Intermittent fasting. We’ve all heard the term, but what is it?
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is one of the most popular diet trends in the U.S. People use this strategy to lose weight, gain mental clarity, and simply improve their overall lifestyle. What is it? IF is a pattern between fasting (not consuming any calories) and eating.
But while IF may seem like a new dieting concept to some, it's actually been around for quite some time period, in fact, humans have evolved to be able to function without food for long periods of time. Think about hunter-gatherers, they didn't have supermarkets, refrigerators, or anything to save food.
So what are the different types of IF?
The most popular types of IF are:
- The 16/8 method
- The 5:2 diet
- Eat Stop Eat
- Alternate Day Fasting
The 16/8 Method
The 16/8 method is a fasting method that involves fasting for 14-16 hours every day. This means you would have to have an eating window of either 8-10 total hours. This method may be the easiest to start out with as you can usually execute it properly by simply skipping breakfast or dinner. It’s generally recommended that women fast for no more than 14 hours as they do better with shorter fasts.
The 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 Diet is a little bit different. This method involves eating normally for 5 days and restricting yourself to 500-600 calories the other 2 days a week. This method is another simple way to start incorporating fasting into your lifestyle.
Eat Stop Eat
Eat Stop Eat is a more advanced type of fasting that requires you to fast for a full 24 hours. For example, if you finish dinner at 8 pm one day, you can’t consume calories again until 8 pm the following day.
Alternate Day Fasting
Alternate Day Fasting is just what it sounds like. You fast every other day. This method is a more advanced form of fasting. Alternate day fasting can vary in its methods, allowing you to consume 500-600 calories on some of the fasting days.
What happens in your body when you fast?
Fasting jump starts a number of different biological responses from the body. Some changes that occur in your body have a lot to do with different hormonal responses. Some of the hormones involved include human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin.
What are the health benefits of IF?
There are many studies that have shown the health benefits of IF. Some of these benefits include:
- Weight loss
- Insulin resistance
- Heart health
- Brain health
One question we frequently get asked is whether or not you can drink liquids during a fast. The answer is, you can! You can drink water and coffee. However, you can’t add cream, sugar, or any other additives to your coffee that would contain calories and possibly break your fast.