What Is Intermittent Fasting?
There are many benefits of fasting
There are both mental and physical benefits to increasing the length of your fast. With regards to mental benefits, studies have shown that fasting diets are more sustainable than most diets, as they are a very simple way of dieting. You can either eat what you want, within an allotted time, or you can’t go over a certain number of calories a couple of days a week. The physical advantages of intermittent fasting include weight loss, increase cellular repair, increased sensitivity to insulin, better sleep and a more diverse gut bacteria.
We’ve all been doing it every day without even realising
Fasting, for most people, is the time between the last mouthful of food in the evening, and the first mouthful of food in the morning when we ‘break the fast’ at ‘breakfast’. This type of fast normally lasts between 8 – 9 hours, depending on the times we eat. Recently, fasting for longer than this “normal” duration has increased in popularity, thanks to new science supporting the benefits associated with the technique. As more diets have incorporated this method, it’s made this type of dieting more mainstream.
Water is allowed
Intermittent fasting, by definition, is abstaining from food or drink, however, when it comes to fluids, we don’t have to take this so literally. On these particular fasting diets (REWD and 5:2), you are allowed to consume as much water as you like. During the fasting period of these diets, you have to avoid all fruit juices, smoothies and even coffee, as all these contain energy or caffeine which has to be metabolised by the body. That being said, if you feel you can’t function without your morning Starbucks, it’s not the end of the world, just avoid diet drinks and drinks with added sugars and milk. Then, you can work towards eliminating these once your body gets used to longer fasts.
How long will it take to see results?
You should start seeing and feeling some benefits as early as four weeks in. However, as always with dieting, consistency is key.
The ‘5:2 diet’ is the most common method
The 5:2 diet is a type of intermittent fasting which restricts energy intake on two of the seven days of the week. This is not a complete fast on those days. Instead, dieters usually consume around 1/4 of their normal intake. For ladies, this is typically around the 500-calorie mark, with men getting slightly more at 600 on the “light” days. As calories are restricted these days. The normal overnight fast is extended into the day, and this creates intermittent fasting.
But there are different ways to fast
There is a new fasting diet that has grown in popularity due to its recent science-backed benefits. It’s referred to as the “Restricted Eating Window Diet” (REWD). Although pretty self-explanatory, it basically restricts the length of time that we spend eating food each day, and increases the length of our overnight fast. It might sound similar to the 5:2 method, but for the REWD diet, there are no calorie restrictions. Research showed that when dieters ate within a restricted window of just 10-12 hours (instead of the usual 15) they ate up to 20% fewer calories, lost weight and became metabolically healthier.
Time limits apply
For the 5:2 diet, the “fast” window depends on when you have your first meal of the day. If you split your calories, the fast could last 15 hours. Or if you power through until dinner, it could last for up to 22 hours. For REWD, the length and duration of the fast are up to you. However, it is better to start the fast earlier in the evening rather than later. Looking at the advantages and disadvantages for both. The 5:2 diet gives you freedom with your eating habits on non-fast days. As you are only restricted on two days of the week. REWD has no limitations on what you can eat. But you do need to stay within your selected eating window. And do this for as many days of the week as possible. Choose what fits in better with your lifestyle.