Intermittent fasting (IF) is one of the most popular methods for weight loss. Unlike other diet plans, IF doesn’t specifically require a person to eat less, starve the body or eat specific foods. A personalized intermittent fasting schedule allows a person to eat healthy food in carefully planned meals concerning time and fast for the remaining hours. Here is an essential guide on which type of intermittent fasting brings the fastest weight loss benefits. But first, let’s clear some misconceptions about this method.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is not particularly a diet plan but a different dietary pattern that specifies certain eating and fasting hours. It is nowhere close to the conventional weight loss dietary methods. There is no particular plan, food, or recipes that a person should eat and follow. It only specifies a time to eat them.
Fasting is prevalent in many cultures, regions, and civilizations. From the food shortage days to religious reasons to fast, this self-induced intermittent fasting has always been around us. Interestingly, fasting is natural and more beneficial for the body than eating four to six small low-calorie plans all day. However, your choice of an intermittent fasting schedule can bring different results, as per your requirements.
Health benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting for weight loss is one thing, but what most people don’t realize is that it has several other benefits to offer as well. It not only sheds the extra fat from the body, but also improves cognition, memory, energy levels, and stamina.
IF reduces the chances of insulin resistance, and there is scientific evidence that intermittent fasting can reduce insulin levels up to 31%, thus saves from diabetes type 2. It also slows down the response of inflammation markers, improves heart health, and protects from cancer.
Intermittent fasting is great for weight loss
The incredible thing about intermittent fasting is that it is highly adaptable and allows every person to customize their plan. For example, it is unnecessary to follow the same intermittent fasting routine as your friend is following. If you have a different routine, sleeping cycle, work timings, and activity level, you can modify your plan all by yourself, that too, without professional help. Here are a few options in intermittent fasting plans.
5:2 Intermittent Fasting
This 5:2 fasting is undoubtedly the most commonly used type of intermittent fasting. This plan motivates people to eat as per their routine five days a week, without even counting the calories. But for the two remaining days, they have to eat 500-600 calories only. The fun part is that, these IF days don’t have to be weekends, and everyone can plan their diet days as per their preference. For additional benefit, try to follow a moderative activity plan on fasting days. Combining diet and exercise brings faster results even in intermittent fasting.
Time-Restricted Intermittent Fasting
This is another type of intermittent fasting where you have to designate an eating window every day. Ideally, people fast from 14 to 16 hours a day and eat in the remaining hours. This fasting period often includes their sleeping period or relaxing time, where they don’t have to perform rigorous physical or cognitive work. Maintaining a fast for 14-16 hours initiates autophagy in the human body, where the body starts to use glycogen in the liver for making energy. It improves fat metabolism, and a person loses weight.
Overnight Intermittent Fasting
This is probably the easiest and most simple intermittent fasting schedule where you have to do nothing! Its very easy and simple to follow. Eat whatever you eat in routine till 7 pm and stop eating anything after it. Eat your breakfast at 7 am or later in the morning to maintain this 12- hours fasting time. These 12 hours of fasting and 12 hours of eating will create a perfect balance in eating and burning the fat.
Contrary to the popular IF schedules, this eat stop eat plan is based on a book with the same name. The book’s author, Brad Pilon, says that taking a break from eating now and then is the best way to lose and maintain body weight. Following a 24 hour fast once or twice a week is ideal. He also emphasizes resistance training on the fasting day to get maximum benefits.
Meal to Meal Intermittent Fasting
Some people like to follow a meal-to-meal fasting pattern. This means, they eat dinner one day and then fast for the next 24 hours and eat dinner the next day. Not specifically dinner, this type of intermittent fasting can be completed from lunch to lunch or breakfast to breakfast too. The only tricky thing about this intermittent fasting version is that eating all the essential daily nutrients can be challenging in one meal only. Some people may also experience troubled sleeping or a brain fog with this meal to meal fasting. Still, many others find it easy and useful.
Alternate-Day Intermittent Fasting
Another type of intermittent fasting is to eat one day and fast the next day. This alternate day fasting is introduced by a nutrition professor from the University of Illinois (Chicago) and has proven huge weight loss benefits. It is beneficial for obese patients who can’t follow any other type of dieting. It may feel not easy at the start, but the body gets used to it within a couple of weeks.
The final word
Intermittent fasting is immensely popular for weight loss, but how a person follows depends on personal preference and convenience. Not to mention, it is not recommended for people with metabolic diseases and autoimmune diseases. In case you have decided on your intermittent fasting schedule, don’t forget that your food quality will determine your health status. So, eat fresh, healthy, and sugar-free foods to get maximum health benefits from intermittent fasting.