6 Prominent Intermittent Fasting Schedules For Weight Loss, Explained By Experts | NICK

6 Prominent Intermittent Fasting Schedules For Weight Loss, Explained By Experts

 Incorporating an intermittent fasting schedule into your routine is officially the diet trend of the moment. Celebs like Jenna Jameson, Vanessa Hudgens, and Halle Berry all swear by intermittent fasting. And with tons of people pairing it with keto eating plans, it's likely you know someone who's doing it. In case you're unfamiliar, intermittent fasting (IF) is a type of eating plan that calls for periods of eating and fasting (in which you can only consume water, coffee, and tea). During the time periods you can eat, you can generally eat what you like, which is why the plan works for a lot of people. It's simple, and you can tweak the schedule to fit your needs.

Still, it can be worth trying for people who want to lose weight and are able to make fasting work with their lifestyles. IF has also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, delay markers of aging, support your immune system, and improve your skin, sleep, and concentration.

1. The 16:8 diet

The 16:8 Diet

The 16:8 method of intermittent fasting involves fasting every day for 16 hours and restricting your daily eating window to eight hours. For most people, this schedule means not eating anything after dinner and skipping breakfast. You might eat between, say, noon and 8 p.m. As far as how the 16:8 method fares for weight loss? It could work, the (very limited) research shows. In a recent (albeit small) study published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging, 23 obese men and women followed the 16:8 diet for 12 weeks. Compared to a group that had eaten normally and not within a set timeframe, those on the 16:8 diet took in 350 fewer calories per day, lost a modest amount of weight (about 3 percent of their body weight on average), and lowered their blood pressure. Still, it's important to note that this was a small study, and few others have examined the 16:8 diet specifically, so it’s tough to say that following the 16:8 diet is a surefire way to shed excess weight.

2. The 5:2 method

To follow the 5:2 diet, you eat normally five days a week and cut back to 20 percent of your normal daily calorie intake for the other two. Women are supposed to have about 500 calories on "fasting" days, while men have about 600. This IF method resulted in more weight and fat loss compared to day-to-day calorie restriction in a 2017 study in the International Journal of Obesity. Again, research on humans is limited, so it's tough to draw major conclusions from one promising study.

3. Alternate-day fasting

As the name implies, this diet involves fasting every other day. There are several different versions of this plan, with some of them allowing about 500 calories on the fasting days, and some encouraging that you eat even fewer or close to zero calories on fasting days.

Many of the existing studies on the health benefits of intermittent fasting used some version of this particular diet, though much of the weight loss-focused research hasn't been conclusive.

4. Eat-stop-eat diet

This method of intermittent fasting involves a full fast for 24 hours once or twice a week. For example, you may eat dinner at 6 p.m. and then fast until 6 p.m. the next day, and you would do this one or two times per week—but not in a row. There's no research currently on this specific method of IF, but because of calorie reduction, it's likely to result in weight loss if it's a fasting schedule that works for you. (Of course, keep in mind that not eating for a full 24 hours can be pretty tough.)

5. The 14:10 diet

This one is similar to the 16:8 method but involves fasting for a 14-hour window and eating for 10. It's a little easier to stick to than 16:8 because you have a longer eating window, but it's possibly less effective when it comes to weight loss. Given that the fasting period is short and pretty much follows the way people already eat, it may be hard for some people to achieve a caloric deficit with this diet. Still, it could be a good way to ease into IF if you're new to it and just want to see how you do when you have a specific timeframe for eating and can't just snack whenever the mood strikes.

6. The Warrior Diet

This diet is way different from the rest, with the majority of eating happening at night. The Warrior Diet was coined by fitness author Ori Hofmekler. It involves eating only small portions of raw fruits and vegetables during the day, then feasting on one huge meal at night within a 4-hour eating window. There's no specific research on the Warrior Diet, but since the "fasting" periods still allow for some food, it may be more practical for some people. Still, the period when you can have heavier foods is very small, and the diet also involves focusing on paleo foods, so it's stricter than other forms of IF. If you can achieve a caloric deficit on this diet, it may lead to weight loss like other IF methods.

So which intermittent fasting schedule is best for weight loss? Whichever one you'll actually stick to, TBH.

In short, the one that's easiest for you to follow. "It is all about sustainability for the individual," says Lemein. "If one of these diets work well for you and your lifestyle and preferences, then you will likely see some success. If not, then you'll likely not see the results you're are looking for, as the sustainability piece will not be there." That means picking a diet that works best with all the lifestyle factors you need to consider, like your work schedule, family dynamic, living situation, commute time, and travel commitments, notes Lemein.

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