Last updated on November 10th, 2022 at 01:22 pm
It seems like there’s so many rules when it comes to intermittent fasting.
And this is especially true when it comes to the number of meals, or how far apart you should space your meals, throughout the day.
So, there’s a lot of confusion around whether you’re able to eat breakfast and dinner while intermittent fasting.
In fact, there are various intermittent fasting plans, although they all appear to differ in what is considered right and wrong.
So, is fasting between breakfast and dinner long enough?
Or is this unlikely to make any difference?
In this article I’ll reveal whether fasting between the first and last meal of the day is enough.
Table of Contents
Can I Eat Breakfast and Dinner on Intermittent Fasting?
You can eat breakfast and dinner on intermittent fasting, but you need to ensure that you have a long enough fasting window in-between. Studies have shown that it typically takes 10-12 hours of fasting until the body starts to use fat stores for energy. So, you need to ensure that there is enough time between your breakfast and dinner for this to be considered a fasting window.
Is 12 Hours Long Enough For Intermittent Fasting?
It’s not exactly clear-cut whether you can simply eat breakfast and dinner on intermittent fasting.
The main reason for this is that there isn’t an exact number of hours that would constitute an actual fast.
Basically, as well as there being numerous intermittent fasting diets, there are also various opinions about what comprises a fast.
The whole point in intermittent fasting is to give your body long enough without food so that it starts burning your fat stores for energy.
In fact, the process is very similar to the Keto diet, in that once your body starts using fat stores for energy, this will release ketones into the bloodstream.
It is this action that encourages weight and fat loss.
This is different from how the body usually burns your glycogen stores, typically from carbs, for energy.
However, the reason that there isn’t an exact number is that fasting in order to produce ketones will vary from person-to-person.
You must remember that we are all different from each other, and therefore our bodies will typically react differently.
That being said, most studies claim that your fasting window should either be between 10-16 hours or 12-18 hours.
It’s also important to realise that the process of your body using fat stores for energy won’t start immediately.
You must remember that your body has been used to a certain eating schedule, most probably for many years.
Therefore, for your body to start reacting differently to the new stimulus you place upon it will take some time to kick in.
So, you could find that it takes a few days, or even a few weeks, until your body starts using fat stores for energy.
That being said, based on what studies have told us, 12 hours should be long enough for an intermittent fasting window.
However, for me, I believe that this should be the absolute minimum fasting window.
How Many Meals Can I Eat During Intermittent Fasting?
Okay, so we’ve established that a 12-hour fasting window should be sufficient time for your body to convert from burning glycogen for energy to fat stores.
So, if you can separate your breakfast and dinner with a 12-hour time slot, you’re good to go.
However, this is based on the “normal” consumption of three meals a day, except this time you’re losing one of those meals during your fasting window.
So, this begs the question of whether there is a specific number of meals you should be aiming to eat during intermittent fasting.
In truth, there is no exact number, and you can have as many meals as you wish during your eating window.
Realistically, how and what you choose to eat during your eating window is completely up to you.
That being said, it obviously makes a lot of sense to eat well-balanced, healthy, and sensible meals.
Furthermore, you should only eat until satiated, as there is a tendency to overdo things and potentially gorge on food after a fast.
Remember, your aim with intermittent fasting is generally to lose weight.
However, you want to do this in a healthy and logical manner.
Simply eating excessive amounts of junk food during your eating window defeats the object of intermittent fasting.
In effect, you’ll probably end up consuming more calories than you did before, so you’ll end up putting on weight.
Additionally, eating highly-processed foods will typically spike your blood sugar levels.
So, within a few hours when it’s time to fast you’ll probably feel tired and devoid of any energy.
Plus, this is also when your mind starts playing tricks on you and you’re likely to “cheat”.
So, eat as many meals as you want during your eating window, but keep it sensible.
Which Meal is Best to Skip For Intermittent Fasting?
Once again, there is no specific “best” meal to skip for intermittent fasting.
This will very much depend on your personal preferences, as well as your activity levels.
Obviously, you initially wanted to know if you could just eat breakfast and dinner, and therefore the meal you skip will be lunch.
This is fine as long as you can fit in a 12-hour fasting window between breakfast and dinner.
That being said, the most popular intermittent fasting windows are typically 16, 20, or 24 hours.
With this being the case, you’d be hard-pushed to skip lunch and somehow fit in breakfast and dinner.
In reality, the best meal to skip will always be either breakfast or dinner.
The main reason for this is that it will generally include your sleeping time during your fasting window.
This obviously makes intermittent fasting slightly easier, as you’ll hopefully be asleep for around 8 hours of your fasting window.
However, once more, which meal you skip comes down to what’s better for you.
As an example, if you like to workout in the mornings then you may struggle with exercise intensity if you’re just coming off the back of over 12 hours without eating.
So, if you prefer to exercise in the morning then skipping dinner would be your best option, and then have breakfast before your workout.
Then again, breakfast is generally the smallest meal of the day.
In fact, it is estimated that we typically only consume around 20% of our daily calories for breakfast, with the remaining 80% of calories coming from our other meals throughout the day.
So, it could make more sense to miss the smallest meal of the day.
This would also mean that you should be able to enjoy lunch, workout in the late afternoon/early evening, and then you get to eat dinner.
So, as I say, the choice is entirely yours.
Intermittent Fasting – Should I Skip Breakfast or Dinner?
So, I hope you understand that it’s fine to eat breakfast and dinner on intermittent fasting, as long as you have a 12-hour fasting window between meals.
That being said, most intermittent fasting diets require you to fast for 16, 20, or 24 hours.
This would make it extremely difficult to just eat breakfast and dinner, as you probably won’t have enough time between them for a more “traditional” intermittent fasting diet.
The best meal to skip during intermittent fasting is generally either breakfast or dinner.
And this is because it allows you a full night’s sleep as part of your fasting window.
I recently reviewd the Eat Stop Eat intermittent fasting program.
Basically, I decided to answer various questions about the program, based on my own experience.
And once question I saw asked time-and-time again was whether you could eat whatever you like with the Eat Stop Eat diet.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.