There have been new additions to healthy lifestyles as we have learned more and more about the human body and how we work internally. One of the more popular concepts is intermittent fasting, which has become a very dieting habit. However, supplements have also become a popular tool in healthy lifestyles, most notably turmeric supplements. That being said, there remains a concern regarding how turmeric and its supplements might affect the success of intermittent fasting.
We hope to help clarify how taking turmeric supplements might impact your intermittent fasting and whether you can safely consume them without impeding the results.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Now, some of you may only be hearing of intermittent fasting for the first time or are only recently looking into it. You likely want to understand exactly how intermittent fasting works so you can go in knowing what to expect. Intermittent fasting, as you might have guessed, is the practice of fasting and skipping over meals. It is a practice that dates back centuries and retains modern use in several religions.
One thing to note is that there are three variations of intermittent fasting with their own rules and practices that are adopted on a case-by-case basis. Some people prefer one version over another, so part of practicing intermittent fasting is determining which schedule works best for you.
The first type of intermittent fasting is alternate-day fasting. This type deals with alternating between a "feast" day and a fasting day every 24 hours. However, this can yet be broken down into two sub-versions of the fasting protocol. The first is complete alternate-day fasting, in which fast days are spent without any caloric intake whatsoever. The other is modified alternate-day fasting, in which fast days still allow you to eat, but only up to 25% of the normal daily caloric intake. That amounts to about 500 to 700 calories total on fast days instead of the traditional 2,000 calorie intake on feast days. An example of how alternate day fasting schedules might look is:
- Week 1: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday would be feast days, while Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday are fast days.
- Week 2: Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday are feast days, while Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday become fast days.
The second type of intermittent fasting is periodic fasting. This variant involves consecutive fasting over an extended period with only occasional feast days. This means your fast days would exceed the 24-hour fast days used for alternate day fasting methods. The most popular implementation of periodic fasting as of 2012 is the 5:2 diet. This can vary between maintaining the 500 to 700 calorie limitations on the fasting days, which would encompass 48 consecutive hours, or the more extreme method in which the ratio is two weeks with the limitation and the following week would be a feast week. Those with extreme constitutions might even employ complete fasting during the fast days and consume no calories whatsoever until the feast period. Granted, this is not recommended.
The final variation of intermittent fasting is time-restricted feeding. This version only limits the scheduled time at which you are permitted to eat. Generally, the ratio employed here is the 16:8 ratio. This means that you would spend 16 straight hours a day without eating and then 8 hours to consume your daily calories.
Intermittent fasting is not necessarily for everyone and can be extremely difficult for some people. However, for those motivated to use intermittent fasting as a tool, these methods will help clarify what you have to look forward to. But now we come to the question of how supplements factor into the picture.
How Does Turmeric Help with Weight Loss?
Now, those of you looking into intermittent fasting and supplements for weight loss might be wondering how turmeric fits into the effort. The fact is, there has been research into turmeric's health benefits for years now with promising results. Some of these results show that turmeric can be highly beneficial when it comes to weight loss.
The first example of how this orange root can play a role in losing weight lies in a test-tube study conducted on the curcumin found within turmeric, which is really what makes turmeric such a valuable plant. The results found that curcumin is a suppressant for a specific inflammatory that is elevated in people suffering from obesity. By suppressing this inflammatory, you might find gaining weight to be more of a challenge than it usually would be.
Additionally, animal studies found that the curcumin in turmeric promoted weight loss, reduced the growth of fat tissue, and enhanced insulin sensitivity. All of these are extremely effective tools for better regulating weight and keeping your body regulated.
An additional 30-day study was conducted on 44 people with issues losing weight. They were provided two 800 mg supplements of curcumin a day. As a result, they saw significant reductions in body weight, body mass index, and hip and waist circumference. In the human study, the curcumin was supplemented with 8 mg of piperine, a compound found in black pepper that boosts the body's curcumin absorption rates by around 2,000%.
A review of over 21 studies conducted on 1,600 subjects helped connect curcumin intake to overall reduced weight, BMI, and waist circumference and revealed that it increases adiponectin levels. Adiponectin is a hormone naturally produced in the human body to regulate our metabolisms, which direct our bodies on when to burn or store fat depending on nutritional variables.
The research behind curcumin's benefits towards weight loss makes it a viable tool for helping with your weight loss journey. However, there remains a present question about how introducing turmeric into your diet can be accomplished when you employ intermittent fasting as a tool for weight management.
Turmeric and Intermittent Fasting
Now we come to the main question about how supplementing your diet with turmeric might affect your intermittent fasting habits. The answer is, unfortunately, not very straightforward. The reality is that there is no research on how turmeric and its supplements play into dietary habits such as intermittent fasting. Therefore, to get a semblance of how the supplements might impact your fast days, either positively or negatively, we will have to understand the nutritional information of the turmeric itself.
You might be shocked to know that, despite being a vegetable, turmeric has a relatively large calorie count. For example, 100 grams of turmeric amounts to 354 calories total, which means you are consuming nearly four calories per gram of turmeric. Those who enjoy adding raw turmeric to their diet, either by cooking it into a recipe of some sort or simply consuming the root itself, can make fast days complicated. This information shows that intermittent fasting diets will suffer from those who prefer raw turmeric to supplement their weight loss. How it impacts your diet will vary depending on the sort of intermittent fasting you prefer.
That said, no one ever consumed 100 grams of turmeric at once. Our turmeric supplements have a recommended serving size of two capsules, which amounts to 1.2 grams of turmeric (1200 milligrams) per day. That's around 3-4 calories worth of turmeric, which is negligible.
The benefit of supplements is that they use the beneficial compounds found in turmeric without caloric drawbacks. Capsules have virtually no calories; the amounts of any substance found in a supplement are nearly nonexistent.
Some people, particularly those who adhere to a strict zero-calorie fasting method on certain days, may object to even the few calories found in supplements. However, since the point of fasting is to force your body to subsist on stored fat rather than calories you eat, it takes no time at all to burn through those 3-4 calories, leaving the fast largely unaffected.
However, it is crucial to keep in mind that no two people are likely to have the exact same experience and might not enjoy turmeric's same positive effects. In addition, in some very rare cases, you might even suffer a negative side effect due to turmeric consumption.
Turmeric is generally considered safe to consume, but consuming large amounts of it – or getting it from a tainted source – can cause problems. So, as always, you should be careful of the supplements you take and make sure you trust the source.
Some products, no matter how beneficial or appetizing they might be, come with risks. You've probably heard that there is such a thing as "too much of a good thing." This begs the question of what, if any, negative consequences come with turmeric. Fortunately, those associated with turmeric are minimal and conditional. Specifically, the most common side effects born of turmeric consumption are the direct result of pre-existing allergies you might have and are not liable to affect the general population.
Those who have an allergy to turmeric might suffer from reactions including nausea, vomiting, constipation, and even skin rash. However, the allergy to turmeric is a rare enough occurrence that the odds of you having an allergy is slim. However, other pre-existing conditions can have adverse reactions when turmeric is introduced.
If you have a bleeding disorder, turmeric should be avoided since it naturally inhibits the body's ability to clot blood. If you have diabetes, turmeric supplements can have adverse reactions to your diabetes medication and cause your blood sugar levels to plummet. If you have an iron deficiency, turmeric should also be avoided since turmeric hinders iron absorption. Finally, turmeric should be avoided if you have kidney stones since it is high in oxalates and can cause kidney stones to form more often.
In the past, there have also been issues with tainted turmeric. Some turmeric has been contaminated with a lead compound meant to make it look more orange and more attractive to buy. Lead, of course, is a toxic heavy metal you don't want to consume. Fortunately, this hasn't been as much of an issue in recent years. As long as you trust the vendor selling you turmeric, you should be fine.
Ultimately, turmeric has no inherent risks in and of itself and should only be avoided if you have an underlying condition that might cause adverse reactions to occur. Otherwise, it should be relatively safe for average consumption with minimal issues.
Intermittent fasting is a remarkably common dietary practice that has gained a bit of bad press as being categorized as a "fad" that has minimal benefit. However, there is evidence shedding light on the benefits intermittent fasting has on weight management. Unfortunately, when it comes to supplementing your intermittent fasting with turmeric, there is a bit of a learning curve to figure out how to get it to work within the bounds of your variant of intermittent fasting.
Ideally, the best way to introduce turmeric into your diet when intermittent fasting is to use supplementary capsules due to their nonexistent caloric value. This means that even if you employ the standard fasting protocol that affords you up to 700 calories on a fast day or the complete fasting protocol in which you cannot consume any calories, you will be able to get the most out of your fast and your turmeric.
Ultimately, what it all comes down to is how strictly you adhere to an intermittent fasting program. If you're restricting yourself to under 700 calories in a day, adding less than 10 through supplements is perfectly fine. On the other hand, if you're trying to stick to zero calories in a day, you might not want even the few calories a supplement provides. Most people, however, won't have to worry about breaking their fasts through a supplement.
As always, we recommend that you consult with your primary care physician before you begin using any new supplement. If you are looking for supplements to introduce turmeric into your system, there are reliable brands that are easily purchased.
Additionally, if you have any comments, questions, or concerns regarding turmeric usage, our turmeric supplements, or anything similar, feel free to reach out and contact us at any time!