Intermittent fasting (IF) is a highly popular health trend. It’s claimed to reduce weight, improve metabolism, and even boost lifespan. Each of the most popular intermittent fasting methods involves a way of eating using regular short-term fasts. These fasts help you consume fewer calories and optimize hormones related to weight management. If your goal is to improve your eating habits this type of diet strategy could help you significantly.
Let’s take a look at 5 popular intermittent fasting methods and the benefits to your weight loss and your health.
Popular IF Methods
IF is a very effective method of living a healthy lifestyle and its benefits surpass the benefits of running. There are several eating-window scheduling strategies. You will have to choose what works best for you and your lifestyle. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular intermittent fasting strategies.
1. The 16 to 8 Method
Also known as the Leangains Protocol, in this method, you skip breakfast and eat for 8 hours only. For instance, you can eat between 1 pm to 9 pm and then fast for the rest of the 16 hours. During the fast, the only things that you’re allowed to consume are water, tea, coffee, and other non-calorie-containing beverages.
2. 5:2 Diet Method
Here, you eat for 5 days and restrict your calorie consumption to 500 – 600 calories. This is done over the course of 2 non-successive days like Monday and Wednesday.
3. Eat, Stop, Eat
Here, you are supposed to fast for 24 hours once or twice a week. Then, you are free to eat on your non-fasting days.
4. Alternate Day Fasting
In this method, you fast every other day. There are several versions of this type of fasting. If you are a beginner, don’t fast for a full day. This is rather extreme. On your fasting days, you may either not eat anything or consume a few hundred calories a day only.
5. Warrior Diet
This diet includes eating small amounts of raw fruits and veggies during the day and one huge meal at night. You fast all day and enjoy a feast at night. The food choices of this diet are similar to the paleo diet (unprocessed foods).
What are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
The popular intermittent fasting methods result in powerful benefits for your brain and body. These health benefits go above and beyond just simple fat loss. Here are some evidence-based benefits:
Changes the Function of Your Cells and Hormones
When you stop eating as a whole, your body goes through several changes. Here are some of them:
- The blood insulin level drops which help in fat burning
- The bold level of HGH hormone increases, which facilitates fat burning, muscle gain, and more
- The body starts inducing cellular repair processes and removes waste from the cells
Reduces Insulin Resistance
IF reduces insulin resistance and leads to an impressive reduction of the blood sugar level. A study shows that fasting blood sugar reduces 3 to 6 percent while fasting insulin reduces 20 to 31 percent.
When insulin resistance reduces, it helps lower blood sugar levels and protects against type 2 diabetes. If you are at the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, Intermittent fasting becomes your guard.
Beneficial for Heart Health
Intermittent fasting can improve various risk factors that lead to a heart condition such as high blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, etc. The effect of IF on the heart needs to be studied further to be certain if it actually is beneficial for the health of the human heart.
Good for the Brain
What’s good for the body is obviously good for the brain. IF improves metabolic health which is an important contributor to brain health.
The health effects of this diet induce reduced oxidative stress, inflammation, blood sugar level, and insulin resistance. Animal studies have shown that IF protects against brain damage caused by stroke as well.
Intermittent Fasting and Weight Loss
Many people attempt IF to lose weight. In case you are hoping it will make you burn fat, the answer is yes. Intermittent fasting reduces caloric intake and if you are watching what you eat, this will add to the weight loss even more.
Fasting triggers the release of a fat-burning hormone called norepinephrine. Even if you are fasting for a short period, the metabolic rate spikes by 3 to 14 percent.
This type of fasting contributes to notable weight loss than other diets. However, it’s important to exercise to gain muscles and lose fat. Make sure you don’t overeat during the hours you are allowed to eat. The best part is the benefits of IF go beyond weight loss. It brings with it several health benefits that protect you from chronic diseases, improve general health and
Before you choose one of these most popular Intermittent fasting methods, if you have an underlying medical condition (an eating disorder, diabetes, heart condition, etc.), consult with your doctor. They might even suggest which method would be most appropriate to experience all the benefits of this diet without damaging your general health.