What Is The Intermittent Fasting Diet

The Intermittent Fasting diet is a major successful and popular treatment protocol for both weight loss and Type 2 Diabetes.

Many people ask me what is the intermittent fasting diet and I always answer that it’s actually not a diet but rather a way of eating in intervals during the day.

Intermittent Fasting Means Eating In Intervals

Intermittent fasting means eating in intervals of eating-stop eating, and eating again. It is a great tool for combating both obesity and Insulin Resistance.

It is not a diet that suggests what you should be eating. But it is rather a way of eating that involves periods of eating and not eating anything at all.

There are many ways of doing intermittent fasting. A simple way of getting started with intermittent fasting is fasting in between meals which means no snacking in between meals. This will give your pancreas a break from releasing insulin during this time, and will help to lower your insulin level. This is very important because it is the high insulin level that prevents fat burning.

Then there is a 16:8 Fasting which means eating in an 8-hour window and fasting 16 hours a day. This is a very popular and easy way of getting more into Intermittent Fasting. For example. If you get up and have your breakfast say at 8 am, you then have lunch at 12 pm, and dinner at 4 pm. Then the next meal will be your breakfast at 8 am the next morning. That is 16 hours later. And such a break of not eating anything for 16 hours will have a greater impact on your insulin level. Fasting for longer periods of time will naturally decrease your insulin level more and quicker.

When you lower your insulin level you will gradually decrease your insulin resistance and slowly enter the fat burning state when your insulin level gets down.

Other Ways of doing Intermittent Fasting

The 5:2 Diet is where you normally eat for 5 days and then fast for 2 days. On the two days of fasting, you don´t get to completely fast. You restrict your calorie intake to 500 calories for a woman and 600 calories for men. This low caloric intake will still trigger the same hormonal responses as a complete fasting regimen allows for. The two fasting days can be done on consecutive days or spaced apart as you desire.

The 5:2 diet is also a good way of getting started with fasting, as you don´t eliminate eating but only restrict your caloric intake.

Time-restricted fasting is where you limit the time of the day, where you eat, instead of limiting your intake of calories. The idea is that you are free to eat as you want within a given time frame of the day, and for the rest of the day, you fast. It’s typically a 4 – 11 hours window of eating, while fasting the remaining time of the day, 13 – 20 hours. The benefit of this diet is that a person can restrict their food intake without having to count their calories.

Alternate day fasting is a method of fasting, where you fast every other day. On the fasting days, you can choose to completely fast by not eating any calories at all or, you do one meal of 500 calories. On the other days, you eat normally. This is a good way of learning to build up to an extended fast of say 7 to 14 days. It has also proven efficient for weight loss and sustaining muscle, protein, and bones.

24 hours fast is where you fast for 24 hours daily. It doesn´t mean that you go a full day without eating any food at all. It merely means that, if you choose to fast in the evenings, you stop eating after your dinner meal and don´t eat again until dinner the next evening. This could also be done from breakfast to breakfast the next morning or from lunch to lunch the next day. The idea is that you go 24 hours from consuming one meal to the next meal. This is an easy way to incorporate fasting into your day. If you choose to fast from dinner to dinner, that means that you will skip breakfast and lunch the next day and only have your dinner. You can fast in this way without anybody even knowing you are fasting, and it won´t disrupt family dinners either. There is no concern for nutrient deficiency, as you still eat regularly. Just make sure you eat healthy, unprocessed fresh food, including enough protein. You can do this regimen daily or two to three times a week.

This type of fasting, be it from lunch, dinner, or breakfast the first day to the equivalent meal the next day. So one has 24 hours in between. This can be done two, three times a week. It can also be a daily sixteen-hour fast, only eating within 8 hours.

36 hours fast is, where you skip eating for a whole day three times a week. For example, if on day 1 you decide to fast after your dinner at 7 p.m., you don´t eat for the whole day 2, and only start eating breakfast again on day 3. This repeated two more times makes up for 3 times 36 hours fast every week. When the desired weight is achieved and no further diabetes medication is needed, you can reduce that rhythm as long as the results are maintained.

42 Hours Fast During three days of the week, one fasts the entire day, and one leaves all breakfasts out of the entire week. One may only consume fasting fluids during fasting days and eat whole, unprocessed unprepared low carbohydrate foods with high natural fats. On eating days, this extended fast gives more time for the blood glucose level to drop and therefore is most suitable for type 2 diabetes without medications. If on medication consult, the physician is mandatory as the blood sugar could also drop too low.

Two to Three-day fast is just simply fasting for 2 to three days. This is an extended way of fasting. It is good if you have very high blood sugar or struggle with stubborn weight.

This fasting method is rarely used to treat Type 2 Diabetes, though, as day 2 of fasting is always very difficult to get through because the body is changing from glucose metabolism to fat metabolism. But after day two, it becomes much easier, because the body begins to burn ketone bodies instead of glucose. And because it becomes much easier to fast after day two, it would be a pity to stop fasting right then. Therefore, it is recommended to keep on fasting for 7 to 14 days, which are very effective in treating Type 2 Diabetes. But it certainly anyhow is beneficial, just like every other fasting option, simply because it gives the pancreas a break from producing insulin and thereby the Insulin Resistance is decreased. In fact, every time you don´t eat, you do yourself a favor when you have Type 2 Diabetes.

Seven- to Fourteen-Day Fasts is an extended fast and is the most efficient way of fasting for people with severe Type 2 Diabetes. Because it allows for a quicker improvement in blood glucose and insulin levels and weight loss. There is also a greater need for people with severe diabetes to reverse their condition to avoid organ damages, which are irreversible once they occur. Around after a little week, 5 – 6 days, that is, where the improvements in blood glucose occur, and medications can be reduced. That would take much longer with only a smaller fasting duration. This fast is usually stopped after the 14 days, to avoid the re feeding syndrome after the fast, where it can be difficult to get people into eating right again. But in general, people are advised to do Alternate-Day fasting, before going on an extended fast. That way, they can build up and get prepared for an extended fast duration.

During this regime, one is only allowed fasting fluids, as mentioned after the hunger of day two; it usually gets easier. The 7 days fast should not be undertaken more than once a month, and the 14 days fast not more than every six weeks. In between a 42-hour fast should be followed. This regimen to start with is most helpful when severe diabetes or morbid obesity needs urgent control.

What Happens When We Fast

When we fast, the opposite happens as to when we eat and store energy.

Insulin goes down, and the body begins to burn fat.

First, the liver and the muscles are emptied of glycogen which is stored sugar in the liver and the muscles. This can take up from 24 to 36 hours. Afterward, the body begins to break down stored fat for energy and you begin to lose weight.

Insulin is a Fat storing and Fat burning hormone

When we eat, insulin is released by the pancreas to get the blood sugar into the cells. It is a fat burning hormone as well as a fat storing hormone. For example when you have elevated insulin levels as in the case of obesity and diabetes, you cannot burn of the fat, because you have too much insulin in your body. Instead, it will store the excess blood glucose as fat around the belly.

It is important to notice that in the presence of insulin you cannot burn fat if you have a slow metabolism.

Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Weight loss: without consciously having to restrict calories.

Reduce Insulin Resistance: also lowering blood sugar by 3–6% and fasting insulin levels by 20–31%.

Reduce inflammation: which is a key reason for many chronic diseases.

Heart health: reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammation, blood sugar, and Insulin Resistance.

Cancer: Animal studies with rats show that intermittent fasting decrease cancer cells.

Brain health: increases the brain hormone BDNF and can aid in the growth of new nerve cells. It may also protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

Anti-aging: prolonging of lifespan in rats. Studies showed that rats who fasted lived 36–83% longer.

Increased energy

Conclusion

Intermittent Fasting is an excellent way of loosing weight and reducing and even curing insulin resistance.

Obese people and people with type 2 diabetes have elevated insulin levels and are in fat storing mode.

When you do Intermittent Fasting you lower your insulin level and decrease your insulin resistance which will help you to put your diabetes into remission, and at the same time you get into the fat burning state again.

 

12 thoughts on “What Is The Intermittent Fasting Diet”

  1. Hey,

    I am so pleased I came across this article. I have been gaining quite a bit of weight during the lockdown periods since March, and I have been overeating a bit too. It’s about time I start losing this weight, and intermittent fasting could really help me. My brother did this diet a few years ago and it really helped him.

    I will let you know how this goes and if I have any questions then I will get in touch. If that is OK with you?

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,

    Tom

    Reply
  2. A couple of months ago, a friend of mine told me about this diet and how beneficial it can be for my strength and condition training, so I decided I’d give it a shot.

    I was going to test it for a month but ended quitting halfway through.

    I was doing the restricted time fasting method, but I had to quit after two weeks only because my body started to feel very week.

    I made a mistake by going all in and deciding to fast for 20 hours a day, which for a beginner like myself is quite a lot.

    I’m planning to rest my body, and give intermittent fasting a try once again. However, this time, I plan on education myself first and doing it the right way!

    This diet is indeed beneficial, but only if it’s done correctly!

    Reply
    • Hello Gorjan. Thanks for your message. A good way of preparing to do intermittent fasting for longer periods is to train yourself to not eating inbetween meals. This is also fasting and could lay the ground work for a 20 hour fast or longer. I hope you have better luck the next time.

      Reply
  3. Hi, I had no idea this intermittent fasting is also beneficial for fighting diabetes. What a great extra perk! I am an intermittent faster since about 2 years. The reasons for me – after accidently skipping some dinners because of heavy lunches – are that I feel much more energetic, I sleep better if I don’t eat at night and it’s a great way to maintain my present weight.

    My interval will more or less be 15/9. I have a normal breakfast and lunch and skip dinner. Although I do take a handful of nuts and some dried apricots around 5pm. If someone wants to call that dinner it’s fine by me, LOL.

    You have described all the possibilities really well, thanks!

    Reply
  4. Very informative article. I learned my own natural eating patterns are in fact a form of intermittent fasting. I was surprised. I usually don’t eat breakfast and never snack. On a typical day, I eat lunch and supper only. No snacks and drink plenty of water or green tea, unsweetened. On weekends I may indulge in a black coffee or two. My meals are pretty healthy too. Mostly veggies with some white meat or fish. Very rarely eat red meat. I have found that lately, I am not losing weight the same as I was a few months ago even though my activities are the same. Perhaps I should try a longer fast. What are your thoughts?

    Reply
    • Hi Richard. That sounds really strange. To me it seems like you are eating quite reasonable and not overeating or anything like that. I could be because of stress. So I don´t know if you feel stressed. Check because stress can block weight loss. Kind regards, Jesper

      Reply
  5. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing such informative and detailed knowledge about Intermittent fasting. Studies have proved that intermittent fasting is safe and incredibly effective.
    People do find it difficult initially but it is an effective approach for weight loss, as well as for diabetes prevention.
    Ways of intermittent fasting as you mentioned like 16:8, 5:2, time restricted fasting, alternate day fasting, 24 hours fasting, 36 hours fasting, 42 hours fast, 2-3 day fast are really helpful for people out there as they now can choose the most relevant way of fasting according to there convenience. Intermittent fasting has enormous benefits for the body and brain.
    Thanks for the valuable information

    Have a Nice Day!

    Reply
  6. As I was reading your post I remember my sister’s advice when I was young “You should eat to live & not live to eat”. You have shared some great advice on fasting diet, I had a quick question: How should a person decide which among these fasting diet is appropriate for his body?

    Also, if someone does not like to diet but exercises regularly then is dieting necessary for such individuals ?

    Reply
    • Hello Satz thank you for your comment. These are very good questions. I would recommend people to start out easy on intermittent fasting. Meaning not to start out with a longer fast. The best way I think, and it was for me so, is to begin fasting in between meals.Thats a good beginning point. And then perhaps incorporate a 16:8 fasting regime. And then only later going on a 24 hour fast. I don´t really recommend people to go on a longer fasts unless they have some health issues. If you exercise regularly you may not need to diet if you are losing wait. I still would recommend healthy eating but not necessarily any dieting. If you are not loosing wait it could be an option. I hope that helps.

      Reply
  7. Even though I am not new to the concept of intermittent fasting, I found your article very detailed and informative. Something new also registered with me…….
    Because insulin is both a fat burning and fat storing hormone, high levels of it in the body, result in obesity and/ or diabetes and you are unable to burn off the fat because you have too much insulin in your body. Rather, the excess blood glucose is stored around the belly as fat. Now I can understand the frustration of my cousin who spends months working out to reduce weight – especially belly fat, only to have it all come flooding back when she stops her rigorous exercise regimen even when eating healthy. I have forwarded this article to her.
    Thanks
    Ceci

    Reply

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