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Vegan Intermittent Fasting: What, How, and Why?
Intermittent Fasting

Vegan Intermittent Fasting: What, How, and Why?

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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on September 24, 2022
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7 min

Can you combine a vegan diet with intermittent fasting? We’ve brought together everything you need to know about vegan intermittent fasting, how to do it, and why you should as well. Read on to find the answers.

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Both intermittent fasting and the vegan diet have become popular in the last decade. They are dietary trends that offer weight loss and health benefits. But can you combine them?

There is no reason why you can’t do both. In fact, there are distinct benefits to doing so, and combining a plant-based diet with intermittent fasting results in a healthy diet that promotes both weight loss and health. 

So, what is a vegan intermittent fasting diet, how do you do it, and what are the benefits? Read on to learn all you need to know about getting started on this new health trend.

Vegan Intermittent Fasting Diet: What Is It?

A vegan intermittent fasting diet combines two of the most popular diet trends: intermittent fasting and the vegan diet. It involves eating only plant-based foods and choosing an intermittent fasting regime such as 16:8, 5:2, or alternate-day fasting to boost your weight loss and health.

In a nutshell, a vegan diet is a way of eating that eliminates all animal products. So, your meals consist of plant-based proteins such as beans and lentils, whole grains, and plenty of vegetables. You can also include plant-based cheese, yogurt, and milk, such as oat milk.

Adding regular fasting periods to your vegan diet is simple. There are more than 10 different intermittent fasting protocols, including alternate-day fasting, 16:8 intermittent fasting, and the Monk Fast. So you are bound to find one that will suit your preferences and help you attain your health and weight loss goals.

Each of these diets on their own can help you lose weight and be healthy, and when they are combined correctly, you can improve your metabolism, reduce chronic inflammation, and enjoy better heart health. 

How to Follow Vegan Intermittent Fasting

The first step in following vegan intermittent fasting is establishing a healthy vegan lifestyle. If you are new to the vegan diet, take some time to develop a balanced meal plan and try new vegan recipes. Develop a daily eating routine that fits in with your day-to-day life.

Then it’s time to add intermittent fasting to your routine. First of all, you have to decide which fasting protocol will work best for you. For example, you might find it easiest to skip breakfast in the beginning to extend your fasting period. Some people can easily fast for 24 hours, and others can find a 12-hour fasting period challenging. Give yourself some time to adapt to the new regimen.

Luckily, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Downloading the leading intermittent fasting app, DoFasting, will help you customize your vegan intermittent fasting diet.

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When you sign up, you will be asked to answer a quiz to establish your dietary requirements and food preferences. After that, your intermittent fasting weight loss journey begins with a personalized diet, workout plan, daily motivation, and plenty of tips and guidance. 

Can You Lose Weight Following a Vegan Intermittent Fasting Diet?

Studies show that there is a link between the vegan diet and weight loss. Scientists believe it’s due to a lower calorie and fat intake, not smaller portions, so instead of a strict calorie restriction, you can eat satisfying portions and still lose weight.

Similarly, research proves that intermittent fasting is effective for weight loss. Eating within a restricted eating window naturally creates an energy restriction when you have a regular fasting period. Unlike traditional weight loss diets, you don’t have to count calories. 

When you combine intermittent fasting with a plant-based diet, your calorie consumption drops even more.

4 Amazing Benefits of Vegan Intermittent Fasting Diet

Plant-based meals are not only low in calories but are also rich in nutrients. There are numerous health benefits associated with vegan intermittent fasting. Here are just four of them:

#1 Reduced blood sugar levels

Intermittent fasting results in a periodic metabolic switch similar to the effects of the ketogenic diet. Your cells start burning fat, or ketones, for energy instead of glucose. 

When you don’t consume any calories for an extended period, your cells must find an alternative energy source, and they must use energy more efficiently. Therefore, your body becomes more sensitive to the effects of insulin. 

Increased insulin sensitivity results in the more efficient movement of sugar out of the blood and into the cells. As a result, your lower blood sugar levels are reduced. 

#2 Reduced inflammation

Vitamins and minerals found in plant-based foods are known to prevent inflammation in the body. Phytonutrients such as resveratrol, flavonoids, and carotenoids are potent antioxidants found in red, orange, yellow, and purple fruit and vegetables and are even more effective.

When you add intermittent fasting to your vegan lifestyle, the anti-inflammatory benefits are increased. Research shows that extending your fasting window modulates your body’s inflammatory response and reduces chronic inflammation

#3 Better heart health

A vegan diet is naturally lower in saturated fats and higher in fiber than a conventional diet. Consequently, it supports heart health by keeping cholesterol levels in check and by controlling your blood pressure

Intermittent fasting supports heart health by reducing inflammation affecting blood vessels. It also improves cholesterol levels and lowers blood pressure. Combining fasting with a vegan diet results in better heart health.

#4 More regular menstrual cycles

Research shows that practicing intermittent fasting can result in more regular menstrual cycles in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). However, it’s worth noting that this benefit is only observed when your eating window occurs earlier in the day.

Possible Drawbacks of Vegan Intermittent Fasting

There are two significant drawbacks of vegan intermittent fasting, and they must be considered before starting the diet.

#1 Malnutrition

Malnutrition is the result of a poorly balanced diet. It’s essential to ensure that your baseline vegan diet provides your body with all the energy and nutrition required. A diet that avoids animal products often lacks vitamin B12, iron, calcium, zinc, and magnesium. 

You must fast responsibly. In other words, don’t create such a small eating window that you cannot meet your body’s nutritional requirements. 

#2 Eating disorders

Intermittent fasting is contraindicated if you have a history of eating disorders. This is because it can trigger the resurgence of anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or binge-eating disorder. Therefore, the same advice applies to the vegan intermittent fasting diet. 

Who Should Not Follow Vegan Intermittent Fasting Diet?

The vegan intermittent fasting diet is not for everyone, and some people should avoid it, including:

  • Children under the age of 12 years
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • People who use insulin for type 1 diabetes
  • People with thyroid disorders

The diet cuts out all animal products that contain higher concentrations of nutrients such as vitamin B12, iron, calcium, zinc, iron, and long-chain unsaturated fatty acids. Children and pregnant and breastfeeding women are especially vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies, which may affect their growth and development.

When you add regular periods of fasting to a vegan diet, you reduce your calorie consumption. Because plant-based foods already have a lower calorie content than animal products, you may not be able to meet your body’s energy requirements with a vegan intermittent fasting diet. This is especially true for children.

If you have diabetes, you must be careful about adopting dietary practices that can influence your blood sugar levels. When you reduce your calorie intake too severely and use insulin or other blood-glucose-lowering medication, your blood sugar level could drop too low. 

FAQs

Can vegans do intermittent fasting?

Yes, vegans can do intermittent fasting. It is a style of eating that promotes both weight loss and health. Make sure your meal plan is well balanced to meet your body’s nutritional requirements.

How to break a fast if you’re vegan?

A nutritious and balanced meal that includes a supply of protein like legumes, nuts, or tofu, a whole-grain carbohydrate like brown rice, barley, or oats, plenty of veggies, and a source of healthy fat like avocados, nuts, seeds, or olive oil is the ideal way to break a fast.

Can vegans do prolonged fasts?

As long as you are eating a balanced vegan diet, you can do prolonged fasts. It is important to remember that a vegan diet, if not balanced, is already a low-calorie diet, and regular fasting reduces your calorie intake further.

A Word From a Dietitian

With the rise in popularity of vegan diets and intermittent fasting, scientists have been researching their effects on our health. The results are promising for both types of diet.

The vegan diet promotes healthier eating habits. They can both be used for weight loss. When you combine plant-based eating with a healthy fasting regime, your calorie intake is significantly lower, and it becomes relatively easy to lose weight and body fat.

Similarly, both diet styles have numerous health benefits ranging from improved blood sugar levels, better heart health, and reduced inflammation. When you practice vegan intermittent fasting, you may enhance its positive effects.

There is always caution when it comes to diets that either cut out food groups or significantly reduce calories. You must ensure you get all the nutrients your body needs from your vegan diet. If any are lacking, you should consider taking a multivitamin supplement.

Conclusion

You can follow an intermittent fasting diet if you are vegan. A plant-based lifestyle that incorporates regular periods of fasting can promote weight loss and boost health. 

A well-balanced vegan diet can form the basis of an intermittent fasting practice. It results in a significant drop in calorie intake, making weight loss faster. It forces your body to switch from using glucose for energy to burning fat in the form of ketones.

The health benefits reflect those enjoyed by people on the keto diet. For example, improved insulin sensitivity, more stable blood sugar levels, reduced inflammation, and lower cholesterol levels. While losing weight, you are also improving your health.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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