Luke Stanaway

Registered Nutritionist

What's the best Fasting Protocol For You? 

What's the best Fasting Protocol For You? 

What's the best Fasting Protocol For You? 

Key Takeways

  1. 16/8 Method: involves limiting food and calorie-containing beverages to an 8-hour window per day, with 16 hours of fasting.

  2. Alternate-Day Fasting: involves fasting every other day but eating as much as desired on the other days.

  3. 5:2 Method: involves eating regularly five days a week with no calorie limits and limiting calorie intake to one-quarter of daily requirements on the remaining two days.

  4. Warrior Diet: involves consuming lesser amounts of food for 20 hours a day, followed by a 4-hour eating window in which one can eat as much as desired.

  5. Eat Stop Eat is a form of intermittent fasting that involves fasting for 24 hours on one or two non-consecutive days each week.

The most popular fasting protocols

The most popular Intermittent Fasting Methods include: 

  • 16:8 Method 

  • 5:2 Diet 

  • Warrior Diet 

  • Eat Stop Eat 

  • Alternate-Day Fasting (ADF) 

All of these methods can be effective, but the one that is best for you may be determined by your personal preferences and lifestyle. 

Here is a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of each method to help you choose the best one for you: 

The 16/8 method 

The 16/8 Intermittent Fasting plan is one of the most popular weight loss methods. This plan involves limiting food and calorie-containing beverages to an 8-hour window per day, with 16 hours of fasting. Unlike other diets with strict rules, the 16/8 method is more flexible and is based on a time-restricted feeding (TRF) model. You can consume calories during any 8-hour period, such as skipping breakfast and eating from noon to 8pm or avoiding late-night eating and sticking to a 9am to 5pm schedule.  

According to research, time-restricted feeding patterns such as the 16/8 method may help prevent hypertension and reduce food intake, resulting in weight loss. Studies have shown that when combined with resistance training, the 16/8 method can reduce fat mass and maintain muscle mass in male participants while having no effect on muscle or strength gains in female resistance training participants. 

Although the 16/8 method is adaptable, some people may find it difficult to avoid eating for 16 hours straight. It is also worth noting that eating too many snacks or junk food during the 8-hour window can negate the 16/8 method's benefits. To reap the most health benefits, eat a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and protein. 


Alternate-day fasting 

The Alternate-Day Fasting diet is a straightforward and basic intermittent fasting strategy. On this regimen, you fast every other day but eat as much as you want on the other days. 

There are two forms of this diet: one in which you limit your calorie intake to roughly 500 calories on fasting days, and the other in which you completely abstain from eating. 

Weight loss has been linked to alternate-day fasting in studies. A study compared alternate-day fasting versus daily calorie restriction in persons with obesity and discovered that both regimens promoted weight loss equally well. Another study found that by alternating 36 hours of fasting with 12 hours of unrestrained eating for four weeks, individuals lowered their calorie intake by 35% and lost an average of 7.7 pounds (3.5 kg). 

Consider incorporating exercise into your routine for even better outcomes. According to research, combining alternate-day fasting and endurance exercise can quadruple your weight loss. 

Fasting every other day, on the other hand, might be difficult, especially if you are new to fasting. It's also vital to avoid overeating on non-fasting days. 

If you're new to intermittent fasting, try a modified fasting plan first before attempting a full fast. Maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet that includes high protein foods and low calorie vegetables to help you feel full is crucial. 


The 5:2 method 

The 5:2 diet is a straightforward and simple approach to intermittent fasting. You eat regularly five days a week with no calorie limits and on the remaining two days, you limit your calorie intake to one-quarter of your daily requirements. 

For example, if you normally consume 2,500 calories per day, you would limit your consumption to 625 calories on fasting days. 

According to studies, the 5:2 diet is just as efficient as daily calorie restriction for weight loss and blood glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes. Another study compared the 5:2 diet to continuous calorie restriction and discovered that it was just as efficient for weight loss and preventing metabolic disorders including heart disease and diabetes. 

The 5:2 diet allows you to choose which days to fast and there are no restrictions on what or when you can eat on non-fasting days. It is crucial to clarify, however, that eating regularly on non-fasting days does not imply that you can eat everything you want. 

Although the 5:2 diet can be beneficial, it is not suitable for everyone. It can be difficult to restrict calorie intake to 625 calories twice a week, and eating too few calories can produce pain or lightheadedness. It is best to consult with a nutritionist or dietician before jumping in.  


The Warrior diet 

The Warrior Diet is an unorthodox intermittent fasting strategy inspired by ancient warriors' eating practices. It was created in 2001 by Ori Hofmekler and is regarded more rigors than the 16:8 method but less rigid than the Eat Stop Eat approach. 

The approach is consuming lesser amounts of food for 20 hours a day, followed by a 4-hour eating window in which you can eat as much as you like. During the 20-hour fast, you should consume lesser amounts of dairy products, hard-boiled eggs, raw fruits and vegetables, and non-caloric fluids. 

While you can eat whatever you want in the 4-hour eating window, it is best to choose nutritious, organic, and unprocessed meals. Although research on the Warrior Diet is sparse, studies on time-restricted eating cycles suggest that they may result in weight loss. 

In addition to weight loss, time-restricted feeding cycles have been associated to various other health benefits in rodents, including diabetes prevention, tumour growth slowing, delayed ageing, and enhanced lifespan. 

The Warrior Diet, on the other hand, may not be ideal for everyone because it restricts calorie consumption to only 4 hours each day, which might be difficult. Overeating during the 4-hour eating window is also a prevalent problem. It is also likely that the Warrior Diet will result in disturbed eating habits. If you want to attempt this diet, talk to your doctor first to see if it's good for you. 


Eat Stop Eat 

"Eat Stop Eat," a method of intermittent fasting pioneered by Brad Pilon, entails fasting for 24 hours on one or two non-consecutive days each week. You are free to eat on the following days, but it is recommended that you follow a balanced diet and avoid overeating. 

This strategy is based on the premise that lowering caloric intake through fasting will result in weight loss. The 24-hour fast may also trigger a metabolic shift, causing the body to utilise fat as an energy source instead of glucose. 

However, going 24 hours without meals can be difficult and may lead to eventual overindulgence or the development of disordered eating patterns. More research is needed to determine the Eat Stop Eat method's health advantages and weight loss impacts. 


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