There are lots of different ways to get the beneﬁts of this idea, each one requiring you to go without food or reduce your calorie intake over a different period of time. Which one you choose depends on the results you’re after, and your lifestyle.
Posted March 3,2018 in Lifestyle.
This involves you only eating during a 12-hour period in 24 hours – something you might ﬁnd you’re doing already. For example, if you eat breakfast at 8am, you’ll have your last meal at 8pm – making it ideal if you tend to eat with your partner or family in the evenings. Most people on this plan don’t count calories, but if you want results then eat veg, lean protein and wholegrains. It might not have the longevity beneﬁts of longer periods of fasting, but it’ll keep you trim, and reduce your diabetes risk.
'One study* found that women who didn’t eat or drink anything (other than water) for at least 12 hours had better blood sugar control than women who didn’t fast that long overnight, regardless of how many calories they ate during the day.'
If you go without food for 16 hours per day, for example have your last meal at 7pm, then don’t eat until 11am the next day, it can provide quicker weight loss – even if you just do it a few times a week.
Many people ﬁnd they’re not overly hungry in the morning, especially once they are used to the routine. However, when your body knows food is on the cards again once you break the fast, it often asks for more. Filling up on ﬁbre, protein, and plenty of water can offset this, and you can always work your way from 12:12 to 16:8 over a few weeks.
After 16 hours without food, ketosis really starts to kick in and your body will be burning fat fast. This causes fatty acids called ketones to be released into your bloodstream. These are a great source of energy for your brain, which helps reduce inﬂammation and reduce your risk of memory problems in later life, according to research by the National Institute on Aging, US.
Made popular by the 5:2 diet, this plan sees you reducing calorie intake to just 25 per cent (around 500 calories for women and 600 for men) for a couple of non-consecutive days a week.
You’ll get the beneﬁts of a longer-term fast without going too hungry. On your non-fast days, eat as you normally would – being careful not to overeat sugary, fatty foods or you could undo your fast-day calorie deﬁcit. On your fast days, you could stick to one main 500-calorie meal in the evening, or spread out the calories. Your body will still be burning stored fat for energy, and autophagy will begin. 'Periods of fasting like this have been shown to improve life expectancy and decrease your risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer.'
'Fasting for this length of time puts mild stress on your body, but this positive stress encourages it to improve its cellular defences and helps it ﬁght back against molecular damage and repair itself.'
Some experts suggest that to get the full range of health beneﬁts you need to fast for a few days in a row once a month – something that some cultures have practised for thousands of years. 'The most signiﬁcant transformations occur after 48 hours with little food,' says Kim. 'This is when your body really starts to break down and replace old cells, reducing your risk of age-related health problems.'
If you want to do a fast like this, ask your GP for advice on how to go about it.