What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is the idea of voluntarily choosing not to eat for physical, mental, or spiritual reasons. It is a natural process that has been practiced throughout history and can be practiced on a daily basis – or whenever one chooses to do so. IF is less about what you eat and more about when you eat.
Types of Intermittent fasting diets
16/8 Fasting Diet
• This is an intermittent fasting diet where you limit eating to a single eight-hour window every day, typically between noon and 8 p.m.
• For best results, limit carbs to dinner, and stay hydrated throughout the day with plenty of water.
• After adapting to a 16-hour fast, try an 18-hour fast with a six-hour eating window to get even more out of intermittent fasting.
The 16/8 diet is one of the most popular fasting diets. It makes the perfect transition for anyone new to fasting. Basic 16/8 does not restrict your food choices during your eating window. However, a lower-carb diet with nutrient-dense foods can boost your results.
5:2 Fasting Diet
• Eat as usual for five days per week. Two days a week, limit calories to 500-600 maximum.
• Enjoy three small meals or two slightly bigger meals during calorie-restricted days.
• To feel less hungry, space your fasting days between eating days.
Studies show that 5:2 fasting may lead to weight loss and improved insulin resistance (which can reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes) compared to cutting calories alone. For best results, eat nutritious foods like green veggies and fish on non-fasting days, and try not to overeat.
Eat Stop Eat Fasting Diet
• Fast for 24 hours twice per week, and eat normally the other five days.
• During normal eating days, eat nutritious foods. You don’t have to eliminate food groups or give up the foods you love — your fasting time provides all the calorie restriction you need.
• You can still eat something every day. Eat at 7 a.m. on Friday, begin your fast at 8 a.m. and eat again after 8:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Similar to 5:2, the Eat Stop Eat fasting diet allows you to follow normal eating patterns most of the week. However, there is no specific data to support the diet’s effectiveness.
Alternate Day Fasting Diet
• Fast every other day and eat what you want during non-fasting days.
• On fasting days, limit yourself to 500 calories.
• Eat as much as you want on non-fasting days.
Takeaways: The 4:3 plan may help you manage your weight. But with so much fasting, it can be really hard to stick to the plan. Research suggests that this particular fasting diet leads to feelings of hunger and irritability, which may keep you from adopting it long-term. To stay strong, stay busy and distracted. On fasting days, have high-fat, lower-carb snacks ready when your energy gets low.
Intermittent fasting benefits
This might go against what you’ve heard about eating frequency in the past. Skipping a meal won’t send your body into “starvation mode.” And although there’s nothing wrong with eating breakfast, there are major benefits to giving your body an extended break between meals. Let’s look at the benefits of IF.
• Weight: Your body preferentially uses glucose (carbs) for energy. When you fast, your body uses up available glucose and then transitions to burning fat for fuel. This puts you in a fat-burning state called ketosis. In animal and human studies, intermittent fasting has been shown to help prevent insulin resistance and leptin resistance, which may assist with weight management.
• Helps remove cellular waste: Over time, your cells naturally accumulate damaged cells and waste — junk that can interfere with cellular function. In rodent studies, intermittent fasting has been shown to promote a process called autophagy, which is what happens when your body clears out the junk so your body can work even better.
• Supports healthy aging: Studies show that intermittent fasting can help protect your cardiovascular system and how you manage blood sugar to support healthy aging. It even helps promote feelings of tranquility and alertness. In rodent studies, intermittent fasting has been shown to increase lifespan and protect against disease.
How do you lose weight with Intermittent Fasting
If you skip meals and create a calorie deficit, you will lose weight. That is unless you compensate for the fasting periods with foods that are packed with fat and sugar. It can happen: This type of eating pattern does not necessarily tell you what foods you should or shouldn’t eat. Studies have found that intermittent fasting (if done properly) can be just as effective at preventing Type 2 diabetes as a daily reduction in calories. Plus, your body can learn to process the foods consumed during the “eating window” better and more efficiently.
A study on intermittent fasting has shown that a combination of the 16/8 method and strength training (with your own body weight, as well as free weights) can reduce more body fat than strength training alone. However, there was no sign of muscle growth in the subjects included in the study.
Note: This type of dieting is not necessarily suitable for people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or pregnant & breastfeeding women. You should check with your doctor before changing your eating pattern.
Is intermittent fasting good for you?
Intermittent fasting might be the simplest diet ever! And its potential health benefits are so vast and varied, it almost seems too good to be true! Whether you want to enhance athletic performance or energy, promote healthy weight management, or support brain health, intermittent fasting may help.