mood very steady and stable throughout the day. If I was occupied with some chore or in a race I never felt hungry at lunch time unless I did eat breakfast. Even a low body fat person has enough energy stored in that form to go many days without eating even if you are exercising. You need to develop you body's ability to mobilize fat.

I believe that is the result of low carb diet adaptation. You do not wake in the morning feeling hungry except initially or as a habit when the environment reminds you. It was (still is) a tremendous feeling of power and freedom to skip a meal without any ill effects, psychological or physical.

This also agrees with my experience doing fasts as long as 5 days. After 24 hours it is hunger free and painless. You feel empowered and invested and then the main problem is to stop fasting and start to eat. Take lots of psyllium mixed with water during the fast to keep your GALT in operation.

Based on that experience I guess that having your eating window in the morning would be much more difficult. Think about traditional religious fasts, usually dawn to dusk.

Weren't our paleolithic ancestors and their species typical diet based on evening feeding?

0e84c3d1553e77af594676e971e2aa4a
70 · November 16, 2012 at 6:53 PM

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, if everyone agrees with me, I know I am wrong. I get the impression from reading how people respond to IF and fasting and different classes of foods that many have metabolic state or baseline that is less Paleo than they believe. I may have misunderstood that you were talking about IF while applying the appropriate and feasible Paleo diet principles to what is eaten. Paleo diet and principles become more feasible with time as transitioning to lower carb and lower glycemic. PX.

0e84c3d1553e77af594676e971e2aa4a
70 · November 16, 2012 at 6:48 PM

Another characteristics of some primitive societies and also Western/European as documented not so long ago is the first and second sleep. Early to bed, at dusk. Then early to rise, in the middle of the night to chat, socialize, procreate, eat light meal or snacks if available. About religious fasts, I believe that for multiple day abstinence during the daylight hours with reasonably balanced people don't have hunger pangs in the morning after the first few days. Though if you were carbo loading during the single/evening meal it probably would make you hypglycemic in the morning.Not with Paleo

0e84c3d1553e77af594676e971e2aa4a
70 · November 16, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Working graveyard and swing shifts and second shifts is not the same as eating in the evening, at the end of the day. The Paleo diet should have the effect of removing any imperative to snack and eat compulsively during the day.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661
15226 · November 16, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Thanks for your input. I agree with the feeling of empowerment from skipping meals. I believe religious fasting was dawn to dusk because the idea was to spend the day focused on God and not on eating, etc. I am pretty sure our paleolithic ancestors consumed food during daylight and not darkness hours because our circadian rhythms are adapted for that, and for rest and recuperation during the dark hours. If we evolved eating in the evening then we wouldn't see people who work night-shifts being as unhealthy as they are.

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671 · August 02, 2012 at 1:23 PM

You're obviously after a more scientific bent, but I'd like a sociological/anthropological analysis on what happens in your social life after you begin IF:

"You didn't eat breakfast? Isn't that like awful for your metabolism?" "Oh my gosh, how can you eat so much meat in one meal?" "You're so skinny but you eat a lot. Do you have like a really high metabolism or something?" "You must have thyroid issues."

In seriousness though, a study on satiety may be just as interesting: What leads to greater food satisfaction throughout the day? Insulin-resistant and breakfast eating or fat-adapted and fasting? I feel like the answer may be obvious based off of Martin's previous post, but then again we as a community tend to ignore any conventionally accepted wisdom. Clearly, lots of people are doing the 6 meals a day and loving it.

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5775 · July 01, 2012 at 5:25 AM

I'd actually like to see a study done on IF and digestive health. The caveat with sedentary people is that IF is very difficult unless a specific diet is in place. That diet doesn't have to be Paleo and it doesn't even have to include "quality" food. However, those relying on glucose burning are going to find it difficult to even be quality test subjects for IF.

With that said, the biggest benefits I've seen from IF have been digestive health. For someone without fat to lose, I've noticed that the more consistently I incorporate IF, the better I'm able to handle "tougher to digest" foods. It has actually been a very beneficial system that has allowed me to easily transition from a very easily digestible diet to becoming very "flexible" in digestion. I can't help but think there is a clear correlation between digestive flexibility and metabolic flexibility, which is generally a benefit seen by those who IF.

This is what I'm studying though, more toward the digestive end of things, so it's definitely what I would lean toward.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661
15226 · July 01, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Yes Bill, do you live in a bubble? I barely know any people who can go without snacking between meals

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3
6709 · July 01, 2012 at 1:02 PM

IF (either 18/6 or 1 24hr fast week) is very difficult for sedentary people?? Ummmmm. Ok

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905
5775 · July 01, 2012 at 5:54 AM

Only after this pre-study protocol was done could you really get any meaningful results from looking at digestive health from a similar starting point and going forward with the variable being IF. One group would continue on the same program but not include IF. The other group would continue it (maybe even more frequently or longer) and then compare the results. I definitely think those who IF on a regular basis will see improved HCL secretion and the ability to both handle and recover from consuming problematic foods as compared to those who don't allow for rest and digest as frequently.

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905
5775 · July 01, 2012 at 5:51 AM

That would be my concern before even starting. Digestion is very difficult to study because it varies from person to person, and it's impossible to compare individuals because everyone has a different starting point. If I was designing it, I would probably control for diet, which would likely focus on a specific macronutrient ratio and the absence of the most problematic foods. This would be sustained amongst the test subjects for a certain amount of time and it would include the incorporation of some sort of IF protocol.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661
15226 · July 01, 2012 at 5:33 AM

interesting, what parameters would you use to assess the efficacy?

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