What Is Intermittent Fasting And How You Should Do It

You will find your way – so you will eat better and more varied in the long term. This year, the focus is on the “nutrition” pillar for interval fasting.

Why should I test interval fasting?

The good thing about this diet: During the meal breaks, our organism recovers. It can use and repair in peace. Fasting corresponds to our system in terms of developmental physiology. What is more, it is so easy because no elaborate rules have to be observed. You don’t require to count calories, and you can also eat things that are forbidden on other diets. “It’s not a diet, it’s a diet that you can adapt well to your everyday life and your needs,” says nutritionist and author Dr. Petra Bracht (“Interval Fasting,” Gräfe and Unzer). “It keeps healthy, prolongs life, lowers weight, improves concentration and mood.


To function, the body consumes energy around the clock. First of all, he uses carbohydrates, which are spooked in the muscles and the liver. Only when these glycogen stores are empty does he gradually switch to fat-sealing – but this only happens after about twelve hours of food break. If you eat 16 stun the or longer nothing, the body goes to the fat reserves, decreasing. The body builds so-called ketone bodies from the fat, which are then used instead of glucose for the energy supply.


During the fasting periods, mechanisms are set in motion that is good for the body in a gentle way. For example, fat loss: During the long break, hardly any insulin is released so that the body can break down fat from the depots in time. First of all, it is the dangerous visceral fat around the organs at the collar, which releases inflammatory messengers and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and strokes.

During Lent, our self-repair mechanism, autophagy, is also triggered: the body begins to clean up the cells and recycles the cell scrap, making new material out of old, consumed material. Happiness hormones are also released during the 16-hour meal break. Over time, blood sugar levels and blood pressure drop, and metabolism resits. Disease processes, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and fatty liver disease, are reversed. The familiar feeling of hunger and satiety, which is lost due to a deflated insulin level, is coming back. “In practice, I observe to my patients that interval fasting is making them more stress-resistant and more conscious lyre,” says Dr. Anna Paul.


At the moment, it is not entirely sure how long the fasting break should last optimally. Scientific evidence is still pending. But what we know: After about twelve hours, the body increasingly switches to fat burning. So anything that goes beyond that is good. Experience shows that 16 hours and more achieve even better effects.


“It depends on what type you are: some people try it right immediately, so fast for 16 hours, every day,” says Dr. Petra Bracht. “Others slowly grope, start in the first week with twice interval fasting and then increase from week to week. Or they gradually extend the fasting phases from twelve to 16 hours or even longer. There’s no one way to go. You have to try out what suits you.”

Dr. Eckart von Hirschhausen, for example, who lost ten kilos with interval fasting and developed an app on the subject, does it so that he practices 16:8 during the week and eats typically on weekends. But it is also clear that the more often you fast intermittently, the better the results are, of course. Whether you prefer to leave out a meal in the morning or the evening is also a question of type. Dr. Andreas Michalsen, Professor of Clinical Naturopathy at the Charité Berlin, recommends in his book “Healing With Nutrition” (Island Verlag) to put the food phase in the time between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. “Numerous studies show that the metabolic response to eating in the morning and at noon is the most favorable.”

In other words, less fat is applied during this time, and blood sugar levels are lower. Also necessary: Don’t cheat yourself! In the 16-hour break, there are only calorie-free drinks such as water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee. “We don’t yet know how many calories the fasting metabolism is interrupted,” says Petra Bracht. ‘So I wouldn’t even drink lemon water.’ And indeed, no milk coffee or cappuccino, not even with soy milk.


Join. The good news is that nothing is forbidden. And fasting also positively affects when we eat burgers, pizza, and chocolate because the body at least gets breaks to regenerate. But you’re not going to lose weight with it. It is better to eat a full-fledged and balanced diet with lots of vegetables, good fats, fiber, low sugar, salt, and processed foods – as recommended by the BRIGITTE Balance concept.

Petra Bracht finds above all the combination of interval fasting and plant-based food ideal for health: “Vegetable food heals the body, it is full of fiber, which we need for a healthy intestine. On the other hand, animal foods initiate inflammatory processes through arachidonic acid and omega-6 fatty acids, but also growth factors in milk.” Less is more here. If you want to lose weight, you should try to get by with two, a maximum of three meals. Good to know: According to Prof Michalsen, studies have shown that fasting automatically consumes five to ten percent fewer calories per day using the 16:8 method.


No, children and adolescents should eat when they are hungry. Pregnant women and people with eating disorders also prefer not to fast. Those who regularly take medication are well-advised to seek medical attention. Often, it observes Petra Bracht. After some time, the dosage can be reduced for chronic diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Doesn’t do anything on the scale: prefer to have hormones and thyroid checked by the doctor.


In the initial phase, the metabolism turns, then you can feel sluggish and unconcentrated, sometimes headaches are added. Tip: Drink a lot, at least two liters on interval fasting days. And if you’re hungry, treat yourself to tea or a hot vegetable soup. After a while, you feel fitter, more concentrated and less stressed, sleep better, and are less tired.

Eat healthier: that’s how it works!

First, write down what you want: lose a few kilos after Christmas? If you reach your desired weight, no problem, then feed yourself after the delicious balance recipes in this extra booklet. But start slowly: more than a pound of weight loss per week is unsustainable. Otherwise, it’s quickly back on track. Or do you want to eat healthier to be active and fit for longer? Achieve your feel-good weight and keep it by changing your diet step by step and individually for you? Then please read on.

What is it like now?

First of all, it’s essential to find out where you stand with your eating behavior. For three days – perhaps in a nice notebook – write down what you eat and drink, with quantities and time. The aim is to become aware of the amounts and nutrients you eat throughout the day. Then you compare: At least half of the plate should be filled with vegetables, salad, and fruit, a quarter with protein (meat, fish, dairy products such as yogurt, quark, and cheese, legumes, eggs), and a maximum of the last quarter with a saturation supplement (e.g., legumes, potatoes, whole grain rice or pasta).

Check: Is that what you’re doing? Do you eat good fats, i.e., the unsaturated ones in olive, rapeseed, and linseed oil, fish, nuts, or avocados? Or more of the health-threatening saturated fats found in animal products (sausage, meat, cheese, sunflower seed oil), or even harmful trans fats in finished products, fried or baked products? Are you more likely to use white flour or whole grains? Do you eat enough fiber (in whole grains, legumes, vegetables)? Do you take enough protein? Also, write down why you eat and how you feel about it. This helps determine what preferences you have, how often you eat, and what is important to you when eating.

What vulnerabilities do I have?

Analyze now which eating patterns sabotage your health and feel-good weight. What applies to you? What is your most pressing problem?

Problem: You often snack

Throughout the day, you eat many small meals and again and again biscuits, fruit, or sausage in between – out of boredom, stress, hunger, or habit. However, longer eating breaks are essential to lower insulin levels between meals and to stimulate fat burning.

Solution: Eat a maximum of three times a day, satisfying dishes. Ideally, you’ll have at least four hours between meals during the day, five hours between meals, and at least ten hours of eating break at night.

Problem: You overeat sugar

Twenty-five grams of sugar a day is okay, but it’s more than 100 grams for many people. This makes the blood sugar level roller coaster for many and leads to cravings. Solution: Train the sweet taste by omitting sweets and ready-made products with hidden sugar (e.g., ketchup, juices, smoothies, chocolate muesli, ready-made salad sauces). Tip: Don’t buy sweets at all. And find a substitute ritual if you are stressed or sad, for example, a delicious espresso, a piece of dark chocolate, or a cozy bath. If you can’t do without it, gradually reduce the amount of sugar and enjoy less often, but without a bad conscience. Also, minimize white flour products (acting like sugar in the body), sugar-rich fruits such as bananas and grapes, and instead resort to wholegrain securities and berries.

Problem: You won’t get fed up

Just two hours after the meal, you are hungry again and start eating again.

Solution 1: Increase the amount of protein, 30 grams per meal should be. One hundred grams of meat or fish contains about 20 grams of protein, quark 14 grams, one egg seven grams.

Solution 2: Eat more vegetables and foods with good fats such as avocados, nuts, and high-fat fish (salmon, mackerel). Reach for the full-fat version instead of low-fat products.

Solution 3: Reduce simple carbohydrates in the form of sugar and white flour products (light noodles, peeled rice, white bread) that quickly make you hungry again.

Problem: You often reach for fast food

You don’t come to the boil because your everyday life is hectic. Or you don’t like cooking. That’s why you eat mainly on the go or push yourself a ready meal in the oven in the evening due to lack of time.

Solution 1:Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but the healthiest way: Cook more often yourself and use fresh and unprocessed foods as much as possible.

Solution 2: Plan your meals and pack food, for example, oatmeal with fruit or wholemeal bread with an egg in the morning and a salad with chicken at noon.

Solution 3:If you don’t have time or desire to cook part out, make the healthiest choice on the go: In the canteen or the restaurant, you can best grab salad or vegetables with a protein supplement (e.g., egg, sheep’s cheese, tuna, poultry). Leave the bread. At the train station, you might buy a wholemeal bun with egg or turkey ham or a salad.

Problem: Your portions are too large

You pile up the palate full and like to retake it.

Solution 1: Choose a smaller plate and fill it full instead of putting dishes on the table you can fill up. In doing so, you quickly lose track of it. When you’re full, put the leftovers in the fridge. And if you habitually want to follow up, think beforehand: Am I still hungry? Or do I eat more out of habit or because society is friendly?

Solution 2: Cook our delicious balance recipes – they have a maximum of 500 calories per serving and are ideal for losing weight or keeping weight in macronutrients.

Problem: You feel sluggish after eating, your stomach grumbling

Maybe you don’t care what you eat. Every person ticks differently and copes with different nutrients.

Solution 1: Eat slower, more varied, and more conscious and chew thoroughly so that the digestive process can run smoothly. Avoid carbonated drinks and drink nothing to eat.

Solution 2: Ask yourself after every meal: Does the food get me? If you find that you are not doing well after a particular food, leave it out for four weeks and see if your discomfort gets better.

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