How Many Days A Week Is Fasting Recommended
Intermittent fasting is most effective for losing weight if practiced daily. Although, fasting is never easy due to peoples job shifts, extensive travel, or hectic work schedules. These people may find it difficult to practice intermittent fasting daily and may want to fast on alternate days or at least two times a week.
Extreme fasting techniques and lifestyles, such as fasting for 24 hours one day a week or fasting without drinking water, are not recommended.
On average, if you want to lose weight and shed one pound per week, you have to eat 500 calories less daily .
The two times a week method
- You restrict calorie intake in 24 hours to 500 for two days a week.
- During the other five days, you resume your normal eating diet .
- On the fasting days, you must have high-fiber and high-protein foods to keep the body full and the calorie count low.
- Make sure there is a gap of at least one day between the two fasting periods.
- This method does not have any fixed fasting and eating window.
The alternate-day fasting method
- You restrict calorie intake to about 25 percent of your normal intake, irrespective of the fasting hours.
- On non-fasting days, resume your regular diet.
- Alternate-day fasting may have harmful consequences in the long run.
So Is Intermittent Fasting As Good As It Sounds
According to metabolic expert Dr. Deborah Wexler, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, says “there is evidence to suggest that the circadian rhythm fasting approach, where meals are restricted to an eight to 10-hour period of the daytime, is effective.” But still she recommends that people “use an eating approach that works for them and is sustainable to them.”
So, heres the deal. There is some good scientific evidence suggesting that circadian rhythm fasting, when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can be a particularly effective approach to weight loss, especially for people at risk for diabetes.
Fasting For 2 Days A Week
People following the 5:2 diet eat standard amounts of healthful food for 5 days and reduce calorie intake on the other 2 days.
During the 2 fasting days, men generally consume 600 calories and women 500 calories.
Typically, people separate their fasting days in the week. For example, they may fast on a Monday and Thursday and eat normally on the other days. There should be at least 1 non-fasting day between fasting days.
There is limited research on the 5:2 diet, which is also known as the Fast diet. A involving 107 overweight or obese women found that restricting calories twice weekly and continuous calorie restriction both led to similar weight loss.
The study also found that this diet reduced insulin levels and improved insulin sensitivity among participants.
A small-scale study looked at the effects of this fasting style in 23 overweight women. Over the course of one menstrual cycle, the women lost 4.8 percent of their body weight and 8.0 percent of their total body fat. However, these measurements returned to normal for most of the women after 5 days of normal eating.
Read Also: What Is The Best Intermittent Fasting Method
How Long Does Intermittent Fasting Take To Work
Updated on Medically reviewed byKimberly Langdon, MD
Picture this, you are new to intermittent fasting. Each day you climb the scale, looking for a difference in your body weight, yet the figures remain relatively the same.
Now, you are probably worrying. You might be wondering if you are doing it right. Knowing how soon to expect results with intermittent fasting might help you become more patient with this diet.
So, how long does it take?
What Happens When We Are Not Fed
Now lets tell you what happens when you dont eat. This is the perfect time for the body to carry out its repairing procedures. And as a result, the natural cell death, also known as apoptosis, is allowed to happen. In the non-fed state of affairs, the body will utilize its glycogen stores and use the fats as fuel in a process called ketosis. This is the point where metabolism begins consistently as the body gets enough time to rest, recover as well as utilize the calories it has stored.
Also Check: Is Intermittent Fasting Bad For You
What Is Intermittent Fasting And Why Would You Do It
Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. It’s a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. Intermittent fasting doesnt change what you eat, it changes when you eat.
Why is it worthwhile to change when youre eating?
Well, most notably, its a great way to get lean without going on a crazy diet or cutting your calories down to nothing. In fact, most of the time you’ll try to keep your calories the same when you start intermittent fasting. Additionally, intermittent fasting is a good way to keep muscle mass on while getting lean.
With all that said, the main reason people try intermittent fasting is to lose fat. We’ll talk about how intermittent fasting leads to fat loss in a moment.
Perhaps most importantly, intermittent fasting is one of the simplest strategies we have for taking bad weight off while keeping good weight on because it requires very little behavior change. This is a very good thing because it means intermittent fasting falls into the category of simple enough that you’ll actually do it, but meaningful enough that it will actually make a difference.
Can You Do Intermittent Fasting While Working Out
You can still work out on fast days, but stick to low-intensity work and try to get it in toward the start of your fast window rather than the end when your carb stores are totally depleted, Tinsley advises.
Also: Save your fast-day meal till after the workout, Varady adds. In our studies, people got really hungry after they exercised, so a lot would cheat if theyd already eaten their 500 calories for the day, she explains.
Save high-intensity interval training and heavy weight training for feed days/during your feed window, if you can, when you have the calories for fuel and nutrients for recovery. But if your training schedule calls for a grueling workout on a fast day that cant be moved, add the calories burned to your count for the day so you dont burn through muscle. At 200 or 300 calories, you dont need to compensate, but if you burn 500 or more on a fast day, instead of just 500 maintenance calories with 50g of protein, eat 1,000 calories with 80g or more of protein, Varady advises.
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more,
Recommended Reading: What Can I Drink On Intermittent Fasting
What Not To Eat After Fasting
After fasting, you do not want to break your fast with unhealthy foods. It defeats the purpose of fasting as it derails results. After a fast, you want to eat healthy foods. However, not all healthy foods are ideal for breaking a fast, as they can cause discomfort. You want to eat foods that are easily digestible, like protein, non-cruciferous vegetables are hard to digest, avocado, and bone broth. Avoid cruciferous vegetables, lactose, and of course processed foods. After your first meal, you can add some more hard to digest foods to your plate if you like.
I Would Move Away From Intermittent Fasting For Fat Loss And If You Want To Adopt It Think About The Health Benefits Rachel Clarkson
Someone who has a high-carb diet might never move beyond the catabolic state as they will always have a reserve supply of glycogen. However, someone with a low-carb diet and who regularly exercises might move through it very quickly . I would move away from intermittent fasting for fat loss, and if you want to adopt it think about the health benefits, says Clarkson.
How to fast
To fast you have to downregulate the feeling of hunger, says Clarkson. Hunger is felt when ghrelin, a hormone released from our stomach, triggers the production of two other hormones, called NPY and AgRP, in the hypothalamus.
While these three hormones generate feelings of hunger, there are a multitude more that suppress it. Sometimes called the satiety hormones, one of the key ones is leptin which is released from fat cells to suppress the production of ghrelin basically telling the body “there is fat here that you can burn”.
Ghrelin is sometimes called the short-term hunger response because it is released when the stomach is empty and there is less pressure on the stomach wall. It can be overridden to a certain extent by drinking water. Leptin meanwhile works over the long term.
* William Park is a senior journalist at BBC Future and is on Twitter.
Join one million Future fans by liking us on , or follow us on or .
Also Check: What Are The Stages Of Intermittent Fasting
How To Schedule Meals When You Are Intermittent Fasting
While the idea of fasting can be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t done it before, intermittent fasting can actually be a lot easier than many other types of eating plans.
Once you start your intermittent fasting journey, you’ll most likely find that you feel fuller longer and can keep the meals you do eat very simple.
There are a few different ways you can fast, so I broke up each of the different plans below into beginner, intermediate, and advanced along with a typical meal plan for each day.
The combination of nutrients will give you the energy you need to enhance the benefits of your fasting journey.
Just make sure to take into account any individual food intolerances, and use this as a guide for your particular health case, and adjust from there.
Remember, intermittent fasting does not necessarily mean calorie-controlled, so be sure to eat according to your personal caloric needs.
Which Intermittent Fasting Type Works Best For Each Body Type
Certain body types react better to types of intermittent fasting and to pinpoint your exact type and body shape, we have outlined some of the most effective intermittent fasting diets for each of the three body types.
And while there is no specific research to pinpoint one intermittent fasting plan over another, these recommendations are chosen based on body type consideration and propensity for fat loss.
You May Like: Do You Have To Be Fasting For A1c
How Much Weight Can You Lose On The 1: 8 Diet
If done so correctly, there’s a typical weight loss of around seven to 11 pounds over a ten week period, according to a review of studies by Sydney Medical School . They found, on average, someone weighing 90kg would lose 5% of their body weight in 10 weeks.
But how much weight you lose on the 16:8 diet depends on eating fewer calories than you’re burning. According to a leading study by the University of Vienna , this energy deficit can be achieved in many ways – but is ultimately the only method of weight loss. When you eat food, your body metabolises it to create energy used for daily activities – everything from breathing to walking around. If you have more energy than your body uses, the extra is mainly stored as fat. If you have less energy than what your body can burn, your body will turn to fat stores for energy. This is the calorie deficit.
While intermittent fasting has benefits, eating in a 8-hour period alone will not automatically mean you lose weight. The plan is just one way to achieve the deficit without having to count how many calories you burn in a day . The given eating time aims to automatically restrict the amount of food you can eat, leading to weight loss.
S Man: Pick Your Wait Class
Weve given you the lowdown on IF before, but heres a little refresher for the new students in class.
While the foods above will give you the most obvious benefits from the diet, its the fasting part of IF that provides the oomph.
There are loads of IF plans, but most focus on fasting for a certain number of hours in the day or days of the week.
Heres a breakdown of the most popular IF models:
- The 12:12 method. Fast for 12 hours a day and eat within a 12-hour window. If you eat your last meal at 7 p.m. and have breakfast the next morning at 7 a.m., congratulations youre already an IF pro.
- The 20:4 method. Fast for a full 20 hours and allow yourself one 4-hour window to eat.
- The 16:8 method. Eat your daily food within an 8-hour window and fast for the remaining 16 hours.
- The 5:2 method. Eat whatever you want for 5 days out of the week. For the other 2 days, men can consume 600 calories and women can consume 500 calories.
For more info about different approaches to IF, check out our intermittent fasting guide.
Recommended Reading: Can You Drink Coffee Intermittent Fasting
Schedule #: The : 2 Diet
Popularized by Dr. Michael Mosleys The Fast Diet, this approach involves consuming a lot less food two days of the week, and eating normally the other five.
Maybe youre thinking, Thats not fasting! Thats part-time dieting! And youre right.
Technically, this style of eating is called intermittent energy restriction .
What it involves
Exactly what and how much someone eats on the two fasting days can vary from around 20 percent of normal intake to 70 percent. For someone consuming 2800 Calories a day, a fasting day might range from 560 Calories to 1900.
As you can imagine, the lower end of that range is a lot more challenging than the upper end.
People who benefit
People who do best with 5:2 fasting tend to have a lifestyle and/or fitness schedules that align with it.
Heres an example: Robin Beier, PN2, is a German nutrition coach who practices IF personally and coaches a number of clients who do the same. In Germany, most shops are closed on Sundays, including grocery stores. So for one of his clients, a 5:2 diet naturally emerged.
This client would wake on Sunday with hardly any food at homeand didnt want to eat out. So hed have breakfast and then eat either very little or nothing at all for the rest of the day. He broke the fast Monday evening, after hitting the grocery store for dinner supplies.
If you try it:
What Can You Eat On The 1: 8 Diet
- Whole grains: Rice, oats, barley, wholegrain pasta and quinoa.
- Protein: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds.
- Fruit: Apples, bananas, berries, oranges and pears.
- Vegetables: Broccoli, spinach and other leafy greens.
- Healthy fats: Olive oil, coconut oil, avocados.
The great thing about the 16:8 diet is that you can eat anything you want, within reason, but it’s important to choose whole foods and those high in vitamins during the eating period.
“Many people fail the 16:8 diet by packing in too many calories into the 8-hour period, often trying to get some in before the 8 hours ends, says Jenane. You should still be following a strict diet with a complete nutritional breakdown, to ensure you are consuming a targeted number of calories, not to mention macro nutrients and ensuring youre not consuming too much sugar.
You Are Not Eating Enough Protein
If you find that your meals cannot carry you across your fasting period to your next eating window, then you might need to adjust your diet.
Consider including more lean protein in your diet. It does not matter the type of protein, vegan or animal protein, all are fine.
Your meals should have healthy fats, carbs, leafy greens, and proteins.
What Are The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting Combined With Sports
In general, intermittent fasting experiences are usually very good and bring many benefits to those who do it. Why? Very simple: because this is how we activate our metabolism.
And this is tremendously important, since in most cases, fat accumulation problems are derived from a slow metabolism. It is like in sports, if we do the same exercise table continuously, at first we will notice the results but then we will stagnate.
So, if we concentrate our food intake in a limited period of time, we will ensure that our metabolism “does not relax” and converts accumulated fat reserves into energy, which stimulates weight loss.
In addition, this nutritional model also provides multiple other benefits:
- Delays the aging of the body.
- Reduces indicators of inflammation.
- Lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Promotes neuronal plasticity.
- Limits the growth of cancer cells.
If we already favor with our diet the acceleration of the metabolism with its consequent burning of fat, imagine if we also do sports on a regular basis. The perfect combo to look great!
Here are the most valued types of intermittent fasting and some guidelines to do them, but yes, it is always recommended that you consult with a nutritionist who will evaluate your case and give you personalized guidelines. Every body and lifestyle is different!
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work
There are several different ways to do intermittent fasting, but they are all based on choosing regular time periods to eat and fast. For instance, you might try eating only during an eight-hour period each day and fast for the remainder. Or you might choose to eat only one meal a day two days a week. There are many different intermittent fasting schedules.
Mattson says that after hours without food, the body exhausts its sugar stores and starts burning fat. He refers to this as metabolic switching.
Intermittent fasting contrasts with the normal eating pattern for most Americans, who eat throughout their waking hours, Mattson says. If someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and theyre not exercising, then every time they eat, theyre running on those calories and not burning their fat stores.
Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat.