Different Types of Fasting
Find out the different types of fasting from Amy!
What is fasting?
Fasting is abstinence from food or drink that supplies energy. Recently, fasting has gained a lot of interest as a dietary style; however, there are many different types of fasting, so it can be hard to determine which is which. I thought I’d take you through the different types of fasting that are popular at the moment so that you are more informed of this dietary practice.
Time Restricted Feeding
This is probably the most popular form of fasting where eating takes place in an 8 hour window, followed by a 16 hour fast. Typically people will fast until midday and eat from 12 - 8pm. If you were going to try this, I would move the eating window to earlier in the day e.g. 8am - 4pm to take advantage of our increased glucose tolerance earlier in the day. This form of fasting is typically utilised by those wanting a simple approach to reducing food intake and creating fat loss.
This style of fasting incorporates eating as normal for 5 days of the week and eating a very low amount of energy (around 500 calories) for 2 days a week. Usually people will place the 2 low energy days apart from each other to avoid extreme hunger and increase the probability of sticking with it e.g. low energy days on Monday and Thursday. This style of fasting is typically utilised by those looking to reduce energy intake and create fat loss without having to change their normal style of eating.
Alternate Day Fasting
This style of fasting is characterised by eating as normal for one day, followed by a complete day of fasting, and this is repeated. An easier way of completing this would be to fast in 24 hour stints instead of days of the week e.g. eat Monday dinner and fast until Tuesday Dinner.
This style of fasting has been shown to create some favourable changes in blood results such as cholesterol and blood glucose. However, it can be difficult to lead an active lifestyle during these periods of fasting, and there is an increased risk of muscle loss if you are losing weight as a result of not consuming enough protein.
Protein Sparing Modified Fasting
This style of fasting is characterised by very low energy, carbohydrate and fat intake with an aim to obtain almost all of your energy from protein sources. This protocol may encourage energy intakes as low as 800 calories per day.
Theoretically this fasting style helps you to lose fat quickly due to very low energy intakes whilst retaining muscle by keeping protein intake high. Since this would be difficult to follow for long periods of time, it is not recommended as a sustainable or prolonged fat loss plan and may lead to some nutrient deficiencies.
Let's Sum It Up!
Fasting is abstaining from food or drink that supplies energy. Some of the most popular fasting protocols at the moment include the 16:8 time restricted feeding, 5:2 intermittent fasting, alternate day fasting and protein sparing modified fasting. Do I recommend fasting? No.
Frequently, fasting is employed as a quick fix for health conditions or fat loss when nutrition education and consistent nutrient dense eating would be a better approach. Which is also easier to maintain in the long run. Healthy nutrition works best when you focus on eating nutrients, not avoiding them. Having said that, I support everyone's right to experiment and see what works best for them.
For a more in depth discussions about the pros and cons of fasting, you can listen to Amy's Eat Great Chats available on DediKate!
Members can find this under 'Nutrition Chats' on DediKate!