7 types of intermittent fasting and how they work

Good news! You can do intermittent fasting in many different ways. If this is the approach you want to take to a healthier lifestyle, you can find a suitable approach that will work best with your lifestyle. Here are seven types of intermittent fasting and how they work:

1. 5:2 Fasting:

This is one of the most popular IF methods. With this approach, you eat normally for five days without counting calories; then on the other two days eat 500 or 600 calories a day, for women and men, respectively.

2. Time-Restricted Fasting:

Here, you choose an eating window every day, which should ideally leave a 14- to 16-hour fasting period. For instance, you set your eating window from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It can work well for someone who eats an early dinner. Then much of the fasting time is spent sleeping. This method is dependent on how consistent you can be. If your schedule is frequently changing it may not be for you.

3. Overnight Fasting

This is the simplest of them all. It involves fasting for 12 hours every day. For example: Stop eating after dinner by 7 p.m. and then resume eating at 7 a.m. with breakfast the next morning. 

A benefit of this method is that it’s easy to implement. Also, you don’t have to skip meals. But if you’re using fasting for weight loss, a smaller fasting window means more time to eat, and it may not help you decrease the number of calories you ingest. Speak to your nutritionist for guidance.

4. Eat Stop Eat

The idea here is that fasting is just taking a break from food for some time. It works by completing one or two 24-hour fasts per week and committing to a resistance training program. This approach makes it easier and more enjoyable to end the fasting week with a calorie deficit without feeling like you had to be on an extreme diet.

5. Whole-Day Fasting

Here, you eat once a day. The fasting periods are 24 hours (dinner to dinner or lunch to lunch). For example, you eat dinner on Sunday, then “fast” on Monday by eating 500 or 600 calories, and break it down with breakfast on Tuesday.

6. Alternate-Day Approach

This is a popular approach for weight loss. One might fast every other day, with a “fast” consisting of 25 percent of their calorie needs (about 500 calories) and nonfasting days being regular eating days. Research found that, in overweight adults, this method significantly reduced body mass index, weight, fat mass, and total cholesterol.

7. Choose-Your-Day Method

This is a do-what-you-can-adventure approach. For example, you might skip breakfast a few days a week or borrow from other types. Note that there isn’t strong evidence to suggest that skipping breakfast affects weight.

This approach may be easily flexible and is more go-with-the-flow, meaning you can make it work even with a schedule that changes constantly.

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