Which Fasting Method is Best for You?

fasting methods

A lot of new diet methods are becoming more trendy these days. Some of these diets include no-fat, gluten-free meals and other eating plans, which contribute to a faster weight loss. However, nowadays, many turn to fasting methods as a way to keep their bodies in check. 

Studies have found a link between health and fasting, where some of the benefits of fasting include an improved body composition, losing weight, and feeling better. One of the most popular fasting methods is the 16/8 intermittent fasting, wherein people only eat within an 8-hour period and go 16 hours without eating. Other people who do intermittent fasting would go between 14 to 36 hours with fewer calories or none at all.

This may sound difficult, but if you think about it, we all practice fasting every day when we go to sleep; we just aren’t aware of it. Intermittent fasting simply means extending your fast and being more conscious of when you eat. But are the benefits of fasting worth it? And which type suits you best?

Different Fasting Methods

In different lab studies, researchers have found that three types of calorie restriction methods have shown good intermittent fasting results. Some of these benefits are an improved healthspan, reduced risk of diseases, and improved fitness.

Each type has their own guidelines on the length and period of your fast and what you should eat. There are pros and cons of intermittent fasting which vary depending on which method you choose to practice. Here are some of the most popular intermittent fasting methods and how they work.

  • Time-Restricted Feeding

This type of intermittent fasting was discovered by Dr. Satchidananda Panda. In this method, you only eat within a certain time period, usually between 8-12 hours daily. Within this period, you must also limit your calorie intake in your meals.

The time-restricted feeding (TRF) is based on Dr. Panda’s study on circadian rhythms and how our body’s sleep and eating patterns and physical activities could affect them. Most diet advice only focuses on the type and amount of food a person eats, without considering another important component – the period of time one eats. According to Dr. Panda, consuming calories over long periods may not be the best idea.

Dr. Panda explains that the body does not have a single circadian clock. Instead, the body has a series of clocks found in the gut, the kidney, the liver, and so on. Each of these clocks is turned off at a certain period. The analogy Dr. Panda uses is through stop lights. If the stoplights are in sync, the system functions better.

If you eat at consistent time periods daily, you help keep your biological rhythms in sync. Doing so reduces the risk of metabolic and chronic diseases. This diet would be beneficial to those who are more prone to high blood pressure and other diseases. linked to obesity. However, the study on TRF mostly focuses on animals, so further studies on humans have to take place as well. If you do want to try this method, Dr. Panda recommends eating within an 8-9-hour period for improved health. If you plan on practicing this long-term, a 10-12-hour period is more practical.

  • 5:2 Diet and Intermittent Calorie Restriction

Dr. Michelle Harvie, a dietician, and breast cancer researcher added calorie restriction into intermittent fasting. This method is exactly what it sounds like; you reduce your calorie intake daily to around 800 to a thousand calories. Dr. Harvie focuses on the 5:2 diet, which is a low-carb, calorie-restricted diet done for two consecutive days in a week.

Dr. Harvie sees this as a good method because of its adaptability. Dieting feels similar to exercising. You put your body through an intensive, intermittent, and short therapy. According to Dr. Harvie, total fasting methods are not advisable since your body loses lean body mass. Total fasting also makes you feel more hungry. She wants to find a more practical method that would help people lose weight.

The intermittent calorie restriction method is done through a 5:2 diet, reminds you that you don’t always have to eat constantly. Often, people do not notice how often they eat even when they don’t feel hungry. This type of intermittent fasting can be coupled with exercise and encourages more balanced and healthy eating.

The main advantage of this method is its practicality. You don’t feel like your suffering since you only restrict your meals and practice fasting twice in a week. However, this diet is only advisable for those who need to lose weight for health purposes. There has been no data and proof of it being effective on healthy, normal weight people.

  • Periodic Fasting and Fasting Mimicking Diet

The last intermittent fasting method was developed by Dr. Valter Longo. Periodic fasting means limiting your calorie intake between three and five days. This helps in breaking down the fatty acids needed for energy. This is coupled with what Dr. Longo called the “fasting mimicking diet” (FMD) wherein you must limit your calorie intake to between 770 and 1,100 calories daily. In one study on this fasting method, results showed significant improvements in waist size, body weight, BMI, and lower risk factors for disease and aging.

Do note that practicing periodic fasting and fasting mimicking diet is an extremely rigorous method, but it can potentially give you the highest benefits. This type of intermittent fasting can give your body wonderful benefits, but it must be done in moderation.

Conclusion

All listed fasting methods are beyond effective for a lot of people. However, you must keep in mind that intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone. This is not something that you must do in order to achieve weight loss, but it is a tool that is helpful for some people. If you have any health conditions, be sure to check with your doctor before you try out any of these methods. Note that your lifestyle and personal goals are also factors to consider when planning to practice intermittent fasting.

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