What Is Reverse Intermittent Fasting And Is It For You?

You may have heard of intermittent fasting — a set time frame where you rotate between fasting and eating — but have you heard of reverse intermittent fasting? While it follows similar protocols, this biohack is different. Traditional intermittent fasting often skips breakfast and ends the day with a late dinner around 8:00 p.m. Reverse intermittent fasting focuses on refueling early in the morning with your last meal around 5:00 p.m.

Also known as (early) time-restricted eating, MindBodyGreen points out this fasting merges the timing of sunlight and eating to influence your circadian rhythm. Each cell contains a circadian clock and late-night eating can result in slow digestion, fat gain, gastrointestinal concerns, and more (via MindBodyGreen). One 2018 study found that if you delay breakfast and eat dinner earlier — both by 90 minutes — without changing caloric intake, your body will burn more fat (per ScienceDaily). A 2016 study published in JAMA Oncology reported that breast cancer survivors who fasted nightly for 13 hours lost weight and improved their sleep quality. Furthermore, participants who did not fast had a 36% increased risk of breast cancer recurrence.

For those looking to enhance their health, lose weight, or recalibrate their circadian rhythm, reverse intermittent fasting may help. Consult with your doctor if you have concerns.

How to reverse intermittent fast safely

If the thought of timing your eating pattern with daylight excites you, consider adding reverse intermittent fasting to your health toolkit. Keep in mind that reverse intermittent fasting doesn't mean counting calories or restricting certain foods. Instead, it's about timing eating patterns to burn more fat since digestive genes are extremely active in the morning (via MindBodyGreen).

To begin, choose your eating window — it should be less than your typical window, per Healthline. This window can range, but most timed eating is between 6-10 hours (via Healthline). Typically, a snack or 2 will be cut from your diet since you'll have a shorter eating time frame. Aim to fast for 13 hours (between dinner and breakfast), with your last meal being no later than 6:00 pm (via MindBodyGreen). Next, you'll want to extend your fasting to 15 or 16 hours twice a week (via MindBodyGreen). Dinner should be even earlier during this fasting time.

One specific 15 or 16-hour formula MindBodyGreen shares is based on your exposure to the sun. It also involves drinking bulletproof coffee and eating a protein-rich breakfast, all within 30 minutes of waking up. Afterward, eat a normal lunch, stop eating around 2:00 p.m., and monitor light exposure 2 hours before bedtime (via MindBodyGreen).