What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a method of eating where one does not eat or drink food for extended periods of time. For example, someone might fast from dawn until dusk every day for 21 days without drinking any liquids or consuming anything but water. Another person might fast for only two days per week with no liquid intake at all. Both are considered “intermittent” because they do not follow a strict schedule.
The benefits of IF include weight loss, improved blood sugar control, reduced risk of diabetes, increased energy levels and decreased hunger. However, there are some drawbacks to IF: it takes longer than other diets to see results and it can cause nausea if consumed too frequently.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
There are several ways that intermittent fasting works. One way is called the “dieting” approach. During fasting, your body goes into starvation mode. Your body begins burning fat stores instead of glucose, which is stored in muscle tissue. While this may sound like a good thing, it comes with its own set of problems. If you’re trying to lose weight and have been following a diet that consists mostly of carbohydrates, then fasting will result in less weight loss than if you were eating more protein and healthy fats such as olive oil or coconut oil.
The “changing-the-cycle” approach works by taking advantage of certain hormonal reactions caused by extended periods of lack of food. For example, your body has insulin, which lowers blood sugar levels. When you do not consume any food for long periods of time, the levels of this hormone drop, allowing the liver to convert more glycogen into free glucose.
In this way, fasting causes a sort of “overload” on the body’s system, which reacts by increasing the amount of free glucose in the blood.
Another way that intermittent fasting works is by changing when you consume food. When you eat at normal intervals, your body gets used to the food coming in and becomes less efficient at burning calories. Fasting causes a change in this routine, which causes an increase in fat burning.
What Are The Different Types Of Intermittent Fasting?
There are several different types of intermittent fasting.
With the “16-8” method, you fast for 16 hours and consume all of your food in an 8-hour window. For example, you might eat between noon and 8pm every day.
The “20-4” method means you consume all of your daily caloric intake within a 4-hour period each day. For example, you might eat all of your food from noon to 4pm each day.
The “5-2” method means you consume all of your daily caloric intake for five days and fast the other two days. For example, you might eat normally every day from noon on and then not consume any food at all the next two days.
The “Warrior” method consists of fasting for 20 hours each day and eating during an 4-hour “window.” For example, you might eat from 8pm until midnight every night.
The “Eat-Stop-Eat” method involves 24 hours of fasting each day (no food at all). This is most effective when done only once per week.
Which Is Best?
The “16-8” and “20-4” methods are best for weight loss. The “20-4” method should result in more weight loss than the “16-8” method, but it’s a little difficult to do. The “5-2” and “Warrior” methods are good for breaking up periods of extended fasting. The “Eat-Stop-Eat” method is best for those who want to try an extended fast.
If weight loss is your goal, the “20-4” method is best. You will lose weight more quickly than with other types of intermittent fasting. If you’re trying to save time, the “16-8” method is fastest.
If you’re interested in learning more about the different types of intermittent fasting, you can read more here:
Sources & references used in this article:
Best BCAA for Fasted Cardio by DIFIF Work, HDIF Work – performancelab.com
Intermittent Fasting 101: A Beginner’s Guide by CIDBW Fasting – steelfitusa.com
Intermittent fasting promotes white adipose browning and decreases obesity by shaping the gut microbiota by G Li, C Xie, S Lu, RG Nichols, Y Tian, L Li, D Patel… – Cell metabolism, 2017 – Elsevier
BCAAs… Do I Need Them? by AT FITNESS – ariellecrumblefitness.com
Experiments with Intermittent Fasting by JM BErarDI, K Scott-Dixon… – Toronto: Precision Nutrition, 2011 – crossfitsmedjan.se
Intermittent Fasting: Fat-Burning Blitz by J Stoppani, FM Plans, JYM Army, JYM Gear… – jimstoppani.com