Healthy eating is always a popular subject amongst health and fitness community. Intermittent fasting (IF) is primarily an eating pattern that defines the cycles between eating and fasting.
Intermittent fasting does not indicate the food to eat but spell out the time when to eat. It is not aout the diet but a pattern to eat food. Fasting has been practiced throughout human evaluation specially in Muslims who practice fasting 30 days in a 365 days calendar as a part of their religious duty. The very common Intermittent fasting method is 16 hours fasting in 24 hours period twice a week. This method is evolved from fasting practice of Muslims where they fast for 12-18 hours in 24 hours period for consecutive 30 days every year during the Islamic month of Ramadan. Other than Muslims, fasting is also done for religious reasons in Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism.
Most popular and common methods of Intermittent Fasting (IF) are provided below:
The 16/8 method:
This is also called the Lean gains protocol, in 16/8 method breakfast is skipped and daily eating period is restricted to 8 hours, like; 1300 hours to 2100 hours. Then fasting for 16 hours in between.
24 hours fasting, once or twice a week is practiced in this method, in this method, no food is taken for example from breakfast one day until breakfast the next day.
The 5:2 diet:
In 5:2 diet method, the week is split into 2 where 500-600 calories are consumed in 2 non-consecutive days of the week and normal eating pattern is followed in 5 days of the week.
During the fasting period, water and zero-calories beverages e.g. black Coffee and tea are consumed.
Some other methods of intermittent fasting are also practiced by different people as described below:
• Alternate Day Fasting: in this method, every alternate day fasting is practiced. During fasting period a few hundred calories (400 to 500) may be consumed. Some studies indicate that alternate day fasting is not very effective in weight control and weight loss when it is compared with the restricted calories dies. Since this method requires to go to bed very hungry on every alternate night, it may be experienced a very unpleasant exercise and may not be practiced for long time.
• The Warrior Diet: Fitness expert Ori Hofmekler described the Warrior Diet. Hofmekler suggested to eat small amount of raw vegetables and fruits throughout the day and take one full meal in Dinner. Primarily it focusses on fasting the entire day and having feast in 4 hours’ window, usually at dinner.
• Spontaneous Meal Skipping: This method does not involve structured fasting and meal plans. It focused on skipping one or two meals when hunger is not felt or when one is too busy. Some people practice this method by eating very few hours in a day to avoid hitting starvation or loosing muscles. Skipping one or two meal when one is inclined to do so is spontaneous meal skipping.
Intermittent Fasting is a weight loss tool but it does not work for everyone, some people may lose weight and some may not. Intermittent Fasting is not recommended for people with underline health issues and people who are prone eating disorders. Quality of food also matters a lot during intermittent fasting as processed food has to be avoided. One cannot expect weight loss during intermittent fasting and consuming processed food. It is also suggested to consult a healthcare professional before starting intermittent fasting.