Intermittent fasting can be a great way to lose weight and improve your health. A recent review suggests that intermittent fasting may have a beneficial role in improving anthropometric and cardiometabolic outcomes. But what are the different options? Here are the five most popular types of intermittent fasting.
1. The 16/8 method
This option is the most common type of intermittent fasting. You fast for 16 hours and then eat within an 8-hour window. Choose whichever eight-hour block works best for you.
Research shows this approach may reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease. Skipping breakfast and eating lunch and dinner instead is one way to achieve the 16/8 method.
2. The 5:2 Method
This diet involves eating normally for five days of the week and then fasting for two consecutive days. You restrict your diet to one-quarter of your daily nutritional needs in the two days. For example, if you usually eat 2,000 calories per day, you would consume 500 on fasting days.
The 5:2 is more flexible than other options. You can choose any two days. If you're an active person, consider splitting the two days so you can fast when you don't work out or have a 12-hour shift.
3. The Eat-Stop-Eat Method
This method involves fasting for 24 hours, typically from dinner one day to dinner the next. For example, you would eat dinner on Monday night and then not eat again until dinner on Tuesday night. It's a more unconventional approach, but can be an excellent way to break a weight loss plateau.
You can eat how you want when you're not fasting. However, most dieticians recommend sticking to a nutritious diet. Stick to whole foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
4. The Warrior Diet
The warrior diet has what many consider an extreme intermittent fasting schedule. You fast for 20 hours and then eat one enormous meal within a four-hour window. Limit your calories to 500-1,000 in this meal. You don't want to overeat, but you should feel satisfied.
This approach doesn't work for everyone, but some people find it helpful for weight loss. Be careful with this technique, as it can lead to binge eating.
5. Alternate Day Method
This diet is the most hardcore of all the intermittent fasting methods. You fast for one day and then eat usually the next. This means you’d have to fast every other day.
A typical intermittent fasting schedule for the alternative day method includes fasting from lunch on day one to lunch on day two. This diet can be difficult to sustain because of the restrictive eating schedule. However, some people find it helpful for weight loss.
Which type of intermittent fasting is best for you? That depends on your goals and your lifestyle. Talk to your doctor or registered dietitian nutritionist to find the best fit.