What is Intermittent Fasting?

Last Update: May 17, 2023

Intermittent fasting didn’t used to be such a buzzword in the wellness industry, but popular diets like keto and the Dubrow diet have changed all that. In many ways, intermittent fasting is exactly what it sounds like—fasting at specific intervals throughout the day—but there’s more than one way to approach it. If you’re thinking about giving intermittent fasting a try, here’s a closer look.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting requires you to cycle between periods of eating and … yep, fasting. The approach isn’t focused so much on what you eat, but instead, when you eat. We’re technically fasting when we sleep, so for some people, intermittent fasting might mean extending that period a bit longer, like skipping breakfast, or eating dinner by eight in the evening. When you don’t eat for an extended period of time, your body begins to make changes in order to use energy more efficiently. Your insulin levels decrease when you haven’t eaten for a few hours, which helps your body burn fat more efficiently.

4 Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

There are lots of different reasons why people might choose to try intermittent fasting. Here are just a few!

  • Weight loss: Harvard Medical School reports intermittent fasting may help support weight loss by converting calories to energy.
  • Lower blood sugar: Studies have shown intermittent fasting may help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, as well as enhance human growth hormone.
  • Prevent health issues: One study reports intermittent fasting may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Convenience: For some, intermittent fasting is used to simplify daily life. The fewer meals you need to plan for, the easier it is.

Types of Intermittent Fasting

Just like no one diet fits all, there are a few different ways to approach intermittent fasting.

The 16/8 Method

With this method of intermittent fasting, you’ll be sleeping for half of your fast, then skipping breakfast. (Even though you’re not eating, water, coffee, and tea are allowed.) Then you can eat normally between 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Some people adopt this approach a couple of times per week, and others do it daily—it’s totally up to you and how your body responds.

Ketogenic Diet

Following a keto diet means you’ll limit carbs to force your body to use fat as fuel, which helps your body kick into ketosis, a fat-burning metabolic state. Choosing the right combination of foods helps, so you’ll want to focus on healthy fats, protein, dairy, nuts, seeds, and non-starchy veggies. Not on the menu? Processed food, grains, beans, legumes, and starchy root veggies.

Dubrow Diet

The Dubrow Diet was created by reality television star Heather Dubrow and her husband Dr. Terry Dubrow. This diet targets the metabolism to train the body to burn fat. Instead of counting calories, the focus is on fasting for 12 to 16 hours per day, eating the right types of food (like lean protein, nuts and seeds, and fruit) and watching portion sizes to activate the body’s natural cell turnover process (called autophagy), which may encourage weight loss.

10 Best Keto Recipes

The ketogenic diet is one of the most popular ways to follow the intermittent fasting trend. Here are 10 easy keto recipes to try.

Keto Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Start your morning with tender pancakes made with rich ricotta cheese and bright lemon juice. Nix the syrup and serve them with coconut whipped cream instead.

Coconut Creamed Spinach With Eggs

Here’s a breakfast that looks fancy but is super easy to make. Crack some eggs into a skillet with dairy-free coconut creamed spinach to elevate your morning.

Baked Eggs in Tomato Cups

No need to poach your eggs, just bake them in these cute tomato cups and brunch will be a huge success.

Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus Soldiers

The classic British breakfast of “eggs and soldiers” is served with toast, but we made gluten-free dippers using fresh asparagus spears wrapped in bacon.

Roasted Salmon and Cauliflower Rice Bowl

Cauliflower rice is a keto dieter’s best friend. Here, we use it as a base for sautéed veggies and rich, roasted salmon seasoned with Middle Eastern spices.

Anchovy and Onion Flatbread

Meet your new favorite keto pizza. The dough is made with cassava flour, a popular all-purpose flour alternative you should stock your pantry with—stat.

Kale-Hemp Pesto

Use this pesto to top chicken, shirataki noodles, or roasted veggies. You’ll love the easy sauce that’s made with superfoods like kale and hemp hearts, and flavored with garlic.

Lamb Burgers With Pistachio Pesto

For lunch and dinner, enjoy lamb burgers from The Primal Kitchen Cookbook, written by PK founder Mark Sisson.

Grilled Romaine Salad With Avocado Dressing

If you’re firing up the grill, don’t forget to throw on a head of lettuce—really! The added char flavor takes salad to the next level.

Mustard Roast Beef

Here’s the ultimate Sunday supper. It feeds a crowd, is easy to make, and is seasoned with black pepper, thyme, and whole grain mustard.

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Nicole Gulotta

Nicole Gulotta is a writer, author, and tea enthusiast.

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