Intermittent fasting has recently become a food trend, and it is claimed that, in addition to weight loss, it improves metabolic activity and perhaps extends life.
There are several methods to follow this eating pattern.
Each can be effective, it depends on the individual to understand which works best for their body.
In this article we have reported the six most popular methods to follow the intermittent fasting diet, maybe you will find just the right one for you!
1. The 16/8 method
The 16/8 diet method involves fasting daily for 14-16 hours and limiting your daily eating window to 8-10 hours. Within the food window, it is then possible to insert two, three or more meals.
This method is also known as the Leangains protocol and was popularized by fitness expert Martin Berkhan. Following it can be as simple as not eating anything after dinner and skipping breakfast, especially for those who are used to it in their daily life. For example, if you finish your last meal at 8pm and don't eat until noon the next day, you are technically fasting for 16 hours.
It is generally recommended that women only fast 14-15 hours, as they seem to do better with slightly shorter fasts. For people who are hungry in the morning and love to eat breakfast, this method can be difficult at first, however, even many breakfast lovers instinctively eat this way.
While fasting, you can drink water, coffee, and other zero-calorie beverages, which can help reduce feelings of hunger. It is very important to eat mostly healthy food during fasting. This method doesn't work if you eat a lot of junk food or too many calories.
2. The 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 diet involves eating normally 5 days a week, limiting your calorie intake to 500-600 for 2 days a week. This diet is also called the Fast Diet and was popularized by British journalist Michael Mosley. On fasting days, women are recommended to eat 500 calories and men 600.
This is one way to make the intermittent fasting diet much easier. For example, you could eat normally every day of the week except Mondays and Thursdays. For those two days, eat 2 small meals of 250 calories each for women and 300 calories each for men. As critics rightly point out, there are no studies testing the 5:2 diet, but there are plenty of studies on the benefits of intermittent fasting.
3. Eat. Stop. Eats
The "Eat Stop Eat" method involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week. This method was popularized by fitness expert Brad Pilon: Fasting from dinner one day to dinner the next day results in a complete 24-hour fast.
So for example, if you finish dinner at 7pm on Monday and don't eat until dinner at 7pm the next day, you have completed a full 24 hour fast. You can also fast from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch, the end result is the same. Water, coffee, and other zero-calorie beverages are allowed during the fast, but solid foods are not allowed.
If you are doing this to lose weight, it is very important that you eat normally while fasting. In other words, you should eat the same amount of food as if you had not been fasting. The potential downside to this method is that a complete 24-hour fast can be quite difficult for many people. However, you don't need to go fasting right away. It's okay to start with 14-16 hours, and work your way up from there.
4. Fast every other day
In alternate day fasting, you fast… every other day. There are several versions of this method, some of which allow you to eat around 500 calories on fasting days instead of just skipping meals completely. Many studies showing the health benefits of the intermittent fasting diet have used versions of this method.
A complete fast every other day may seem pretty extreme, so it's not recommended for beginners. Indeed, with this method, one can go to bed very hungry several times a week, which is not very pleasant and would probably prove unsustainable in the long run.
5. The Warrior Diet
The Warrior Diet was popularized by fitness expert Ori Hofmekler: It involves eating small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables throughout the day and eating one large meal in the evening. In practice, one fasts all day and feasts in the evening within a four-hour window.
The Warrior Diet was one of the first popular diets to include a form of intermittent fasting. The food choices of this diet are very similar to those of the paleo diet: mostly whole, unprocessed foods.
6. Skipping meals spontaneously
You don't always have to follow a structured intermittent fasting plan to reap some benefits, another option is to simply skip meals occasionally, such as when you're not hungry or too busy to cook and eat. It is a myth that people need to eat every few hours to avoid falling into fasting mode or losing muscle. Your body is well equipped to handle long periods of starvation, not to mention the possibility of occasionally missing a meal or two.
So, if you're not really hungry one day, skip breakfast and eat a healthy lunch and dinner. Or, if you're traveling somewhere and can't find anything to eat, go on a short fast. Skipping a meal or two when you're inclined to do so is basically a spontaneous, intermittent fast. But be sure to eat healthy foods at other meals.
Some final advice
Intermittent fasting is a weight loss method that works for many people, though not everyone. Some believe it may not be as beneficial for women as it is for men. It is also not recommended for people who have or are prone to eating disorders.
If you decide to try intermittent fasting, keep in mind that the quality of the diet is key. You cannot binge on junk food during your eating times and expect to lose weight and improve your health.