Intermittent fasting (IF) is a Lifestyle choice where you don’t eat for a specific period of time each day or week. Note, we mentioned lifestyle choice and not a diet since following intermittent fasting requires few changes in the lifestyle more than changes in diet. For sure, a balanced diet is expected to be followed while one any type of weight loss strategy, but the emphasis is on the Gap between the meals rather then what was the meal.
There are various types of intermittent fasting which you can follow depending on your lifestyle and results desired.
Popular Intermittent Fasting Types
Alternate-Day Fasting. In this type of IF you eat a normal diet one day and either completely fast or have a small meal (less than 500 calories) the next day.
5:2 Fasting. This type of IF involves eating a normal diet for five days and fast for 2 days every week.
Daily Time-Restricted Fasting. This type of IF requires eating normally but only within an eight-hour window every day. For example, skip breakfast but eat lunch around noon and dinner by 8 p.m.
Among the different types of Intermittent Fasting, Daily Time-Restricted Fasting is most popular and it contains additional variations based on fasting time, for ex. 14/20 which implies 14 hours of fasting followed by 10 hours of meal time
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Weight loss and physical activity helps to lower your risk of obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes, sleep apnea and some types of cancer. For these diseases, intermittent fasting seems to be about as beneficial as any other type of diet that reduces overall calories.
According to few researches, intermittent fasting may be more beneficial than other diets for reducing inflammation and improving conditions associated with inflammation, such as:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting
An important note: Intermittent fasting in some cases can cause unpleasant side effects, but they usually go away within a month.
Side effects may include:
Intermittent fasting is safe for most people, however it’s not for everyone. Long breaks in meals may not be the best weight management way especially for pregnant or breast-feeding women. Also, for individuals with kidney stones, gastroesophageal reflux, diabetes or other medical problems, a doctor consultation is must before starting with intermittent fasting.