The Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Imagine a way of eating that is versatile, does not feel like a strict diet, still allows you to eat your favourite foods, helps you lose weight, and even offers scientifically proven health benefits.
Sound too good to be true? Welcome to intermittent fasting!

This method of eating (notice it is not called a “diet”) is taking over as one of the most popular new ways of losing weight and staying healthy.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting involves switching between specified periods of eating and fasting. It is more about when you eat rather than what you eat.
Since you are technically fasting anytime you are not eating, you have already practised intermittent fasting without even knowing it! Consider the term “breakfast” which flat out refers to breaking a fast.
While it has been around since ancient times, intermittent fasting has become an especially popular method of eating within the last several years.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

At its basic level, intermittent fasting can help the body to use its stored energy (a.k.a. fat).

When we eat, any excess calories (food energy) are stored away for later use. Insulin is a key hormone in the process of storing food energy.

When we eat, insulin rises to help store any excess energy in two ways:

  • Carbohydrates are broken down into individual units of glucose, linked into long chains to form glycogen, and stored in the liver or muscle.
  • Once carbohydrate storage, which is limited, is reached, the liver turns excess glucose to fat. This process of forming new fat is known as de-novo lipogenesis.
  • There is virtually no limit to the amount of new fat that can be created.

The food energy storage process does the opposite when we do not consume calories and the body starts to break down glycogen into glucose to fuel the body. After the body uses up the glycogen, it switches over to using fat as its main source of fuel.

At any time, our body is either fasted or fed. In the fed state we are storing energy and in the fasted state we are burning energy.

Eating from the minute you wake up until you go to sleep means the body is almost constantly in a fed state. Over time, this may promote weight gain as the body does not have enough time to burn stored food energy.

To lose weight, it may be as simple as increasing the amount of time the body has to spend burning food energy and limiting the time spent storing energy. This concept is the foundation of intermittent fasting.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

Isagenix IsaLean Shake

What Are the Different Types of Intermittent Fasting?

The periods of eating and fasting vary depending on which style of intermittent fasting you choose to follow. The beauty of intermittent fasting is the flexibility it offers and the ability to customise it to your lifestyle and needs.

You can fast as long or short as you like (although longer fasts need to be medically supervised).

Here is a quick breakdown of some of the most popular intermittent fasting methods:

The 16:8 Method

This form of intermittent fasting involves a daily 16 hour period of fasting and an 8-hour period (sometimes called a ‘window’) of eating. All meals and snacks are eaten within the 8-hour window, with the remaining 16 hours devoted to fasting.

For example, all meals eaten between 10 am and 6 pm would fit into this method. The timing can be customised based on your lifestyle. Perhaps your mornings are busy and you never have time for breakfast anyway. This would make 11 am or noon a great start to your eating window. The window can also be shifted from day to day, based on your schedule and what works best.

The 16:8 method is generally followed on a daily basis, or almost daily, and truly is a lifestyle.

The 14:10 Method

The 14:10 method is similar to the 16:8 method, although not as well known. As the name implies, the fasting window is 14 hours and the eating window is 10 hours. Some studies show that fasting for as little as 14 hours can provide benefits.

The 14:10 method can be a great option for individuals looking to get started with intermittent fasting. Eventually, you can work up from 14-hour fasts to 16-hour fasts, if desired.

An example eating period would be 8 am to 6 pm, allowing for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner.

The 20:4 Method

This method of intermittent fasting involves a 4 hour eating period paired with 20 hours of fasting. For example, you might eat between 1 pm and 5 pm every day and fast for the remaining 20 hours. This would involve eating either one large meal and a snack or a couple of smaller meals within this time frame.

24 Hour Fasts

24-hour fasts are just as they sound — fasting for an entire 24 hour period.

For example, if you eat lunch on day 1, you would skip dinner that night and breakfast the following day before having lunch on day 2. This method is also referred to as OMAD (one meal a day). Generally, this method is done two to three days a week.

36 Hour Fasts

36-hour fasts involve more than an entire day of fasting. For example, after eating dinner on day 1, you would fast the rest of the day and all through day 2, not eating again until breakfast for day 3.

5:2 Fasting

This is one of the most popular versions of intermittent fasting, consisting of five regular days of eating and two consecutive fasting days. Although they are referred to as ‘fasting days’, you are actually allowed to consume up to 500 calories on these days. The 500 calories can be consumed throughout the day or during one meal.

Nutritional cleansing with Isagenix is based on the science and proven benefits of the 5:2 fasting method.

In nutritional cleansing with Isagenix, the two fasting days are referred to as “Cleanse Days” and involve consuming nutrient-dense shakes and cleanse day approved snacks.

Another intermittent fasting approach related to the 5:2 method is to have “fasting” days (with 500 calories allowed) every other day rather than twice a week.

What Are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

If done right, intermittent fasting may provide health benefits such as:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased fat burning
  • Increased energy
  • Increased mental clarity
  • Possible activation of cellular autophagy
  • Possible reduction in inflammation

In addition to the potential health benefits of intermittent fasting, it offers many unique lifestyle advantages compared to other ways of eating or trendy diets:

  • It saves time (think about all the time normally spent on preparing meals, planning snacks, eating, etc.)
  • There is nothing special to buy to start it
  • It can be done anywhere
  • It is a lifestyle change, not a diet
  • It simplifies life
  • It allows for social eating (for example, if you know you are going out for dinner with friends, you can customise your plan to make sure dinner falls within your eating window)
  • It is flexible
  • It does not require the avoidance of certain foods or entire food groups

Frequently Asked Questions About Intermittent Fasting

FAQ – The Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Want To Learn More About Intermittent Fasting, Losing Weight, and Getting Healthier?

If you are curious to learn more about intermittent fasting or nutritional cleansing with Isagenix, please feel free to browse our blog or contact us.

Since 2014, we have greatly enjoyed helping our customers achieve their health and wellness goals through the use of Isagenix’s exceptional products and we would be honoured to get you started on your nutritional cleansing journey.