Intermittent fasting provides numerous health benefits. Understanding the different methods and diet plans can help you maximize results. This article will go over the most effective intermittent diet plans, the benefits, the drawbacks, and what to eat when practicing intermittent fasting.
What Is the Most Effective Intermittent Diet Plan to Lose Weight?
Intermittent dieting has boomed in popularity in recent years, and for a good reason: Fasting can help induce bodily functions that can improve longevity and overall well-being. There are several different fasting methods. Here are some of the popular intermittent fasting plans:
- 16:8 Method
- 5:2 diet
- Warrior diet
- Eat stop eat diet
- Alternate-day fasting (ADF)
Before beginning an intermittent fasting diet plan, do your due diligence. Certain plans work better than others, depending on your body type and your lifestyle. Later in this article, we will go into detail regarding the differences between the plans.
What Is the Best Intermittent Fasting Schedule?
When picking an intermittent fasting plan, you need to consider which method best works with your schedule. For some, going eight hours without eating can be easy because of their work schedule. For others, the alternate-day fasting plan may be more manageable. Here are the main differences between five of the most popular plans:
- The 16:8 diet - This plan involves fasting every day for 16 hours and restricting eating to one eight-hour window. This often means not eating anything after dinner and skipping breakfast
- The 5:2 method - With this method, you will eat normally five days a week and cut back to 20% of your regular daily calorie intake for the other two. While research is still in the rudimentary stage, studies point towards this method leading to more weight loss than day-to-day calorie restriction
- Warrior diet - This method is much different than the rest. It involves eating only small portions of raw fruits and vegetables during the day then feasting on one massive meal at night within a four-hour eating window.
- Eat stop eat diet - On the eat stop eat diet, you will fast for a full 24 hours once or twice a week
- Alternate-day fasting - This diet involves fasting every other day. Some versions of this diet allow for 500 calories on fasting days
Research has found that these diets all produce similar results. What’s essential in any intermittent fasting plan is the fasting part. Find the method that best suits you, your schedule, and your lifestyle.
What Are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
Fasting provides numerous benefits, some short-term, others long-term. Some benefits are due to the bodily functions that come from fasting, and others are due to simply not eating as much. Here are some of the noted benefits of intermittent fasting:
- Weight loss - As long as you don’t compensate by eating much more during the other meals, you will end up taking in fewer calories while fasting
- Reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes - Fasting has been shown to have significant benefits for insulin resistance which can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Heart health - Heart disease is the biggest killer in the world. Intermittent fasting can improve blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers, and blood sugar levels
- Cancer prevention - The impact fasting has on the metabolism can reduce the risk of cancer
As mentioned above, most of the benefits of intermittent fasting are due to the reduced caloric intake.
Does Intermittent Fasting Have Side Effects?
Unfortunately, intermittent fasting does not come without its drawbacks. Anytime you go an extended period without food, there are risks. It’s important to know some of the side effects of fasting. If you feel any of these negative side effects, don’t hesitate to break your fast and eat something. Here are some of the side effects:
- Headaches, lethargy, crankiness, and constipation
- It may cause you to overeat
- Fasting can lead to TOO much weight loss
- It can be dangerous to pair with certain medications
Before beginning an intermittent fasting diet, speak with your doctor. They will let you know whether or not it’s safe for you.
What Are the Best Foods to Eat While Intermittent Fasting?
One of the best things about intermittent fasting diet plans is that there are no specifications or restrictions about what type of food you should eat (unless it’s the warrior diet). That’s not to say you should eat whatever you want. Fasting for 16-hours just to pig out at the local pizza buffet isn’t recommended. Even though there are no specifications, here are some of the foods experts recommend pairing with an intermittent fasting plan:
- Beans and legumes
Essentially, intermittent fasting is not an excuse to eat with reckless abandon.
What Should I Not Eat While Intermittent Fasting?
Your main goal should be pairing an intermittent fasting schedule with a well-balanced, healthy diet. Just as important as the foods you eat are the foods you don’t eat. Some of the main foods you should be looking to avoid are snack chips and microwave popcorn.
These foods are calorie-dense and contain high amounts of sugar, fat, and salt. These foods won’t fill you up after a fast and can even make you more hungry.
Supplements Can Help
One supplement that can help encourage positive gut health is spermidine. This is because spermidine helps induce something called autophagy. This is the body’s process of replacing old and potentially damaged cell parts with newer, healthier ones. Autophagy literally means ‘self-eat.’
Autophagy helps keep you feeling and looking young while also dramatically lowering your chances of developing aging diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. While it is possible to get your recommended daily intake of spermidine through your diet, it’s recommended to take supplements so you ensure you get the correct dose. Simply taking your supplements with your dinner is a great way to remember to take spermidine supplements every night.