Intermittent fasting has become a popular way of losing weight, but what is it?
Intermittent fasting is a type of eating plan that involves switching between scheduled periods of eating and fasting, e.g. fasting for 16 hours of the day and eating during the remaining 8 hours.
To help you understand more about intermittent fasting, including the types and benefits of intermittent fasting, we put together this handy guide with all the must-know information about this flexible way to lose weight.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is the umbrella term for several diverse types of fasting diet plans, including:
- The 5:2 diet
- The 16:8 diet
- 24-hour fasting
The 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 diet is the most popular type of intermittent fasting – the diet involves eating normally for five days a week and restricting your calorie intake to 600-800 calories for the other two days.
The 16:8 Diet
This type of intermittent fasting is done daily as opposed to on a weekly cycle. The 16:8 method involves fasting for 16 hours a day and limiting the window you can eat in to 8 hours.
Another popular form of intermittent fasting is 24–hour fasting, which may be done once or twice per week. During the 24–hour fast, you may drink water or coffee, but food is off limits. You should always speak to a medical professional before starting this type of fasting.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
Once you stop eating, your body is forced to use stored energy, known as glycogen. After the glycogen is gone, your body will start to use up stored fat, which is how intermittent fasting can result in weight loss.
Is Intermittent Fasting for You?
If you’re keen to try intermittent fasting, it’s best to speak to your GP first to ensure it’s safe for you to do so.
Before committing to one type of intermittent fasting, you should explore the benefits of each to understand which will work best for you.
How to Make Intermittent Fasting Work for You
Once you have spoken to your GP and determined which type of intermittent fasting is right for you, it’s important to be prepared. Consider planning or even preparing your meals at the start of the week to make it easier to know what to eat and when.
On days when you’re fasting or eating within a calorie target, i.e. 600-800 calories on the 5:2 diet, you must make the most of your calorie allowance to ensure you get sufficient vitamins, minerals and protein. To do this, you could consider using OPTIFAST meal replacement shakes, soups or bars.