Intermittent fasting has fast become a super popular health trend. The diet is said to cause weight loss, improve metabolic health, and perhaps even extend lifespan and heart health. Several methods of this eating pattern exist. Every method can be effective, but figuring out which one works best depends on the individual. According to the Harvard Health Blog,
“as a weight-loss method has been around in various forms for ages but it was highly popularized in 2012 by BBC broadcast journalist Dr. Michael Mosley’s TV documentary Eat Fast, Live Longer and book The Fast Diet, followed by journalist Kate Harrison’s book The 5:2 Diet based on her own experience, and subsequently by Dr. Jason Fung’s 2016 bestseller The Obesity Code. IF generated a steady positive buzz as anecdotes of its effectiveness proliferated.”
According to the Harvard Health Blog, “The food we eat is broken down by enzymes in our gut and eventually ends up as molecules in our bloodstream. Carbohydrates, particularly sugars and refined grains (think white flours and rice), are quickly broken down into sugar, which our cells use for energy. If our cells don’t use it all, we store it in our fat cells as, well, fat. But sugar can only enter our cells with insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas. Insulin brings sugar into the fat cells and keeps it there.”
Basically as long as we do not snack, our levels of insulin go down and our fat cells release, and we burn this off as energy. You can go this often enough and for long enough that you burn off all of your fat. Please keep reading to find out how to do intermittent fasting.
The 4 Popular Ways to Do Intermittent Fasting:
1) The 16/8 Method
According to Healthline, the 16/8 method involves fasting every day for 14–16 hours and restricting your daily eating window to 8–10 hours.mWithin the eating window, you can fit in two, three, or more meals. Doing this method of fasting can actually be as simple as not eating anything after dinner and skipping breakfast. You can drink water, coffee, and other zero-calorie beverages during the fast, which can help reduce feelings of hunger. It’s very important to primarily eat healthy foods during your eating window. This method won’t work if you eat lots of junk food or an excessive number of calories. Is this how to do intermittent fasting? Maybe this method is for you.
2) The 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 diet involves eating normally 5 days of the week while restricting your calorie intake to 500–600 for 2 days of the week. This diet is also called the Fast Diet and was popularized by British journalist Michael Mosley. For example, you might eat normally every day of the week except Mondays and Thursdays. For those two days, you eat 2 small meals of 250 calories each for women and 300 calories each for men.
3) Eat, Stop, Eat
Eat Stop Eat involves a 24-hour fast once or twice per week. This method was popularized by fitness expert Brad Pilon and has been quite popular for a few years. By fasting from dinner one day to dinner the next day, this amounts to a full 24-hour fast. For example, if you finish dinner at 7 p.m. Monday and don’t eat until dinner at 7 p.m. the next day, you’ve 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 no solid foods are permitted.
If you’re doing this to lose weight, it’s very important that you eat normally during the eating periods. In other words, you should eat the same amount of food as if you hadn’t been fasting at all. The potential downside 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 right away. It’s fine to start with 14–16 hours, then move upward from there.
4) Alternate-Day Fasting
In alternate-day fasting, you fast every other day. There are several different versions of this method. Some of them allow about 500 calories during the fasting days. Many of the test-tube studies showing the health benefits of intermittent fasting used some version of this method. A full fast every other day can seem rather extreme, so it’s not recommended for beginners.