A person eating from a lunch box with an intermittent fasting diet. A person eating from a lunch box with an intermittent fasting diet.

Intermittent Fasting Beginners Guide: 3 Best Methods

The intermittent fasting diet plan is renowned for some unbelievable results for weight management. Many folks are crazy about intermittent fasting, promoting weight loss, simple life, and very little stress.

People looking to lose weight or get rid of body fat can be a part of an intermittent fasting plan. This intermittent fasting may improve your health, ultimately increasing the number of days you will live.

Are you looking for a diet plan to support your health and stay in the fitness zone? Then intermittent fasting would be a big escape from your dull and unhealthy lifestyle.

This article will help you collect some more knowledge about what intermittent fasting is and how it works.

A wooden platter with fork and knife kept in a clock hands manner. The concept of Intermittent Fasting.
Photo by fascinadora/Unlimphotos

1. Intermittent Fasting: The Basics

A good combination of eating as well as fasting with proper intervals. Intermittent fasting (IF) would work as a cycle for your eating habits and fasting period. There will be a specific time interval where you can have food and enjoy your meals.

After your eating period is over, the fasting period starts, and you have to be strict about the fasting period rules.

The best part about intermittent fasting (IF) is that it never emphasizes the type of food you eat but pays attention to when you eat your food. You have to be very particular about at what time you are taking your meals.

Many people are perplexed about whether intermittent fasting is a diet or an eating pattern. For the most part, intermittent fasting is more of the pattern you will follow for eating your meals. Intermittent fasting would mainly be a fasting period that would be 16 hours every day.

It means you have to continue constantly fasting without any breaks for 16 hours. Then after the fasting period is over, you’re allowed to eat your meals for the remaining 8 hours.

Fasting is a very old tradition that people have been following for decades now. Intermittent fasting is designed in such a manner that it will not affect your health at all.

Some folks may have drawbacks, so it’s always better to take suggestions from professionals (or experts).

2. Methods of Intermittent Fasting

Nowadays, you will find many ways to try out intermittent fasting. All these fasting patterns would mainly focus on distributing (or splitting) the eating and fasting routine properly with intervals. Some of these methods are:

2.1. 16/8 Method

Intermittent fasting concept 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating- 16/8 metoid.
Photo by darksoul72/Unlimphotos

You have to say a big goodbye to your breakfast in this intermittent fasting method. This intermittent fasting method says that you can eat your food (meals) for eight hours and fast for the remaining sixteen hours of a day.

Many people trust and try this 16/8 method. For beginners, this method would be highly beneficial and recommended for a better and notable result.

2.2. Eat-Stop-Eat

Another intermittent fasting method is suitable for you if not any other way. This method means eating the whole day and then fasting for an entire day. For example, if you are ready to eat for the entire day, then you have to skip meals for another day.

Here, you have to fast for the complete 24 hours, and then the next day you can have your food. You can try fasting twice a week for more impressive results. This method is quite difficult for people who can’t last for a whole day.

2.3. 5:2 Diet

This diet method of intermittent fasting comes with the calorie control concept. Suppose you choose this diet to be your preferred intermittent fasting method. Then you have to maintain a calorie intake between 500 to 600 on any two (non-consecutive) days of the week.

Also, note that you can eat properly on all the other remaining days of the week, as you did earlier. The whole focus should be on the number of calories you’ll take, and you have to maintain the upper and bottom line for the calorie intake.

In all the methods, you have to take down the number of calories you generally eat. By reducing (minimizing) the calorie content in your body, you will get a good weight loss sign. All these will happen when you will, so keep checking up on your regular eating days.

It means you have to eat good and healthy foods. That doesn’t mean you will eat in an overloaded manner and do a calorie-deficit diet in intermittent fasting. You can take it as you have to low calorie (as instructed) and then have regular meals without overloading your body with foods.

Top view of different vegetables on blackboard background and chalk wrote calorie quantity for weight loss and food control.
Photo by its_al_dente/Unlimphotos

3. How Does It Affect Your Cells and Hormones?

Every diet that has fasting as one of its methods would affect the hormones and cells in your body. In this diet, you will also face some disturbances in your body’s molecular and cellular levels.

To store the fat (body fat), your hormones may have to be adjusted for better access to your body fat. On the other hand, your cells start functioning to contribute to the repair process and somehow affect the genes.

Let’s note down some changes that may take place when you are fasting for hours.

3.1. Human Growth Hormone

With more hours of fasting, the human growth hormone (HGH) gets uplifted (increases). This would be helpful in fat loss (Weight loss) and would call for muscle-gaining capacity.

3.2. Insulin

There would be a huge difference and change in your insulin level during the fasting period. Your insulin level would get down (decrease) in the fasting journey, also increasing your insulin sensitivity.

3.3. Cellular Repair

As soon as you begin the fasting process, your cellular repair capacity (process) of cells will also start.

3.4. Gene Expression

Gene expression would mainly bring changes in your genes. These changes would include the protection of the heart, and it would also work for longevity-related genes.

Now, you must learn that because of these changes, the benefits of intermittent fasting are high. These changes would make your body more healthy and free of many diseases.

4. Intermittent Fasting: A Weight Loss Tool?

Intermittent fasting diet plate with a one-third par of the plate filled with food and the rest is empty.
Photo by /Unlimphotos

No doubt! There are many benefits intermittent fasting can offer to your body. Weight loss is always the most important benefit that many folks look for. Intermittent fasting involves eating in intervals that might become a great habit in controlling weight gain issues.

This fasting method would burn fat and would also help in fixing your eating disorders. The constraints on calorie intake would raise a big positive sign for weight reduction (loss). This way of weight loss would also regulate or stimulate your hormones to support weight loss, which is often a challenge for many people.

These hormonal differences (changes) would be great for lifting your metabolic rate, which would cause another loss cause. You will see many other weight loss methods that may also bring some health benefits, but this fasting method is free from any side effects.

Fasting is always preferable for weight loss, but the repercussions are not quite bearable. Therefore, it’s always advisable not to fall under the trap of fasting until you get proper evidence to support the method or technique.

Many reports support the benefits of intermittent fasting for muscle loss (weight loss). It would be best if you considered intermittent fasting as a great weight loss tool for astounding results.

5. Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

You can try intermittent fasting for different health benefits. If you follow the fasting periods and eating routines properly throughout the day, it will help weight loss.

The working function of intermittent fasting entirely depends on how you maintain the fasting and eating patterns. Here are some most visible health benefits of intermittent fasting that many folks look for.

These are:

5.1. Lose Weight

A woman measures her waist to check her weight loss.
Photo by MOELLERTHOMSEN/Unlimphotos

Weight loss is the most common yet effective benefit that has made intermittent fasting more popular. Intermittent fasting would be a boon for people struggling with belly fat. It will be great for people suffering from obesity issues and are unable to get satisfying results from other diets.

People who want to stay fit without any side defects for their bodies can try out this outstanding intermittent fasting pattern.

5.2. Insulin Resistance

Intermittent fasting is a good method or pattern to bring down (reduce) your blood sugar level. Simultaneously it will work for taking down your insulin resistance. All these benefits of intermittent fasting would work as a protection shield for type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is becoming a very difficult and dangerous disease that many folks are suffering from.

5.3. Inflammation

There are some proven statements that inflammation to be controlled by intermittent fasting patterns. Some folks observed that intermittent fasting would control and reduce the causes of inflammation. This would help in preventing your body from swelling, bloating, or inflammation.

Inflammation is a big issue that would be quite strenuous to get over. Chronic inflammation is a huge reason that many folks get various diseases, including life-threatening diseases.

5.4. Heart Health

Heart health could be a big concern for people intending to live long with a healthy body. If insulin resistance goes high, it would be big trouble for heart problems. On the other hand, folks may suffer from heart issues with bad cholesterol in a high amount inside the body.

Inflammation is another friend of heart issues that you have to be careful about. All these problems, such as inflammation, the presence of LDL (bad cholesterol), and insulin resistance, would host heart problems in your body.

All these can be reduced and checked by trying out this fast diet with eating patterns. Therefore, it’s true that intermittent fasting could also claim the benefits of a healthy heart.

5.5. Cancer

A red stop sign on top of the Cancer.
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Cancer is as tough as it sounds and a very dangerous disease that could destroy your health. Some studies say intermittent fasting would reduce the chances of cancer and aid in the treatment of cancer to remove all the toxicity from the body. Further research is needed to give more proven statements about how intermittent fasting benefits people and prevents cancer.

5.6. Brain Health

An amazing way to increase the growth of new nerve cells for your brain health, intermittent fasting would be the hands-down favorite diet for your brain health. This kind of fasting pattern would also increase the growth of brain hormones (BDNF) that would stimulate the functioning of your brain.

5.7. Anti-Aging

Anti-aging is something that every man and woman wants in their lives. Everyone wants to look young, no matter how much they age. Many products and supplements are available for pausing the aging process in humans.

Some people find diet a trustable source for stopping the aging process and getting that youthful skin.

Intermittent fasting is known to reduce many diseases that will be disastrous for your skin and body. People start looking old once they are plagued with ill health.

People with few health issues look much younger and tend to be anti-aging themselves. Intermittent fasting would boost your anti-aging process by the immense benefits it can offer to your body.

Although, it is important to note that these researches haven’t shown results in every human tested. As people’s body type varies and may not show the same reaction. Also, some of these benefits may not be for a long period and may be gone once you stop following this diet.

A child eating a blackberry from his lunch box.
Photo by Katerina Holmes/ Pexels.com

6. Intermittent Fasting for a Simple Lifestyle

Intermittent fasting makes your life quite simpler, as compared to many other diets. One of the best things about intermittent fasting is that you don’t have to think about meal preparations and cooking. You can decide on your meals at once and can have them for the whole eating period.

Also, you don’t have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen just cooking the food.

7. Who Should Be Careful Before Trying the Diet?

Like every other diet, this diet is not suitable for people with different issues. Some people might not adjust well to fasting and may have health disorders with fasting for hours. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not try this diet without consulting with their doctor.

You have to get yourself clear about this diet before trying it, as it would bring many repercussions for people with existing issues. People having eating disorders must not try this fasting diet, as they may show sudden changes that would bring their health down.

Therefore, it’s always better to get suggestions from experts and not trust all the other sources. Your body may react differently to this diet due to other health differences.

8. Can Women Do This Fast?

There is no convincing evidence of whether women’s fasting would be beneficial or not. Some reports showed intermittent fasting is more beneficial for a man. For women, intermittent fasting may bring the problem of blood sugar issues (control).

There are some stories about disturbed menstrual cycles due to women trying out intermittent fasting. Also, women looking to conceive or trying for a baby may not start doing intermittent fasting at that particular period. A sudden change in hormonal functions may be a problem during the conceiving period.

9. Side Effects

There may be side effects to alternate-day fasting, calorie restriction, change in insulin levels, and skipping breakfast. Also, continuous long-hour fasts and then eating normally might be an issue for many people.

A man sitting beside a fridge and drinking juice from the packet to satisfy his hunger cravings.
Photo by Chander Mohan on Unsplash

Some of the notable side effects are the following:

  • You will have to face hunger cravings frequently. You may feel hungry very often, as fasting brings more hunger stress on your body.
  • After 24 hours of fasting, days could be difficult for people and bring down your brain functioning.
  • Your energy level may get drop due to no food for hours together.
  • Fewer meals in a week can also be a problem for many people, as the benefits may stay for a short-term period.
  • You have to take care of eating and fasting days per week. A little negligence could bring many issues in the diet benefits.
  • Breast-feeding women should not try this diet without consultation with a nutritionist. Research and medical evidence are not in favor of such women taking up this diet.

10. Conclusion

Don’t take intermittent fasting as something that everyone can do. Intermittent fasting is entirely a different concept; it’s more of a good lifestyle than an eating pattern. This fasting method is designed to build up your poor health and lifestyle.

This eating pattern would not suit everyone out there but would benefit people who can take up this pattern without any side effects. It would be best if you looked for some proper guidance before trusting the myths and sayings.

You have to be careful about how your body will react to this way of fasting pattern. If it goes well for your body, then you will benefit from this type of fasting.

Before that, go ahead and do your research to try out this unique way of fasting and diet patterns.

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