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Intermittent Fasting vs. Metabolic Balance

Intermittent fasting

There are always new “programs” or diet trends that promise weight loss. The “intermittent fasting” method, often referred to as “short-term fasting” or “intermittent fasting”, is currently very popular for getting rid of those annoying pounds.

Anyone who thinks this is a completely new way of losing weight is mistaken. The first publications on this are now over 100 years old: S. Morgulis: The American Naturalist Vol. 47, No. 560, 1913, p. 477* (The influence of protracted and intermittent fasting upon growth.) (

Intermittent fasting can be carried out in different ways. What they all have in common is that they involve abstaining from food for a certain period of time – i.e., fasting – and then eating for a certain period of time. No calories should be consumed during the fasting phase. Neither in solid nor in liquid form, e.g., soft drinks or fruit juices. Calorie-free drinks such as water, tea or coffee are permitted.

There are no rules other than when to eat and when not to eat. This means that you do not have to give up any food as long as you are in the eating period. Nevertheless, it makes sense to ensure a balanced diet during the eating phase and not just eat fast food and snacks in the form of potato chips and sweets. It is questionable what is meant by a balanced diet in this case, as there is little guidance for the participants. The method is based on the idea that people have always fasted – if only because there was simply no food available. The body is therefore naturally able to go without food for a few hours or days. It then draws on its energy reserves, which it can mobilize as required and which are present in the body in the form of fat, among other things.

Forms of intermittent fasting:


In this most common form of intermittent fasting, the day is divided into a 16-hour fasting phase and an 8-hour eating phase. In most cases, either breakfast or dinner is omitted, and the majority of the fasting period is spent at night. This form of intermittent fasting is so popular because a large part of the fasting period is “slept through”. Drinking calorie-free drinks such as water is encouraged in both phases.


In contrast to the 16:8 variant, which divides up the day, the 5:2 form extends the fast over the entire week. You can eat without restrictions for 5 days a week and fast on two non-consecutive days. On the fasting days, the focus is on a calorie-reduced diet of approx. 500 kcal, e.g. vegetables and lean meat.

10 in 2

Also known as “alternate day fasting”, this is another form of intermittent fasting. This involves a fasting day every two days in the form of a maximum daily calorie intake of approx. 500kcal.2

In all forms, carbohydrates and sugar should be completely avoided so that the body draws on its reserves and lives off them. In addition, there should be a break of at least 4-5 hours between meals to keep the rise in blood sugar levels as low as possible and thus promote fat loss.

*A statement with which we at Metabolic Balance also agree.

Advantages of intermittent fasting from the point of view of its advocates:

According to advocates of the method, one advantage of interval fasting is that the dreaded yo-yo effect does not occur. This is because the metabolism supposedly does not “shut down” and therefore no muscle mass is lost. However, this is highly dependent on the individual food intake – i.e., the amount and type of food.

However, studies on weight loss through calorie reduction show that this is where the dreaded yo-yo effect occurs. Even 1 year after a calorie-reduced diet, the participants still had an increased subjective feeling of hunger. Objectively, increased levels of ghrelin (makes you hungry) and decreased levels of CCK (makes you feel full) were also still detected after one year.*

On the other hand, fasting is also seen as a preventative measure to protect against diseases such as cardiovascular problems, diabetes, various cancers or Alzheimer’s and, in the best case scenario, it should help people to live longer.

However, recent studies show that the results achieved by intermittent fasting in terms of weight loss and prevention of metabolic diseases are similar to those of a simple diet calorie-restricted diet, but is by no means superior to it, i.e., it does not achieve better results. *

Whether intermittent fasting has any positive effect at all on people with a low or normal BMI is still largely unclear.*

Metabolic Balance point of view:

The problem with this type of fasting is that participants are left alone. Many see the eating phase as a “free pass” to eat whatever comes to mind. This is because in order to actually achieve the benefits of intermittent fasting – weight loss and muscle maintenance or muscle building – meals that are as high in protein as possible should be selected. In addition, not every form of fasting – no matter how healthy – is suitable for everyone. For example, you may experience symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, or circulatory problems.

Tip: If you feel physically healthy and are not taking any medication, you can approach this type of fasting, i.e., gradually extend the fasting break at night to 14 hours and thus give your body the chance to get used to this form of nutrition. Intermittent fasting on your own actually requires a great deal of discipline in order to carry it out over a longer period of time.

With Metabolic Balance, we recommend three meals a day and for good reason: With the three meals, which are tailored to the participant in terms of quantity and nutrient density, we support the body. This is because our metabolism works in phases.

The natural alternation between building and breaking down metabolic processes, the so-called anabolic and catabolic phases, is much better for our body if it receives food at regular intervals – supported by a few hours break. In addition, the digestive organs are relieved by the balanced quantities and at the same time the detoxification processes are boosted, as many detoxification processes require micronutrients such as zinc, selenium, vitamin C or glutathione.

The three meals make it easier for participants to cope with the change in diet, especially in the initial phase, and they learn an awareness of healthy and balanced eating – old eating habits are gradually discarded. The blood sugar level is kept as constant as possible, which helps to ensure that there is no feeling of hunger between meals.

This type of meal distribution can be easily integrated into everyday life and social life, as you can have breakfast with your family or lunch with work colleagues, as well as eating with friends in the evening.

* S. Morgulis: The American Naturalist Vol. 47, No. 560, 1913, S. 477, The influence of protracted and intermittent fasting upon growth, * *The need for controlled studies of the effects of meal frequency on health” The Lancet, 365;9475; Pages 1978 – 1980, 4 June 2005 * *,fasten224.html *Dullo, A.G. et al Am.J.Clin.Nutr. 1997; 65: 717-723 Poststarvation Hyperphagia and body fat overshooting in humans



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