The Best Intermittent Fasting Ritual For Your Lifestyle
Intermittent fasting has gained significant popularity as a lifestyle practice among many individuals. While you may have come across the term ‘intermittent fasting’, it's important to understand that there are various types of intermittent fasting, and it is also important to acknowledge that what may work for someone else might not necessarily align with your unique lifestyle and needs.
All intermittent fasting involves abstaining from food for longer than the standard 10-12 hour overnight fast that most of us do. Below are some of the most recognised methods of intermittent fasting.
Time-restricted eating or the 16:8 method:
Arguably the most popular method of intermittent fasting, this method involves eating within an 8-hour window during the day and fasting for 16 hours overnight. A lot of people would actually be doing this without even realising it, hence it being the most popular and easy method to follow. You simply eat as you would throughout the day, for example, your first meal could be at 8am and your last meal would then be at 5pm. A relatively easy method to follow if you are new to intermittent fasting and want to give it a go.
The 5:2 method:
Another widely adopted intermittent fasting method is the 5:2 method, characterised by caloric intake restriction on two non-consecutive days per week. Women limit their intake to 500 calories, while men restrict theirs to 600. On the remaining days, you can practice your normal eating without any specific energy restrictions. This method may prove to be quite a bit harder to adhere to and would not be suitable for everyone.
Alternate day fasting method:
As the name implies, alternate-day fasting is an intermittent fasting approach that involves alternating between fasting days and regular eating days. In this method, you abstain from food on one day and resume normal eating on the following day. The predominant version of this method incorporates ‘modified’ fasting, allowing the consumption of approximately 500 calories on fasting days. The majority of studies on alternate-day fasting have predominantly used the modified approach. This method is widely regarded as highly sustainable compared to full fasts on fasting days, while still being equally effective in achieving desired outcomes.
Eat, Stop, Eat method:
The Eat Stop Eat method is similar to alternate-day fasting. You simply choose one day or two non-consecutive days per week and abstain from consuming any food for a full 24-hour period. Again, this method wouldn’t be suitable for everybody as it does require a longer period of calorie restriction.
Intermittent fasting is generally considered safe for most people, however, calorie restriction can be dangerous if you are taking certain medications, are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a history of eating disorders, or are a diabetic. Please always check with your healthcare provider if it is right for you.
Written by Alex Kingston - Alex is a degree qualified clinical nutritionist based in Sydney, Australia. To find out more about Alex click this link to view her website.
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Rynders, C. A., Thomas, E. A., Zaman, A., Pan, Z., Catenacci, V. A., & Melanson, E. L. (2019). Effectiveness of Intermittent Fasting and Time-Restricted Feeding Compared to Continuous Energy Restriction for Weight Loss. Nutrients, 11(10), 2442. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102442
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