Thinking of trying intermittent fasting? Or maybe you’ve been doing it for a while, but looking for a friendly phone app to help you formalize your plan and stay more committed? We got you.
If you’re new to the concept of intermittent fasting (or “IF” as it is sometimes called), here’s basic overview: You don’t eat (“fast”) for a majority of the day, usually about 16 hours. Yeah, that’s it.
Jamie Miller, RD., stresses that a typical diet plan, instead of focusing on what foods to eat, intermittent fasting focuses on when you are eating them.” There are many ways an individual can practice intermittent fasting. But the most popular fasting time frame is ’16/8.’ where you eat your breakfast, lunch, and dinner all within an eight-hour window such as between noon and 8 pm,” she says.
“Participants often find that it is convenient, allowing them to simply not worry about food for a good portion of a busy day. Taking the focus off of food for a set period of time also helps people experience a better relationship with food and less stress around their meal plans,” she adds, also pointing out that supporters often note an improvement in their digestive health because their stomach gets a break from working.
“And for those trying to lose weight, the restriction of calories for a window of time forces the body to use its backup fuel (ideally, body fat) for energy,” Miller says.
Like with any diet regime, there are some drawbacks. “Intermittent fasting is inherently stressful on the body since you are purposely depriving it of energy for 16-24 hours. An individual should be practicing a healthy lifestyle where they are able to sleep seven-to-nine hours a night, eat enough nutrient-dense food, exercise regularly, and recover well, and are not under any significant psychological stress,” says Miller. “This is important because if a body is under the stress of intermittent fasting with other health stressors, it can be too much for the body to handle, and adrenal and thyroid health can be hindered.”
Another thing Miller shares is that if increasing lean muscle mass is your goal, intermittent fasting may not be the best choice. “The small feeding window decreases the opportunities to provide muscles with consistent protein. Intermittent fasting leads to fat burn, but muscle can be sacrificed in the end as well,” she says.
Consult with a doctor before starting with intermittent fasting (or undertaking any major diet changes, for that matter).
Why use an intermittent fasting app at all?
Of course, using an intermittent fasting app is not going to multiply your discipline magically, but you may find it helps you stay accountable to your eating routine.
Another word from the wise when selecting an intermittent fasting app is to consider the unique offers of each app and what would support you best, such as offering creative recipe ideas, educational videos, or interactive journals, says Miller.
Ahead, the five best apps for intermittent fasting.
Miller is a fan of this app for intermittent fasting newbies who want to learn and grow their knowledge. “Zero is a great app to help educate. It offers a large selection of videos and articles, and even provides a feature where users can submit questions to be answered by fasting experts,” she says.
This app not only tracks your fasting window but also allows you to track, log, and analyze your diet.
With Fastient’s journal feature, Miller likes that “users can keep track of personal factors such as their mood, sleep, and exercise performance.” As she notes, this could be helpful for individuals to discover how intermittent fasting impacts their overall well-being. “The app also has a feature to calculate ‘calories spent’ during fasting periods,” she adds, cautioning that users should take the accuracy of this number with a grain of salt since this will not be accounting for factors such as exercise that can impact caloric burn.
This intuitive app is another winner for people who are new to the realm of intermittent fasting. It guides you through your plan. It records your fasting time and also motivates you by offering you some brownie points. It also informs you what is happening inside your body during each milestone in the fast.
Your Smartphone’s Alarm Clock
You can use your phone alarm clock to remind you when to eat. Just set a daily alarm to go off when your eating window closes, and you’re good to go — no app downloads required.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io