A Guide to Intermittent Fasting

What do you Mean by Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating and planning to have your meals at the respective time. The main purpose of following Intermittent fasting is to scheduling your meals so that you will get the most benefits out of it. You don’t have to sacrifice the food you like, but you may need to change the time you eat.

Intermittent fasting is becoming trendy in these years. Because it is showing the desired results that people want to see in themselves. After following this method for one month, people noticing the sudden changes in their body weight, and also helps the people to maintain the optimal levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, waist circumference and altogether resulting in the increasing of the lifespan of a person who is doing intermittent fasting.

Adding to that, lots of benefits associated with intermittent fasting including weight loss, improved brain health, improved markers of health, and a reduced risk of chronic health conditions. You can do intermittent fasting in various forms it means there are many different ways of intermittent fasting.

This timed approach eating will result in the overall improvement of your health. Even though it will be difficult for the person to follow these methods during the initial phase of the fasting, but you eventually end up completing this method as you would be pleased with the results and improvement in your body. Intermittent fasting is way better than following a diet that comes with several restrictions regarding what you should eat and what shouldn’t. But it is not advisable to everyone who wants to follow this and there are several methods that are available in the intermittent fasting, before opting for any methods it’s better to have a word with your physician.

Your fasting revolves around the clock and you should eat based on the time set by yourself. People may find it hard to follow the fasting methods because you have to stay for 8-10 hours without eating food. People mainly follow the intermittent fasting for weight loss, take care of their body, and minimizing the effects of aging.

We would advise you to have a word with your health care provider before you go for it because people with pre-existing medical conditions may get into trouble by any one of the methods in intermittent fasting and the conditions, they have in their body will not let them follow it correctly. It is better to check with your doctor regarding why you are opting for Intermittent fasting and what are the effects of Intermittent fasting on you and on your medical conditions.

Even doctors also don’t recommend to do Intermittent fasting to their patients and it is for the people who don’t have any medical problems. But, if you still want to follow it, take your doctor’s suggestions and consult your physician immediately if you experience any side effects after following the methods of Intermittent fasting.

Before going for Intermittent fasting, first, assess your body whether it will cooperate during the fasting and also make sure to know about the effects of your pre-existing medical conditions on your body if you start Intermittent Fasting.

How Does it Work?

You need to understand the fed state and fasted state before knowing how Intermittent fasting actually works on your body.

When your body is digesting the food and absorbing the food you ate, this phase of your body is considered as a Fed state. Also, the fed state starts, when you start eating your food and this phase will last for four to six hours because your body is adjusting to the food you take and will be in the process of digesting and absorbing the food. As the levels of your insulin are high, it will be difficult for your body to burn fat as you are in the fed state.

Your body will come back to the post-absorptive phase, which means your body is not processing a meal. This state will last for eight to twelve hours after your last meal, and there your body will enter into the fasted state. As your insulin levels are quite low this time when compared with the fed state, it will become easy for your body to burn fat.

When you are in the fed state, it is not an easy task for your body to burn fat and you have to struggle hard. But, when it comes to the Fasted state, the fat burning process will be easy for your body due to the low insulin levels in the body.

Normally, it will take twelve hours for our body to go into a fasted state after having the last meal. Due to this reason, people start doing intermittent fasting and are able to burn their fat and getting the results they want. You don’t have to sacrifice your favorite food when you are on Intermittent fasting. You can eat whatever you want but there will be time restrictions for it. That’s why people start losing their weight without sacrificing their favorite foods and it doesn’t matter how much you eat. Fasting will allow your body in a fat burning state and that will not possible during the normal eating schedule. Due to this reason, people following intermittent fasting methods and seeing the results they would like to see in their bodies. The main difference between the fed state and fasted state is the levels of insulin present in the body.

Intermittent fasting allows the body to entered into a fat burning state which is highly impossible while you are in your normal routine. With the help of Intermittent fasting, people will easily allow the body to enter into the fat burning state and doing fat loss exercises at that time also helps the people to lose weight much faster. You don’t have to go to the gym if you are following one of the methods in intermittent fasting and it will be easy for you to lose weight and see the best version of yourself tomorrow.

Several Ways to do Intermittent Fasting

You can do intermittent fasting by choosing various methods. There are many methods available for you to start your day with the Intermittent fasting. Following are the Intermittent Fasting methods:

  • Practice Fasting for 12 hours in a day
  • Fast for Sixteen hours in a day
  • Following 5:2 pattern
  • Fasting every other day
  • Fasting for twenty-four hours in a week
  • Diet of a Warrior
  • Meal Skipping

Practice Fasting for Twelve Hours in a day: This is one of the effective and simple methods in the Intermittent Method. This is a 12-hour fasting window and you have to do fast for 12 hours and you can eat whatever you want in the remaining 12 hours.

It has been observed by the researchers that doing fasting for ten to sixteen hours may cause your body to burn its fat stores into energy, which will result in the release of Ketones into the bloodstream. It should also result in weight loss.

This method is good for the people who are following the intermittent fasting for the first time. Because most of your fasting time will be occupied by your sleep and that is why this method is a good option for beginners. By following this method, the person will be able to consume the same number of calories each day.

This method may not be difficult for the people who included the fasting window in the period of their sleep. For instance, different time frames set by a different individual. Some people choose to fast between 7 P.M. and 7 A.M. They have to adjust their timings based on that if the person following the above time period to fast, then the needs to finish the dinner before 7 p.m. and have to wait for the next morning to eat breakfast that too after the 7 a.m.

Fasting for Sixteen Hours in a day: It is one of the popular methods of fasting. People who opt for this method should spend sixteen hours fasting and they should consume all the calories required to start a day during the remaining calories.

There are many benefits associated with this 16:8 plan and a person can be able to reduce his weight, burn his fat, and it will also be helpful in the prevention of type 2 diabetes and following this method will also prevent the other conditions related to Obesity.

This form of fasting requires the person to consume food during an eight-hour window, and he has to spend his remaining day without eating anything for the remaining sixteen hours. This method works based on your internal clock, which means your sleep or wake cycle or body clock. It is also known as circadian rhythm while following this method the functioning of your body’s internal clock is vital and it should not be disrupted. Circadian rhythm is also known as the 24-hour cycle.

It is not an easy task for you to follow this method. You can minimize the hardness of this method if you include your sleep in the sixteen-hour fasting window. It has been observed by the experts that finishing your daily consumption of food before the early evening will result in the burning of your fat. However, it is not advisable for everyone who wants to follow this method.

You don’t have to worry about your favorite foods. In intermittent fasting, you can eat whatever you want during the eight-hour window, but it will be better for you if you consume healthy foods and avoiding junk foods.

Eating high fiber food during your eight-hour windows such as vegetables, whole grains, and fruits will satisfy you as the fiber content high in these foods. Adding healthful fats and proteins in your diet will satisfy you and keep you healthy.

Hydrating your body is very important while following this method. Drinking water all day long will help you to consume fewer calories during the 16:8 intermittent fasting diet. We would advise you to don’t watch any commercial food ads while you are following this method as it may lead to stimulate a sense of hunger and also do meditation during the fasting period and it will help you to forget about your hunger feeling for some time.

Weight loss, fat loss, prevention of diseases, and extending the life span are the health benefits associated with the 16:8 intermittent fasting diet. It has been observed in a study that Intermittent fasting helps men to lose their body weight who are suffering from obesity. In another study, researchers found that there isn’t a big difference between the people who are following 16:8 intermittent fasting diet and Alternate Day-fasting. This is one of the effective methods of Intermittent fasting and most of the people got what they want by following the 16:8 intermittent fasting diet.

Even though there are no restrictions on the foods you eat but it will be better to maintain a balanced diet if you want to get your results faster. Including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, olives, seeds, nuts, olive oil, coconuts, avocados, and lean protein sources like eggs, nuts, poultry, beans, lentils, seeds, and low-fat cottage cheese.

If you include the above foods in your diet while following the 16:8 intermittent fasting plan, you will see the following benefits in your body. These include

  • Weight loss
  • Fat loss
  • Prevention of type 2 diabetes

You will experience the side effects also during this process. In the beginning phase, you will experience hunger, tiredness, and weakness. As there are no restrictions in your eight-hour window, you will try to eat as much as possible and also you will automatically add unhealthful foods in your diet due to excessive hunger. Women shouldn’t follow intermittent fasting as it could negatively affect female fertility.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, fasting may contribute to eating disorders if your body negatively responds to it.

Practice Fasting for two days in a week: It is simply known as a 5:2 diet. People who are following this method should consume healthful food for five days and reduce the intake of calories on the remaining two days. Generally, men consume six hundred calories and women consume five hundred calories during the two days of fasting.

Generally, people who opt-in this method will separate their fasting days in the week. For instance, you may fast on Tuesday and Friday and continue your normal intake of calories on the remaining days. But make sure that at least one non-fasting day between fasting days.

Experimenters didn’t do deep research about the effects of this method. People call it a 5:2 diet and it is also called a Fast diet. It has been observed in a study that there is a little difference in the loss of the weight whether they restricted the calories intake twice in a week or continuously restricted in a whole week in obese women. Both have given the same results and the above two ways led to similar weight loss.

Alternate day fasting: You have to do fasting every other day if you opt for this method of intermittent fasting. There are various types of versions available in this method. Up to five hundred calories are allowed to consume during the days of fasting. Even the results also tempting the people to choose this method as the lab studies showing the desired results that people would like to see in themselves.

We would advise the beginners to not choose this method who are new to intermittent fasting. You have to sleep with a very hungry feeling if you choose to follow this day. It is not an easy task even the people who are following it for a long time. You can eat whatever you want on your day, but when it comes to the fasting day, you are not allowed to eat anything which is not very pleasant.

Fasting for twenty-four hours in a week: If you choose this Eat-Stop-Eat diet method, it is essential for you to fast for one or two days in a week or it involves not consuming food for twenty-four hours at a time. That’s why people who are following this method do fasting from dinner to dinner or lunch to lunch.

Big relief for the people who opt for this method is they can have water, tea, and other calorie-free drinks on the day you are fasting.

People can stick to their regular eating patterns on the day they don’t do fasting. If you follow this pattern, it will help you to reduce the total calorie intake of a person but does not stop you from having specific foods.

The following are the side effects associated with this method. These include

  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

A person who is following this method of intermittent fasting has to suffer from the above side effects until their body adjusts to this new form of eating.

We would advise people to choose other methods before coming to this one as the person may find it difficult to follow the new pattern of eating.

Diet of a Warrior: It is considered as the relatively extreme form of intermittent fasting. Because, the people who are following this method is only allowed to consume very little amount of food, which includes a little consumption of green vegetables and raw fruits, during a twenty-hour fasting window. They are allowed to eat what they want during the non-fasting hours.

Most of the People who chose this method tried all the methods of intermittent fasting but didn’t get the desired results they want. In this method, people are allowed to what they want during the four-hour eating phase. People may get the best results if they consume

  • Healthful fats such as Avocado, Chia seeds, Dark Chocolate, eggs, fatty fish, flaxseeds, nuts, olives, olive oil, tofu, yogurt, nut, and seed butter
  • Proteins like lean meat, eggs, poultry, fish, milk, yogurt, cheese beans, lentils, and chickpeas
  • Plenty of vegetables such as spinach, carrots, broccoli, garlic, brussels sprouts, kale, green peas, swiss chard, ginger, asparagus, red cabbage, and sweet potatoes
  • Carbohydrates including quinoa, oats, buckwheat, bananas, sweet potatoes, beetroots, oranges, blueberries, grapefruit, apples, kidney beans, and chickpeas.

Some people find it hard to follow the warrior diet, as it only allows people to eat what they want only during the nights. Certain persons are don’t like to consume foods in a high quantity though they feel hungry. It is due to those people are habituated to eat more in the morning and less in the evening, and it is what restricting those persons to follow this method.

People who follow a warrior diet may increase the risk of cancer and it is due to they don’t include enough nutrients such as fiber in their diet and it will also effect digestive and immune health in the long run.

Meal Skipping: People who are new to intermittent fasting should start with this method. The persons who are following this method need to skip meals and that too occasionally and not frequently. You don’t need to follow this method if you actually forget to eat in your busy schedule. Some people forgot to eat their lunch and some people are too lazy to cook their meals and they will sleep instead of eating.

There is a myth that if people don’t eat for long hours, it will lead to the starvation mode or lose muscle. Human bodies are well designed to control the feeling of hunger for a long period of time. So, you don’t need to feel bad or regret missing meals. It is ok to miss 1 or 2 meals from time to time.

If you don’t feel hungry, stop eating for that moment and eat healthy food when your hunger strikes. If you are the one who misses at least two meals in a week, you are doing intermittent fasting without the intention of doing it.

What are the benefits of doing Intermittent fasting?

Reduction in Body Weight

Intermittent fasting helps you to burn fat in your body when your insulin levels are low. Glucose will form in the body due to the breakage of carbohydrates in the body, and the cells present in our body use it for energy or it will convert into fat and store for later use. Cells can take glucose with the help of hormone glucose.

weight gain

Your insulin levels will drop automatically if you stop consuming the food for several years. At the time of fasting, a hormone present in your body known as insulin will start to decline and as a result, it allows the cells to take glucose, which will ultimately result in the loss of body weight.

If your body is habituated to this process with the help of intermittent fasting, your body starts losing weight gradually. Sometimes, doing intermittent fasting may also lead to the intake of fewer calories and these calories also help you to burn the fat present in your body.

It has been observed by the group of researchers that intermittent fasting may help you to lose weight and this article is published in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology.

Reduce the risk of type two diabetes

Obesity is the main risk factor in people who are suffering from type 2 diabetes. Intermittent fasting helps you to lose weight and it will also lessen the chances for you to diagnosed with obesity condition. Intermittent Fasting can prevent the risk of diabetes in this way.

It has been observed in the study that doing intermittent fasting can reduce the levels of insulin and blood glucose present in the body which in turn decreases the risk of getting diagnosed with diabetes and this review paper is published in the Journal of Translational Research.

Upgrade the function of Heart

Scientists have concluded that doing Intermittent fasting will improve the functioning of your heart and keep your heart away from getting cardiovascular diseases.

According to a review published in the year 2016, it has been observed that doing intermittent fasting will reduce the chances for humans to get caught with several cardiovascular diseases. These include

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Triglycerides

Improves brain functioning

Intermittent fasting improves the functioning of the brain and keeps your brain healthy. Studies have found that it will reduce the risk of several diseases in animals. They are

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease

These theories led to the investigation of whether intermittent fasting can prevent the above diseases in humans.

What are the common side effects of Intermittent Fasting?

If it is good definitely there will be bad. As there are a lot of health benefits that come with the Intermittent fasting and there are also side effects that you may not aware of. Following are the side effects that are common with Intermittent Fasting:

Feeling Hungry all the time: Your body will react accordingly to how you take care of it. If you are providing your body food six times a day, your body will expect the same thing tomorrow also. As you choose to do intermittent fasting, you might feel hungry all the time. This is considered as the major side effect of Intermittent Fasting.

Headaches: Thing will take time and the same applies to Intermittent fasting. Your body will take some time to adjust to the new patterns of eating. During this time, you may be suffering from dull headaches that come and go. But, you can treat this condition on your own by drinking water frequently.

Minimal levels of Energy: You may not be strong enough to face the threats and your energy levels will become low. Prior to that, your body used to produce the required amount of energy you want and that will not happen this time. Try to spend your body as calm as possible and be prepared to experience low levels of energy. We would advise you not to go to the gym and stop workouts during this time because you may break your routine as doing workouts requires lots of energy and you need to eat something in order to increase the energy levels in your body.

Overeating: Intermittent fasting will make you eat more as you are already did fasting for a certain period of time and as a result, it will lead you to eat unhealthy foods.

Frequent Urinating: During the phase of Intermittent Fasting, you will drink lots of water in order to hydrate your body and it will increase your urge to go to the washroom. There is no way you can solve this problem because you can’t avoid the water when you are doing fasting and that is the only way to hydrate your body and helps you to maintain minimum energy levels.


Studies are suggesting that doing intermittent fasting will bring you benefits more than the side effects. We would advise you to consult the healthcare provider before taking any decision. As your family physician is aware of all of your internal problems and knows what’s best for you. Your doctor may give you another suggestion to ease the symptoms of your problem.

There are several ways to do intermittent fasting, but no single method will work perfectly for everyone. It completely depends on an individual present health condition and some people tried two to three methods in order to get the desired results they want.

People with pre-existing health conditions should have a word with their physician before going for Intermittent fasting. Because doing intermittent fasting without consulting your doctor may cause you more problems rather than fixing your problem.

As there are different types of methods available in Intermittent fasting, it will be hard for you to choose the best one. Your physician will help you to pick the best method suits for yourself and due to this reason, we recommend our readers to have a word with their physician.

It is essential for you to consume healthy foods and avoid taking unhealthy foods.


  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13679-018-0308-9
  2. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/10/2442
  3. https://www.cureus.com/articles/12903-intermittent-fasting-the-choice-for-a-healthier-lifestyle
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31601019

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