Intermittent fasting or IF is an eating pattern rather than an eating plan, meaning that it's not a diet and doesn’t specify which foods you should eat, just when you should eat them. In this respect, it can be much easier to start than other diet plans. There is a growing body of evidence related to the positive impacts of Intermittent Fasting on health and longevity (5). Animal studies have shown an 83% increase in life-span in subjects exposed to intermittent fasting (7).
Participants lost a consistent and statistically significant amount of weight and body fat over a 10 week period using alternative day fasting. Findings showed lower levels of LDL-C were correlated to statistically significant increased levels of adiponectin, a protein hormone which is involved in regulating glucose levels, and reduced waist circumference in participants. (2)(3)
Insulin sensitivity, the opposite of insulin resistance improves due to levels of fasting insulin dropping dramatically. (1)
Decreases in triglycerides by as much as 32 percent below levels measured prior to implementing intermittent fasting have been recorded. (4)
Lower concentrations of triglycerides, glucose, and increased concentrations of HDL cholesterol (4). It is iteresting to note that Calorie Restriction can reduce VLDL and, combined with exercise, can increase HDL particle size (6).
Intermittent fasting comes in many different shapes and forms. The following three types are the most common types of intermittent fasting:
The 16/8 method: This is also called the Leangains protocol, which involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1-9 pm. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.
Eat Stop Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
The 5:2 plan: Consume only 500 - 600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.
The one consistent theme of intermittent fasting is that individuals periodically fast for a longer duration than the typical overnight fast.