So, you want to try intermittent fasting — but you probably didn't know there were five popular ways of going about it. Figuring out which method best fits your needs can be overwhelming, which is why we've broken down each one below to make things simple. But before we dive in, let's first understand what this diet's all about.
Intermittent fasting generally involves limiting your eating window to a certain period of time and fasting the rest of the day. What's the point of this? IF has shown to be an effective weight-loss tool as it restricts your calories and curbs sugar cravings. But shedding pounds is only just the beginning. Other health benefits include lowered risk of diabetes, improved blood sugar levels, better digestion (and less bloat), more energy, and improved focus and mental clarity.
As for its risks, IF is safe as long as you avoid overeating during your feeding windows. However, those with diabetes, congestive heart failure, or cardiac disease and those who are pregnant, underweight, or below the age of 18 should refrain from trying this diet.
Now let's get into all the different ways you can start intermittent fasting.
16:8 or Leangains
This method involves fasting for 16 hours and eating two to three meals during an eight-hour feeding window. An example would be to cut off meals at 8 p.m. until noon the following day.
Who it's ideal for: Someone who typically doesn't have time for breakfast in the mornings.
5:2 or Fast Diet
It requires restricting your calories to 500 per day twice a week. You may eat as you normally do on the other five days and your two diet days don't have to be consecutive.
Who it's ideal for: Someone who's looking for flexibility.
Eat, Stop, Eat
This method involves fasting for 24 hours one or twice a week. No foods are off limits for the rest of the week, and what time you choose to stop eating and start eating the next day is completely up to you.
Who it's ideal for: Someone who only wants to feel like they're dieting for one or two days out of the week.
The Warrior Diet
You fast all day and eat one large meal every night. However, raw fruits and veggies, fresh juice, and a few servings of protein are allowed during the hours you fast.
Who it's ideal for: Someone who already follows a Paleo diet.
Alternate Day Fasting or UpDayDownDay Diet
As its name suggests, this method of IF requires fasting for one day, eating normally the next day, and so forth.
Who it's ideal for: Someone who's willing to go extreme lengths for weight loss.