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The 7 Types of Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

Fasting diets have become highly popularized in the health world. However, types of intermittent fasting (IF) are not exactly diets, but rather various eating patterns that includes periods of fasts and feasts. With all the various types of intermittent fasting, how do you choose? Learning about what each entails can help you decide which form might fit best in your lifestyle!


Fasting diets have become highly popularized in the health world. However, types of intermittent fasting (IF) are not exactly diets, but rather various eating patterns that includes periods of fasts and feasts.

Nonetheless, becoming a follower of intermittent fasting has shown to bare numerous health benefits, including significant weight loss and improvements in insulin resistance and cholesterol levels.

But with all the various types of intermittent fasting, how do you choose? Learning about what each entails can help you decide which form might fit best in your lifestyle!

The 7 Types of Intermittent Fasting

1. The 12-Hour Fast

The Basis: Fast for 12 hours, feast for the remaining 12

Followers simply fast for half the day and feast for other 12-hour remainder. The hours are flexible, as you can eat from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., or however else the eating pattern fits into your lifestyle.

Also considering you are (and should be) sleeping seven to nine of those 12 hours, this form of IF is relatively simple to follow and a good start for fasting newbies.

2. The 5:2 Plan or Fast Diet

The Basis: Fast for two days, feast during the other five days of the week

Also known as The Fast Diet, the 5:2 method of intermittent fasting was popularized by Michael Mosley and "involves restricting your calorie consumption to 25 percent of your energy (calorie) needs, two days a week, and eating normally the rest of the time," according to the official "The 5:2 Diet Book."

Put simply and as the name suggests, five days of the week are normal eating days while the other two restrict calories to 500 to 600 per day. Most people split the two fasting days apart (i.e. Monday and Wednesday, Tuesday and Thursday, etc.) to soften hunger pangs from a two-day fast.

3. Alternate-Day Fasting

The Basis: Fast every other day, feast the days in between

Also known as Up Day/Down Day, alternate-day fasting (ADF) suggests you fast every other day and eat whatever you want on feasting diets.

There has been a bounty of evidence showing ADF is powerful weight loss method, including reducing belly fat and inflammation in the body. Furthermore, ADF has shown to be effective at preserving muscle mass compared to daily calorie restriction.

Followers might also modify this form of IF plan, which includes consuming 500 calories on fasting days. This is considered much more sustainable than doing full fasts on fasting days whilst indicating to be still effective.

4. Leangains or 16:8

The Basis: Fast for 16 hours of the day, feast the remaining 8-hour window

Touted as the "birthplace of intermittent fasting," Leangains was founded as Martin Berkhan, who is also known as "the Khan, godfather or high priest of intermittent fasting."

Leangains encourages you to eat all of your daily calories in an 8-hour window and fast the other 16 hours of the day. Furthermore, "Leangains is specifically tailored to fitness and strength training, and for those wanting to get as lean and strong as possible. In comparison to other intermittent fasting based diets much more emphasis is put on proper pre- and post-workout nutrition."

The rest of the diet’s recommendations are orthodox gym advice, including eat higher protein food and eat more calories on training days and fewer calories on off days.

5. Eat Stop Eat

The Basis: Fast for 24 hours once or twice per week

The official Eat Stop Eat webpage encourages you to "think along the lines of using Eat Stop Eat as a LONG TERM strategy to get lean quickly, and as a way to STAY lean."

According to the official webpage, this type of intermittent fasting is "designed so you can fast for 24 hours once or twice a week, while still never going a day without eating." For instance, if you finish dinner on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m., you wouldn’t eat until 7:00 p.m. on Thursday. You can also fast from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch; the end result is the same.

Whereas some fasts allow some solid foods during fasts, including produce and a low amount of lean proteins, water, coffee and other non-caloric beverages are only allowed.

6. The Warrior Diet

The Basis: Fast for about 20 hours each day and feast for four

Founded by Ori Hofmekler, the Warrior Diet might not be for beginners… The warriors fast for about 20 hours every day and eat one large meal at night, though fasting allows small amounts of whole vegetables, fruits, and protein sources.

The Warrior Diet also is based similarly to the tenants of the Paleo diet, particularly by sticking to whole foods such as meats, poultry, fish, vegetables and whole grains.

7. Spontaneous Meal Skipping

The Basis: Skip meals randomly

This type of fasting is not exactly structured, but a pattern you do not have to follow plans to a T to still reap some of the benefits.

In spontaneous meal skipping, simply omit meals from sporadically, including when you might not feel hungry or are too busy.

This form of fasting also reinforces the importance of listening to hunger and satiety cues and lowers the risk of impulsivity and temptation when it comes to food.

Tips for Embarking on Your First Fast

Interested to see what all the hype is about? If intrigued and ready to start your first fast, here are some tips to ease your journey:

1. Though most methods of intermittent fasting are considered to be safe, always consult with your primary care provider before starting any sort of diet or eating regimen.

2. Drink plenty of water, as staying well hydrated will make the fasting periods much easier to get through. Sugar-free tea and black coffee are also viable options.

3. Continue nourishing the body with nutrient-dense foods to optimize not only weight loss results, but for overall health.

4. If recommended in the program, eating fruits and veggies throughout fasting days can help lessen hunger pains.

5. Use the night time to your advantage during fast days, as you’ll (hopefully) be sleeping during at least eight of those hours.

6. Keep busy and try to not place fasting times and days when you are likely to be sitting down wanting to snack.

7. Diet and exercise work hand-in-hand so continue making it to the gym. You can also strategically allot eating and workout times to ensure and optimize pre- and post-workout fuel and recovery.

8. Remember, and as they say, it takes 21 days to make a habit. So give it a try for at least three weeks before throwing in the towel. The longer you practice this sort of lifestyle, the easier it will become.

9. Progress and transition as desired, including growing longer fasting periods. Ultimately, implement eating patterns and strategies that work best for your lifestyle!

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