Intermittent fasting is a very popular form of eating where you switch between periods of fasting and periods of eating on a regular schedule. Research shows that intermittent fasting is a great way to manage your weight and limit your calorie intake, and it’s a smart addition to a healthy lifestyle. But what is it even, and how do you do it? Is it safe, and is it for everyone?

What is Intermittent Fasting?

In prehistoric times our ancestors were hunter-gatherers, so the conveniences we have today were unavailable. They often would go for periods of time without being able to eat until they could either find or hunt food for themselves.

In modern times we live a much more sedentary and convenient lifestyle. This results in an excess of calories since we don’t miss as many meals as our prehistoric brethren.

With any diet you start, it’s all about what foods you can and can’t eat. With intermittent fasting, it’s all about when you eat. This simple change allows you to limit periods of eating, which can cause a reduced caloric intake.

When intermittent fasting, you divide your day into segments of time when you can and can’t eat. Research shows that this can be a great way to burn fat, and there may also be some health benefits.

What Intermittent Fasting Method is Best?

There are several options when it comes to intermittent fasting. There isn’t a correct answer regarding which method is the best. Start with the method that best fits your lifestyle, and if you feel like you need to change, you can do so.

Here are the 5 most common intermittent fasting methods:

Time-Restricted Eating

This method involves fasting for at least 12 hours daily. A popular form of this is 16/8, where you have an eating window of 8 hours, like noon to–8PM, and then you fast for the other 16 hours.

The 5:2 Method

With this option, you eat normally 5 days during the week, and then the other 2, you restrict yourself to 500-600 calories a day. These 2 restricted-calorie days should be non-consecutive.


Similar to the 5:2 method, the eat-stop-eat method allows you to eat normally most days but once or twice a week, you will fast for 24 hours.

Alternate Day Fasting

You eat what you want one day and then fast the next day. An easier modified approach is eating 500-600 calories on fasting days.

OMAD – One Meal A Day

This is a more advanced approach to intermittent fasting, where you eat one meal every day, usually in the evening.

What Can You Eat While Intermittent Fasting?

During periods of fasting, you should only drink water and zero-calorie beverages like black coffee or tea.

When you are in your eating window, you can eat as you usually would, but that does not mean going crazy or binging on anything and everything. You should avoid high-calorie junk food and excessive amounts of sugar and other treats.

One of the best things about intermittent fasting is that you can still enjoy the foods you love. You will see better results from your intermittent fasting if you seek out foods with complex carbs like whole grains, leafy greens, healthy fats, and lean proteins.

What Benefits Can You See from Intermittent Fasting?

Although the most common effects are in your body weight, intermittent fasting can affect many areas of your health.

Here are some of the amazing benefits research has revealed:

Boosts Brain Function- Intermittent fasting can boost the production of the brain hormone BDNF and may aid in the growth of new nerve cells.

Helps with Weight Loss- The restriction of calories, as well as periods of fasting, results in a metabolic switch in your body by switching energy sources from glucose to fat which can help in your weight loss pursuit.

Boosts Heart Health- Intermittent fasting can help improve resting heart rate and support blood pressure already in a normal range.

Boosts Insulin Resistance- Intermittent fasting can reduce insulin resistance, lowering normal blood sugar levels by 3–6% and by 20-31% when fasting.

Is Intermittent Fasting for Everyone?

Many health professionals recommend speaking with your doctor prior to starting intermittent fasting, because although it’s an easy thing to adopt, it isn’t recommended for everyone.

Here are some common groups that should avoid intermittent fasting:

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult a health professional before starting intermittent fasting.

Children and teens under 18 shouldn’t because their bodies are still developing.

People with type 1 diabetes because they require insulin injections, and during fasting periods, they could experience unsafe levels of hypoglycemia.

Those with a history of eating disorders, especially those prone to binge eating.


Intermittent fasting is an excellent opportunity to change your lifestyle without having to make drastic changes. If you try intermittent fasting, remember that the food you eat during your eating periods will significantly impact your results. You can experience many health benefits while intermittent fasting, but be sure to consult a healthcare professional before beginning.

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