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Can intermittent fasting actually work and – if so – how “intermittent” should it be?

 Many people are wary of fasting, but at the same time it is known to be one of the most effective weight loss methods – and overall health improvers – currently in vogue.

But what is the correct way to do it?

There is strong evidence that  fasting for 10–16 hours can generate a fat-burning situation that releases ketones into the bloodstream, encouraging weight loss.

And intermittent fasting is cause the body to turn its fat stores into energy, which releases ketones into the bloodstream. This should encourage weight loss. This type of intermittent fasting plan may be a good option for beginners

I follow a simple method of Intermittent Fasting called Eat Stop Eat — developed by international author and nutrition expert Brad Pilon who you’ll meet in a minute. Here’s how it works…

Once or twice a week I stop eating for a specific pre-set amount of time depending on my goal and my amount of bodyfat. Simple as that… and it’s only EVER once or twice a week, never more!

And get this… you never go a single day without enjoying a completely normal meal. Now…

It’s important that any fasting doesn’t have you starving most of the week. To the contrary, it is counter-productive to do so.

There are different ‘fasting periods’.

1. The 12 Hour Fast

This lengthy fast would have the dieter choosing to fast between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. They would need to finish their dinner before 7 p.m. and wait until 7 a.m. to have breakfast but would be asleep for much of the time in between, making the fast easier than otherwise.

The 12 hour method is fine, but often challenging for beginners as it can seem like – literally – a long time between meals.

2. Fasting 2 Days a Week

People following the 5:2 diet eat standard amounts of healthful food for 5 days and reduce calorie intake on the other 2 days.

During the 2 fasting days, men generally consume 600 calories and women 500 calories.

Typically, people separate their fasting days in the week. For example, they may fast on a Monday and Thursday and eat normally on the other days. There should be at least 1 non-fasting day between fasting days.

There is limited research on the 5:2 diet, which is also known as the Fast diet and which has become very popular. A study involving 107 overweight or obese women found that restricting calories twice weekly and continuous calorie restriction both led to similar weight loss.

3. 24 Hour Fast Weekly

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Woman holding mug or cup of herbal tea.

On a 24-hour diet, a person can have teas and calorie-free drinks.

Fasting completely for 1 or 2 days a week, known as the Eat-Stop-Eat diet, involves eating no food for 24 hours at a time. Many people fast from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch.

People on this diet plan can have water, tea, and other calorie-free drinks during the fasting period before resuming their normal eating. The calorie intake is reduced but there is no limit on specific foods that you can eat.

4. Alternate Day Fasting

There are several variations of the alternate day fasting plan, which involves fasting every other day and it can also mean complete avoidance of some foods on fasting days. On the ‘feeding days’ you can eat as much as you want.

One study reports that alternate day fasting is effective for weight loss and heart health in both healthy and overweight adults. The researchers found that the 32 participants lost an average of 5.2 kilograms (kg), or just over 11 pounds (lb), over a 12-week period.

Alternate day fasting is quite an extreme form of intermittent fasting, and it may not be suitable for beginners and may be difficult for many to sustain long-term.

5. Meal Skipping

This flexible approach to intermittent fasting may be good for beginners but may not be the most effective overall fasting method.

You can decide which meals to skip according to their level of hunger or time restraints. However, it is important to eat healthful foods at each meal.

Meal skipping is likely to be most successful when individuals monitor and respond to their body’s hunger signals. Essentially, people using this style of intermittent fasting will eat when they are hungry and skip meals when they are not.

Overall the Eat Stop Eat method is an easy and effective entree for beginner fasters and something you can check out further with a best-selling course here.