Various methods of this eating pattern exist.
Every method can be effective, but checking out which one is best depends on the individual.
Following are 6 popular ways to do intermittent fasting.
1. The 16/8 method
The 16/8 method includes fasting every day for 14–16 hours and limiting your daily eating window to 8–10 hours.
Within the eating slot, you can take two, three, or more meals.
This method is also called the Leangains protocol and was generalized by fitness expert Martin Berkhan.
Following this type of fasting can actually be very simple like not eating anything after dinner and skipping breakfast.
For example, if you finish your last meal at 7 p.m. and don’t eat until 1 p.m. next day, you’re practically fasting for 16 hours.
It’s typically suggested that women only fast 14–15 hours because they seem to do better with little shorter duration of fasts.
For people who get hungry in the morning and like to take breakfast, this method may be difficult to get used to initially. However, many breakfast skippers automatically eat this way.
You can drink water, coffee, and other zero-calorie beverages during your fasting window. which can help decrease feelings of hunger.
It’s very essential to basically eat healthy foods during your eating period. This method won’t work if you eat lots of junk food or foods having high calories.
2. The 5:2 diet
The 5:2 diet includes eating normally 5 days of the week while limiting your calorie consut to 500–600 for 2 days of the week.
This diet is also known as the Fast Diet and was generalized by British journalist Michael Mosley.
On the fasting days, it’s suggested that women take 500 calories and men 600.
For example, you might eat normally every day of the week except Tuesdays and Fridays. In those two days, you 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 approving the 5:2 diet itself, but there are lots of studies on the benefits of intermittent fasting.
3. Eat Stop Eat
Eat Stop Eat involves a 24-hour fast once or two times a week.
This way of fasting was popularized by fitness expert Brad Pilon and has been very popular for a few years.
By fasting from dinner one day to dinner the next day, this considers to a full 24-hour fast.
For example, if you finish dinner at 8 p.m. Monday and don’t eat until dinner at 8 p.m. the Tuesday, you’ve done a full 24-hour fast. You can also fast from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch — the final result is the same.
Water, coffee, and other zero-calorie drinks can be taken during the fast, but no solid foods are allowed.
If you’re following this to lose weight, it’s very essential that you eat normally during the eating window. That means, you should eat the same amount of food as if you hadn’t been fasting at all.
The possible drawback of this method is that a full 24-hour fast may be fairly difficult for many people. However, you don’t need to go all in immediately. It’s better to begin with 14–16 hours, then move upward from there.
4. Alternate-day fasting
In alternate-day fasting, you fast every alternate day.
There are various different forms of this method. Some of them allow about 500 calories during their fasting periods.
Several test-tube studies showing health benefits of intermittent fasting used some form of this method.
A full fast every alternate day can seem quite difficult, so it’s not suggested for beginners.
With this method, you may go to bed very hungry many times in a week, which is not very pleasant and likely not suitable for the long term.
5. The Warrior Diet
The Warrior Diet was generalized by fitness expert Ori Hofmekler.
It includes eating small quantities of raw fruits and vegetables during the day and eating one bulky meal at night.
Primarily, you fast all day and feast at night within a four-hour eating period.
The Warrior Diet was one of the first popular diets to include a version of intermittent fasting.
This diet’s food choices are fairly same as that of the paleo diet — mostly whole, unprocessed foods.
It’s a misconception that people require to eat every few hours lest they hit starvation mode or lose muscle. Your body is well furnished to handle long periods of deprivation, let alone missing one or two meals from time to time.
Thus, if you’re really not feeling hungry one day, skip breakfast and just take a healthy lunch and dinner. Or, if you’re travelling somewhere and can’t find anything you want to eat, do a short time fast.
Skipping one or two meals when you feel inclined to do so is primarily a spontaneous intermittent fast.
Just ensure to eat healthy foods during the other meals.
The bottom line
Intermittent fasting is a weight loss tool that benifits for many people, however, it doesn’t work for everyone.
Some people believe it may not be as beneficial for women as for men. It’s also not suggested for people who have or are susceptible to eating disorders.
If you want to try intermittent fasting, keep in mind that diet quality is essential. It’s not possible to binge on junk foods during the eating windows and expect to lose weight and improve your health.