As the sun rises and sets, so does your opportunity to discover the full potential of the art of intermittent fasting macros. Note that it isn’t just about what you eat, but also when you eat. Backed by research, it is fasting with fixed eating windows and fasting periods (14). This method does not consume any of your extra time and instead offers several potential health benefits apart from weight loss (11).
There are several types of intermittent fasting from which you can pick to fit your daily routine better. This includes 16/8 fasting, 12/12 fasting, 5:2 method, alternate day fasting, and 3-day fast weight loss. All these focus on the ‘when to eat’ principle, not the ‘what to eat’ routine.
However, it would be best if you were careful to adjust your intermittent fasting schedule so that the macro count or nutrients needed by your body are not compromised.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a weight loss dietary plan that shifts your focus from what to when to eat. It creates an eating pattern for you that must be followed consistently. The timing of when you will eat plays a key significance in the weight loss journey. It requires fasting for fixed intervals and then eating regularly (12). During this, you must be careful not to eat more calories than you lost in the fasting window.
This practice not only aids in weight loss but research suggests that it may offer a number of other benefits. For instance, it may help reduce inflammation and support changes in gut bacteria in a way that is beneficial for some inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. (13, 20) It may also support normal cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels, which may benefit heart health (8).
It may also offer other metabolic benefits that help support longevity (11).
Whether you’re looking to simply pep up your fitness routine, jazz up your diet with mouth-watering low-calorie recipes or want to get your act together and significantly drop that number on your scale – BetterMe app has got you covered! Improve your body and revamp your life with us!
What Are Macros?
Macronutrients, commonly known as “macros”, are the three main nutrients we need in large quantities to stay healthy. They are:
These are more commonly known as carbs, sugar molecules broken into simpler molecules of sugar by the body. It has three types. Starch, sugar, and fiber.
There are two categories of sugar. Natural sugars are inherently present in foods like grains, fruits, and vegetables (where they are also packaged with fiber and other nutrients). Added sugars are those that are added to packaged foods, sweetened beverages, and used in recipes.
Starch, a complex carbohydrate, comprises simple sugars joined together. They are digested into glucose molecules by the body to provide energy. Food with loads of starch helps keep you full longer. Some healthy starch sources include rice, flour, starchy vegetables like potatoes, and whole grains.
Fiber is also a complex carbohydrate that the body cannot break down. It helps to promote bowel regularity and support digestive health. Getting enough fiber is essential for reducing your risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer (19). You can get fiber only from plant foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
These are an essential part of the diet and comprise the building blocks called amino acids. They play an important role in growth and development, repair and building of muscles, and the formation of enzymes and hormones. Some protein-rich foods include poultry, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, soy products, nuts, and seeds (3).
Fats help support cellular function, protect your organs, produce hormones, and support brain health. They can also be used as a source of energy. There are three types: unsaturated fats, which offer the most health benefits, and saturated/trans fats, which should be limited (5). Foods high in saturated/trans fats include meat, dairy, eggs, poultry, and baked goods. Coconut oil is also high in saturated fat. Find unsaturated fats in plant foods like olives, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
What Should be Macros in Intermittent Fasting?
Macros, or macronutrients, are the basic essential nutrients required in large amounts for the proper functioning of the body. It’s important to consume a balanced diet that includes adequate protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Eliminating or lacking one of these macronutrients can have negative effects on health. For instance, if a protein-deficient diet is eaten, it might hinder growth, cause weakness, and reduce muscle mass (7, 18).
When you’re new to intermittent fasting, it can be helpful to keep track of your macronutrient ratios until you have a better understanding of what foods provide the balance you need.
What is the Best Macro Ratio for Weight Loss?
When looking for the best intermittent fasting macro ratios, you should know that no such ratio or method will work for everyone. This is because the nutrients every individual needs vary depending on certain factors. These include your goals, age, gender, body weight, height, activity level, and internal health (17).
Not everyone can strictly follow the same ratio.
Knowing this, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academics has advised some ranges for consuming macronutrients. It specifies that among the total calories, 45% – 65% should be carbohydrates, 20% – 35% should be fats, and 10% – 35% should be proteins (6). Considering this distribution, the recommended macros for weight loss should follow the ratio of either 40:40:20 or 30:40:30 (in the order of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, respectively).
Apart from this, one can always calculate their required intermittent fasting macros through one of the many available macros calculators online.
How to Determine Your Macros?
We must first set a clear goal to correctly determine your intermittent fasting macros. You need to develop a realistic goal, keeping your health in mind. A plan that serves a long-term benefit is best. After this, you can proceed to determine your macros following these tips (10):
- Calculate your calorie need – calorie ‘need’ means these calories should be enough for you to go through the day.
- Decide your best intermittent fasting macro ratio according to your needs.
- Calculate the number of macronutrients to be consumed daily according to the ratio you have chosen.
- Now proceed to your intermittent fasting – just be careful to monitor and check your intermittent fasting macros so you do not go off-track and lose your purpose.
How Many Calories Should I Eat During 16/8 Intermittent Fasting?
A 16/8 intermittent fasting method divides your day into two (unequal) periods. It consists of a 16-hour fasting window and an 8-hour eating window. You can choose the timings of your eating and fasting window according to your lifestyle. Most people prefer to adjust the fasting window according to their sleep schedule so that they are asleep most of the time that they are unable to eat.
We need to look at the eating and fasting windows separately for the calories consumed during this fasting method. For the 16-hour fasting window, you can only drink water or no-calorie beverages. Consuming any calories would negate the purpose of fasting. As for the 8-hour eating window, there are no specific restrictions, but one should still be mindful of what one eats.
A balanced diet is recommended, and junk food should be avoided. If you are trying to lose weight through 16/8 intermittent fasting and want to stay healthy and active simultaneously, remember that during this 16/8 intermittent fasting, macros should not be compromised (1).
For the best results, you should also be careful that your total daily calorie intake doesn’t regularly exceed your goals. Binge eating during the 8-hour window might lead to the consumption of more calories than you have lost during the fasting window. This would make all the fasting all in vain.
Therefore, you should make sure to consume only the needed calories, and this number varies from person to person depending on factors like age, gender, weight, activity level, etc.
If you struggle to even flirt with the idea of giving up your favorite foods or working out till your legs give way – BetterMe app is here to breathe a fresh perspective into the way you view the weight loss process! Check out the app and experience the fun side of fitness and dieting with BetterMe!
Can I Eat 1500 Calories During Intermittent Fasting?
As mentioned earlier, the number of calories one can eat daily depends on age, gender, weight, body composition, and activity level. To know this number for yourself, you can use a calorie counter or meet with a registered dietitian
In addition to meeting your calorie goals, it’s important to ensure you get a balance of macronutrients.
According to research, a female eating 1500 calories daily can lose 1 pound a week (3).
How Many Carbs Should I Eat A Day to Survive Intermittent Fasting?
Carbs or carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy for our body. If your body is not provided with enough carbs, it will switch to other fuel components: fats and proteins.
During intermittent fasting, you should be especially careful of how much carbs you consume because the piling up of excess carbs might pose a problem. Apart from this, it would be best not to eat carbs during fasting. Otherwise, keeping the carb intake below 50 grams daily during the eating window is recommended to maintain ketosis (15).
Keto Vs. Intermittent Fasting – Which is Better?
The Keto diet is a low-carb diet that increases the intake of fats. This way, it shifts the body’s energy source from glucose to ketones, so it goes into ketosis mode (15). On the other hand, intermittent fasting focuses on when you eat and not what you eat. As mentioned earlier, it has eating and fasting windows, and you can eat freely during the eating window.
Separately, the keto diet helps one lose weight more quickly, but it can bring some side effects like weakness, muscle cramps, and other adverse effects (2). On the contrary, intermittent fasting is a long-term method and requires patience but it enables you to eat whatever you want during your eating window and brings about potential health benefits besides weight loss.
This competition between these two most popular weight loss methods has led to a novel approach in which people combine these two. Intermittent fasting is practiced with the keto diet, yielding more results (16). This approach improves ketosis as the body has already begun to rely on fat for energy during fasting. Then, more fat is burned when the keto diet is practiced in the eating window.
When the body has shifted to fat-burning mode this helps to preserve muscle mass when pounds are being shed. Moreover, according to the intermittent fasting keto macro, the food eaten in the keto diet is high in fat, making you feel full for a longer time and reducing hunger.
In short, the keto diet and intermittent fasting have pros and cons and might not suit everyone. But they have the potential to produce more benefits when combined.
What is the 50-calorie rule for intermittent fasting?
Technically, any calories would break a fast. However, according to experts, it is a general rule of thumb that if you eat some calories during the intermittent fasting period but stay under the limit of 50 calories, your fast will not be broken (9). That said, there are no studies to confirm the exact amount.
Why am I not losing weight on 16/8 fasting?
There might be various reasons for not losing weight on 16/8 intermittent fasting. One main and common sense is that you indulge in overeating during the eating window and eat more calories than you lost during the fasting window. In this situation, you should change your routine, shorten your eating window, modify your diet, or try an entirely new protocol. Consider working with a registered dietitian who can help you tailor your plan for weight loss.
Can I eat whatever I want while intermittent fasting and still lose weight?
Since intermittent fasting is not a diet, you can technically eat whatever you want during the eating window if you do not have any dietary restrictions. So, if you can keep your calories in check, you can eat whatever you crave. However, it is recommended not to eat high-fat or added sugar frequently. Remember, moderation should be practiced if you want the best results.
The Bottom Line
To conclude, macronutrients are the nutrients the body needs in large amounts to keep functioning. These are carbohydrates, fats and proteins. You should carefully consume these macros in adequate portions when practicing intermittent fasting for weight loss. Otherwise, their deficiency would lead to many health problems.
Determining the right number of macros to eat might be tricky. It depends on age, gender, weight, height, and activity level. Some common ratios include 40:40:20 and 30:40:30 for proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, respectively.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A guide to 16:8 intermittent fasting (2023, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Advantages and Disadvantages of the Ketogenic Diet: A Review Article (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Association of Major Dietary Protein Sources With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality: Prospective Cohort Study (2021, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Calories (2022, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)’
- Dietary Fats (2019, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (2005, nap.nationalacademies.org)
- Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use (2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of Epidemic Intermittent Fasting on Cardiometabolic Risk Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials (2021, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How Many Calories Break a Fast? – An In-Depth Guide (2023, performancelab.com)
- How to calculate your macros for fat loss? (2023, foodvisor.io)
- Intermittent Fasting (IF): An Approach to a Healthy body (2020, researchgate.net)
- Intermittent Fasting and Metabolic Health (2022, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Intermittent Fasting Confers Protection in CNS Autoimmunity by Altering the Gut Microbiota (2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention: a review of human findings (2014, sciencedirect.com)
- Ketogenic Diet (2023, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Keto Menu-Effect of Ketogenic Menu and Intermittent Fasting on the Biochemical Markers and Body Composition in a Physically Active Man-A Controlled Case Study (2023, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Nutritional Assessment (2023, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Redefining essential fatty acids in the era of novel intravenous lipid emulsions (2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre (2020, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Unravelling the health effects of fasting: a long road from obesity treatment to healthy life span increase and improved cognition (2020, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)