5 Types of Intermittent Fasting: Which One Will Work for You? : Dieters are in an intermittent fasting craze. This trendy diet has received endorsement from A-list celebrities, including Jennifer Anitson and Kourtney Kardashian, most of whom swear by its ability to keep off fat.
If you’re looking to jump into the intermittent fasting bandwagon, you’re probably wondering, “Which IF plan is best for me?” Well, read on as we explore the five common methods of doing intermittent fasting. The team at Simple has also done a great job analyzing various types of intermittent fasting by age chart. Check them out if you want to tailor fasting to your age, work life, or social time.
Popular Types of Intermittent Fasting to Consider
So, you want to start intermittent fasting but can’t imagine fasting for 36 hours or eating only one meal a day (OMAD)? Well, there’s a beginner-friendly type of intermittent fasting called overnight fasting or 12-hour fasting. With this approach, you fast for 12 hours and have a 12-hour eating window.
The best way to do a 12-hour fast is to plan so that the fasting period falls in the time spent sleeping. For instance, you could have all your meals between 7 AM and 7 PM and fast till the following morning at 7 AM.
You may wonder whether fasting for 12 hours is even worth it. And the answer is YES. Fasting for 12 hours is enough to promote fat-burning and weight loss, especially when combined with physical exercises and mindful eating. Research shows the body starts burning fat after 10-16 hours of not eating.
You probably won’t torch as much fat as someone else fasting for longer hours. But as a first-timer, this is a very gentle way of easing yourself into intermittent fasting. Once you’re comfortable fasting for 12 hours straight, you could start eyeing slightly more extreme intermittent fasting approaches like the 16:8 and 18/6.
16:8 Intermittent Fasting
This is a pattern where you eat all your meals within an 8-hour window and fast for 16 hours. Fasting for 16 hours may sound extreme. But if you’re used to fasting overnight, this means shortening your eating window by four hours. Instead of having breakfast at 7 AM, you could wait till 9 AM and then have your last meal by 5 PM.
The 16/8 intermittent fasting method is one of the most popular fasting methods. Compared to extreme plans like OMAD and alternate-day fasting, this approach’s proponents say it’s relatively easier, convenient, and sustainable.
Regarding its ability to help lose weight, remember that the body starts burning fat after around 10 hours of fasting. In other words, your body will have been running on ketones (chemical by-products from the breakdown of fats) for 4-6 hours before your first meal. This should promote significant weight loss if done regularly.
18:6 Intermittent Fasting
After getting used to 16:8 intermittent fasting, your body is almost ready for extreme forms of fasting. The 18:6 intermittent fasting approach is an excellent way to test the waters and kick fat burning up a notch. You may also want to turn to this plan if you’ve reached a weight loss plateau with the 16:8 and other less extreme fasting methods.
As the name suggests, this type of fasting means you consistently go without food for 16 hours and have all your day’s meals within a 6-hour window.
The main way 18:6 intermittent fasting helps cut weight is by triggering ketosis (fat-burning process). Ketosis is known to ramp up metabolism by 15-20%.
The number of pounds you can shed when fasting for 18 hours varies. But some people report losing up to 9 pounds in 12 weeks.
The other way this method works is by shortening your eating window. Having only six hours to eat all your day’s meals makes this an intense fast, but it’s also likely to produce greater results.
5:2 IF Plan
The 5:2 is a moderate method of intermittent fasting. The approach involves eating normally five days a week and cutting your daily calorie intake to 25% during the other two fasting days. The two fasting days should be non-consecutive, for instance, Tuesday and Saturday.
Perhaps the best part of this method is that you don’t fast every day. Plus, its “fasts” are not true fasts, per se. During the two fasting days, you’re allowed 500-600 calories, which may be just what you need to sail through. The fact that you can consume any food group makes the 5:2 intermittent fasting plan even easier to follow.
Although the 5:2 plan is flexible, not everybody can handle it. Our bodies prefer a daily routine, which this intermittent fasting method lacks.
One-meal-a-day fasting is an extreme type of intermittent fasting in which you eat a single meal daily.
This is a trendy fasting method because it’s simple (not easy). You go for 23 hours without eating, then have a one-hour window to feast without counting calories or cutting entire food groups.
Going for 23 hours without eating is not easy. But this is one of the best intermittent fasting plans if you’re struggling to lose weight. Most people on OMAD typically lose 4-8 pounds in the first two weeks. OMAD helps you cut down calories even without trying. It’s easy. Unless you participate in competitive eating every day, you probably won’t eat all your daily calories in only one meal. Eating one meal a day creates a calorie deficit, which may promote weight loss.
The first step when intermittent fasting is to choose a plan that suits your routine and weight loss needs. Ideally, start with a relatively easier plan, like the 12-hour fast, before attempting extreme fasting methods. Doing this enables your system to transition smoothly into the new eating patterns, thereby increasing your chances of success with extreme methods.
Lastly, remember to make smart food choices to maximize the benefits of intermittent fasting. Generally, it’s best to gravitate towards minimally or low-processed foods, like green vegetables and lean proteins, to support your body’s nutritional needs.
5 Types of Intermittent Fasting: Which One Will Work for You?
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