The Eight Distinct Intermittent Fasting Approaches

There are numerous intermittent fasting methods, with the major difference being the length of the fast. We discuss the most commonly used ways. When you think about intermittent fasting, you typically think of 16/8 or 18/6 fasting. However, intermittent fasting is a broad phrase that encompasses a variety of fasting regimes.

The key distinction is the length of the fast: Some ways simply extend the overnight fast by a few hours, while others require you to fast for an entire day. Let's take a closer look at the various intermittent fasting techniques.

1. Fasting for 12 hours or overnight

The 12-hour fast is the most basic version. Every day, you fast for 12 hours, which includes your evening fast. So you simply fast for a few hours before going to bed and again after waking up.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are the three most common meals. This sounds more like a regular eating regimen than fasting. The difference is that you don't snack, which cuts your fasting period in half. Assume you finish dinner by 7 p.m., which is when your fast begins. If you continued to snack after supper, your fasting time would be cut in half.

The Eight Distinct Intermittent Fasting Approaches

You could think that this minor variation has no significance, but you'd be incorrect. A study of diabetic individuals found that eating three meals per day without snacking dramatically reduced their weight and blood sugar levels. Simultaneously, the insulin dose could be reduced.

What makes this possible?

When you consume food, your blood sugar and insulin levels rise and take some time to return to normal. When you continuously snack, your blood sugar and insulin have little chance to stabilize in between snacks.

With only three meals, blood sugar and insulin levels rise only three times and remain in the normal range for the majority of the day. As a result, eating three meals a day without snacking already helps to reduce insulin and improve insulin resistance (the underlying cause of type 2 diabetes). Because insulin is a fat-storage hormone as well as a blood sugar regulator, keeping insulin levels low aids in weight loss.

Even if you don't have diabetes, continual snacking raises your risk of developing it, so avoiding it lowers your odds and improves your general health.

consume only two meals per day: breakfast and dinner. You'll have two long fasting periods per day this way. This plan works well for many people who prefer breakfast in the morning and a sociable evening with family or friends but don't have much time for lunch at work.

Suitable for:
  • Beginners.
  • People who don't need to lose a lot of weight but want to reap the health benefits of intermittent fasting.
Main benefits:
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served at regular hours.
  • Improves overall health and lowers the chance of chronic diseases like diabetes.

2. 14/10 fasting

14/10 intermittent fasting is another beginner-friendly strategy that you may apply right away if you have no prior fasting experience. You fast for 14 hours and then eat within ten hours.

Because it is simple but has the same benefits as the famed 16/8 approach, 14/10 is popular among women who struggle with lengthier fasting periods.

During your eating window, you can consume two or three meals. If you eat three meals a day, you must move them closer together. With two meals every day, you have a considerable respite in between.

recommended for
  • Beginners.
  • Women who have difficulty with lengthier fasting periods.
Main benefits:
  • Simple to put into action.
  • Helps in weight loss.

3. 16/8 fasting

The most common intermittent fasting approach is 16/8 fasting. It is slightly more complex than the prior two versions, but it is still highly user-friendly. Every day, you eat for eight hours and fast for sixteen.

During this time, most people consume two meals: either breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner. It is also possible to consume three meals in an eight-hour period; simply minimize the time between meals.

Most people can quickly adjust to 16/8, and they can lose weight without feeling hungry. What's wonderful about this form is that, despite its simplicity, you can still expect to see results. The 16/8 diet has been demonstrated in studies to help people lose weight, improve insulin resistance, and reduce inflammation while retaining muscle mass.

Autophagy is predicted to begin after 16 hours of fasting. Many of the health benefits of intermittent fasting are attributed to autophagy, a critical recycling process. Fasting for longer periods of time promotes autophagy more effectively, but 16-18 hours is adequate to initiate this process.

One possible disadvantage of this strategy is that you may not notice benefits as rapidly as someone on a more stringent fasting diet, such as alternate day fasting. You're also probably not taking advantage of all of the anti-aging and longevity benefits that fasting has to offer.

However, if you're new to fasting or prefer eating out with friends and family on a regular basis, this is a terrific option!

You can switch to 18/6 intermittent fasting if you've become used to 16/8 fasting and feel like you could easily fast for longer. This is a common variation of 16/8 fasting that simply means your fasting time is two hours longer than with 16/8.

Recommended for:
  • Beginners and people with some fasting experience
  • People of normal weight or slightly overweight
Main benefits:
  • Facilitates weight loss
  • Powerful method to reduce insulin resistance
  • Promotes autophagy

4. Warrior diet or OMAD

OMAD is an abbreviation for One-Meal-A-Day. As the name says, you only eat once each day. Because it works best for their schedule, most people just eat dinner. This allows you to fast for around 23 hours every day.

The warrior diet is an OMAD version popularized by fitness instructor Ori Hofmekler: you eat little amounts of fruits, nuts, and vegetables throughout the day and one large meal in the evening.

OMAD is a more advanced kind of intermittent fasting. Even so, some folks who aren't hungry in the morning and don't have much of an appetite at lunch find it pretty easy.

To practice OMAD successfully, choose a time to eat every day and consume all of your daily caloric needs at that time. And, yes, this should be a high-calorie dinner. If you decide to try OMAD, you should consume 1500-2000 calories each day, depending on your age, gender, height, and level of physical activity.

Eating too little calories over time has been proved to be damaging to your health, so keep this in mind when experimenting with OMAD. It may be difficult to eat so much at first, which is great, but your body should adjust and eating a calorie-dense meal should become lot simpler after a few weeks. If you still find it difficult to consume this much, this may not be the diet for you.

Because there is only one meal each day, insulin levels are low for the majority of the day. As a result, OMAD is an effective weight-loss technique. Furthermore, the prolonged fasting induces ketosis in the body. Fat is converted into ketone bodies during ketosis, which serve as an additional fuel source. Ketosis is extremely effective for weight loss because it allows access to fat storage.

One disadvantage of this method is that it may be difficult for some people to go an entire day without eating. If you try this and struggle, consider easing into it by gradually extending your fast until you can go most of the day without eating. Perfect practice makes perfect.

Recommended for:
  • People with intermittent fasting experience
  • People with a busy schedule who don’t have time to eat during the day
Main benefits:
  • Promotes autophagy
  • Enables ketosis
  • Facilitates weight loss

5. Eat, Stop, and Eat

The Eat Stop Eat approach is similar to OMAD in that you fast for 24 hours, from one meal to the next. For instance, from lunch one day to lunch the next.

The key difference between this and OMAD is that you only do it once or twice a week instead of every day.

One disadvantage of this diet is that, because it only occurs once or twice a week, you may simply wake up on your fasting day and begin eating because you forgot... Set a reminder on your phone or a post-it note to remind you of your fasting day until it becomes a rigid habit for you. It may be a good idea to commit to the same day(s) each week, such as Sunday and Thursday, to help inculcate the habit.

Another disadvantage is that because this does not happen every day, it may take a little longer to see any improvements when compared to alternate day fasting or OMAD. But don't let that deter you! Your journey is yours alone, and any advancement is a huge accomplishment.

Recommended for:
  • People with intermittent fasting experience
  • People who don’t want to fast every day
Main benefits:
  • Promotes autophagy
  • Enables ketosis

6. Alternate-Day-Fasting (ADF)

ADF is an abbreviation for alternate-day fasting. You eat every other day, as the name implies. ADF allows you to fast for approximately 36 hours, from supper on one day to breakfast on the following.

Because of the length of the fasting period, alternate day fasting is likely one of the more successful kinds of intermittent fasting. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated how beneficial this strategy can be in helping people lose weight, control their blood sugar levels, lower their blood pressure, and more.

Alternate-day fasting has also been found in studies to be quite successful in increasing autophagy, reducing signs of aging, and even increasing your lifetime. Some animal studies reveal an 80% increase in lifespan.

While alternate-day fasting may appear to be a simple habit to adopt, not eating for an entire day might be much more complicated than it appears. Some people, particularly those who typically eat for 15+ hours each day, may struggle with this strategy at first.

ADF is not for everyone, and you do not have to fast for an extended period of time to reap the benefits of intermittent fasting. If you want to try it, please consult your doctor first.

Modified Alternate Day Fasting

Modified alternate-day fasting is similar to alternate-day fasting in that people consume a 500-calorie meal on their fasting days. While this technique will provide results, you should not expect to reap all of the benefits associated with real alternate-day fasting.

This modified technique, on the other hand, could be ideal for people who want to try alternate-day fasting but are finding it difficult to get through the entire day. Try this form for a while, then go to a full day's fast.

Recommended for:
  • People who have considerable fasting experience
  • People who have a lot of weight to lose
  • People who want to reverse diabetes (only after consultation with their GP)
Main benefits:
  • A powerful method to lose a lot of weight within a short time
  • Maximizes autophagy
  • Enables deep ketosis
  • Reduces insulin resistance

7. 5:2 fasting

5:2 fasting is similar to ADF, but you only fast two (non-consecutive) days per week and eat normally the other five.

On fasting days, you normally consume 500-600 kcal, but you can also totally refrain from meals.

5:2 is a more sophisticated intermittent fasting approach, similar to ADF. If you want to try it, please consult your doctor first.

Recommended for
  • People with fasting experience
  • People who don’t want to fast every day
Main benefits:
  • Reduces insulin resistance
  • Promotes autophagy
  • Enables ketosis
  • Facilitates weight loss

8. Intuitive intermittent fasting or meal skipping

Many people like intermittent fasting but do not want to follow a strict food plan. That's perfectly OK! After all, the most important thing is to take regular eating breaks rather than the same ones every day.

People who have practiced intermittent fasting for a while and been accustomed to this style of eating tend to take a more intuitive approach to it.

The concept behind intuitive intermittent fasting is to eat only when you are truly hungry and to consume until you are satisfied. When it's time to eat but you're not hungry, you skip a meal on the spur of the moment.

When you first begin experimenting with intermittent fasting, the intuitive version also assists you in determining the optimal intermittent fasting approach for you. You may see how long you can go without eating without becoming irritable and what times of day are best for fasting.

Miscellaneous Forms

While the intermittent fasting strategies discussed above are likely the most popular, don't assume you can't come up with your own.

You may, for example, fast for 13 hours every day or try a 20/4 variant in which you fast for 20 hours and eat for the remaining 4 hours.

You can also combine and combine. Some people will follow the 16/8 diet six days a week and then fast entirely on the seventh.

The wonderful thing about intermittent fasting is that it allows you to experiment with your food schedule.

In conclusion

For both men and women, there are numerous types of intermittent fasting. Finding out which strategy works best for you is a struggle at first.

If you push yourself to adhere to a fasting schedule that does not suit you, you will most likely conclude that intermittent fasting is not for you. On the other hand, if you find a strategy that perfectly fits your demands and timetable, it will quickly become second nature, and you will no longer need to monitor the clock.

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