Fasting seems to be all the rage these days, and it does boast some serious benefits. However, it’s essential that you learn more about the different types of fasting and how to do them correctly to take full advantage of the fasting process. This allows you to gain the claimed benefits and stay safe while fasting. Two such examples are intermittent fasting and alternate-day fasting.
Chances are good you’ve heard about intermittent fasting – it’s all over the internet as a great way to lose weight and even cure illnesses. Alternate-day fasting may not be getting all the coverage of intermittent fasting, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth learning about. In fact, the two are more connected than you may think.
But, before you jump into any kind of fasting, let’s dive into the differences between alternate-day fasting and intermittent fasting.
What is the difference between intermittent fasting and alternate-day fasting?
You may be surprised to find out that these two fasting terms are as different as possible. “Intermittent fasting” is the term used to describe a general group of fasting options, one of which is alternate-day fasting.
Intermittent fasting refers to any kind of diet or eating plan that restricts when you can and cannot eat. And alternate-day fasting is a popular type of intermittent fasting.
The most common intermittent fasting people try is the one in which you eat for, say, 8 hours a day, and then you fast for the remaining 16. This means that if you start eating at 10 a.m., you must consume all of your calories for the day by 6 p.m. No food is allowed until 10 a.m. the next day, so your body has that time to rest and fast.
However, people have found that the type of fasting in which you fast every other day (alternate-day fasting) allows for more weight loss.
What is alternate-day fasting, and how does it work?
This type of intermittent fasting means that you alternate between fasting days and non-fasting days. On fasting days, you limit your calories to about 500 and allow yourself to drink as much water as you want. You can also consume all the calorie-free drinks you want on your fasting days.
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On non-fasting days, you’re free to eat whatever you want.
Some people may opt to do the cycle of one day on, one day off, one day on, one day off, etc. However, modifications to the alternate-day fasting plan allow you to do things a little differently. Some people may opt to fast for two or three days in a row and then eat what they want the rest of the week rather than alternating days. The popular version of this is called the 5:2 method, which means you fast two days a week and then feast on the remaining five.
How does this kind of fasting help your body?
Well, alternate-day fasting gets your body in a place where it burns fat for energy rather than glucose. You can expect your body to reach this zone, called ketosis, in less than 72 hours. At that point, your body burns fat for fuel.
What are the benefits of alternate-day fasting?
One of the main reasons that people opt to try a fasting plan is in the hopes of losing weight, and it can be great for this.
Alternate-day fasting has been proven to lead to faster weight loss than other intermittent fasting approaches. Some claim they can lose 10-15 pounds in just three months while alternate-day fasting.
In addition to helping drop the pounds on the scale, fasting can help get rid of belly fat. This is important not just for vanity reasons but also because too much belly fat can lead to heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, and more.
However, weight-related benefits aren’t the only thing you stand to gain from alternate-day fasting.
This style of fasting (and almost any fasting in general) has been shown to reduce inflammation and potentially even help with healing from age-related diseases. On top of that, studies show that people also found they were able to use fasting to help with issues with elevated thyroid hormones.
You may be worried that you will go to town on food on your feast days and end up consuming loads of unhealthy eats. However, most people have found that this is not the case. The fasting days help you get a different control over your appetite that will carry into your feasting days.
What are the risks of alternate-day fasting?
Though not a risk, it’s important to note that as your body adjusts to this new way of eating, you will find yourself irritable and hungry most of the time.
You will also likely experience headaches and weakness, so try not to schedule a bunch of work or workouts on the days that you’ll be fasting. Keep those days low-key and relaxing.
You always want to ensure that you stay hydrated on all the days, but particularly the fasting days.
Before you incorporate any type of fasting into your diet, be sure to talk to your doctor to make sure that it is safe for you to do so.
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