Intermittent Fasting 101: How the Diet Trend is Reshaping Habits

intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is an approach to weight management that many people swear by these days. The simple act of reshaping how you eat – and strategizing when you eat — provides benefits that may improve one’s overall health. Here’s what you need to know.

What Exactly is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting entails restricting eating to certain times. It comes in several varieties and may refer to specific hours or days.

What Are the Variations of Intermittent Fasting?

The most common type of intermittent fasting is the 16:8 pattern. In this style, you restrict eating to 8 hours daily, fasting for the other 16. Other forms of intermittent fasting, according to, include:

  • 14:10: Identical to 16:8, only less restrictive with the permitted eating hours.
  • 5:2: Eat as you wish for five days, then restrict caloric intake to 500 calories on the remaining two days.
  • Alternate-day fasting: Eat normally every other day, fasting – or severely restricting caloric intake – in between.
  • The Warrior Diet: Eating small amounts of plant-based foods throughout the day with a 4-hour window for heavier meals.

What Are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting may convey the following health benefits:

  1. May Aid Weight Loss
    Studies indicate that intermittent fasting leads to weight loss, although a recent investigation suggests the magic lies in overall calorie restriction, not timing. However, practically speaking, many people may find it easier to control the timing of meals rather than count calories.
  2. May Improve Blood Sugar
    Several small studies suggest that time-restricted eating may improve blood sugar control as much as cutting calories in those with type 2 diabetes. Those in the fasting group also reported greater ease in sticking with the program.
  3. May Aid Thinking and Memory
    Resent research suggests intermittent fasting may help your hippocampus make new neurons, improving cognitive performance.

Is Intermittent Fasting Safe?

Restricting your food intake sounds potentially dangerous, and doing so for too long certainly is. However, most physicians consider intermittent fasting safe for most people.

Rachel Sproat, RDN, LDN and registered dietician at UMPC, warns that restricting eating to less than eight hours daily risks nutritional deficiency, as does slashing too many calories overall. She advises that those who embark on the program ensure the meals they choose are well-rounded, providing a wide range of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats.

Those at risk of disordered eating or those with insulin-dependent diabetes should also use caution with intermittent fasting. It could reinforce negative patterns, and eating outside of restricted hours might be necessary if you take too much insulin.

Making Intermittent Fasting Work

Intermittent fasting can work for various lifestyles, provided that dieters:

  • Consult with a doctor.
  • Find the best personal time frame for eating.
  • Choose healthy meals at least 80% of the time, according to com, opting for fruits and vegetables in various hues while avoiding ultra-processed foods.

Ultimately, intermittent fasting offers multiple benefits for most people. The simplicity of the diet helps many stick with it. Theoretically, as long as one heeds the advice above, they should be able to use this diet to begin the path to improved health.


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