What Type of Intermittent Fasting Program Is Best?
Is the 5-2 Fast Diet right for you? It is certainly one of the most popular intermittent fasting programs out there, but there are many others as well. Maybe you have heard of Alternate Day Fasting or the Leangains system or some of the others. Here we will cover the most well known and hopefully give you enough to compare and choose the best for you.
Our site is mostly focused on Dr. Michael Mosley’s 5:2 Fast Diet, after his popular documentary Eat, Fast & Live Longer. This method is simply eating normally five days a week, then for just two days you cut your calories (500 for women, 600 for men). That’s it! It’s really a lifestyle choice. Many 5-2 subscribers find it is easier for them to only fast 2 days a week so they chose this plan. Others however have opted to try a variation in intermittent fasting that works better for them. It really just boils down to eating less to lose/keep off the weight as well as getting other health benefits associated with fasting. Here are some other options:
Alternate Day Fasting aka the Every-Other-Day Diet
For this one, you simply alternate your fast days and normal eating days. On your fast day you limit consumption to 500 -600 calories. Of course with this one compared to 5-2, you’re eating less overall and will lose weight quicker.
This is very popular for 5:2 fasters who use this method to speed up their weight loss or to break a plateau, switching to 4:3 for few week, then going back to 5:2.
Eat-Stop-Eat aka 24 Hours fasting
Unlike the 5-2 program where you eat 500-600 calories on your fast days, with Eat-Stop-Eat, you go full 24 hours with no calories. Once or twice a week, simply don’t eat for 24 hours. Start your fast in the morning, at lunch or at dinner. It doesn’t matter as long as you don’t eat for 24 hours. For example, you eat normal dinner at 7 p.m. on a Sunday, and then fast until 7 p.m. on Monday, resuming regular eating at that time. If you can’t make it the full 24 hours, 20 to 24 hours will also work. Ensure you have a two or more consecutive days of normal eating. (Approximately 2,000 calories a day for women and 2,500 for men) You should avoid fasting two or more days in a row and not exceed two fast days per week.
6:1 aka Maintaining
This one is popular among 5:2 fasters. After reaching their desired healthy weight, some find it beneficial to switch to only one fast day a week. (Six days normal eating and one day 500-600 calories) This slows down or stops weight loss in order to maintain your current weight. This way 5:2 fans can still enjoy the health benefits of intermittent fasting without worrying about dropping below their desired weight.
16:8 / also called Leangains
The numbers here refer to hours in the day, rather than days of the week. Basically you have a fasting period of 16 hours, with an eating window of 8 hours. During this time, you can eat 2-3 meals as you desire. Most users do this every day of the week. Essentially, this equates to simply skipping breakfast or dinner and fasting those morning or evening hours. There are variations of this such as adjusting number of fast hours (i.e. 18:6, 14:10, etc.) or taking 1-2 days a week for normal eating.
So as you can see, there are many variations when it comes to intermittent fasting. When choosing the best one for you, remember the following key points: achieving overall calorie reduction for weight loss, having a routine fasting regiment to enjoy health benefits of fasting, maintaining proper nutrition, and being consistent. If properly applied, all of these methods can be effective. Choose the one that fits in best with your lifestyle and that supports both your weight goal and your good health.