Does what we eat, when we break the fast matter?

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Does what we eat, when we break the fast matter?

This topic contains 15 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Merryme 5 years, 11 months ago.

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  • I watched this video ( on YouTube today and was curious to know if the explanation about the, relation between insulin sensitivity and fat absorption is true?

    Do we really need to eat only specific foods when we break the fast?
    Your thoughts, please.

    Without more information on the video you watched (I’m not prepared to watch it just to answer your question!) it’s impossible to say if the explanation (whatever it was) is true.

    In terms of breaking your fast, if you are just doing 5:2 by the book then you can pretty much break your fast with anything you want.

    However, if your aim is to lose weight and/or you are diabetic/ prediabetic/ insulin resistant then avoiding foods that spike blood sugar (and insulin) would clearly be beneficial. And not just when you break your fast, but all the time!

    Studies suggest that eating breakfast regularly is associated with good health — and that the timing of the meal, as well as what’s in it, matters. Eating first thing. As we sleep, chemicals in our bodies are at work digesting food from the previous night. By morning, we are ready to “break the fast”

    @pjames for a short fast of less than a couple days, it really doesn’t matter how the fast is broken for most people. The best why is just to have a healthy diet and to resume eating that. If you fast for more than a week, then you probably should ease into eating and that really means different things to different people. The reality is most people can get by doing whatever. Refeeding problems aren’t common.

    Thank you @happynow & @dykask for your thoughts. So, in short, as long as I stick to a healthy diet(Low sugar), I don’t have to worry about what I eat when I break my fast.

    @pjames and all,

    I’m just joining up here and have been fasting, 16/8 style for quite some time on an intermittent basis (figured any time I did this was good and didn’t let myself be hungry, so sometimes ate). Now, I’d like to add 5/2 to this.

    I’m wondering if I’m pretty used to not eating until 2pm most days, whether I’ll be able to just keep on doing this. Has anyone found themselves mixing 16/8 and 5/2 routines ?

    I’m figuring that the more fasting hours the better, as long as one stays healthy. For me that means not staying truly hungry, i.e., hypoglycemic, weak, empty, feeling badly etc.

    Looking forward to hearing from you, glad I found this forum : )


    Hey, this might turn out to be my first 5/2 FastDay ! Just ate for the first time, about 140cals of organic macadamias/peanuts/raisins. Just had coffee w 1/2 1/2 46 cals for bkfst. If I can get through the day with only 314 cals, this will be my first 5/2 FastDay !


    No, never mind, we are playing a mini-gig tonight, so there will be beer and probably dinner tonight.
    Will try this Tomorrow !!!!

    5:2 is compatible with many different ways of eating. On this forum we’ve had people of many nationalities, different ages, different religions, different food philosophies eg vegan, vegetarian, paleo, highfat/low carbohydrate, low fat/high carbohydrate, various medical conditions requiring various food regimes, people on medication which must be taken with food or without food requiring a time space either side of the dose, people with food allergies, coeliac, people with food intolerances, people who drink alcohol or don’t have any…….and so on. Some do 5:2 for health, some for weight loss, some bothThe only constant is low to no sugar.

    None of that really seems matter so much as whether you are committed to wanting to improve your health/normalise your weight.

    There are 3 types I’ve observed on the forum:

    1. Those who have a Hunger Dragon. These people, no matter what time of day they first eat on a FD their appetite comes roaring to life after not feeling hungry before hand. These people end up eating only 1 meal at the endbof a FD, or eat nothing just water or tea.

    2. Those who feel nauseous if they don’t eat breakfast. This group tends to eat 2 small meals at breakfast and donner.

    3. Those not having 1. Or 2. They eat variously 1, 2, small or 3 even smaller meals on a FD.

    People are so varied in what the consume that The next day they break their fast with many different things,

    I have a Hunger Dragon. I eat 1 small meal after 6pm on a FD. On non-FDs. I eat 2 regular meals , lunch and dinner mostly in a 16:8 pattern. I am older, have a chronic illness so can’t exercise, so don’t need more food than that. This pattern keeps me normal weight and keeps my Hunger Dragon under control,

    Merryme there is a large number of people here that stick to water fasting. I do allow myself black coffee and unsweetened tea, but those only account for a few calories.

    Hi dykask,

    Yes, I’ve noticed there are some who do water fasting, and those that do back2back fasting, multiple day fasts etc. I don’t know that I’ve personally come across a large number of water fasters, but you’d know more about that than me. People tend to stay on threads that are like minded. I ‘ve noticed the water fasters are usually into the science of fasting a bit mire than most of the others. That seems to be a mix of health/medical needs, interest in the science, ccrrtain philosophical ideas or perfectionistic attitude.

    What is important for new people to know I believe, is that they don’t need to be on very specific regimes unless they choose to or need to. A lot of people come here with a history of multiple attempts at more rigorous weight loss, and think they need to be very specific about what they eat/drink. It can be very off putting. IMHO getting that first 3 months of standard 5:2 fasting done seems to be a big part of succeeding. More specific and induvidulaized ways of doing things comes after that.


    Merry’s contribution is most sensible. She summarises the way people approach 5:2 in different ways, but the crucial aspect of eating less, while being satisfied.

    For me and my OH, we have discovered that we do not need three meals a day as fairly sedentary retired people. We were eating by the clock before, plus the more than occasional treat – no wonder weight crept up.

    Putting a size 12 in a charity bag and zipping up a size 10 feels great! 😄. ( UK sizes, of course )

    Marryme for everyone that can’t make it through a fast day without eating there is probably someone that can’t fast with eating. While there are a lot that do focus on the science of fasting, there are also a lot of us that find hunger is stimulated by eating. For me it is pretty simple, once I do eat if I don’t eat enough I’m terribly hungry in about 15 minutes. It is better to not eat in the first place. Then when you are doing a true fast the science of it because more interesting. 🙂

    dykask , lol, it’s Merryme, not Marryme, Merry for short – I’m usually the queen of typos – but I’m not on the market for a spouse🙃

    “A lot of us find hunger is stimulated by eating”.

    – what you’re describing is ‘The Hunger Dragon’, a term used on the forum for several years, which you’ll see I included in no1. In my original post. So called because hunger comes flying in, roaring to life, seemingly out of nowhere. Like you, I have the appetite roaring to life as well.

    Doing a water fast or non-calorie fluid only fast is one of the ways people handle the phenomenon known as The Hunger Dragon. Those who can’t stop eating at all after eating anything on a FD usually either quickly give up 5:2 or any sort of intermittant fasting, or, like you, find the solution is to not eat at all and only have water, or water + no- calorie drinks.

    The other approach, which a lot of those with a Hunger Dragon do, is to leave all their calories till right at the end of the day, eating all their calories in one meal. If that meal contains some low cal protein, low cal vegies, often in the form of a soup, with a fairly strong flavour eg with some chilli or curry, + some low cal fruit like strawberries or rockmelon/canteloupe. This suits them, they’re full, don’t have sleep being affected and they get their FD happily done and effective.

    Distraction, keeping busy, drinking extra water, and a few other tactics all get used by people with a Hunger Dragon.

    Peoples’ choices in this situation are very personal and it sometimes takes a little while to work through things, to experiment a bit.

    People who do eat on a FD don’t do it because they can’t make it through a FD without eating, they do it because they choose to, some because they need food with medication, some because medically it works better for them.

    Most people don’t start 5:2 by trying to get through a FD without eating anything. It’s the allowance of a little food on a FD that usually attracts them to the 5:2 form of Intermittant Fasting in the first place.

    The wonderful thing about 5:2, in my opinion, is that it can be so varied to suit so many different people’s needs and wants, which includes those who want the science and those who don’t. It makes the forum very interesting and so many varying people can find others like-minded. I’m very appreciative of having a really well moderated forum to assist us all.🙂

    Onwards and Downwards,

    MerryMe I’m glad you found my typo humorous.

    I agree that fasting is very flexible and that is the great thing about it. If people save up 800 calories and eat supper, they have effectively ended their fast. However there is a lot of merit to a 24 hour fast. It still fits into to 5:2 fine and I would do it if necessary for wellness or even social reasons. In fact I have, that is why I only have 32 – 36 hour water fasts in this year so far.

    Technically what a lot of people do here is actually a very low calorie day, the people that eat more than just one meal at the end. While eating a breakfast, even a small one will probably kick the body out of the developing fasting state that is developing or at least impede progress in the liver reducing its stored glycogen, it is still better than the normal fed state for fat loss.

    Anyway I find that repeated water fasts have effectively trained my body to deal with the hunger so it doesn’t drive me. A couple years ago when I was still using calorie restriction my hunger literally was raging. What really reduced the hunger was cutting out added refined sugars. After that I was able to fast. After I’ve started fasting the hunger I get after eating is different. It is more of waking up my bodies expectation of food coming. Not sure if that makes sense. I could ignore it but it isn’t comfortable. The hunger waves that come while fasting are actually much more modest. When I wake up the second morning of a fast, I could easily continue fasting. By the 3rd morning, hunger isn’t much of an issue, but I rarely fast that long.

    The one thing I do sometimes do that almost always is effective is just exercise when I have a hunger wave. It is a lot more than keeping busy. Muscles have stored glycogen and they use it and produce lactic acid. The liver recycles the lactic acid and that increases the blood glucose which tends to suppress hunger being felt. However the blood glucose won’t go so high that one later has a sugar crash. It can be very effective.

    Oh, the 800 calorie FD. Not for me. I was a bit surprised about upping the < 500cals or < 1/4 TDEE to < 800 calorie change that Dr M made to the new version of 5:2. Many of the long term 5:2ers that I’ve come to know seem to stick to the old version.

    You’re right – technically most people do what is in effect a low calorie or very low calorie day, because that’s what 5:2 is; where the 2 non-consecutive very low calorie days produced enough effect to not need total fasts. 5:2 was never set up as 2 total fasts per week. Two total fasts were an option if you wanted to interpret < 500cals or < 1/4 TDEE that way.

    There are some other 5:2 forums out there on the web where people are not welcome unless they’re doing 5:2 exactly. This forum set up by Dr Moseley, and very well moderated by JJ, allows discussion of various versions of Intermittant Fasting and gives us an area to experiment with what suits us individually while being supported and discussing with others.

    I’m getting close to 4yrs on 5:2 now, TDEE of 1440 cals/day despite being 5’6”. So for me a FD is < 360 calories. My FD goes from dinner the night before(Sunday) through the FD, 360 cals or < 360 dinner (Mon) then through to after 12 noon the day after(Tues). Technically that may not be a true fast, but it still works. FDs of 800 cals would be useless for me. I’m not hungry on the morning after FD, and last year tried back2backs but they were unhealthy for me. I had that thing where I could have kept going through more days, but fasting became too attractive, and I would have ended up with an eating disorder. I managed 2 b2bs over 2 weeks. The 3rd week my body let me know it was not right for me. I started having adverse physical symptoms.

    The original version was what brought 5:2 to the publics’ attention. After looking at the research behind various Intermittant Fasting regimes and considering them too strict for the average person to stick to, Dr Moseley promoted the < 500 cals for women , < 600cals for men, on 2 non-consecutive days a week. He promoted it as being do-able for most people most of the time, more so than the more rigorous versions far fewer people can stick to. He was right. People got healthier and normalised their weight as a byproduct.

    My situation is less then normal. I have Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. You may have heard of it, (and if you’re English or Swedish, it’s not so much accepted as a real disease). It’s a complex neurological disorder affecting multiple systems in the body with no known cure, and yes you can die from it. It’s why my TDEE is so low. I’ve had it for 20yrs with the onset literally overnight with a very severe virus. I spent the next 2 yrs mostly in bed, mostly asleep, with enough cognitive dysfunction to be considered a minimal brain injury. I have no diurnal rhythm, my language in word recall and sentence structure was damaged, I lost all maths and arithmetic, short and long term memory damage, my inner thermostat was damaged, so I don’t regulate body temperature as well, and various other symptoms. My energy level was at 5% of normal with almost no ability to store energy. I was lucky to survive, and to survive without very severe damage to heart, brain or liver.

    My energy production is still not normal but now, 20 yrs on, with the aid of a private trial of a research drug I’m at about 50% of normal. To make things weirder, my natural state is medically diagnosed as hyperactive, a different process in the brain and body. So, I live in no man’s land, in between hyperactivity and what resembles a mild mitochondrial dysfunction and hypothalamic dysfunction. Weird, but I manage.

    I have been through those different hunger states you talk of. Unfortunately, because of my damaged energy production and damaged energy storage, it’s unhealthy for me to do total water fasts. I also can’t use exercise to get through hunger waves. For me exercise is having a shower, getting dressed, cooking a meal, grocery shopping, driving a car etc. in other words I can’t go for an exercise walk, a swim, a bike ride etc. In my former life I had to burn excess energy off, but now I don’t produce enough and produce it slowly, never putting me in that endorphin phase, but ce la vie, such is life.

    I second the sugar thing – deadly and definitely increases appetite. An experiment was done on food that had equal quantities of sugar and fat, and that combination was found to promote compulsive eating. There are other things that cause compulsive eating as well. But…..

    …, time for me to get to bed. Nice chatting with you dykask. Goodnight from Australia.

    PS. I’m totally off Blood Pressure medications ; am a normal weight, took 2 yrs to slowly get 21kgs off; I consider 5:2 the only possible way for me to get rid of the excess weight I’d put on from being chronically ill. My physical ability to walk, go up stairs and gentle slopes has improved, my balance is better, and a few other things. Very grateful and happy 5:2-er here.

    Onwards and Downwards,

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