How Often Should You Fast And How Long?

Written by:

Obi Obadike

Obi Obadike

Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert, CFT, SFN, M.S. Founder & CEO – Ethical Inc.
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How often should you fast and how long? First of all, fasting is not for everybody and frankly not everybody can do it successfully. Intermittent fasting is extremely popular in our society, and it is the ability to eat and fast during a restricted period of time. One of the reasons why it has gained so much popularity is so many people have claimed that they lost weight from it. Or have said to have had improved insulin sensitivity or improved blood work.

How Often Should You Fast And How Long?

Different Fasting Methods

  • One of the more common intermittent fasting methods is the 16/8 rule which is fasting for 16 hours. And an eating window for 8 hours. And that is consuming calories during an 8-hour window and then a fasting window for 16 hours.
  • Another intermittent fasting method is the 5/2 method which is eating normal for 5 days a week and then 2 days a week consuming just 500 calories for those 2 days. Trying to restrict your calories to just 500 calories is exceedingly difficult to do for most people. It is like starving yourself for 2 straight days in a row.
  • Another fasting method is the alternate day fasting method. And this is fasting every other day. So, on Monday you would eat normally and then on Tuesday you would only eat 500 calories for that fasting day.
  • On Wednesday you would eat normally and then on Thursday you would fast again for only 500 calories for that day. Having to fast every other day is very extreme too especially if you have never done this before and you are new at it. Very few people can incorporate this type of fasting and it would be difficult to exercise on a day where you are only getting 500 calories.

Will you lose weight doing any type of intermittent fasting? Yes, you will but people need to understand the science behind why you are losing weight through fasting. You are not losing weight because of the restricted time you are not eating.

You are losing weight because you are in deficit and your calories are extremely low. A calorie deficit can be created without having to fast or starve yourself. And it is important for people to know this before they decide to want to fast for weight loss purposes.

“You are not losing weight because you are eating during a restrictive time period. You are losing weight because you in a deficit and your calories are extremely low.” Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert Obi Obadike

Studies On Fasting

  • Some of the studies that are available have said that intermittent fasting can improve blood sugar levels, blood pressure levels, blood triglycerides and your cholesterol levels. But is important to know that most of those studies were done on animals not humans.
  • The effects of fasting on heart health needs to be researched more before saying 100% it can improve the health of your heart. There are some studies that have shown fasting can improve cell repair in the body.
  • Some studies show that fasting can improve brain damage in strokes. Again, most of those studies were done on animals.

Some of the biggest drawbacks with fasting:

  • Sluggish
  • Tiredness
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of energy
  • Hunger spells,
  • Irritability
  • Lack of focus

The Bottom Line: If you are going to do any type of fasting test it out once a month and see how you feel. And if it is not something that is sustainable for you then please don’t do it.

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BIMA Publishing Research in Endocrinology Vol. 2014 (2014), Article ID 459119, 24 pages DOI: 10.5171/2014.459119

Intermittent Fasting Prevents Ischemic Progression and Promotes Long-Term Recovery

Bharath Chelluboina, Suresh L Mehta, ,Anil K Chokkalla, Saivenkateshkomal, Bathula, Jin Soo Park, Raghu Vemuganti

Originally published,12, Feb 2020

Phillips MCL. Fasting as a Therapy in Neurological Disease. Nutrients. 2019; 11(10):2501.

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