Intermittent fasting (IF) is currently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends. Recent studies have shown the benefits of intermittent fasting, 1 including help with weight loss and improving overall health and lifestyle.
So, what exactly is intermittent fasting? Quite simply, it is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat, or restrict any foods, but instead, looks at when you should eat them. In this respect, it’s not a diet in the conventional sense but more accurately described as an eating pattern. Standard intermittent fasting methods involve daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours, twice per week.
Intermittent fasting methods
There are several different ways you can do intermittent fasting. Each option involves splitting the day or week into eating and fasting periods. During the fasting periods, you eat either very little or nothing at all.
These are the most popular methods:
- The 16/8 method: This method involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 12–8 p.m. You then fast for eight hours before starting your eating cycle again.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example, by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
- The 5:2 diet: With this method, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week (also known as fasting days), but eat normally the other five days.
The importance of protein in intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting doesn’t restrict certain foods or outline foods that we should eat. However, it is essential to ensure you are getting the right nutrients from what you eat when intermittent fasting. 2
Ensure you are eating protein is really essential as protein:
- Helps preserve muscles as they shed fat
- Helps prevent junk food cravings during your eating window
- Helps to keep the immune system in good shape
You should still be eating the same amount of protein in your eating window as if you were not fasting.
The Daily Recommended Allowance for protein is 0.36g per pound of body weight. This amount doesn’t change even though you are eating in shorter periods.
You will need to eat more substantial portions of protein during your eating window so that you consume enough protein to hit your daily requirements.
Protein bars can help you hit your intermittent fasting protein goals.
Protein bars work well while intermittent fasting.
They are a convenient way to hit your protein RDA. They offer an easy option for those trying to lose weight but lack the time or resources needed for extensive meal planning. There is no measuring or mixing involved as there is with protein powders, teas, and soups.
They are a great-tasting and filling snack to include in your eating cycle. Studies have shown that protein is the most filling of all the macronutrients. 3 With such high protein levels in one serving, a protein bar can be a filling and tasty snack to keep hunger at bay between meals during an eating cycle. This, in turn, helps prevent overeating and reaching for high sugar and high sodium snacks later in the day, or during a fasting cycle.
They can help provide much-needed workout support to get the most from your exercise regime. A protein bar consumed before exercising supplies you with steady slow-burning energy during your activity. Post-workout, the amino acids found in protein bars help provide the building blocks your body needs to generate new muscle tissue, repairing the microscopic muscle tears that occur during your workout. This leads to quicker recovery time and less muscle fatigue post-workout.
Support your intermittent fasting with a high-protein bar
200 calories, 21 g protein, 8g fat, 24g carbs, 14g fiber, 1g sugar
Quest bars provide a sweet dessert-like taste to help curb your cravings during eating cycles. However, with only 1g of sugar, these might just be your healthiest dessert yet! With 21g of protein and 14g of fiber, these bars are sure to fill you through a fasting cycle until your next meal.
Pure Protein bar
190 Calories, 20g Protein, 6g Fat, 17g Carbs, 2g Fiber, 3g sugar
These low-sugar, gluten-free bars from Pure Protein give you all of the flavor and nutrients without any of the bad stuff. Choose from Birthday Cake, Chocolate Salted Caramel, or Cookie Dough, among a whole range of delicious flavors. The high protein content is great before a workout too!
ThinkThin High Protein bar
230 calories, 20g protein, 8g fat, 23g carbs, 1g Fiber, 0g Sugar
Hit your daily protein goals with ease by enjoying a ThinkThin High Protein Bar. With amazing, delicious flavors like Coconut Cake, Berries & Creme, and Brownie Crunch, it’s hard to believe these bars contain zero sugar! They’re great before a workout to maximize performance and prevent muscle soreness post-workout.
Gatorade Whey Protein Bar With Almond Butter
220 calories, 20g protein, 7g fat, 24g carbs, 1g fiber, 9g sugar
Gatorade makes protein bars designed specifically for athletes. And these new bars made with almond butter have kept up the trend. These are great for a post-workout snack to replenish energy. These bars contain half the sugar of the original Gatorade bars so they are great if you’re trying to lose weight.
Garden of Life Bar
270 calories, 20g protein, 8g fat, 32g carbs, 7g fiber, 8g sugar
Garden of Life Bars are great for all diets. They are packed full of vegan-friendly, plant-based protein and contain zero trans-fats. The high carb content means they work well as a post-workout snack, and the protein will help to keep you full through your fasting cycle.
1 Longo VD, Mattson MP. Fasting: molecular mechanisms and clinical applications. Cell Metab. 2014;19(2):181-192. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2013.12.008
2 Zuo L, He F, Tinsley GM, Pannell BK, Ward E, Arciero PJ. Comparison of High-Protein, Intermittent Fasting Low-Calorie Diet and Heart Healthy Diet for Vascular Health of the Obese. Front Physiol. 2016;7:350. Published 2016 Aug 29. doi:10.3389/fphys.2016.00350
3 Ortinau, L.C., Hoertel, H.A., Douglas, S.M. et al. Effects of high-protein vs. high- fat snacks on appetite control, satiety, and eating initiation in healthy women. Nutr J 13, 97 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-13-97