A Complete Guide to 20:4 Intermittent Fasting

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While you may have stumbled upon the term ‘intermittent fasting’ in recent years, this way of life actually predates to ancient history. Intermittent fasting is a rather powerful habit that helps you maintain your health significantly. Many people are just rediscovering this amazing dietary invention due to many diets that have only recently gained hype. Now, it is one of the ‘trendiest’ ways to lose weight. There are different kinds of intermittent fasting periods, such as 20:4 intermittent fasting or the 16:8 intermittent fasting.

So, let’s explore the hype about intermittent fasting, its various benefits and the different types of

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

People often confuse intermittent fasting with starvation. However, these two terms are pretty different from one another. The main factor that sets these two terms apart is control. Starvation is done involuntarily. However, intermittent fasting is a conscious choice you make to improve your health.

Intermittent fasting is simply setting a time for your meals while avoiding munching at other times of the day. This allows your body to use your stored fat for energy, hence burning excessive body fat.

Body fat is basically food energy that has been stored by your body. When you stop eating for certain hours, your body starts consuming its own fat to produce energy. This naturally leads to weight loss.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

Life is all about finding a balance. This also applies to your daily eating habits. You need to find a balance between eating and fasting since fasting is the opposite of eating. So, if you aren’t eating, your body naturally enters the fasting mode. Here’s how intermittent fasting works.

The more food you eat, the more energy you are giving to your body than it needs. Therefore, some of this energy is naturally stored by your body to be used later. Insulin is the main hormone that plays a role in the storage of food energy.

There are two main energy storage systems in your body. The first system is glycogen, which is easily accessible but has restricted storage space. The other one is body fat, which is difficult to access but has unlimited storage space.

During intermittent fasting, your body process starts going into reverse. Your insulin levels starting dropping, indicating your body to start burning the stored energy since it isn’t receiving anymore food. Glycogen is broken down by the body into glucose molecules to supply your body’s cells with energy. This gives you enough energy to fulfill your body’s needs for 24 to 36 hours.

20:4 Intermittent Fasting – The Warrior Diet

The alternative name for the warrior diet is 20:4 intermittent fasting, or 20/4 fasting. The warrior diet is a form of intermittent fasting or time-bound eating. It is a method of eating in which you need to fast and eat during specified periods.

This diet requires you to fast for 20 hours a day. This period is known as ‘undereating’. Moreover, you are allowed to eat within a four hour window, which is known as overeating. Therefore, the name – 20:4 intermittent fasting.

You are allowed and encouraged to consume a lot of fluids and tiny snacks like fruit, vegetables, dairy and boiled eggs during the ‘undereating’ 20-hour period. During the remaining 4-hour window, you are allowed to consume one huge meal, in which you can eat as much as you want. However, you need to ensure that you consume foods from an approved list of items.

Getting Started With the Warrior Diet

The warrior diet is an extreme form of intermittent fasting, considering the 20:4 eating window. It is naturally pretty different from eating three meals a day.

Here is a list of things you can eating during the under-eating and overeating phase, followed by the foods you are not allowed to eat.

What Can You Eat on The Warrior Diet?

  • You should consume only nutritious, organic and whole foods. Your portion size depends on whether you are in the under-eating or overeating phase.
  • There is no set amount of calories in this diet.
  • The serving size is not specified.

Foods to Eat During the Under-eating Phase

You can eat small portions of the following foods during the under-eating period.

  • Poached or hardboiled eggs
  • Yoghurt, milk and cottage cheese
  • Chicken or beef broth
  • Peppers, mushrooms, onions, greens and carrots (all raw)
  • Pineapple, peach, apples, mango, kiwi and bananas
  • Beet, celery and carrot juice
  • Restrictive amounts of olive oil and apple cider vinegar
  • Water, tea, coffee and seltzer

Foods to Eat During the Overeating Phase

Here are some foods you can eat during the overeating phase:

  • Eggs, chicken, fish, steak and turkey
  • Bread, pasta, barley, oats and quinoa
  • Cheese, yoghurt and milk
  • Cauliflower, brussel sprouts, zucchini and other greens (cooked)
  • Corn, sweet potatoes, potatoes and beans
  • Olive oil and nuts

Foods to Avoid on the Warrior Diet

Like every other diet, it is forbidden to consume any processed foods with preservatives and foods containing added sugar.

Here are a few things you need to avoid when you opt for 20:4 intermittent fasting:

  • Fried foods
  • Fast food
  • Processed meats
  • Refined carbs
  • Candies, cookies, pastries, cakes (basically all sweet items)
  • Canned fruits and veggies
  • Crackers and chips
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Sweet drinks

Benefits of 20:4 Intermittent Fasting

Here are some benefits of intermittent fasting.

Weight Loss

Whether you opt for 20:4 intermittent fasting or the 16:8 one, intermittent fasting is bound to help you lose weight exponentially. It enhances the overall fat burning process that leads to rapid and long-term weight loss.

Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

Since intermittent fasting lowers insulin, it naturally lowers your blood insulin levels. Prolonged intermittent fasting can also lead to the reversal of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it is a great dietary option for borderline diabetics. According to a research, people with type-2 diabetes who were fasting for at least 18 hours a day had lower blood sugar levels, leading to a decrease in their weight. However, you should consult your doctor before jumping on the 20:4 intermittent fasting bandwagon if you are already diabetic. 

Increases Energy

A common belief might be that intermittent fasting, especially 20:4 intermittent fasting diet, can decrease energy levels. However, it is rather the opposite of that. Intermittent fasting for prolonged hours results in the activation of cellular cleansing. It leads your body to autophagy, which increases your energy levels significantly.

Improves Mental Clarity and Concentration

If your body is happy, your brain is happy and vice versa. The 20:4 intermittent fasting diet improves your metabolism considerably, hence making it great for your brain health. 20:4 intermittent fasting enhances the levels of a brain hormone, which is known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This hormone has been linked to depression and other multiple brain problems.

Reduces Inflammation

Following the 20:4 intermittent fasting diet reduces oxidative stress along with inflammation. This is mainly because it manages your blood sugar levels and improves insulin resistance.

Disadvantages of 20:4 Intermittent Fasting

Scientific Support

The 20:4 intermittent fasting diet has proven to be really effective when it comes to Wight loss. However, this diet does not have enough scientific evidence to support it. Intermittent fasting, in general, works considerably well for many people. However, there is no guarantee that it will work for everyone. You may want to consult with your doctor before starting the warrior diet.

Food Choices

The warrior diet or 20:4 intermittent fasting plan allows you to consume certain foods. In case you make bad food choices, you can end up being extremely hungry at the end of the day.

Difficult to Follow

Fasting doesn’t come easy to many people, especially for those who prefer munching on something the whole day. 20:4 intermittent fasting is even more difficult since you have a proper 4-hour eating window every day.

Lack of Nutrients

Since the warrior diet allows you to consume one proper meal during the day, it can be pretty hard to fill all your nutritional requirements.

Conclusion

All in all, the 20:4 intermittent fasting plan, also known as the Warrior Diet, is very beneficial. It includes a 20-hour fasting period followed by a 4-hour eating window. However, due to the long fasting hours, this diet isn’t appropriate for children, pregnant women, underweight people, and those with eating disorders. The point is, you should adopt the 20:4 intermittent fasting lifestyle after considering your conditions and future goals.

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