According to American researcher and psychologist William Sheldon, people can be broadly divided into three different body types – ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs (18). This system of classification isn’t used in modern science or medicine, but it was originally designed by Sheldon as a rough way of categorizing people by “body type.” Endomorphs are typically larger and have more body fat than the other two types. They also tend to find it harder to lose weight and may be more insulin resistant. One tell-tale sign of a so-called endomorph body type is a large waist circumference. If you consider yourself an endomorph who wants to lose weight, you may be wondering if intermittent fasting (IF) is a good option for you. In this article, we’ll take a look at how IF works for so-called endomorphs and whether it can help you reach your weight loss and health goals.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a popular eating pattern in which people cycle between periods of fasting and eating (12). There are many different ways to do intermittent fasting, but the most common is the 16/8 method. This involves fasting for a 16 hour period each day (usually overnight) and then eating all your meals within the next 8-hour window.
For example, you might choose to skip breakfast and eat lunch and dinner between the hours of noon and 8 p.m. This would mean fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window.
Other types of intermittent fasting include the 5:2 diet, in which you eat normally for five days of the week and then restrict your calories to 500–600 on two non-consecutive days.
There’s also the eat-stop-eat method, in which you fast for 24 hours, once or twice per week. For example, you might eat dinner on Monday night and then not eat again until dinner on Tuesday night.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
Fasting is also thought to alter your hormone levels in a way that encourages fat burning and weight loss. When you fast, your body may release more of the hormone norepinephrine. This hormone helps to break down body fat and make it available for use as energy (14).
Intermittent fasting may also increase levels of human growth hormone (HGH), which has been linked to fat loss and muscle gain (7).
Finally, fasting may lower insulin levels, which is important for endomorphs who are more insulin resistant. When insulin levels are low, your body is better able to access stored body fat and use it for energy (20).
Aside from weight loss, research shows that IF might have the following potential benefits (11):
- Lower insulin levels and improve insulin sensitivity
- Reduce inflammation
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve heart health
- Boost brain health
- Fight cancer
- Increase life span
Does Intermittent Fasting Work For Endomorphs?
Intermittent fasting can be a helpful weight loss tool for endomorphs. By simply restricting your eating window, you can reduce your overall calorie intake and lose weight over time.
Additionally, the hormonal changes that occur during fasting may promote fat burning and help endomorphs shed stubborn body fat.
However, one of the most important benefits of intermittent fasting for an endomorph is the fact that it might help improve insulin sensitivity (20).
People described as endomorphs are sometimes more insulin resistant, which means their cells don’t respond as well to the hormone insulin. This can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (15).
Intermittent fasting has been shown in some studies to improve insulin sensitivity in both healthy individuals and those with insulin resistance (20). This is thought to be one of the mechanisms by which IF aids weight loss.
Another way intermittent fasting may help endomorphs lose weight is by reducing inflammation (16). Inflammation is a process that occurs in response to infection or injury. It’s a normal and necessary process, but chronic inflammation is associated with weight gain and other health problems (4).
Some endomorphs may tend to have higher levels of inflammation, which could contribute to their increased risk of obesity. Intermittent fasting has been seen to reduce inflammation, which may help endomorphs lose weight and improve their health.
Lastly, intermittent fasting has been linked with improved brain health in animal studies(21). This could be important for endomorphs because research shows that inflammation and insulin resistance may be linked with certain neurodegenerative diseases.
Intermittent fasting has been linked in one study to increased levels of a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This is a protein that helps to protect and repair brain cells (21).
BDNF has also been linked with improved insulin sensitivity, so it may help some endomorphs in this way as well (2).
So, if you’re an endomorph who wants to lose weight, intermittent fasting may be a good option for you. It might help to increase insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation and improve brain function. All of these things may help you reach your weight loss goals and live an overall healthier life.
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How Should Endomorphs Do Intermittent Fasting?
If you’re an endomorph and want to try intermittent fasting, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Fasting Types For Endomorphs
While there are many different ways to do intermittent fasting, some might work better for endomorphs than others.
Here are a few suggestions
The 16/8 Method
Also called the Leangains protocol, this involves fasting for 16 hours and eating all your food within an 8-hour window (6). For example, you could stop eating at 8 p.m. and not eat again until noon the next day.
This method is thought to be one of the most effective for weight loss and may be a good option for endomorphs.
The reason this fasting method may be particularly effective for endomorphs is that it allows them to have larger meals while still restricting their overall calorie intake.
It also aligns with the natural circadian rhythm, which may help boost metabolism and fat burning.
The 5:2 Diet
With this approach, you eat normally five days per week and restrict your calories to 500–600 on two nonconsecutive days (12). For example, you could eat normally every day except Monday and Thursday, when you will restrict your calories.
This diet may also be a good option for endomorphs because it allows them to enjoy regular meals most of the time while still getting the benefits of fasting.
The Warrior Diet
This method involves eating small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables during the day, followed by one large “feast” at night.
This diet may also be a good option for endomorphs because it helps them avoid hunger and cravings during the day.
It also allows them to eat their largest meal when they’re most likely to be active and have an increased metabolism.
This diet may not be the best option for endomorphs because it can be difficult to stick to.
It may also be more likely to cause hunger and cravings, which can lead to overeating.
What To Eat While Intermittent Fasting
What you eat while intermittent fasting is just as important as when you eat. Endomorphs with insulin resistance should be on a diet that keeps blood sugar in check. They may also want to prioritize eating anti-inflammatory foods.
A few suggested foods for endomorphs to eat while intermittent fasting include:
Green Leafy Vegetables
These are a great source of nutrients and antioxidants. They’re also low in calories and carbs, making them ideal for endomorphs (9).
Some great options include spinach, kale, collards, and Swiss chard.
Packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, fruit is a great food for endomorphs to eat (9).
Some good options include berries, citrus fruits, apples, and pears.
They can help tame cravings while providing essential nutrients.
Lean protein is an essential part of any diet, but it’s especially important for endomorphs. That’s because it helps to keep blood sugar levels in check and promote fullness (22).
Some great sources of lean protein include chicken, fish, tofu, and legumes.
Healthy fats are another important part of any diet, but they’re especially important for endomorphs. That’s because they help to keep blood sugar levels in check and promote fullness (1).
Some great sources of healthy fats include avocados, nuts, and seeds.
Endomorphs should also focus on complex carbs, which are slowly digested and help to keep blood sugar levels in check (3).
Some great options include oats, quinoa, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and whole wheat products.
While complex carbs are healthy, endomorphs should still be careful not to overdo it. That’s because excess energy is stored as fat, which can lead to weight gain (17).
In as much as possible, endomorphs should avoid ultra processed foods, refined carbs, and sugary drinks. These foods can cause blood sugar levels to spike, leading to cravings and weight gain (23).
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Other Lifestyle Changes
While intermittent fasting for endomorphs can be helpful, it’s not the only lifestyle change they need to make. They also need to focus on getting regular exercise and getting enough sleep.
Exercise is an essential part of any weight loss plan, but it’s especially important for endomorphs. That’s because they may tend to have a slower metabolism, which makes it harder for them to lose weight.
Endomorphs should focus on getting regular aerobic exercise and strength training. Aerobic exercise will help to burn calories and improve their cardiovascular health (8). Strength training will help to build muscle, which can help to boost their metabolism (19).
Getting enough exercise can be difficult while fasting, so endomorphs may want to consider working out after they break their fast or on days when they’re not fasting.
Sleep is also an important part of any weight loss plan, but it’s especially important for endomorphs. That’s because they may tend to have a higher level of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone can lead to weight gain, so endomorphs need to get enough sleep to keep it in check (10).
Endomorphs should aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Like everyone else, they should practice good sleep hygiene and avoid using electronics in bed.
Endomorphs might benefit from intermittent fasting, but they need to be careful about what they eat and when they eat it. In addition to intermittent fasting, endomorphs should focus on getting regular exercise and getting enough sleep. These lifestyle changes can help them lose weight and keep it off in the long term. Always talk to your doctor before making any major dietary changes.