Intermittent Fasting involves periods of entirely or partially abstaining from food, this is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. With intermittent fasting, you only eat during a specific time, it does not prescribe the kind of food to eat, but the specific time to eat. Research shows that this way of eating offers benefits such as weight loss, better health, and increased longevity. There are several methods of observing intermittent fasting;
- 16/8 method; this method involves fasting for 16 hours a day and restricting it to an 8-hour window. For instance, you might eat between 12 PM and 8 PM, and then fast from 8 PM to 12 PM the next day. On this fast, people usually eat their evening meal by 8 PM, skip breakfast the next day, and do not eat till noon.
- 12 hours fast; this fasting method is simple, you adhere to a 12-hour fasting window every day. This is advisable for beginners, because the fasting window is relatively small, and much of the fasting occurs during sleep, for instance, a person can choose to fast from 7 PM to 7 AM making it easier to observe.
- 2 days a week fast; this is also known as 5:2, in this type of fast, you consume a regular diet for five days of the week, and then reduce calorie intake on the other two nonconsecutive days. This is advisable for people who want to lose weight, according to research, restricting calories twice a week and continuous calorie restriction both lead to similar weight loss.
- 24-hour fasting; this is known as the eat-stop-eat diet, it involves eating no food for 24 hours at a time, this can be done by fasting from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch. People on this diet can have water, tea, and other calorie-free drinks during the fasting period.
- Alternate day fasting; there are several variations of this kind of fasting, this pattern alternates between fasting days and regular eating days. For some people, they avoid solid food while fasting, while others allow up to 500 calories.
Intermittent fasting offers a lot of health benefits such as; weight loss, it can help with weight management by reducing calorie intake and promoting fat loss. Some studies suggest that intermittent fasting can lead to improvements in heart health by reducing risk factors like high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammation. It may also enhance insulin sensitivity which can help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Intermittent fasting may not be suitable for everyone especially pregnant women, and individuals with eating disorders. It is you consult your health care provider before embarking on intermittent fasting.