Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard the intermittent fasting rules. You know, those rules, the ones that tell you when you can eat instead of what you should be eating? According to a YouGov survey, the craze is so popular that a whopping quarter of all US adults say they’ve tried intermittent fasting for weight loss.
But what does it really mean, and what types of fasts are there? If you’re thinking of giving intermittent fasting (IF) a try, or if you’ve already begun and are looking for all the information on the topic, this article is perfect for you.
We’ll cover everything from intermittent fasting and the different types of fasts to how long you can fast safely and even some tips on when to start fasting. So if you’re ready for some basic intermittent fasting rules, let’s get started!
Source: The Daily Nebraskan
What is Intermittent Fasting?
While the name might sound intimidating, IF is pretty straightforward. In a nutshell, it’s a way of chowing down where you cycle between periods of eating and not eating (fasting).
It’s becoming increasingly popular among dieters, athletes, and health enthusiasts alike because it offers a variety of benefits, including weight loss, (some fasters claim to lose 30 pounds in 30 days), improved energy levels, increased metabolism, and mental clarity, along with other health benefits.
But the critical question remains: what exactly is intermittent fasting? Well, let’s break it down… Intermittent fasting is simply a way of structuring your eating habits to include periods of fasting and non-fasting.
During the fast, you abstain from consuming any food or beverages with calories for a specific period of time.
During the non-fasting window, you may eat whatever you like within reason – although it’s important to still try to adhere to healthy eating guidelines as much as possible.
This type of diet can be combined with other diets, such as vegetarianism or veganism, but it isn’t necessary. Intermittent fasting is especially popular among those looking to lose weight because it helps to create a calorie deficit.
This is because when you fast, your body must use the stored energy in the form of fat for fuel; this encourages weight loss. At the same time, intermittent fasting can be part of an overall healthy lifestyle and doesn’t necessarily have to be used solely for weight loss.
In fact, some people find that they feel better overall by incorporating it into their daily routine. So there you have it – a basic overview of what intermittent fasting is all about!
Intermittent Fasting Rules
It can be tricky to know the ins and outs of fasting, so to make your journey easier, we’ve compiled a complete guide to fasting that covers all the basics. When fasting, make sure you:
- Drink plenty of water throughout your fast.
- Make sure to eat nutrient-rich, quality foods during the eating window.
- Stay active; exercise can help reduce hunger levels and boost energy levels.
- Break the fast by consuming some carbohydrates or electrolytes if you feel weak or lightheaded.
- Give yourself at least one day off from fasting each week so that your body can rest and recover.
- Don’t forget to get enough sleep while fasting.
- Track your progress in a journal or app to review how effective intermittent fasting has been for you.
Whether you’re fasting one day a week or fasting 2 days, following these suggestions will help you stay healthy and on track to achieve your goals.
Source: Women’s Health
Types of Intermittent Fasting
There are many different types of intermittent fasting which vary in terms of length and rules. Here’s a breakdown:
- 14:10 Method – This common approach involves eating within a 10-hour window and fasting for 14 hours. Also known as “time-restricted eating,” this is ideal for those who are used to traditional meal times and want to maintain some semblance of their regular routine while still reaping the benefits of intermittent fasting.
- 16:8 Method – Also, a type of time-restricted eating, this type of fast involves restricting your food consumption to an 8-hour window each day while abstaining from meals for the remaining 16 hours.
- 5:2 Diet – This plan involves restricting your calorie intake to 500-600 calories for two days out of the week while consuming an average amount of calories the other five days.
- Eat-Stop-Eat – This plan involves 24 hours of fasting once or twice per week.
- Alternate Day Fasting – Easy-as-pie, this approach requires you to fast every other day and eat normally on non-fasting days.
- Warrior Diet – With this type of fast, you consume small amounts of fruits and vegetables during the day and then have one large meal at night.
- Extended Fast – An extended fast is any type of intermittent fasting lasting more than 24 hours – usually lasting anywhere from 3 to 10 days. As you can imagine, this fast is not recommended for everyone, and you should check with your doctor before starting any new eating (or fasting) plan.
- Fasting 2 Days – This fast requires you to consume no or few calories for two consecutive days out of the week, with regular eating patterns on other days.
- OMAD – This type of intermittent fasting involves limiting yourself to just one daily meal (one meal a day).
By understanding the different types and rules of intermittent fasting, you can decide which plan works best for your individual lifestyle and health goals.
Intermittent Fasting Schedule
Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of the most common intermittent fasting schedules:
This time-restricted eating method involves an 8-hour window to eat all meals and snacks, followed by 16 hours without food or calorie-containing beverages.
Pros include easy maintenance and flexibility as it allows for the consumption of three meals per day.
Cons include difficulty in maintaining adherence due to hunger pangs during the longest part of the fast.
This plan involves two days of eating 500-600 calories and five non-consecutive days of eating normally.
Pros include potential weight loss due to the restricted calorie intake on fast days and flexibility in the choice of food consumed.
Cons include having to keep track of your caloric intake across both types of days and difficulty with concentration during fasting periods.
Alternate Day Fasting
With this method, you alternate between a day where you usually eat and a day where you consume 25% or less than your typical calorie intake.
Pros include increased energy levels and improved blood sugar control for some individuals.
Cons include keeping track of the days you fast and not being able to indulge in your favorite foods on fasting days.
This plan involves eating a large feast at night and consuming only small snacks or nothing during the day.
Pros include increased energy throughout the day and improved digestion due to larger meals eaten closer together.
Cons include difficulty sleeping due to late-night feasting and hunger pangs throughout the day.
Because the 14:10 schedule is so popular, it gets an entire section all to itself a little later.
Source: Doctor Kiltz
Fasting for Women
Ladies, if you’re looking to start a journey with intermittent fasting, then you need to know that there are some differences between different types of fasts for women versus men. This is because men’s’ and women’s’ bodies have their own unique needs.
First off, women generally have higher levels of estrogen than men, which can affect how quickly they burn fat during periods of fasting. This means that women may find it harder to reach ketosis (the state where your body burns fat for energy) without eating for extended periods of time compared with men.
In addition, women may experience more intense hunger pangs than men while fasting due to hormone fluctuations like estrogen and progesterone. To counteract this, women need to ensure they get enough nutrients during their eating windows so that their bodies don’t go into starvation mode and store fat instead of burning it.
Finally, some research suggests that intermittent fasting may benefit women’s fertility by reducing inflammation and regulating hormones. This could make intermittent fasting an excellent option for those looking to become pregnant or improve reproductive health. Some doctors even recommend intermittent fasting for PCOS.
Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 40
These types of intermittent fasting for women over 40 produce the best results:
- Alternate day fasting. With minimal disruption to your lifestyle, this method allows your body time between meals to rest and reset its metabolism.
- 5:2 diet. With this type of intermittent fasting, you’ll still be able to enjoy meals throughout the week.
- Time-restricted eating, specifically the 16:8 method. This approach allows you to enjoy regular meals while still getting the benefits of fasting.
So what about the best intermittent fasting for women over 50?
Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50
Women over 50 may need a different type of fasting than what was recommended in their 40s due to hormonal and metabolic shifts. Here’s the best intermittent fasting for women over 50:
- Alternate-day fasting
- Time-restricted eating, specifically the 16:8 method
- 5:2 diet
- Some women over 50 modify their time-restricted eating to a 12:12 approach because it is easier to stick to, and they don’t feel hungry. However, this type of intermittent fasting is not optimal for weight loss.
Now it’s time to move on and see if different types of fasts are more suitable for our male counterparts.
Fasting for Men
It’s no secret that men and women have different physiological needs. For starters, men tend to have more muscle mass than women, so they are generally better adapted to long-term fasting as their bodies can tap into stored energy (muscle glycogen) more easily.
This means that during a longer fasting period, men will be able to sustain themselves better than women due to their greater muscle mass.
Furthermore, men tend to have higher testosterone levels than women, which helps them preserve muscle mass during a fasted state. This means that while fasting, men are more likely to maintain their current body composition and build lean muscle rather than lose it, like women might do when fasting for an extended period of time.
Finally, the hunger pangs experienced by men during intermittent fasting may be less pronounced due to their higher testosterone levels. So while a woman might feel extreme hunger after just a few hours of not eating, men may be able to go longer without food before feeling ravenous! Now, let’s break it down by age.
Intermittent Fasting for Men Over 40
So what’s the best intermittent fasting schedule for men over 40? The good news is that several different types of intermittent fasting can be used based on individual goals, schedules, and preferences. You’ll recognize most of these from the women over 40 lists too!
- The 16:8 method
- The 5:2 method
- Alternate day fasting
If these types of fasting are starting to look familiar, this should indicate their popularity due to the results they produce.
Intermittent Fasting for Men over 50
If you’re an older gentleman, there are several approaches you can take when it comes to IF, including time-restricted feeding, alternate-day fasting, and modified fasting (which involves eating only a few meals per week).
Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to research and find out which works best for you. Now let’s move on to scheduling. This is where things get tricky for men over 50 due to their changing metabolic rate as they age.
The general rule of thumb is to keep your fasting periods shorter and spaced out more often rather than going for long stretches of time without food. A 16:8 schedule is generally a safe bet, as are modified fasts that involve one or two days of complete fasting per week.
Source: Dentist Ahmed
Dirty Fasting vs Clean Fasting
You may have come across the terms “dirty fasting” and “clean fasting” while doing your research and wondered, what do these terms actually mean? Well, it all comes down to your diet while you are in a fasted state.
When people refer to dirty fasting, they generally mean that someone is consuming drinks or foods with calories, like bone broth while fasting or chewing gum, while fasting.
On the other hand, clean fasting means that nothing but water is consumed during the fasting period. Now, you may be wondering which approach is the best to take. Well, it really depends on your goals.
Generally speaking, if weight loss and improved health are your main concerns, then clean fasting is the way to go – as it allows your body to fully enter a fasted state and reap all of its benefits.
However, if you don’t mind consuming some calories while fasting or prefer that method for psychological reasons (i.e., not feeling deprived), then dirty fasting may work just fine for you too!
14/10 Intermittent Fasting
10 14 fasting is a type of time-restricted eating that has become hugely popular in recent years. It involves fasting for 14 hours and then consuming food within a 10-hour window each day.
The popularity behind this particular version of intermittent fasting comes from the fact that it can be easily incorporated into most people’s lives, as it only requires you to fast for 14 hours consecutively once per day. If you schedule your fasts overnight when you’re sleeping, you’ll hardly notice you’re fasting at all, which is a definite bonus!
This type of dieting appeals to both men and women due to its flexibility; you don’t have to worry about counting calories or restricting certain foods, allowing you more freedom with your food choices.
Additionally, it can help improve digestion, reduce cravings, and increase energy levels due to the extended rest periods it provides your body. Finally, a 14:10 intermittent fasting is a great way to jumpstart weight loss as it helps you burn fat quickly without drastically reducing your calorie intake.
Are You Sold on Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting can be a powerful tool for anyone looking to improve their overall health and well-being. With so many different types of schedules and rules, it’s important to find the one that works best for you.
And remember – always consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise or diet plan, safety first! Once you’ve got the all-clear, don’t be afraid to give intermittent fasting a try; with all its incredible benefits, it might just become your new favorite way of eating!
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