With commitment, the benefits of intermittent fasting are improved health, longevity, and fat loss. This method to weight loss involves alternating time periods of eating and fasting. Research shows evidence that after 10-16 hours of not eating, your blood-glucose levels fall, which causes insulin production to decrease. This signals the body to release ketones into the bloodstream that uses body fat as energy. Then on non-fasting days, people can regain a healthy number of calories that will create enough stored energy for the body to change fat into energy during the next fasting.
There are various types of intermittent fasting, some easier than others, and include 12-hour fasting, the 16:8 method, the 5:2 method, alternative day fasting, and whole-day fasting. The different types vary in the number of fasting days and calorie intake that can work for different lifestyles and eating habits. That means you can choose how to do intermittent fasting the way it works for you.
The 5:2 Method
One of the more well-known forms of intermittent fasting, the 5:2 method involves eating for 5 days and fasting or eating a restricted calorie diet for 2 days. There should be at least one non-fasting day in between a fasting day. On fasting days, men can eat up to 800 calories and women eat up to 500. Eating days should follow a standard and healthy diet, but you don’t need to count calories.
Alternate Day Fasting
This popular method to intermittent fasting involves eating normally one day, then eating up to 500 calories the next day, and repeat. Evidence from a small study showed that this method proved to be effective for weight loss. Side effects included the feeling of hunger until week 4 and it isn’t the easiest diet to follow in the long term.
Arguably the easiest method, overnight fasting involves dividing eating and fasting by 12-hour periods. With most of the fasting time done sleeping, this intermittent fasting plan is easy for beginners.
Also known as the 16:8 method, there is a window during the day when you can eat and then fast for 14-16 hours. Fasting for that long initiates the body to start using its fat storage as energy, improving fat cell metabolism.
A study done on mice saw significant reduction in inflammation, diabetes, and liver disease even in comparison to mice that ate the same number of calories when they wanted.
Whole Day Fasting
A choose-your-adventure method to intermittent fasting means that you can choose one day of the week to fast for 24 hours straight. You can drink water, tea, and calorie-free drinks during the fasting period. Starting this fasting plan is difficult, but after a few weeks, side effects like irritability, fatigue, and headaches will subside. It’s easiest to transition to this method from the overnight or time-restricted method.
Intermittent fasting can be effective in weight loss with commitment and has proved to improve the body’s metabolic rate. It’s important to stay hydrated during fasting periods and to remember it takes some patience to see results!