The Best Types of Fasting to Try for Better Health



Imagine being able to boost your metabolism, feel more energized, and gain a variety of health advantages without having to track your calories or adhere to a strict diet. Here are just a few advantages of fasting. With all the diet advice out there, not eating might be the simplest, which is what makes fasting seem so unique. Naturally, fasting is not the same as starving oneself, despite what many people believe it to be. Fasting, however, is not a diet either.

To fast literally means to refrain from eating and drinking for a set amount of time. Since many religions practice spiritual fasting, it has been practiced for thousands of years. In this situation, I like to view it as merely a shift in eating habits.

You have a particular window of time when you eat, whether it’s a few hours per day or certain days of the week, as opposed to three full meals a day or a number of smaller meals spread out throughout the day. You are free to consume whatever you want at that period, provided it is reasonable. It’s unlikely that eating processed foods like potato chips will allow you to profit from fasting. If it describes you, I advise you to look at your diet before attempting a fast. You will experience changes if you practice fasting and consume a diet high in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats, and raw dairy; in addition, occasional indulgences in chocolate or cheese won’t have as much of an impact as much of an effect as they may have if you were on a calorie-restrictive diet The fact that there is no one “correct” way to fast makes it beautiful. In actuality, there are several well-liked varieties and many advantages to fasting.

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Encourages HGH Secretion
Although it is created by the body naturally, human growth hormone (HGH) only has a short half-life in the blood. It has been used successfully to treat obesity and to increase muscle mass, which is crucial for fat burning. Fasting also increases HGH output Additionally, HGH promotes muscle growth, which might enhance your workouts. When you combine these, you have a powerful tool for burning fat.

Might Improve Sports Performance
Professional athletes who fast have shown improvements in their body mass and other health metrics. This is owing to the fact that, as was already discussed, it can efficiently aid in shedding extra pounds while maximizing muscle building because it produces HGH. Traditionally, it is suggested that athletes ingest half an hour after their workouts are over (post-workout diet) high-quality protein to simultaneously build muscle and burn fat. On training days, it is recommended to fast; however, eating is encouraged on game days.

Normatively influences insulin sensitivity
Your body may develop insulin resistance if it consumes too many carbohydrates and sugars. A variety of chronic disorders, including type 2 diabetes, are frequently made possible by this. Maintaining your body’s insulin sensitivity is crucial if you don’t want to take this path. Fasting is a useful strategy for achieving this. In adults with type 2 diabetes, intermittent fasting improved important markers like body weight and glucose levels, according to research published in the World Journal of Diabetes. In another study, it was discovered that calorie restriction and intermittent fasting both reduced visceral fat mass, fasting insulin, and insulin resistance.

Ghrelin Levels Are Balanced
Ghrelin: what is it? Because it alerts your body that it is hungry, it is sometimes referred to as the “hunger hormone.”You may experience increased hunger as a result of dieting and extremely restrictive eating habits. Even though it may be difficult the first few days, fasting actually aids in restoring normal ghrelin levels for a while, you won’t feel hungry merely because it’s mealtime. Your body will instead improve its ability to determine when it genuinely needs nourishment.

Lower Triglyceride levels
Your triglyceride levels may soar when you ingest an excessive amount of bad cholesterol, raising your risk of heart disease. In fact, intermittent fasting lowers triglycerides while lowering levels of harmful cholesterol. Aids in Delaying Aging Symptoms Intermittent fasting appears to increase longevity in rats, although more human studies are required to confirm this. According to one study, rats with intermittent fasting had lower body weights and lived longer Another discovered that, despite being heavier than the non-fasting mice, a group of mice that intermittently fasted survived longer than the control group. Of course, it’s not certain if the same outcomes would occur in people, but the indicators are positive In fact, there are numerous.

categories of fasting
Alternate-Day Fasting Cyclical fasting is another name for this style of fasting. A general word for eating (and not eating) sporadically is intermittent fasting. In reality, intermittent fasting is practiced in practically all of the ways listed here! The typical duration of an intermittent fast is between 14 and 18 hours. The maximum amount of time that any of these strategies might ask you to go without solid food is between 32 and 36 hours.

Time-Restricted Consumption
When you engage in time-restricted eating, you go without eating for 12 to 16 hours. You are free to consume as much of your preferred healthy meals throughout your eating window. One of the most popular ways to fast is this The implementation of time-restricted eating is rather easy. For example, if you complete dinner at 7 p.m., you wouldn’t have another meal until at least 7 a.m. The no-eating period can be extended if you so choose until around 11 or 12 p.m.This is an excellent approach to bringing fasting into your routine and exploring without making any significant changes because you are sleeping for a significant portion of the “no eating” time.


Fasting on 16/8
You basically fast for 16 hours a day and then eat for the remaining eight, which is another name for time-restricted eating.

Fasting on alternate days
Alternate day fasting, another kind of intermittent fasting, entails drastically limiting the number of calories you consume on fasting days but allowing yourself to eat as much as you like on non-fasting days. Food isn’t completely off-limits, but you limit yourself to around 25% of your daily caloric intake. For instance, someone consuming 2,000 calories might reduce their intake to 500 Alternate-day fastings isn’t always a good long-term strategy because it can be hard to maintain, but they can be useful to start a good habit.

Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting Proposed

There are two theories explaining why IF might be effective for weight loss. Rekha Kumar, MD, an expert in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian in New York City, offers the first explanation: “Periods of fasting cause a net calorie deficit, therefore you lose weight.”

The other idea is more complicated: According to Dr. Kumar, this strategy might stop what is known as the “plateau phenomena” from occurring You may recall the well-known “Biggest Loser” research. After six years, the participants from the TV show had mostly gained back the weight that they had first lost in an amazing manner, and their metabolic rates had also increased They expended a lot fewer calories than they should have because their pace had dropped. proper up arrow One of the claimed advantages of this strategy is that it might stop this metabolic sputtering, even if additional research is needed to determine the safety and efficacy of IF. According to Kumar, “the majority of people who try diet and exercise to lose weight tend to slip off the wagon and gain weight.” The theory is that IF may be a way to stop this metabolic adaptation from happening. Hormones that encourage weight regain, such as hunger hormones, are thrown into overdrive. The idea behind IF is to “trick” your body into losing weight before the plateau sets in by eating normally during those times.

Does it really result in weight loss then? Plan supporters have come to this conclusion based on anecdotal evidence. According to Kumar, “For the folks who can adhere to IF, it does work.” However, proponents of the strategy assert that IF offers much more than just a toned physique. IF may increase insulin sensitivity, which lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes, reduce inflammation, and “promote longevity by bettering the integrity of your mitochondria (cell powerhouses),” says Lori Shemek, Ph.D., a nutrition and weight management expert in Dallas and the author of How to Fight FATflammation.According to research, IF can result in weight loss of 1 to 8% of the initial weight, which is equivalent to the amount that occurs with other types of diets of a calorie-restricted diet’s anticipated weight loss. In addition to enhancing cardiovascular and metabolic health, IF may help reduce insulin resistance and blood pressure. proper up arrow.

Beyond the impact on weight loss, researchers have proposed that ketones may activate the body’s natural repair system, ultimately guarding against illness and aging. proper up arrow But you should keep your hopes for IF in check. Many studies have been conducted on animals, making it more challenging to apply the findings to people. Despite being free-thinkers, humans still have to cope with the effects of lifestyle difficulties like work stress, hectic schedules, emotional eating, and cravings, to mention a few. Although it shows promise, IF “actually is no more successful than any other diet.”

People who shouldn’t attempt intermittent fasting

Not everyone ought to or must attempt IF. Those taking diabetes medication (blood sugar can drop too far in the absence of food), women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant (extended fasting periods may mess with your menstrual cycle), people who take multiple medications (food, or lack of it, can affect absorption and dosage), and people who take multiple medications are a few groups who shouldn’t, according to Kumar. Additionally, introducing periods where you’re “not permitted” to eat can put you on a perilous relapse trajectory if you have a history of eating disorders.

Be aware that IF can have negative repercussions. During fasting times, you could become irritable — “hanger” is genuine — since low blood sugar can affect your disposition. When you do eat, you still need to eat a balanced diet. Although Kumar acknowledges that in our age, when calorie-dense foods are readily available, it could be challenging to make up a calorie deficit if you fasted for two days, he adds, “you could definitely do it.” Place an emphasis on wholesome, nutrient-dense foods including fruits, vegetables, lean meats, beans, and whole grains (though some experts, like Dr. Shemek, also pair IF with low-carb or keto styles of eating). Expect to have lower energy levels, bloating, and cravings for the first several weeks while your body adjusts.

Intermittent Fasting Types to Take into Account

It’s wonderful that there are so many various ways to practice IF. If you’re interested in doing this, you can determine the strategy that will fit your lifestyle the most, increasing the likelihood of success.

One of the most well-liked IF techniques is this one. It was popularized by the best-selling book The FastDiet, which has all the information you require regarding this strategy. Eat normally for five days (don’t watch calories) and then consume 500 or 600 calories per day for women and men, respectively, on the remaining two days. Any days of your choosing may be used as the fasting days Short fasting periods are supposed to keep you cooperative; if you get hungry on a fasting day, just think of the next day when you can “feast” once more. “ Some people claim that it would be too difficult to reduce their food intake after two days all seven days,” adds Kumar. For certain folks, a 5:2 strategy might be more effective than calorie restriction for the entire week.

Fasting with a Time Limit

This type of intermittent fasting (IF) involves selecting an eating window each day, which should ideally result in a 14- to 16-hour fast. (Shemek advises women to keep their fasts to a maximum of 14 hours each day due to hormonal issues.) According to Shemek, “fasting increases autophagy, the natural “cellular housekeeping” process that the body uses to get rid of waste and other obstructions to the health of the mitochondria, which starts when liver glycogen is low. According to her, doing this could improve insulin sensitivity and fat cell metabolism.

This method allows you to set your dining window, for example, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. According to Kumar, it can be especially useful for someone with a family who already eats a late dinner. Then a large portion of the time spent fasting is sleep time. Depending on when you set your window, you theoretically don’t have to “miss” any meals. But how consistent you can be will determine this. Daily periods of fasting might not be for you if your schedule is unpredictable, you periodically require or desire the freedom to go out for breakfast, go on a late date, or attend happy hour.

Fasting all night
This strategy, which entails daily 12-hour fasts, is the easiest of the lot. Consider this: Decide to stop eating after supper at 7 o’clock and start eating again at 7 a.m. the following morning with breakfast. Even while you’ll only have little cellular advantages, autophagy does still occur at the 12-hour mark, according to Shemek. She advises a minimum of this many hours while fasting.