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16:8 method is the most commonly followed plan as it is the simplest, most sustainable and easiest to stick to. Also known as the Lean gains protocol, it is a time-restricted eating diet which involves a fasting time frame of 16 hours in a day and 8 hours eating window. This plan works because it is believed that it follows the body’s circadian rhythm and since there are no restrictions on what to eat in the 8-hour window, it becomes easier to follow. The fasting hours include sleep time so a person can easily accommodate three meals in the 8 hour eating frame. Since this is a daily thing, it becomes easier to fit into the everyday lifestyle.
5:2 is another popular form of intermittent fasting, this diet plan gets its name because it involves eating normally for 5 days in a week and severely restricting calorie intake on the other 2 days. This works for people who are looking for a less restrictive form of fasting. Contrary to restricting the food a person can intake, this diet is based on caloric deficit for only 2 days of the week making new fasters feel more satisfied and not having the feeling of missing out on food. The fasting days need not be consecutive and can be spaced out anytime in the week offering more flexibility. It is a straightforward method of weight loss and also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
24-hour fasting is more popularly known as the Eat-Stop-Eat diet, this plan involves not eating for 24 hours at a time for one or two days of the week. This could be someone fasting from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to next day lunch. You are allowed to take in calorie free beverages during the day which includes herbal teas, black unsweetened coffee and green tea. Along with weight loss, this also helps in improving cardiovascular health and boosting metabolism. This is a challenging form of fasting and will work for those who are used to intermittent fasting and have tried the simpler forms earlier as initial fast days may cause fatigue, headaches or mood swings.
Alternate day fasting is also known as the “Eat Every Other Day” fast and involves eating for one day and fasting the next. On the fasting day some people follow a modified version which allows for 25% calorie intake to avoid excessive fatigue. Ideally, a person on Alternate Day Fasting would not eat or eat very little for almost 36 hours with 12 hours of unrestricted eating. This works best for people looking to lose weight by upping their metabolism rate as the body starts burning fat instead of glucose due to limited food intake. Studies show that it is also helpful for controlling insulin level in pre diabetic patients. This method also helps in burning belly fat and producing ketone bodies.
Warrior intermittent fasting involves eating small portions of fruits and vegetables throughout the day and having one large meal at night. It essentially alternates between 20 hours of restricted eating and 4 hours of unrestricted food intake. During the feasting time, you can intake almost 80-90% of your daily calorie intake. This type of fasting works best for people committed to sticking to the diet plan and timing and are keen on weight loss, reducing inflammation and lowering blood sugar. Essentially this fast begins in the night and continues onto the next day.
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