The Pros and Cons of a Longer Fast

Written by Stephen Anton PhD on January twenty fifth, 2023

There are such a lot of totally different approaches to intermittent fasting that it may be tough to find out which method is best for you.

The reality is that there are professionals and cons to every of the choices however the extra you perceive these professionals and cons the higher you’ll be able to choose the kind that fits your targets.

A complicated method that’s described on this weblog is the 20:4 intermittent fasting plan.

It is a specific sort of intermittent fasting referred to as time-restricted consuming, which includes extending the fasting interval to be roughly 20 hours every day.

Let’s be taught extra in regards to the 20/4 plan and the way it compares to different approaches to fasting.

Common Approaches to Intermittent Fasting?

When most individuals take into consideration intermittent fasting, they sometimes consider day by day fasting for a interval of 14 – 16 hours.

Certainly, the 16:8 method to intermittent fasting is without doubt one of the hottest approaches on the market.

The excellent news is {that a} current research reveals one of these fasting doesn’t have an effect on the speed of muscle protein synthesis in older adults.(1)

This implies the 16:8 plan doesn’t have any hostile results on muscle progress and due to this fact might be practiced by people who need to acquire muscle.

Potential Limitations of the 16/8 Quick

What will not be at present clear is whether or not the 16:8 plan is the optimum method or whether or not better metabolic advantages, together with autophagy and fats loss, might happen from extending the day by day fasting interval past 16 hours.

One other common method is the 18:6 plan.

In concept, this method ought to lead to even better fats loss than the 16:8 plan, because the longer day by day fasts usually tend to activate the physique’s metabolic or fats burning change.(2,3)

The 20/4 Intermittent Fasting Plan

The 20:4 plan would take the day by day method to fasting to a different stage.

It’s a sophisticated methodology of fasting that has the potential to supply quite a lot of metabolic advantages if achieved appropriately.(4,5)

Potential Advantages of the 20/4 Quick

The 20/4 method is extremely more likely to activate the physique’s metabolic change(6) and result in elevated ranges of ketones from the mobilization of physique fats.(7)

Potential Issues of the 20/4 Quick

Then again, there may be an elevated danger of muscle loss, if one of these quick will not be achieved appropriately.(8)

Because of this, the 20:4 plan ought to solely be practiced after much less intense types of intermittent fasting (e.g., the 16:8 and 18:6 plans) have been mastered.

The excellent news is that current research have proven this method can work efficiently for growing ketone ranges within the blood.(9)

So preliminary proof is promising, however rather more work is required to know the consequences of this method.

How you can Begin the 20/4 Intermittent Fasting Plan

Whenever you plan to increase your day by day fasting intervals, it may be useful to have pointers to find out whether or not or not you need to proceed fasting or ought to break the quick.

Under is a listing of key indicators that I imagine point out you’re in a wholesome fasted state and might proceed with the quick.

Indicators of a Wholesome Fasted State:

None or solely minor emotions of starvation

Nice focus and psychological readability

Energized but calm feeling

Joyful and enthusiastic emotions about life

Relaxed muscular tissues

Absence of headache, dizziness, and light-headed emotions

Able to working at a high-level

This isn’t an exhaustive listing, however I believe it’s sufficient that will help you consider if you’re in a wholesome fasting state or not.

In case you are experiencing a number of of the above indicators whereas fasting, you could have almost certainly activated your metabolic change and might really feel comfy persevering with with the quick.

How you can Know When to Cease a 20/4 Quick

Then again, there are some key signs that will counsel you’re not in a wholesome fasted state and will contemplate breaking the quick.

Signs of an Unhealthy Quick:

Excessive starvation


Low power or fatigue


Bother focusing

These signs usually come up after we try and quick for longer than our physique has develop into accustomed to fasting.

If you happen to expertise any of those signs, then it’s possible smart to interrupt the quick and slowly attempt to prolong it sooner or later.

20/4 Intermittent Fasting Eating regimen Ideas

An vital consideration is what to eat in the course of the four-hour consuming window.

Eat Two Meals In the course of the Consuming Interval

Initially, I might extremely advocate consuming two meals in the course of the consuming window, one in the beginning and one on the finish.

The rationale for it’s because it’s just about unattainable to devour your whole physique’s power and protein wants in a single meal.

By consuming two meals, you’ll be able to distribute the protein and different macronutrients evenly between the meals.

Until you’re particularly making an attempt to drop extra pounds, your meals can and must be comparatively massive and comprised of all three macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates) in an effort to meet your physique’s power wants.

In case your objective is to lose fats, nonetheless, then I might advocate to scale back consumption of energy from carbohydrates and fat at every meal however nonetheless keep a excessive protein consumption as protein is required to help your physique’s lean tissue (muscle mass).

Keep away from Consuming Solely One Meal

Even when you’ve got the power to devour numerous energy in a single sitting, I might not advocate to do that, as you’ll be able to simply overload your metabolic system and ship the sign to retailer physique fats.

This is able to be counter to the targets of the 20:4 plan and thus has the potential to negate the advantages of the prolonged fasting interval.

For these causes, I’m not a fan of the one meal per day (OMAD) method to fasting for most individuals.(10)

How you can Time the 20/4 Quick

By way of time of day to devour the meals, most individuals discover that the early afternoon works greatest for them.

Basically, you wish to align the fasting and consuming intervals along with your physique’s pure circadian rhythms.

This implies not consuming in the course of the evening time, when the mobile technique of autophagy is most energetic, and specializing in consuming all energy in the course of the day time.

For these causes, I might advocate to have the four-hour consuming interval fall someday between the hours of 12 – 8 pm as that is the time when your physique is most ready to digest great amount of energy.

Nevertheless, there isn’t a excellent time and it could require a little bit of experimentation to find out the consuming window that works greatest for you.

20/4 Intermittent Fasting Overview

Longer fasts have the potential to supply better advantages with regard to autophagy, fats loss, and general well being.

As a way to obtain extra advantages, your physique might want to learn to adapt to an elevated fasting interval.

On this case, the important thing to practising 20/4 intermittent fasting appropriately is to work your means in direction of this objective.

When you have been practising intermittent fasting already, I like to recommend to attempt to prolong your fasting interval by 30-60 minutes per week and consider how you are feeling till you obtain a snug 20/4 quick.

In case you are new to fasting, then I counsel to begin with a 12-14-hour quick till you’re comfy with this fasting time, after which proceed including 30-60 minutes to your fasting interval per week.

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