Intermittent Fasting – all you need to know to get you started

Intermittent Fasting is basically a cycle or pattern of fasting and eating, and focuses entirely on when you should eat, as opposed to what you should eat. This popular weight loss method can also help you improve your health and help you live longer.

A fasting cycle would typically be carried out twice a week, and during which one would fast for between 16 and 24 hours. During fasting, one can drink water, coffee and tea, with no added sugar. Coffee in fact can also help reduce the feeling of hunger during the fasting cycle.  

If we look back at our evolution, fasting was always part of our lives. Hunter-gathers did not always have food every day and every week, they had to go through periods of fasting. This evolutionary trend enabled human beings to remain without food for certain periods of time and still be able to function and hunt or gather. These fasting periods became natural parts of our lives, and nowadays they are also incorporated into the main religions.   

Fasting Methods

The different methods mainly differ in the way we split the day or week, between fasting and eating cycles.

  1. 16/8 cycle

This involves fasting from when you wake up in the morning, with an 8 hour period for eating, for instance from 12-8pm one would eat, fasting throughout the rest of the day and night. This is the most popular and least restrictive method.

  • Eat-Stop-Eat

This is made up of a fasting cycle of 24 hours, carried out twice a week.

  • 5:2 cycle

This involves eating normally 5 days of the week, and on the remaining 2 days (which are not consecutive days) you would be on a very limited diet and consume only up to 500 calories.

All of these dieting methods will result in a reduction of your calorie intake, and therefore should result in some weight loss.

Effects of Intermittent Fasting on your body

Your body responds to fasting in several ways, from hormone level adjustments to make stored fat deposits readily available for use,  to starting repair of cells and genes. These changes cause the health benefits we see when doing Intermittent Fasting.

Fasting as a Weight Loss method

One clear result of fasting is a reduction in caloric intake, causing weight loss. Another result comes from the hormone level changes, namely higher levels of HGH and noradrenaline, and lower levels of insulin, which changes help weight loss even further, as the stored fat is released and burnt. These hormones increase your metabolism, causing you to consume more calories.   

Fasting for short term periods, will tend to speed up your metabolism, however fasting for long periods such as 3 consecutive days and more, will slow down your metabolism.

Therefore in this way the caloric deficit continues to grow, as you take in less calories, and burn more calories, making Intermittent Fasting a powerful weight loss method.

Intermittent Fasting is also known to cause less muscle loss than when you decrease calorie intake continuously.

Excess fat stored around your organs can be very dangerous, therefore this weight loss method can help your long term health.

During the eating cycles, one should always choose your foods carefully and eat healthy, otherwise Intermittent Fasting would of course not work.

Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

These are the health benefits of Intermittent Fasting:

  1. Anti Cancer
  2. Anti Inflammtory
  3. Reduce Insulin Resistance
  4. Losing Weight
  5. Cardio Vascular system benefits – reduces bad cholesterol levels
  6. Longevity

Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting

  1. The Side Effects include:
  2. Hunger
  3. Feeling Weak
  4. Lack of Concentration

Who should not carry out Intermittent Fasting

Generally anyone who has a medical condition should first consult their doctor before trying Intermittent Fasting. This weight loss method should not be carried out for children either.


Intermittent Fasting is an effective weight loss method that can have positive effects on your health. During the eating cycle it is still important to eat healthy food, drink lots of water and to exercise regularly. The most effective way to implement Intermittent Fasting is to do this for the long term, you will see the benefits increase over time.

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