Eat Stop Eat may well be one of the most popular intermittent fasting diets, but does it really work?
As someone who has tried and tested Eat Stop Eat, I feel I am in a position to answer this question.
Additionally, I have scoured numerous online forums and Q&A websites for the many other questions often asked about Eat Stop Eat.
And I have answered these questions in more detail for you below.
Does Eat Stop Eat Really Work?
Yes, Eat Stop Eat definitely works. The process of intermittent fasting can boost your metabolism, regulate your blood sugar levels, plus it teaches your body to use fat stores for energy. All these factors are ideal when it comes to losing weight. However, Eat Stop Eat is not for everyone, and a 24-hour fast is not recommended for nursing mothers, pregnant women, people with diabetes, or those who have eating disorders, or suffer from stress or anxiety.
1. What is the Eat Stop Eat Diet?
The Eat Stop Eat diet is a form of intermittent fasting.
Basically, you will fast for two 24-hour periods each week and eat responsibly for the remaining 5 days of the week.
Now, note that I said “two 24-hour periods” and not two days.
The reason for this is that you should actually eat every single day on the Eat Stop Eat diet.
However, let’s say that your 24-hour fast goes from 8am one day until 8am the next day.
You would then eat breakfast BEFORE 8am the first day, and then break your fast AFTER 8am the following day.
So, in effect, you are actually eating something 7 days a week, but this is interspersed with two full 24-hour periods without consuming any food.
Intermittent Fasting – Fact or Fiction?
2. Can You Eat Anything on Eat Stop Eat?
You can actually eat whatever you want on the Eat Stop Eat diet.
However, the creator, Brad Pilon, specifically emphasises that you should “eat responsibly”.
Okay, I want to give you a quick example, but this does go a little against what you’ll learn in the Eat Stop Eat program
Eat Stop Eat is NOT about counting calories, but I want to use calories to emphasise my point, if that’s okay with you?
You can first calculate your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure).
This will give you an idea of how many calories you should eat on a daily basis.
The calculation is based on your sex, age, height, weight, and activity levels.
You will then know how much you can eat to maintain your current weight.
This actual figure is what you should stick to on 5 days of “normal” eating.
There’s no need to eat less than this, as you must remember there will be two whole 24-hour periods where you won’t be eating anyway.
Realistically, you can eat whatever you want, whether you’re following Eat Stop Eat or another diet, as long as you stick to your daily calorie requirements.
In effect, let’s say that your TDEE is 2,000 calories, that 2,000 calories can be made up of anything.
So, if you can keep burgers, fries, pizza, and ice cream to within 2,000 calories, then that’s fine.
With that being said, if you do choose to go this route, then you’re likely to feel extremely hungry and you won’t be doing your overall health much good.
Get More of Your Calories From Protein
As an example, if you ate a Quarterpounder burger, large fries, and a large coke, this is approximately 1,500 calories.
In other words, this would take up the vast majority of your daily calories, and is definitely not enough to see you through the entire day.
Furthermore, eating foods like this will generally leave you feeling tired and lethargic.
And this is typically when your mind gives up and you start eating just to make yourself feel better.
I’ll also say that it makes sense to get a fair percentage of your food from protein.
This will help you to feel fuller for longer, as well as ensuring that you maintain muscle mass
Your aim on any diet is to maintain muscle mass (and yes, we ALL have muscle), while decreasing fat mass.
A decent amount of protein to aim for is 1g per one pound of bodyweight.
So, as a 170-lb person you should be trying to eat 170g of protein.
As 1g of protein is 4 calories, this means that your protein intake should be 680 calories for your non-fasting days.
Looking at the above example of Quarterpounder, Fries, and Coke, you’ll be consuming approximately 35g of protein.
Essentially, you have nearly consumed your entire daily calorie intake and only about 20% of your protein requirement.
Basically, it doesn’t compute, and this is why Brad says to “eat responsibly”.
You Don’t Actually Need to “Count Calories” with Eat Stop Eat
Now, just to throw the cat amongst the pigeons, Eat Stop Eat doesn’t actually require you to calorie-count, as you would with most traditional diets.
The reason for this is that if you can simply eat responsibly on your “eating days” (just eat until you feel satisfied, and then stop eating), you’ll be fine.
If you ensure that you’re getting enough protein, you will typically feel quite full and well satiated for the day anyway.
This doesn’t mean you should ignore carbohydrates and healthy fats by the way.
But, once more, I’ll repeat, just eat until you feel satisfied.
Plus, once you add this to your two 24-hour periods of “non-eating” you’ll boost your metabolism.
And this can literally turn your body into a fat-burning machine.
3. How Long Should I Do Eat Stop Eat?
How long you should do Eat Stop Eat will obviously depend on you and your overall weight loss goals.
However, this isn’t specifically a permanent lifestyle change, but rather a short-term fix.
With that being said, the aim is to also learn how to live a healthier lifestyle, and these tools are given to you within the Eat Stop Eat program.
Most experts agree that you should follow the basic rules of intermittent fasting for around 10 weeks.
By this time you should have noticed some positive changes.
And these aren’t just changes to your physique, but also your mental and emotional well-being.
With that being said, this doesn’t mean that you can gorge yourself on food after a 10-week period.
Clearly, this will lead to you putting weight back on again, and it isn’t particularly good for your internal organs and overall health.
4. Can You Do Eat Stop Eat Every Day?
Firstly, Eat Stop Eat is all about intermittent fasting.
And to be honest, there are so many different types of intermittent fasting schedules it’s enough to make your head spin.
However, some versions should be done on a daily basis.
A prime example of this would be 16:8 and 14:10, whereby the first number is your fasting window, and the second number is your eating window.
Therefore, in the first example you would need to fast for 16 hours and then eat everything you’re going to eat for that day within an 8-hour window.
With that being said, Eat Stop Eat is most similar to the twice-a-week method, also known as 5:2.
Admittedly, the 5:2 diet is slightly different, as this involves calorie-counting, and only eating 25% of your usual calories for two days of the week.
However, in effect, with Eat Stop Eat you eat normally for 5 days of the week, and fast for two days.
But, as I’ve already mentioned, with Eat Stop Eat you will actually be eating something every day.
Your 24-hour fasting period will typically be, let’s say, from 8am to 8am, so this obviously includes sleep.
But, you’ll eat something at say 7am before your fast starts, and then eat again the following day at 8.01am to break your fast.
So, as you can see, this is based on a weekly protocol rather than fasting on a daily basis.
5. Can You Build Muscle on the Eat Stop Eat Diet?
Now, I can completely understand you wondering whether you can build muscle on the Eat Stop Eat Diet.
By this I mean that Eat Stop Eat is specifically aimed at those wanting to lose weight, which typically goes against the main principles of building muscle.
Basically, building muscle usually requires you to be in a calorie surplus, while losing weight generally requires you to be in a calorie deficit.
With that being said, I mentioned earlier that protein is your best friend when it comes to eating and feeling satiated.
Plus, protein consumption can also help you to maintain muscle mass.
I also spoke of looking to eat 1g of protein per pound of body weight on your “eating days”.
However, you can actually increase your protein consumption (within reason), which in combination with regular strength-training workouts can help you to build muscle.
And this is still possible while using Eat Stop Eat’s intermittent fasting diet.
Furthermore, Eat Stop Eat can also help you to boost your metabolism, which isn’t only fantastic for burning body fat, but also for building muscle.
So firstly, aim to consume 1.2g-1.6g of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Next, stick to the big compound lifts in the gym, i.e. squat, deadlift, bench press, bent-over row, and overhead press.
And finally, ensure that you only hit the gym on the days that you are eating in full.
In other words, do not go to the gym during your two 24-hour fasting periods.
Brad Pilon – Eat Stop Eat Podcast
6. Is the Eat Stop Eat Diet Healthy?
Eat Stop Eat, and intermittent fasting in general, is a healthy way to lose weight.
With that being said, it shouldn’t be used by everyone, and can actually be quite unhealthy for certain individuals (I’ll cover these in the next section).
However, this type of diet has proven to be good for heart health, typically improving both blood pressure and resting heart rate.
Furthermore, Eat Stop Eat will help to boost your metabolism, which is a great way to burn body fat.
Plus, often individuals who are overweight or obese will have slow metabolic rates.
And it is actually this, when coupled with poor dietary choices, that leads to many individuals being overweight.
In truth, not only can Eat Stop Eat help you to lose weight, but can expect more energy and even a more youthful appearance.
You can also say that Eat Stop Eat is better for your overall mental wellbeing.
For the vast majority of diets you will be restricting calories on a daily basis.
And if you’ve ever tried this before, you know what a mental and emotional struggle this can be.
And unfortunately, stress typically raises your cortisol levels, which in turn can actually make you put on weight and make you age quicker.
However, much of this stress is removed, as Eat Stop Eat allows you to eat pretty much what you like (within reason) for 5 days a week.
So, as long as you follow the process outlined in Eat Stop Eat, it can be a very healthy way to lose weight.
7. What is the Downside to the Eat Stop Eat Method?
Okay, so I’ve mentioned that Eat Stop Eat may not be suitable for everyone, so let’s have a look at these now.
Firstly, the body typically uses carb stores (glucose) for energy, and when these are depleted, it will then use fats, and even protein, for energy.
So, when you are fasting, even while going about your normal daily activities, you will still be using stored energy.
Therefore, once your glucose stores have been depleted, your body will start using stored fat for energy.
This is great.
In fact, this Is actually the same principle as the Keto diet, although Keto involves a more permanent restriction of carbs.
So, as you’re initially getting used to your body using a different energy source, you may experience fatigue, dizziness, and even mood swings.
Additionally, even though this type of intermittent fasting will actually help to regulate blood sugar levels, it probably isn’t suitable for someone with diabetes.
The main reason for this is that someone with diabetes will find it extremely difficult (and potentially very dangerous) to go 24 hours without food.
In fact, this could lead to a severe drop in blood sugar levels.
Furthemore, I wouldn’t suggest Eat Stop Eat is suitable for nursing mothers and those who are pregnant.
Your body needs all the nutrients it can get, and you definitely don’t want to have to worry about your blood sugar levels dropping.
I will also say that the Eat Stop Eat method may cause certain hormonal changes (once more, not something that a nursing mother/pregnant woman should go through).
Eat Stop Eat will actually boost Human Growth hormone, which is perfect for reducing water retention and maintaining muscle mass.
However, much like any diet, this can also raise cortisol levels (the stress hormone).
This also means that if you are someone currently suffering from stress or anxiety, or even if you have certain disordered thoughts around eating, then Eat Stop Eat probably isn’t for you.
Admittedly, Eat Stop Eat can actually solve many of these problems, but it actually makes more sense to deal with these underlying issues first.
So, hopefully you now can see that Eat Stop Eat definitely does work.
With that being said, Eat Stop Eat, and intermittent fasting in general, is not suitable for everyone.
However, for the vast majority of people, Eat Stop Eat, will help to boost your metabolism, lead to hormonal changes that will help you to lose body fat and maintain muscle mass.
Furthermore, Eat Stop Eat is a fantastic way to regulate your blood sugar levels, as well as giving you more energy and even a more youthful appearance.
Finally, this is a great way to learn about your own eating habits and hopefully improve on these permanently.
Hi, I’m Partha, the founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I’m someone who’s been passionate about exercise and nutrition for more years than I care to remember. I’ve studied, researched, and honed my skills for a number of decades now. So, I’ve created this website to hopefully share my knowledge with you. Whether your goal is to lose weight, burn fat, get fitter, or build muscle and strength, I’ve got you covered.