Nor does it mean that you can ignore the macronutrient composition of your diet and expect your results to be all that they could be. For best intermittent fasting results, you still need to pay attention to the quality of your diet.
One downside to the 16:8 method is the low protein frequency
There’s a growing body of research to suggest that distributing protein intake evenly throughout the day does a better job at increasing muscle protein synthesis—a key driving force behind muscle growth – compared to the same amount of protein squeezed into a smaller number of larger meals.
In other words, meal frequency might not have much of an impact on your rate of weight loss. But protein frequency may very well affect your ability to gain (or retain) muscle while you drop fat (a subject I cover in some depth in this ebook).
That’s why I use a slightly “tweaked” version of the 16:8 diet, which involves additional protein-only feedings in the fasted window.
That said, the optimal protein feeding frequency for you will depend on your daily protein requirements, which in turn is affected by how much muscle you have, how much training you’re doing, how long you’ve been training with weights, and how close you are to your maximum muscular potential.
There is no “one size fits all” prescription that will apply to all people, all the time, and the optimal protein frequency for a male bodybuilder training four to five days a week will differ from that of an inactive female half his size.
There may be some health benefits associated with intermittent fasting, which Bojan Kostevski has summarized here. But any superior metabolic effects compared to conventional meal patterns are based more on speculation than any hard evidence.
Overall, my results with intermittent fasting have been extremely positive. That said, I don’t think there’s any magic about it. It’s just a simple way to stay within your calorie budget for the day.
The research out there shows that intermittent fasting doesn’t perform any better (or any worse) than continuous calorie restriction when it comes to weight loss.
The main benefit is convenience and simplicity, rather than any massive difference in terms of results.
Christian Finn is a UK-based personal trainer who holds a masters degree in exercise science. He writes frequently about fitness and nutrition on his personal site, MuscleEvo.
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