If you’re ready to dive onto the latest nutrition craze, intermittent fasting, it pays to do your research. There’s not just one kind of intermittent fasting.

While the general concept is still the same (something is removed for a select period of time), the approach to getting the job done is different.

And, this can greatly impact your adherence rates. Let’s face it – any type of fasting is going to feel challenging at first.

It’s something far different than you’ve ever done before and by nature, for most of us, change is hard. But if you choose a fasting that works best with your overall lifestyle, it does get easier.

So let me walk you through the different schedules of fasting so you can choose the one most appropriate for your life.

24 Hour Fast

Let’s begin with the 24 hour fast protocol, otherwise known as the time restricted protocol. With this fast, you are going a full 24 hours without eating. Anything. You don’t eat protein, you don’t eat fats, and you certainly don’t eat carbohydrates.

This form of fasting is one of the toughest to get through because the fasting period is long and you may notice an energy dip towards the end. But, if you can make it through the fast, you can get a day of great eating the next day as now you have 48 hours worth of calories to make up.

If you’re looking to lose weight, this can be extremely helpful (check out: Intermittent Fasting and Keto for Weight Loss).

Most people on weight loss diets find they feel very deprived with their measly meals but if you fast in this manner, ever other day you are going to get some great sized meals.

Alternate Day Fasting

The next approach is alternate day fasting. This is the approach to do if the 24 hour fast is just a bit too extreme for you. With this approach, you’ll eat just 500 calories on one day (the fasting day) and then the next day, you can eat whatever you want.

Because the one day is so low in calories, it’ll still help keep your bodyweight in check and you’ll still reap some of the benefits fasting provides.

It’s important to ensure that you get at least 200 calories worth of protein on this fasting day in order to put your best foot forward to preserve lean muscle mass tissue.

This type of fasting is especially great for controlling insulin levels and may help you ward off diabetes [1].

Fat Fasting

Moving on, now we come to fat fasting. This is an approach often used by those who are partaking in a ketogenic diet because the purpose of it is to help raise ketone levels in the body.

With fat fasting you are going to consume 1000-1200 calories per day (so a very low calorie intake) and you want 80-90% of those calories to come from dietary fat alone.

Note that a typical ketogenic diet contains 5% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 65% dietary fat, so this is increased from the standard ketogenic approach. It helps you get into ketosis faster since you are providing so little substrates that could be converted into glucose.

Note that this is not an approach to carry out for an extended period of time because your protein intake will be so low that you could risk lean muscle mass loss.

Protein on the fat fasting diet could amount to around 60 grams at the very most, which is simply too low for most people to sustain for any length of time. Therefore, it’s recommended that you only do this fast for, at most, 4 days.

It’s a good fast to do when first starting a ketogenic diet or if you are doing a cyclic ketogenic diet, to use the day after your refeed to help bump your calorie intake up again.

Intermittent Fasting

Finally, the last type of fast that you may come across as you do your research into which fasting method you should use is intermittent fasting.

This approach is one of the most popular types of fasts and does a great job at helping you lose weight maximally while providing numerous other health benefits.

Some of the key benefits you can get from this fasting include:

  • Increase in growth hormone release, which is a hormone that can control your body weight, rate of fat burning, as well as how quickly you age [2]
  • Enhanced metabolic rate to help you torch calories faster and lose weight [3]
  • Reduce your risk of type two diabetes [4]
  • May help combat oxidative damage, which could then reduce your risk of a number of illnesses [5]
  • Can help to lower total cholesterol levels and prevent the onset of heart disease [6]

This type of fasting protocol also has many set-ups within itself, but for the most part, you are going to fast for a set period of time – usually anywhere from 12-18 hours and then eat for the remaining hours of the day.

It is repeated on a daily basis, so there is no need to cycle this fast. You simply eat when it’s your ‘eating window’ and fast when it’s your fasting window.

Note that most people will place their eating window in the hours prior to bed time because not only can you enjoy the food more when you eat it during the late night hours, but there’s no risk of you failing to stop eating since you’ll just go to bed. Then when you wake up in the morning, you’ll start the process all over again.

So there you have you complete guide to the types of fasting. Fasting is definitely an approach worth considering if you want to improve your health and take control over your eating. It is definitely one of the best things that you can do as far as weight loss is concerned.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15640462
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC329619/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2405717
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S193152441400200X
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15123782
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S193152441400200X

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Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology. In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 12 years now, helping others lose weight, build muscle, and improve their athletic performance. She’s worked with people of all ages and helped them find the right fitness path for themselves. She is a regular contributor to Bodybuilding.com and has also contributed well over 400 articles to a variety of different websites dedicated towards muscle building and athletic performance. For more about her, find her at ShannonClarkFitness.com.

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