There are various methods to practice intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is a popular trend to be followed by today’s youngsters. It gained popularity as it causes efficient weight loss, improves metabolism, and can add up healthy years to one’s life. Different eating patterns exist, all are effective but it depends on the individual to find out the best.
Intermittent fasting aims at abstaining the body from eating entirely or partially for a certain fixed duration of time before eating back again. Many research claims it to be an excellent way of eating offering merits like fat loss, good health, and increased lifespan. It is an easy plan to opt for when compared to traditional, calorie-controlled diets.
7 Popular Ways To Do Intermittent Fasting
Fasting for 12 hours a day
This diet plan comes with a simple rule. Here an individual decides and adheres to a 12 hour fasting period every day. Many studies are suggestive of encouraging weight loss by fasting for 10-16 hours. Such fasting can make the body burn the stored fat by releasing ketones in the bloodstream. This 12-hours fasting plan is a good option for beginners because here fasting duration is short and most of the fasting time is spent sleeping while the person consumes the same amount of calories every day. The efficient and convenient way of 12-hour fasting is to include the sleeping time in the fasting duration. For example, an individual can choose to fast between 7 pm to 7 am. Here, the person needs to have dinner before 7 pm and wait until 7 am to have breakfast and most time of fasting is spent sleeping.
Fast for 16 hours
Here, one can fast for 16 hours a day leaving an eating window for only 8 hours. This is referred to as the 16:8 method or the Leangains diet. In the 16:8 diet, men are to fast for 16 hours daily while women can fast for 14 hours. Such an intermittent fasting method is beneficial for an individual who has already tried 12-hour fasting. This way of intermittent fasting makes people have their dinner before 8 pm and skip their breakfast the next day, not eating anything till noon.
A study done on mice suggests, limiting the feeding window to 8 hours can protect mice against obesity, inflammation, diabetes, and liver problems even when they had the same amount of calories they wished to eat.
Fasting twice a week
Many people go for a 5:2 diet plan, where they consume a standard amount of healthy food for 5 days and then cut off or reduce calorie intake for the next 2 days. During the 2 days of fasting, men can consume about 600 calories while women can consume 500 calories. Most people separate these 2 fasting days in a week, they fast on Monday and Thursday and eat normally on the remaining days. It is good to keep a non-fasting day between 2 fasting days.
The 5:2 diet is popularly known as the Fast Diet. This diet decreases insulin levels and brings improvement in insulin sensitivity. It is an effective way of intermittent fasting among overweight women. In this way, a woman may lose around 4.8 percent of her body weight and 8 percent of total body fat. But the measurements may revert after 5 days of normal eating.
Alternate day fast
Fasting every other day is defined as alternate day fasting. Few people, avoid solid foods on fasting days while many people allow themselves to take up to 500 calories. On normal eating days, people may eat as such as they want to. Alternate day fasting is good for effective weight loss and improves heart health in healthy as well as overweight adults. Though alternate fasting is an extreme way of intermittent fasting, it is highly beneficial. Such diet plans are not preferred for beginners and people with underlying medical conditions. Such fasting habits are difficult to be followed for a long time.
24-hour fasting every week
Here people fast for 1 or 2 days a week. This is also known as the Eat-Stop-Eat diet, which refers to no food eating for 24 hours at a time. People fast from one morning to the next morning. However, in this diet plan, people can have water, tea, or different calorie-free drinks during fasting. Non-fasting days, people may return to normal eating. Eating in this plan can minimize an individual’s total calorie intake. This can be challenging for people as this can cause headaches, irritation, and lethargy. Moreover, over time this becomes a less effective way for people to lose weight.
A flexible way of intermittent fasting in beginners. Here, an individual skip meals occasionally. People decide on according to their hunger levels to miss meals intentionally. But, they must have healthy food at each meal. Skipping meals is found to be beneficial in individuals who can monitor their hunger signals. These individuals eat when they feel hungry and skip when they are not. It is easy to follow and requires no extra effort.
This is an extreme type of intermittent fasting. Here, an individual eats very less, only raw fruits and vegetables while being on 20 hours fasting window later can have a single large meal at night. Here the eating period is quite small, only 4 hours. Studies suggest that humans are nocturnal eaters and having a meal at night can allow the body to gain nutrition along with circadian rhythms. In 4 hours eating window, one should consume a good amount of vegetables, proteins, and healthy fat. It is difficult to manage such diet plans and can increase the chances of cancer while harming the digestive as well as immune health.
It is not easy to follow intermittent fasting. One should be confident and determined to follow the diet plan. These various methods of intermittent fasting can work differently on individuals. It is important to not extend the fasting as this can cause harm to the body. Therefore, a healthy and balanced diet should be consumed on non-fasting days. If required, one can seek help from a nutritionist to avoid intermittent fasting pitfalls.