Intermittent fasting is becoming a health trend recently. It’s claimed to causing weight loss, improving metabolic health, and perhaps even extending lifespan.
Various methods of this eating pattern exist.
Every method can be an effective one, but figuring out which method will work best depends on the individual.
Below are 6 popular ways to do intermittent fasting.
- The 16/8 method
The 16/8 method requires fasting every day for about 14–16 hours and restricting the daily eating window to about 8–10 hours.
Within the eating window, two, three, or more meals can be fit in
This method is also called as the Leangains protocol
Carrying on this method of fasting can actually be as easy as not eating anything after dinner and skipping breakfast.
For example, if finishing the last meal at around 8 p.m. and not eating until noon the next day, this is technically fasting for 16 hours.
It’s generally suggested for women that they should only fast 14–15 hours because they seem to do better with slightly shorter fasts.
For people who are getting hungry in the morning and like to eat breakfast, this method may be difficult to get used to at first. However, many people who skip breakfast instinctively eat this way.
Water, coffee, and other zero-calorie beverages can be drank during the fast, which can help reduce feelings of hunger.
During the eating window, it is vital to primarily consume healthy foods. This method won’t work if lots of junk food is eaten or an excessive intake of number of calories.
- The 5:2 diets
The 5:2 diet requires to eat normally 5 days of the week while restricting the calorie intake to 500–600 for 2 days of the week.
This diet is also known as the Fast Diet
On the fasting days, it’s suggested that women should intake 500 calories and men 600.
For example, eating normally for every day of the week except Mondays and Thursdays. For those two days, eat 2 small meals of 250 calories intake each for women and 300 calories intake each for men.
As critics correctly put a question on it, there are no studies testing the 5:2 diet itself, but there are plenty of researches on the benefits of intermittent fasting.
- Eat Stop Eat
Eat Stop Eat required a 24-hour fast for once or twice per week.
This method has been quite popular for a few years.
A full 24 hour fast is amounted to fasting from dinner one day to dinner the next day
For example, if finishing dinner at 7 p.m. Monday and not eating until dinner at 7 p.m. the next day, a full 24-hour fast completed. Fasting can also be done from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch but the end result is the same
Water, coffee, and other zero-calorie beverages are allowed to consume during the fast, but solid foods are not permitted.
If this is being done to lose weight, it’s very crucial to eat normally during the eating periods. In other words, the same amount of food should be eaten as if fasting is not done at all.
The potential drawback of this method is that a full 24-hour fast may be fairly difficult for many people to maintain. However, it is not needed to go all in right away. It’s would be fine to start with 14–16 hours, and then moving upward from there.
- Alternate-day fasting
Fasting is done every other day in alternate-day fasting
There are various different versions of this method. Some of them allow about 500 calories intake during the fasting days.
Many of the test-tube researches shows health benefits of intermittent fasting using some version of this method.
A full fast every other day can seem rather extreme, so it’s not suggested for beginners.
With this method, going to bed very hungry several times per week, which may not be very pleasant and probably not sustainable in the long term
- The Warrior Diet
The warrior diet involves eating small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables during the day and consuming one huge meal at night.
Basically, fasting is done all day and feast at night within a four-hour eating window.
The Warrior Diet was considered one of the first popular diets to include a type of intermittent fasting.
Food choices for this diet are quite similar to that of the paleo diet which is mostly whole, unprocessed foods.
- Spontaneous meal skipping
A structured intermittent fasting plan is not needed to be followed to reap some of its benefits. Another option is simply skipping meals from time to time, such as when you not feeling hungry or is too busy to cook and eat.
It’s a fantasy that people need to eat every few hours in case they hit starvation mode or lose muscle. The body is well functioned to handle long periods of famine, let alone missing one or two meals from time to time.
Thus, if not feeling really hungry one day, skip breakfast and just eat a healthy lunch and dinner. Or, if travelling somewhere and can’t find anything to eat, do a short fast.
Skipping one or two meals when feeling inclined to do so is basically a spontaneous intermittent fast.
During the other meals make sure to eat healthy food
The bottom line
Intermittent fasting is a weight loss tool that can or cannot work for many people
Some people are in the belief that it may not be as beneficial for women as for men. It’s also not suggested for people who have or are prone to eating disorders.
If deciding to try intermittent fasting, diet quality is crucial this is to be kept in mind. It’s not possible to intake excessive on junk foods during the eating periods and expects to lose weight and boost health.