What Is Intermittent Fasting And Does It Work ?

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What Is Intermittent Fasting And Does It Work ?

Its difficult these days to keep up with the latest and greatest diets and trends people are using to help shift a few unwanted pounds. With many influencers and fitness experts giving their opinion as to what you should be doing, its difficult to know where to start?

One of the main culprits that gets mentioned frequently and has for a few years now is intermittent fasting. So, what is intermittent fasting and does it work? There are many questions, reasons and various factors as to why its become so popular and how its more than just a diet for some, its been a lifestyle change or even done for religious reasons…but to some its still a bit of a mystery.

Pulling A Fast One

Fasting has existed for thousands of years, as early man would spend hours of the day being without food regularly before hunting down or coming across any kind of sustenance.

The art of IF has also been used in various forms of religion for centuries as a way to show faith and personal abstinence. The Jewish faith have Yom Kippur for a day of atonement, Muslims do the same thing with Ramadan for a month to show their devotion to Allah, Buddhists fast as a way to reach heightened enlightenment, while Christianity and Catholicism have Lent as a way of religious fasting every year.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is the process of restricting the time you spend eating meals to a set length of time throughout the day, with no eating or drinking for the period before and after. It has been beneficial for many as a way to lose weight and improve health. People also use IF as a way to cleanse the body and detox every so often by flushing their internal system, while others use it as a spiritual practice to gain a greater understanding of themselves.

Its only been over the last few years that fasting as emerged as a way to lose weight and a lifestyle choice for the public, sports enthusiasts and celebrities such as Hugh Jackman and Terry Cruz, who find it beneficial for them.

What Is Intermittent Fasting And Does It Work

Dos And Donuts

There are questions whether IF is good for you? The answer is yes, if done sensibly by the individual and not taken to the extreme by increasing the length of fasting to the point at which could lead to headaches, massive hunger pangs, mental fogging and aggression (we all know someone who gets hangry).

These may still occur when only fasting for short periods, especially if your regular diet isn’t the healthiest and you eat a lot of bread, pasta, sugars and processed foods. The other thing to consider is what is classed as “healthy” when in the eating phase. This is the part that is down to the individual as to what might work for them. I eat lots of fresh fruit, nuts, eggs, fish, protein and drink plenty of water through the day (around 2 litres), with a meal at teatime. However, the foods mentioned may not work for others, so you have to find what’s right for you.

You can still drink while in the fasting part of the diet and you don’t just have to drink water either. It is believed that you can drink anything that’s less than 50 calories, so any flavoured teas such as lemon, black and green and black coffee are all acceptable here.

What Is Intermittent Fasting And Does It Work
Drinking flavoured tea can help during fasting


Fasting over a period such as weeks or months will definitely help you lose weight, but you have to make sure the task in hand is maintainable long term. There is no point starving yourself and doing serious damage for the sake of a dress size.

If fasting is being done as a cleanse, then a longer period short term should be OK and won’t cause any long term problems internally.

What type And Is It Hype?

There are various fasting methods in use, they are as follows:

12 hour fast – this is where the person eats for 12 hour window everyday. Research suggests that fasting for 10–16 hours can cause the body to turn its fat stores into energy, which releases ketones into the bloodstream. This can encourage weight loss.

This type of IF may be a good option for beginners as the fasting window is relatively small, with most of the fasting occurring during sleep. For example, a person could choose to fast between 7pm and 7am. They would need to finish their dinner before 7pm and wait until 7am to eat breakfast but would be asleep for much of the time in between.

16 hour fast – Fasting for 16 hours a day, leaving an eating window of 8 hours, is called the 16:8 method.

During the 16:8 diet, men fast for 16 hours each day and women fast for 14 hours. On this fast, people usually finish their evening meal by 8 p.m. and then skip breakfast the next day, not eating again until noon. The amount of time fasting can lower insulin levels and increase weight loss.

The 5:2 fast – People following the 5:2 diet eat standard amounts of food for 5 days and reduce calorie intake on the other 2 days. During the 2 fasting days, men generally consume 600 calories and women 500 calories.

People generally separate their fasting days in the week. For example, they may fast on a Monday and Thursday and eat normally on the other days. There should be at least one non-fasting day between fasting days.

Alternate day fasting – This plan involves fasting every other day. For some people, alternate day fasting means a complete avoidance of solid foods on fasting days, while others choose to eat up to 500 calories.

On feeding days, people tend to eat as much as they want.

What Is Intermittent Fasting And Does It Work
Increasing your intake of water is very important when fasting


Fasting On Cellular Level

What does IF do internally though? It can encourage blood sugar control by reducing insulin levels. A study has shown that people with type 2 diabetes who fasted for a short period reduced their blood sugar levels considerably.

inflammation can be reduced with IF as study shows. Some studies have found that fasting can help decrease levels of inflammation and help promote better health.

Research shows that incorporating IF to your diet can be beneficial when it comes to heart health and it may boost brain function and prevent neurodegenerative disorders, as 11 month study with mice showed IF increased their brain function and brain structure. Studies show that fasting can increase levels of human growth hormone (HGH), an important protein hormone that plays a role in growth, metabolism, weight loss and muscle strength.

Various animal studies have found that IF could delay aging and increase longevity, but human research is still lacking. Some animal and test-tube studies suggest that fasting could block tumor development and increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

Final Thoughts

In a world where obesity is a huge problem (no pun intended), it won’t hurt for some to take part in some kind of IF as a way of losing some weight and to have some kind of food management. There does need to be more long term human studies into effects of IF.
If you are interested in trying this its worth starting off by maybe skipping a meal and increase your water intake and build up that way. See what works for you, as not one variation is considered to be the ultimate method. I personally find the 12 hour fast to be a manageable and sustainable option for me.

If you have tried IF or know somebody that has please comment below, I would love to know how you got on with it and found it beneficial to you.


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9 thoughts on “What Is Intermittent Fasting And Does It Work ?

  1. Great post. It seems I follow the 16 hour fasting without realising. I rarely eat before noon and always have a main meal by 8pm.
    I must say thank you for your invaluable experience and advice on these subjects and look forward to reading your future posts!!

    1. Hi Vikki,

      Glad you find the posts useful and I hope you continue to check in for the latest Pearls of wisdom I have to offer.

      You have also done very well to have fallen into the 16:8 without even knowing. It takes some a long time to be able to do that, if it works for you thats great to hear.

  2. Hi there,yes I myself have done this type of method before and it was for religious reasons. My parents up till now still do it and for over so many years now. Never thought it can be used to help people lose weight which i think it’s great why didnt we think of this before. And why not let it be a common thing around a way that can also help people lose weight. Not only that but it can also help people with other health problems like diabetes and heart problems etc.

    Great article by the way. Love that you find other ways to help improve peoples lives especially those who are struggling to lose weight. Awesome work here

    1. Hi Louise,

      Its strange how things like this Have been practiced for a long time through generations without realising.
      Fasting is something that can be very beneficial but also an be dangerous if not done correctly or If it doesn’t agree with the individual.

      It can be helpful for the reasons mentioned above. It can also help with weight loss, but it can also be a crucial part of your religious Practice also.

      Thanks for the kind words.

  3. Hey,

    This is a really interesting article. I have tried the 5:2 diet years ago, and I lost a bit of weight. But nowhere near the weight that I thought I would lose. The reason being was, I was still doing things that would put weight on. Although at the time I didn’t think it would, for example drinking alcohol.

    In the end I stopped the intermittent dieting and just ate a balanced diet, drank less alcohol and exercised. That is what has worked for me and still does.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,


    1. Hi Tom,

      Im glad you mentioned the fact it didn’t really work for you. All of us are different and certain things can work for one but not another.
      Its very important to find that balance and what you have found works for you.

      It goes without saying exercise is very important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

  4. Fantastic read on intermittent fasting. I am massive fan of IF. I have done IF since last year and found it highly useful both physically and mentally. It’s my always go to if I feel low or put a few extra pounds on, it gives me mental clarity and feel good time as well as its an effective weight loss technique. I even wrote a post on it too.

    Thank you for this amazing share.
    Best wishes

  5. Hey Lee

    I am properly confused now. I eat every 2 hours to help boost my metabolism (which has gone slow following lock-down). I thought that not eating for long periods would a) virtually stop your metabolism and b) make your body burn muscle instead of fat as it doesn’t know when / if you will eat again so you will put on the weight you lose very quickly in any case. Have I got that wrong? (Either way, I love my food too much to fast!)



    1. Hi Jean,

      Hope you are well?
      This is meant to compliment your diet, not replace The grazing you said you do. Its not for everyone but its an effective method for losing weight. You need to take steady steps if you were going to try it, as it takes discipline to do so, try skipping a meal and increasing your water intake.

      Hope this has helped?

      Take care.

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