Have you recently come across the acronym IF that seems to have flooded Google? Intermittent Fasting, or Intermittent Fasting or IF, has quickly become one of the most popular diets around the globe. But where does this insatiable craze for the diet in question come from? To answer this question, it is first necessary to understand its principles.
Intermittent fasting is not a diet in the strict sense of the word. Rather, it is a way of life, a pattern of eating for a certain period of time. The main principle of intermittent fasting is to alternate periods of fasting and periods of normal eating. So far, no serious complications. In fact, there are various application modalities allowing fasting enthusiasts to eat in a more or less small window of the day.
For example, the 16/8 diet (eating only in an 8-hour window and abstaining from food the other 16 hours of the day), is among the most popular modalities. To tailor fasting to their lifestyle, some people choose not to eat in an even smaller 6-hour window, or even 4 hours.
Why is intermittent fasting beneficial for the body?
According to several experts, this practice is extremely beneficial for the state of health in general. Why? During the controlled fasting phase, the body does not use energy for digestion. This allows, on the other hand, to activate the detoxification process, which is not possible during the digestion phase.
Also, fasting improves the process of “recycling” broken proteins and damaged cells thereby activating a rejuvenating mechanism. This helps to renew cells, improve muscle tissue and therefore slow down aging. As a bonus, leaving your digestive system at rest allows you to manipulate hormones for an optimal balance.
How does fasting help us lose weight?
During the controlled fasting phase, the body draws on its fat reserves to produce energy during the meal-free period. This is how insulin drops and glucagon increases to provide the body with energy reserves. Most of this energy is taken from glycogen stores and fat stores. Through fasting, growth hormone increases, helping to repair tissue and burn fat.
We have just explained the principles and the great merits of intermittent fasting. But it remains to examine the modalities of various applications under the magnifying glass. Here are 5 of the most popular fasting methods!
Martin Berkhan’s Leangains Intermittent Fasting
As the name suggests, Leangains is a type of intermittent fasting suitable for strength training. Its principle is to allow better fat-melting but also to gain mass by limiting fat intake. Leangains fasting suggests fasting 16 hours and then eating 8 hours. The main thing is not to fast for more than 16 hours to allow the body to take its dose of calories and distribute them sufficiently well.
Popularized by Martin Berkhan, this 16/8 type method was designed for athletes. It adapts perfectly to sustained training, in particular, because of the natural hormonal manipulation that results from it. A daily sustained secretion of growth hormone is obtained which promotes both lipolysis and muscle building.
The other interest of this type of fasting consists in the organization of the diet around a daily practice. This allows rapid adaptation to the diet and, consequently, a rather rare feeling of hunger. To properly practice Leangains Intermittent Fasting, it is important to eat large, highly nutritious meals during the feeding period. Thus, the feeling of satiety is sufficiently marked, which limits any desire to snack at any time.
The implementation of the Leangains Method is very simple: skip breakfast and find a feeding window that suits your personal lifestyle. A lot of schedules will therefore be necessary to adapt to 16/8 fasting but it is worth all the efforts.
The disadvantages of Leangains are indeed less numerous. The first week could be a bit complicated, but you adapt relatively quickly, and eating only within an 8-hour window becomes natural very quickly. Fasting would be difficult to implement if we have shifted schedules or a changing schedule.
The other disadvantage concerns athletes forced to train early. They will then have to choose between eating early and stopping eating early or waiting several hours to eat (which can hamper recovery). There is no universal answer to this question, so we have to find the solution suited to the objective pursued.
Brad Pilon’s Eat-Stop-Eat method
Popularized by fitness expert Brad Pilon, the Eat-Stop-Eat method involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week. You can fast from breakfast to breakfast, lunch to lunch, or dinner to dinner the next day. It is a matter of personal choice. During the fasting phase, the consumption of non-calorie drinks, water, coffee, and tea is permitted. If you follow this diet to lose weight, it is very important to eat normally during the windows dedicated to food.
24-hour fasting, either once or twice a week, causes weight loss and improves metabolic health. The only downside to the method is that fasting for a full 24 hours could prove to be very difficult for many people. However, one can start with 12-14 hours by gradually lengthening the duration of the fast.
Ori Hofmekler’s Warrior Diet
The Warrior Diet is the name of an intermittent fasting method inspired by ancient warriors. Ori Hofmekler’s fasting is based on 20 hours of almost total calorie restriction, followed by 4 hours of eating in large quantities. The method has two obvious advantages. First, the fasting period extended to 20 hours promotes fat loss, especially abdominal fat. Then, eating just one meal a day can limit the risk of swallowing too many calories, which is the best way to lose weight.
According to some, the greatest advantage of the young intermittent “of the warrior” is to eat once a day without worrying about the contents of his plate. By not eating during the day, we manage to optimize our hormonal environment and create an energy deficit that will be filled by the nighttime feast.
The big disadvantage of this diet is the feeling of hunger, quite simply. The first week you can get bored, stressed, or just used to snacking. To better adapt, we can start for example with a not-so-strict diet like the Leangains method for 1 to 2 weeks, then decrease the feeding window. The other difficulty is with people whose goal is not to lose weight. It lies in the requirement to swallow enough calories and nutrients in one meal.
Fat Loss Forever Intermittent Fasting
John Romaniello and Dan Go’s Fat Loss Forever Method combines the most effective fasting diets to create the ultimate weight loss plan. A hybrid of “Eat Stop Eat”, “The Warrior Diet” and “Leangains” fasts, the “Fat Loss Forever” method combines the most effective fasting methods to overcome the weaknesses of each.
Here, we are talking about a 7-day diet, made up of: 36-hour fasting; a “cheat day” during which we can eat normally; 5 days during which it is necessary to alternate the 3 methods of intermittent fasting already mentioned. “Fat Loss Forever” also includes sports programs aimed at helping participants achieve maximum fat loss most easily.
The disadvantage of the method in question is, perhaps, the diet which varies from day today. However, the schedule accompanying the program indicates how to fast and train each day.
The “UpDayDownDay” intermittent fasting
According to the creator of the “UpDayDownDay” method, James Johnson, it enables very specific objectives to be achieved according to the participants. The plan is a bit rough, especially for those new to the fast. It involves eating very little one day and eating normally the next.
It is very important to consider the calorie intake on the low-calorie day, which should be 400-500 maximum. Given the calorie deficit caused, the method allows you to lose weight very quickly. Within a week, you can expect similar results: just over 500 grams for women and up to 1 kilo for men.
To make the down days easier, meal replacement shakes can be prepared, rich in essential nutrients. We can therefore distribute our food by small meals or fast part of the day, then lunch or dinner. However, shakes are only allowed for the first two weeks. As for the “up” days, we can eat as usual.
Fasting has long been applied in many civilizations as the most effective way to live a long life. Nowadays, more accessible and just as effective, intermittent fasting is very easy to adopt as a real way of life.