There are many different forms of intermittent fasting. The methods vary in the number of days of fasting and the amounts of calories.
Intermittent fasting involves completely or partially abstaining from eating for a set amount of time, before eating regularly again.
Some studies suggest that this way of eating may offer benefits such as fat loss, better health, and longevity. Proponents claim that an intermittent fasting program is easier to maintain than traditional calorie-controlled diets.
Each person experiences intermittent fasting in their own way, and different styles suit different people.
In this article, we take a look at the science behind the most popular types of intermittent fasting and provide tips on how to maintain this type of diet.
Seven ways to do intermittent fasting
There are several methods of intermittent fasting, and each person will prefer a different one. Read on for seven different ways to do intermittent fasting.
1. Fast for 12 hours a day
The rules for this diet are simple. In principle, you should decide on a fasting period of 12 hours every day and adhere to it.
According to some researchers, fasting for 10 to 16 hours can cause the body to convert its fat stores into energy, thereby releasing ketones into the bloodstream. This should stimulate weight loss.
This type of intermittent fasting plan can be a good option for beginners. This is because the fasting period is relatively short, much of the fast occurs while sleeping, and the person can consume the same number of calories each day.
The easiest way to do the 12-hour fast is to include sleep time in the fasting window.
For example, a person might choose to fast between 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. He would have to finish his dinner before 7:00 p.m. and not eat breakfast until 7:00 a.m., but most of this time he would. I would pass by sleeping.
2. Fast for 16 hours
Fasting 16 hours a day, leaving an 8-hour feeding window, is known as the 16: 8 method or the Leangains diet.
In this mode of the diet, men fast for 16 hours each day and women for 14 hours. This type of intermittent fasting can be helpful for someone who has already tried the 12-hour fast, but saw no benefit.
In this fast, dinner is usually finished at 8:00 pm and then breakfast is not eaten the next day, but is not eaten again until noon.
A study in mice found that limiting the feeding window to 8 hours protected them from obesity, inflammation, diabetes, and liver disease, even when they consumed the same total number of calories as mice that ate at any one time.
3. Fast for 2 days a week
People on the 5: 2 diet eat regular amounts of healthy foods for 5 days and reduce their calorie intake for the other 2 days.
During the 2 days of fasting, men usually consume 600 calories and women 500.
It is common for people to separate their fasting days into the week. For example, they can fast on Monday and Thursday, and eat normally on other days. It is necessary to leave at least 1 day without fasting between fasting days.
Research on the 5: 2 diet, which is also known as the fast diet, is limited. A study involving 107 overweight or obese women found that both restricting calories twice a week and restricting them continuously led to similar weight loss.
The study also found that this diet lowered insulin levels and improved insulin sensitivity among the participants.
A small study looked at the effects of this style of fasting in 23 overweight women. Throughout a menstrual cycle, women lost 4.8% of their body weight and 8.0% of their total body fat. However, these measurements returned to normal for most of the women after 5 days of returning to their normal diet.
4. Fasting on alternate days
There are several variations on the alternate day fasting plan, which involves fasting every other day.
For some people, alternate-day fasting means avoiding solid foods entirely on fast days, while other people can consume up to 500 calories. On non-fasting days, they often choose to eat as much as they want.
One study reports that alternate-day fasting is effective for weight loss and heart health in both healthy and overweight adults. The researchers found that the 32 participants lost an average of 5.2 kilograms (kg), or just over 11 pounds (lb), over a 12-week period.
Alternate-day fasting is a very extreme form of intermittent fasting, and may not be suitable for beginners or people with certain medical conditions. It can also be difficult to maintain this type of fast in the long term.
5. Weekly 24-hour fast
Fasting completely for 1 or 2 days a week, known as Eat-Stop-Eat, involves not eating food for 24 hours at a time. Many people fast from breakfast to breakfast or from lunch to lunch.
People who follow this diet plan can drink water, tea, and other calorie-free beverages during the fasting period.
But they should go back to their normal eating patterns on non-fasting days. Eating this way reduces a person’s total calorie intake, but does not limit the specific foods they can consume.
A 24-hour fast can be challenging and can cause fatigue, headache, or irritability. Many say that these effects diminish over time as the body adjusts to this new eating pattern.
Benefits may be realized by attempting a 12- or 16-hour fast before moving on to the 24-hour fast.
6. Skip meals
This flexible approach to intermittent fasting may be best for beginners. It involves skipping meals occasionally.
People can decide which meals to skip based on their level of hunger or time constraints. But, it is important that they eat healthy foods at every meal.
The skip meals method is more likely to be successful when people monitor and respond to their body’s hunger signals. In short, people who use this style of intermittent fasting will eat when they are hungry and skip meals when they are not.
This may seem more natural to some people than the other fasting methods.
7. The warrior’s diet
This diet is a relatively extreme form of intermittent fasting.
The warrior diet involves eating very little, usually just a few servings of raw fruits and vegetables, during a 20-hour fasting period, and then eating a large meal in the evening. The feeding window is usually about 4 hours.
This form of fasting may be better for people who have already tried other forms of intermittent fasting.
Supporters of the warrior diet claim that humans are by nature nocturnal eaters and that allows the body to obtain nutrients in harmony with its circadian rhythms.
During the 4-hour phase in which they eat, people should make sure to consume plenty of vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats. They should also include some carbohydrates.
While it is possible to eat some foods during the fasting period, it can be challenging to adhere to strict guidelines on when and what to eat in the long run. Also, some people find it very difficult to eat that much so close to bedtime.
There is also a risk that people on this diet will not eat enough nutrients, such as fiber. This can increase the risk of cancer and negatively affect digestive and immune health.MEDICAL NEWS TODAY NEWSLETTERKnowledge is power. Get our free daily newsletter.
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Tips for not giving up intermittent fasting
It can be difficult to maintain an intermittent fasting program.
The following tips can help you stay on track and maximize the benefits of intermittent fasting:
- Keep hydrated. Drink plenty of water and calorie-free beverages, such as herbal teas, throughout the day.
- Avoid obsessing over food. On fasting days, keep busy to avoid thinking about food, for example, catching up on your paperwork or watching a movie.
- Rest and relax. Avoid strenuous activities on fast days, although light exercise like yoga may help.
- Be smart when choosing your calories. If the plan you choose allows for some calories during periods of fasting, select nutrient-dense foods that are rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. You can eat beans, lentils, eggs, fish, nuts, and avocado.
- Eat high-volume foods. Select foods that are satisfying but low in calories, such as popcorn, raw vegetables, and fruits with high water content, such as grapes and cantaloupe.
- Enhance the flavor without the calories. Season your food generously with garlic, herbs, spices, or vinegar. These foods are extremely low in calories, yet packed with flavor, which can help keep you from feeling hungry.
- Choose nutrient-dense foods after the fasting period. Eat foods high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to keep your blood sugar levels healthy and avoid nutrient deficiencies. A balanced diet will also contribute to weight loss and general health.
There are many ways to do intermittent fasting, and there is no one plan that works for everyone. People will do better if they try different styles to see which one suits their lifestyle and preferences.
Regardless of the type of intermittent fasting, fasting for long periods when your body is unprepared can cause problems.
These forms of diet may not be suitable for everyone. If a person is prone to experiencing eating problems, these approaches can exacerbate their negative relationship with food.
People with health problems, including diabetes, should speak with a doctor before trying any form of fasting.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet on non-fasting days is essential for best results. If necessary, you can seek professional help to customize an intermittent fasting plan and avoid inconvenience.
If you need more information, see the definitive guide for beginners MNT on intermittent fasting.