Types Of Fasting Diets And How To Choose The Right One
Reviewed by Emily Gonzalez, ND for Scientific Accuracy
- Fasting diets can help you manage your weight, increase mental clarity and reduce your risk for disease, simply by changing when you eat.
- You can incorporate fasting into any diet, but more structured options are also available. Types of fasting diets include 16:8 intermittent fasting and OMAD.
- The best fasting diet is the one that works best with your lifestyle. Below, youll find tips on how to choose the right plan for you.
Fasting isnt just a scientifically proven way to manage your weight. Different types of fasting diets also help your body remove cellular waste and even improve your mood. From lowering your risk for disease to improving memory, you can enjoy loads of fasting benefits just by changing when you eat.
Fasting can fit into any dietbut if you need structure, you have options. Depending on your eating habits and health goals, youll find a style that fits your routine. Keep reading to learn about some of the best fasting diets and how to get started.
Modified Alternate Day Fasting
If the thought of going an entire 24 hours without eating freaks you out, youll be happy to know that you dont have to do that with the modified alternate-day fasting plan.
Like alternate-day fasting, you will fast 24 hours, every other day. However, you are allowed to eat a small number of calories during your fasting window. The limit is 500 calories or 20-25% of your regular calorie budget.
Learn more about alternate-day fasting:
Does Intermittent Fasting Work
Over the years, there have been a number of studies into how effective intermittent fasting is when it comes to weight loss, with many concluding that intermittent fasting can help you lose weight.
The first and most obvious reason for this is because you’re restricting your food intake to a certain window in the day, meaning you are lowering your calorie intake.
Intermittent fasting may also boost your metabolism to increase how much fat you burn throughout the day. Not only this, but some fasting diets have been found to help your body retain muscle while lowering the levels of insulin in the body to help you burn more fat.
Many of these studies however have been conducted over a short period of time, and many experts aren’t sure how sustainable this kind of diet would be over longer periods.
We caught up with fitness, wellness guru and nutrition expert Penny Weston to find out more about intermittent fasting and whether or not it really works.
‘Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves a cycle of fasting and eating, or in other words of deliberately reducing food intake to a certain amount of calories for a day. This has become quite popular in recent years because of various studies that show the health benefits that include helping to control blood sugar, improving heart health, and reducing blood pressure.’
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Don’t Skip Out Before Athletic Competitions
If you are a hard-core athlete or participate in athletic competitionsbodybuilding, marathons, and the likeyou need to be at your peak. Not that fasting is harmful to you, but giving your body all of the nutrients it needs to burn calories effectively will allow you to perform better. The amount of calories you will burn while competing needs to be readily available, and you dont want to risk feeling lightheaded or nauseous due to lack of food.
Intermittent Fasting For Keto
If you have hopped on the Keto Diet bandwagon, this special 3-day type of intermittent fasting is for you. This method was designed to boost your transition into ketosis, or fat-burning mode.
This method was developed by Tim Ferriss and is not for the faint of heart because it involves fasting for 3 days. You can read about his 3-day plan here.
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Are There Any Side Effects Of Intermittent Fasting 20/4
Yes, there are. Some downsides of participating in a fasting eating plan include:
- May lead to a binge-eating disorder This is a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food and feel unable to stop eating. Fasting has been linked to the increase in the onset of binge-eating .
- May lead to nutrient deficiencies Since you are eating during a very small window, you are unlikely to consume the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Nutrient deficiencies that can lead to anemia, fatigue, weakness, poor eye health and immunity, short term memory loss, diarrhea, dementia, and skin disorders, muscle loss, osteoporosis, and depression .
- It has no basis in science As we mentioned above, this diet was developed by an ex-military guy who based all his findings from his experience during active duty. He is neither a scientist, nutritionist, nor a dietitian. On the other hand, most of the benefits mentioned have been linked to fasting in general or other forms of intermittent fasting and not the 20/4 method.
It May Reduce The Risk Of Developing Type 2 Diabetes
For people who are pre-diabetic, intermittent fasting can reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This is because, with IF, food intake is controlled, as a result of which blood sugar levels come down and the body does not need to produce insulin too often. Intermittent fasting has been shown to battle insulin resistance and keep blood sugar levels lowered.
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What Are Fasting Diets
Though theres no one-size-fits-all approach to fasting diets, they typically include a period of time when youre fastingabstaining from eating or drinking anything with caloriesand a period of time when youre eating, sometimes focused on specific food groups.
With this type of dieting, you might skip breakfast a few times per week, or you might limit your eating window every day. It all depends on what works for you.
Everyone responds differently to fasting diets, but this style of eating may help you feel more like yourself. Fasting diets can help improve your mood and better manage your weight. Other benefits range from improved memory and alertness to autophagy, which is your bodys natural way of cleaning out damaged cells and toxins to make way for fresh, healthy cells.
It’s Not Just Weight Loss: Why People Are Into Intermittent Fasting
People practice intermittent fasting to lose weight and more about that in a bit but also for its other health benefits. Research on the topic has been piling up, and various studies have found that:
- Intermittent fasting can lower your insulin levels and improve insulin resistance .
- Intermittent fasting may have the potential to reduce asthma symptoms in overweight asthmatics, one study suggested.
- Intermittent fasting can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, and improve cognitive function, including better memory and learning, some research has shown. These studies were, however, not carried out on humans but on rodents.
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But Is Intermittent Fasting Good For You
While some researchhas shown the benefits of IF, such as weight loss, lowerblood pressure and improved metabolic health, more investigation isstill needed, especially regarding long-term outcomes of IF. There is also theaspect of sustainability. Severely restricting calories or not eating for longperiods at a time isnt for everyone. Some researcheven shows that those who do intermittent fasting dont usually stick with itas compared with those trying to lose weight on more traditional diets.
Still, IF has been shown to be an effective form of weight loss but so have other options like eating a well-balanced diet paired withexercise. One studysuggests that IF is not more effective at supporting weight loss or improvingblood sugars than other well-balanced approaches.
Weight loss is never a one-size-fits-all approach, saysTaylor. IF may be sustainable for some people, while others find that this approachjust isnt for them.
If you want to try IF, youll first need to figure out how you are going to incorporate this style of eating into your life, especially when it comes to things like social events and staying active, she advises.
Ready to explore your options? Here Taylor explains some of the most popular IF methods.
Listen To Your Bodys Signals
Perhaps theres no better sign than when your body lets you know that something isnt right. Feeling lightheaded, having issues with coordination, and experiencing blurred vision are all ways that your body tries to get your attention.
If you experience any of these things during a workout, you most likely need to stop exercising immediately. Consult your doctor so that you can adjust your exercise and fasting plan accordingly. Burning fat is a good thing, but when youre sacrificing your healthsay, if you pass out while holding heavy weights or during a runit’s not worth it.
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What Are The Negative Effects Of Intermittent Fasting
In my own experimentation with Intermittent Fasting since 2014, I have found very few negative side effects with Intermittent Fasting.
The biggest concern most people have is that Intermittent Fasting will lead to lower energy, focus, and the holy crap I am hungry feeling during the fasting period and ruin them.
People are concerned that they will spend all morning being miserable because they havent consumed any food, and thus will be miserable at work and ineffective at whatever task it is they are working on.
The following are my thoughts and experiences, and your results may vary:
Yes, the initial transition from EATING ALL THE TIME, to intermittent fasting MIGHT be a bit of a jolt to your system it was for me.
However, once I got through the transition after a few days, my body quickly adapted and learned to function just as well only eating a few times a day.
Although I fast for 16 hours per day with no issues, the following might help assuage your fears that skipping breakfast will cause your body to eat itself and your brain to implode:
After 48-hours of fasting in a recent study , cognitive performance, activity, sleep, and mood are not adversely affected in healthy humans by two days of calorie-deprivation. Youll be fasting for far less time than that.
So why do I feel grouchy and lethargic when I skip breakfast?
If you eat breakfast every morning, your body expects to wake up and eat food.
Find Out The Perfect Intermittent Fasting Schedule For Your Goals
If you’re new to Intermittent Fasting, the first place to start is determining what your Intermittent Fasting schedule should be. Will a 20 hour fast with a 4 hour eating window work best for you? Maybe a 16 hour fast with an 8 hour eating window sounds more do-able. Or perhaps the 12:12 approach fits your social life better.
Today, I’m sharing a 3 minute Intermittent Fasting quiz to help you better understand which Intermittent Schedule will be best for you and your goals!
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Which Intermittent Fasting Is Best For You
Picking which intermittent fasting is best will depend on your health goals and what experience you have with intermittent fasting. if your main goal is weight loss, keep reading, we will talk about some specific tips that will help you achieve weight loss. Otherwise, if you are struggling with some health issues, some prolonged fasting may be something to consider. I recommend you learn about the 10-Day Transformation or Modified Fasting.
Take my quiz to determine which fasting method is best.
What Are The Main Rules About Intermittent Fasting And Diet
You can make a list of simple rules to ease choice of food to support intermittent fasting benefits:
- Chose whole, real, unprocessed foods and avoid refined products
- Always have a variety of colorful vegetables
- Buy different sources of protein: fish, poultry, meat, dairy
- Have different types of healthy fats: butter, olive oil, nuts, seeds
- Give preference to healthy dessert alternatives: dark chocolate, berries, fruits, nuts
- Keep a variety of vinegars and oils for making different sauces
- Use different spices and condiments to change the taste of a dish
- Use baked veggies and beans as side dish
It is also important to remember that fasting makes you quite sensitive to insulin, so any food high in carbohydrates will be absorbed easily and more likely to be stored as fat. Thatâs why itâs not recommended to consume carbs after intermittent fasting, especially refined ones. Try to stay away from cereals, burgers, cakes, fries and other similar foods .
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Can I Eat Whatever I Want On Non
Like any successful diet plan, no foods are off limits for intermittent fasters. But we always recommend that you eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods, whether or not you are trying to lose weight.
Eating more plant-based foods rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals helps keep your immune system healthy. It also reduces your risk of chronic inflammation, which is associated with diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, and several types of cancer.
While many people try fasting to improve their health, some try fasting to lose weight. We rarely recommend that weight loss be the primary goal of a diet plan, as studies show this approach typically does not result in long-term weight loss or improvements in health. In fact, it often negatively impacts mental health. But if youre fasting to lose or maintain your weight, even if its not the primary goal, you should also be mindful of the amount of food you eat.
Some people who choose more restrictive patterns of intermittent fasting eat more than they normally would on non-fasting days in anticipation ofor to make up foreating less on fasting days. Because theyre consuming the same number of calories overall, their weight stays the same.
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Intermittent Fasting Can Also Help You Lose Weight
And that’s why most people who try it turn to intermittent fasting in the first place. Various intermittent fasting protocols can be effective at helping you drop pounds, research has confirmed. With other potential health benefits very much existing, there’s usually no reason not to try if it appeals to you. Intermittent fasting isn’t suitable for people who have or had eating disorders, are pregnant or breastfeeding, have diabetes, or are on meds that need to be taken with food. It’s also not recommended for adolescents.
For almost everyone else, the practice can be a successful weight loss method. There’s a caveat, though intermittent fasting has been found to be equally good at helping people lose weight as more conventional calorie-restriction weight loss diets, and no better. If you choose this method, you’re as likely as someone on a run-of-the-mill “calories in, calories out” diet to lose weight and hopefully reach your goal. You are also as likely to maintain your weight loss after you have reached your goal. But your chances of success aren’t higher if you choose intermittent fasting as your weight loss method.
It’s also slightly harder for people to stick to than conventional calorie-restriction diets, research has found. If you’re someone who thinks about food a lot, fasting may, possibly, trigger binges when all that non-eating gets to you and you just can’t take it anymore.
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Tips To Start Intermittent Fasting And Stick With It
Tried-and-tested tricks from IF devotees for staying on track.
Intermittent fasting has been a hot trend for years, with fans swearing it does everything from helping them lose weight to helping them stay healthy. Theres research to back up the benefits of intermittent fasting, too.
A new scientific review published in the Annual Review of Nutrition analyzed 25 studies on intermittent fasting and found that people lost anywhere from 1% to 8% of their baseline weight on this type of eating plan. Intermittent fasting can also have a positive impact on many metabolic health markers, like blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and the associated weight lossespecially if you add a good exercise regimencan result in reduced risks for weight-related diseases. Basically, theres a lot intermittent fasting can do.
Of course, there is a range of options with intermittent fasting and the type you choose is ultimately up to you. One of the most popular forms is time-restricted eating. With this type, you fast for a certain period of the day and have a specific eating window. For example, you may fast for 18 hours and eat for six. Other options include alternate date fasting, which flips between having a day of fasting and a day of eating, and the 5:2 diet, which involves two fasting days and five eating days per week.
Alternate Day Fasting: The Every Other Day Method
The alternate day fasting method involves modified fasting every other day.
For some, the fasting day involves 24 hours of fasting and for others, they allow themselves to consume up to 500 calories. The time restricted eating windows such as 16:8 can work here too.
For example, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday will be days where the person eats their normal meals and calorie intake. The remaining days will be focused on a 24 hour fast or calorie restrictions.
Studies show that this method does work but is less effective for weight control and reducing blood sugar level and cholesterol than others.
Most methods involve restricting calorie intake which typically results in weight loss. However, it is important to remember to not overcompensate for the loss of calories during windows of eating otherwise the results will not be as evident.
Those who choose intermittent fasting find that the time restricted eating method of 16:8 to be the most effective and beneficial for weight loss and more.
With there being several effective intermittent fasting methods to choose from, you may be wondering what the health benefits are:
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