Intermittent fasting (IF) is believed to help with weight loss by creating a net calorie deficit. It also helps regulate your metabolic health, which will eventually lead to a longer and happier life. The closing of gyms during lockdown was a driving factor behind the rising trend of this diet. The diet plan includes an eating window followed by long hours of fasting.
There are various methods of intermittent fasting. Below, we discuss a few of these methods to help you choose the best IF diet for your lifestyle.
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Time-restricted method (16/8 or 14/10)
Also known as the Leangains diet, this method involves fasting for 16 hours and an eating window of 8 hours. This diet plan can be adjusted similarly for a 14/10 split with 14 hours of fasting and a 10-hour eating window, or can otherwise be customized according to your needs. But the time for fasting should not be less than 12 hours.
This method involves skipping breakfast and having an early dinner. The last meal of the day should be finished no later than 8 p.m. This method is thought to help control obesity, inflammation, liver disease, and diabetes.
5:2 fasting method
With this method, you should eat healthy food on a normal schedule for 5 days a week and fast for two days a week. Fasting for two consecutive days is not recommended. Also, “fasting” according to this method doesn’t mean spending the entire day with an empty stomach.
In the two days of fasting, a person can consume up to 600 calories and still create the deficit necessary for weight-loss without having any adverse side effects. Some limited research suggests that this diet increases insulin sensitivity in the body.
Eat, Stop, Eat method (24 hours fasting method)
This method is like the 5:2 method, but in this method, the intake of solid food is not allowed at all. However, zero-calorie beverages and water are allowed. It is often done twice a week, but is also effective if done once a week.
This method is generally not followed by most people since it is incredibly difficult to go without food for 24 hours. This method may also have side effects, such as leaving you with low energy, causing irritability, headaches, or fatigue.
Alternate day fasting
As the name suggests, this method involves fasting every other day. Some people consume up to 500 calories, while others opt for a zero-calorie liquid-only diet. During the eating window, or eating day, one should not reduce the calorie intake and continue to consume their usual balanced diet.
This not only helps with weight loss, but may also help maintain heart health in overweight adults. This method of fasting can be quite challenging for beginners, and it is also difficult to maintain this diet over the long term.
The warrior diet
Often called the most extreme form of intermittent fasting, the warrior diet involves the consumption of raw vegetables and fruits throughout the day followed by a single large meal in the evening. Sometimes the fasting period is more than 24 hours. People who have already tried other forms of intermittent fasting may try this, but it is not recommended for beginners.
Some proponents of this diet suggest that the evening meal helps the body gain the essential nutrients it requires in line with the circadian rhythm. It is advised to include carbohydrates, proteins, and other healthy fats in a single meal, as fruits and vegetables may not be enough. If not done properly, this diet may have an adverse effect on your digestive health and decreases the immunity of your body.
The plan for intermittent fasting can be altered and customized to fit the lifestyle of the person. The method that is adopted by the person also depends on their metabolic rate and their weight loss goals. You should also note that these diets are not the perfect answer for everybody, as they might not work for all. The best way to start a diet plan is to consult a nutritionist and get the plan that is best for you.