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Intermittent fasting is the latest food fad in the fitness market. Considered as a method to provide fat loss, better health, and increasing life span, intermittent fasting involves staying away from food for some time and then starting again.
Experts claim that this kind of a fasting program is easy to maintain in comparison to other calorie controlled diets. However, there are various ways in which intermittent fasting can be done. What works for one person may not be effective on another.
Let us have a look at ways in which we can do intermittent fasting.
Different ways of Intermittent Fasting
1. Staying hungry for 12 hours
This is a simple diet to follow. Just stay hungry for 12 hours and then resume normal food eating habits for the next. Researchers have come to know that when we fast for 10-16 hours, the body turns its fat stores into energy forms. This eventually releases ketones into bloodstreams which cause weight loss.
The 12-hour fasting plan is advised for beginners as most of the staying hungry happens while you are asleep and later you can get back to your normal food plan. It is advised to use the sleep time in the fasting window. This means that you eat your dinner at 7 pm in the night and then resume eating at 7 am in the morning, the majority time getting spent in sleeping.
2. 16 hours of fasting
Also known as the leangains diet, this includes staying hungry for around 16 hours and having an eating window only for 8 hours. This 16:8 diet involves men fasting for 16 hours and women for 14 hours. Normally, fitness experts suggest this diet plan when they feel that the 12-hour fasting plan has not been as effective as it should have been.
To follow this plan, the person needs to finish his dinner by 8 pm in the night. Next morning breakfast can be skipped and the first meal should be around noon to follow the plan diligently. Studies conducted on mice have confirmed that by following this plan, obesity, inflammation, diabetes, and liver diseases are kept away. This despite the fact that in the open window they were given a normal food diet to adhere to.
3. 2 days a week fasting
The 5:2 plan is as the name suggests. You eat normally for 5 days and reduce your calorie intake on 2 days of the week. During these two days, men need to consume 600 calories and women 500 calories. Apart from that you also have to ensure that there is a non -fasting day between two fasting ones.
Followers of this plan may have the first fasting day on Monday and the next on Thursday. However, the studies conducted have not been able to portray this plan to be as effective as others.
According to the results, the impact of this diet plan was along lines that were similar to those received from regular calorie control. But, the study did prove that by following the plan insulin levels were reduced and insulin sensitivity improved.
4. Every alternate day fasting
As the name suggests people following this pattern choose to avoid food on alternate days. This they can do in more than one ways. A method involves total avoidance of food on these fasting days and normal diet on the other days. Another method suggests consuming at least 500 calories on the fasting days and as much food as you want on the eating days.
Alternate fasting has been found to be quite effective in weight control for both healthy as well as overweight people. Though results are surprisingly very positive alternate day fasting is not advised for beginners. This being a rather extreme method of intermittent fasting is also not suitable for people who are suffering from any ailment. Moreover sustaining such a diet plan for the long term is also not possible.
5. Weekly 24-hour fasting
Simple to understand, to follow this diet you have to avoid food for at least 24 hours at a stretch. This could range from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch. Water, tea and other less calorie drinks can, however, be consumed during this period of fasting. On the non-fasting days, a normal diet can be consumed.
By following this diet, you can reduce your calorie intake, and yet not limit the food that you eat. However, this pattern of eating can be challenging for the body and cause headache, irritability, fatigue, etc. As time passes and the body gets used to the diet pattern, these symptoms also tend to fade. It is suggested to accustom the body to the 12 hours or 16-hour diet before plunging into this one.
6. Skipping meals
Usually advised for beginners, the method involves skipping meals after deciding in advance which meals to skip. You must compensate your body for this loss by eating healthy foods at other times. The choice of which meal to leave would be dependent on your hunger level and time constraints.
Such a method of intermittent fasting can be successful in cases when the individuals are themselves monitoring their hunger pattern. So as and when they feel that the hunger can be controlled they can choose to forego any meal.
7. Warrior diet
This is probably the most extreme form of intermittent fasting that we are going to discuss. Here you keep a 20 hours fasting window during which you consume very small quantities of fruits or vegetables. However, you eat a large meal at night followed by a four-hour eating slot. During this time people should make sure to consume enough of carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables, and healthy fats.
However, the four-hour window at night is difficult for people to adhere to. Also, there is always the danger of not getting enough nutrition which can have harmful effects on your digestive and immune system.
There are various ways in which a person can do intermittent fasting. Mentioned above ones are some of the fairly effective ones. But, if after following any of the plans you face symptoms like weakness and headaches, it is wise to stop.
In order to achieve the best results, you should always eat a healthy and balanced diet in the days you are eating. If you suffer from diseases like diabetes, consult the doctor before starting the intermittent fasting diet.