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How to Intermittent fasting
Conception Oct 2, 2019
4 Minutes

How to: fasting for fertility?!

In this article we are going to give you a quick ‘how to’ tackle intermittent fasting. With a bit of a twist based on the latest research: 

Every day seems to bring a new diet fad. Sigh! Carbs, no carbs, no fat, vegan. There is always a different thing! However, new research is suggesting the way we eat could have a benefit to a number of things we care about: hormonal balance, egg quality and fertility (boys too). It’s all about: Intermittent Fasting. 

To check out how and what the science suggests are the potential benefits click here. If you’re sold on it and want to give it a go. Keep reading…

Here is one (science-backed) way to give it a try:  

Before we get started: first and foremost you have to be sensible. This is not something that you should be doing if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. You should always have a word with your doctor before making any big diet/lifestyle changes, particularly if you have any medical issues. Once that’s clear:

Ready to go: 

Have you ever heard the phrase Breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper? Well looks like there could be a real biological benefit to this.

One recent paper (1) looked at intermittent fasting over a 24hr period. Concentrating eating to a 6hr window meaning that you have 18hrs fasting.

What does that look like? 

Intermittent fasting

One interesting quirk: they timed eating in accordance to the body’s circadian rhythm. What is that? Your body clock.

This means eating breakfast when you wake up. The ‘breakfast like a king part’. Lunch a few hours later and then ‘dinner’ around 3pm before fasting again until the next day.

How does this look in real life? 

Here is an example of how it could look: (you can choose to do it differently, find what works for you, your lifestyle).

10am: breakfast

12pm: early lunch

4pm: dinner (early bird special!)

4pm-10am: no food. You are allowed water, teas and black coffee (no milk).

What can you eat? The good news is that you can eat normally. Obviously if you’re trying to improve your hormonal balance, fertility etc you should be mindful of that (five pizzas not recommended!).

Why do it like this?

Well – this could be particularly good if you have Polycystic Ovaries (PCOS) and insulin resistance which as many as 70% of sufferers have. Research has shown that:

Glucose and energy metabolism are all regulated by the circadian system (8). Research shows that in humans, insulin sensitivity is higher the morning than in the afternoon or evening. Suggesting that we are optimized for food intake in the morning (9) Essentially eating this way: increasing food intake at breakfast time and by reducing it at dinnertime improves: glycemic control, weight loss and also reduces hunger. (

So, getting really clever about it: if you really want to super-charge the effect of intermittent fasting especially when it comes to insulin resistance add in the time of day you eat. Check out the study here. (1)

Of course there are other ways to Intermittent Fast which you can do to suit your own lifestyle. It is not an exact science and this is not the only way that shows benefit. It doesn’t have to be super restrictive/complicated.

Other popular routes include the 5:2. Broadly speaking this involves two days of very low calorie intake (below 500 cals typically) and five days of normal eating. Or the 16:8 approach (as above) adjusting the time to suit your own lifestyle. Everyone is an individual so it is about finding the best way for you.

Ultimately research here is still evolving so to an extent it is about experimenting to see what suits you and your body. Click here for more of the science behind why this could be a boost to your hormones and even potentially your fertility.

References:

2)  Garaulet M, Gomez-Abellan P, Alburquerque-Bejar JJ, Lee YC, Ordovas JM, Scheer FA. Timing of food intake predicts weight loss effectiveness. Int J Obes (Lond) 2013;37:604–611

3) Gill S, Panda S. A Smartphone App Reveals Erratic Diurnal Eating Patterns in Humans that Can Be Modulated for Health Benefits. Cell Metab. 2015;22:789–798  Gill and Panda, 2015;

4) Jakubowicz et al., 2013a,

5) Jakubowicz et al., 2015;

6) Keim et al., 1997;

7) Ruiz-Lozano et al., 2016).

8) (Poggiogalle et al., 2018a; Scheer et al., 2009)

(9) Morris et al., 2015a; Morris et al., 2015b; Poggiogalle et al., 2018a; Scheer et al., 2009).

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This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The information on this website has been developed following years of personal research and from referenced and sourced medical research. Before making any changes we strongly recommend you consult a healthcare professional before you begin.

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