HomeHealth A-ZWhat Is Intermittent Fasting? - Everything you need to know

What Is Intermittent Fasting? – Everything you need to know

Overview

Fasting is a concept that has been practiced across the globe for thousands of years. Due to its incredible health advantages, this practice is a simple yet effective long-term strategy to lose weight and enhance overall health.

Most practitioners believe that intermittent fasting is not a diet plan but a way of living. 

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is a type of diet that alternates between eating and fasting intervals. This practice focuses on when a person should eat rather than what they should eat. The most commonly followed intermittent fasting method incorporates a daily fasting window of 16 hours and an eating window of 8 hours. This includes consuming all of the day’s calories in an 8-hour eating window and fasting for the remaining 16 hours.

What are the types of intermittent fasting?

There are seven types of intermittent fasting:

  1. Fasting for 12 hours a day: This form of intermittent fasting is an easy way to introduce yourself to intermittent fasting. The most convenient way to complete a 12-hour fast is to include your sleep time in the fasting window. For example, A person could fast between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. They’d have to finish dinner before 7 p.m. and wait until 7 a.m. to eat breakfast, but they would be sleeping for the majority of the time in between.
  2. Fasting for 16 hours: Following an eating window of 8 hours and a fasting window for 16 hours is called the 16:8 method, or the Lean gains diet. Men fast for 16 hours a day and women fast for 14 hours on the 16:8 diet. This sort of intermittent fasting may be beneficial for those who have tried the 12-hour fast and found it to be ineffective. People who fast this way, finish their evening meal by 8 p.m., skip breakfast the next day, and don’t eat again until noon.
  3. Fasting for two days a week: The 5:2 diet requires people to eat a normal amount of healthy food for five days and then cut their calorie consumption for the remaining two days. Men typically would consume 600 calories and women 500 calories during the two fasting days. Fasting days are usually separated during the week. They may, for example, fast on Mondays and Thursdays and eat regularly during the rest of the week. Between fasting days, there should be at least one non-fasting day.
  4. Alternate day fasting: This method involves fasting for one day, and eating the next day. Alternate day fasting prohibits the consumption of solid foods on fasting days which helps in weight loss, heart health in both healthy and overweight adults. People frequently opt to eat as much as they want on feeding days. It is considered to be an extreme form of fasting that is not suitable for a beginner. 
  5. 24-hour fasting: Fasting completely is called the Eat-Stop-Eat-diet. For instance, fasting from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch. They can drink water, tea, and calorie-free drinks during this period. On non-fasting days, it is necessary to be back on the normal eating pattern. It is considered to be the toughest type of diet to follow, as it can cause fatigue, dizziness, headache, and irritability. 
  6. Skipping a meal: This type of fasting is suitable for beginners. They can decide on which meal to skip. Individuals who monitor and respond to their bodies’ hunger cues are more likely to succeed at meal skipping. People who practice intermittent fasting in this manner eat when they are hungry and skip meals when they are not. For some people, this may feel more natural than the other fasting strategies.
  7. Warrior diet: The Warrior Diet is a type of intermittent fasting that is quite intense. During a 20-hour fasting window, the Warrior Diet entails eating very little, usually just a few portions of raw fruit and vegetables, and then eating one huge meal at night. In most cases, the dining window is only 4 hours long. This type of intermittent fasting may be appropriate for persons who have already tried other types of intermittent fasting.

When should you visit a doctor?

Before starting on an intermittent fasting schedule, it’s highly recommended to check with your Apollo doctor and check if any risks are involved in following this diet. 

Request an appointment at Apollo Hospitals

Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment

What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?

 For starters, intermittent fasting is known to help people lose weight. This is because the body gets its energy from fat, rather than carbohydrates. Adding exercise into your intermittent fasting schedule can result in a winning combination of achieving weight loss, along with better health. People with cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, and some cancers may benefit from intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting may also assist in the reduction of harmful cholesterol.

Here are some of the benefits of intermittent fasting.

  1. The ability to think and remember – Intermittent fasting improves working memory in animals and verbal memory in adults.
  2. Heart health – Fasting for a short period of time improves blood pressure, resting heart rates, and other heart-related parameters.
  3. Physical exertion – Fasting for 16 hours results in fat loss while retaining muscle mass. 
  4. Obesity and diabetes – Obese adult individuals lose weight by fasting intermittently.

What are the risk factors involved in fasting?

Though intermittent fasting has many benefits, it also involves certain risks:

  • It can make you feel sick.
  • It can cause you to overeat when breaking a fast
  • It is better to avoid fasting when you are under medications

How to avoid any side effects caused by intermittent fasting?

Here are a few rules to follow when breaking your fast, regardless of the type of intermittent fasting you’re doing.

  • When trying to reduce weight, avoid eating carbohydrates on an empty stomach.
  • Sugary drinks and pastries should be avoided because they can cause a surge in your blood sugar level and make you feel hungry.
  • Keep the portion sizes in check and eat in moderation.

A note from Apollo hospitals/Apollo groups

Intermittent fasting has gained prominence in today’s fast-paced world, with many practitioners reporting weight loss, more stable energy levels throughout the day, and an excellent safety record. 

But it’s important to remember that intermittent fasting can have different effects on people. Hence, if you experience unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea, or other symptoms after starting intermittent fasting, you should consult your Apollo doctor to understand the best course of action. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1) How much weight can we lose with intermittent fasting in a month?

Most practitioners have reported a weight loss of 2 to 6 kgs for each month. Along with weight loss, practitioners have also reported a boost in energy levels and cognitive abilities.

2) Is medicine a hindrance to intermittent fasting?

No. You must continue to take your medicines as directed, but it is recommended to check with your doctor to see if your medications can be taken on an empty stomach.

3) What is meant by dirty fasting?

Dirty fasting is a term that is used to describe eating some calories during a fasting window. This differs from traditional fasting or “clean” fasting, which restricts all foods and calorie-containing beverages. People who practice dirty fasting will typically consume up to 100 calories during their fasting window

Avatar
Verified By Apollo Doctors
At Apollo, we believe that easily accessible, reliable health information can make managing health conditions an empowering experience. AskApollo Online Health Library team consists of medical experts who create curated peer-reviewed medical content that is regularly updated and is easy-to-understand.
Quick Appointment
Most Popular