Intermittent Fasting: 5 Extremely Important Things to Know

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting has become a big deal among people, particularly those interested in losing weight and improving their health.

But what exactly is it, and is it as beneficial as people say?

Read on because we are breaking it all down for you today.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that dictates when we eat and fast. Unlike a traditional diet, there isn’t a restriction on what we eat. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want – you must still use your best judgment.


Let’s now look at the pros and cons of intermittent fasting:

Pros of Intermittent Fasting:

  • It could provide mental clarity (1)
  • It can simplify your day and take your mind off food
  • It works great for calorie control and weight loss (2)
  • It may have a beneficial impact on gut health (3)
  • It could promote fat-burning and contribute to healthy blood glucose levels (4)
  • It can build discipline and improve self-control around food
  • It might favorably affect brain health and potentially delay neurodegenerative diseases (5)

Cons of Intermittent Fasting:

  • It could lead to hunger pangs while you get used to it
  • Some people end up overeating after extended fasting
  • It can contribute to low energy levels, especially at first
  • Some people can experience a drop in blood glucose levels while fasting (6)
  • It could lead to mood swings as a result of hunger

Is All The Hype Behind Intermittent Fasting Deserved?

Intermittent fasting certainly sounds great. Popular claims around the approach include:

  • “Boost your energy level through fasting!”
  • “Gain mental clarity and boost your productivity.”
  • “Burn more fat and get lean.” 
  • “Eat whatever you want and lose weight with intermittent fasting.”

While it would be great if these things were true, that sadly isn’t the case. Many of the claims about intermittent fasting are somewhat overstated. 


For example, the idea that fasting boosts energy levels doesn’t hold any water. Not eating and, by extension, digesting food can give your body a break, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be more energized. After all, food is fuel, and we need calories to do just about anything.


Similarly, the idea that fasting leads to superior weight loss isn’t accurate because there are no plausible mechanisms to explain it. Our overall calorie intake is still the number one thing that dictates whether we gain, lose, or maintain body weight (7).


Even if fasting leads to weight loss, it does so not because it has magical properties or can unlock bodily mechanisms that prime us for fat loss but because it helps us control our calorie intake. In other words, we can get the same (or similar) effects by simply reducing our calorie intake.


Perhaps one advantage of fasting is that it makes it easier for most people to restrict their calorie intake. As a result, they can lose weight and experience various positive health effects.

Ways to Implement Intermittent Fasting For Fat Loss:

Here are some popular intermittent fasting windows you can try:

1. The 16/8 Method

The 16/8 method is perhaps the most popular option and the one most people start with. As its name suggests, the objective is to fast for 16 hours daily and eat your day’s calories within an 8-hour window.


For example, wake up in the morning, fast for a few hours, eat your first meal at noon, have an afternoon snack, and eat dinner by 8 PM. From there, fast until noon the next day.


This method is beginner-friendly and is generally sustainable because it doesn’t get in the way of most people’s social life.

2. 20/4 Method

The 20/4 method is identical to 16/8, but the fasting window is four hours longer, which makes this a more advanced protocol.


Having your daily calories within four hours allows you to eat ad libidum and still be in the necessary calorie deficit for weight loss.

3. Eat-Stop-Eat

Eat-Stop-Eat is a method popularized by Brad Pilon. The basic premise is to fast for 24 hours once or twice weekly and eat normally the rest of the time. 


For example, you eat as usual until Saturday evening, fast for 24 hours, eat a single meal on Sunday evening, and resume eating normally from Monday to Saturday.


People up for the challenge can include a second 24-hour fast a few days later to increase the calorie deficit and lose fat more quickly.

4. Alternate-Day Fasting

Alternate-day fasting (ADF) is an approach where people alternate between days of normal eating and strict fasting.

For example:

Monday – Normal eating

Tuesday – Abstain entirely from food or eat up to 500 calories

Alternate between these two until you reach your fat loss goals.

5. 5:2 Diet

The 5:2 Diet, also known as the Fast Diet, is an eating approach popularized by British journalist Michael Mosley. As its name suggests, the goal is to eat normally for five days and fast for two days or eat no more than 500 calories daily.

Remember that the goal is to reduce your overall calorie intake. Intermittent fasting isn’t special and doesn’t unlock long-forgotten mechanisms that make fat loss effortless. It simply restricts your food intake during specific periods, making it more difficult to eat as many calories.

Who is Fasting Good For (And Who Should Avoid It)?

Intermittent fasting can be an effective strategy for losing weight and improving certain health markers. It can also work for busy individuals who often stress out over food and wonder what to eat for each meal. A shorter eating window means fewer meals and less stress.


So, if you’re interested, consider giving it a try, but stick with it for at least a month to be sure if it is something you can sustain.


It is also a good idea to consult your doctor and ask what they think of IF for you, especially if you’ve had health issues. For example, people prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) might be better off with smaller, more frequent meals.


Finally, as far as intermittent fasting and exercise go, test it out. For example, if you follow the 16/8 method and exercise in the evening, it likely won’t make much difference. In contrast, those who prefer to work out in the morning might struggle to fast for a few hours afterward.

Final Words:

Intermittent fasting is a tool that can deliver some health and fitness benefits. However, its effectiveness will depend on various factors, including your goals, nutritional preferences, and health status. Speak to one of our coaches today for any questions you may have here. We’ve helped several clients with their nutrition and fitness goals, you can read their reviews here.


  1. Gudden J, Arias Vasquez A, Bloemendaal M. The Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Brain and Cognitive Function. Nutrients. 2021 Sep 10;13(9):3166. doi: 10.3390/nu13093166. PMID: 34579042; PMCID: PMC8470960.


  2. Zhang Q, Zhang C, Wang H, Ma Z, Liu D, Guan X, Liu Y, Fu Y, Cui M, Dong J. Intermittent Fasting versus Continuous Calorie Restriction: Which Is Better for Weight Loss? Nutrients. 2022 Apr 24;14(9):1781. doi: 10.3390/nu14091781. PMID: 35565749; PMCID: PMC9099935.


  3. Khan MN, Khan SI, Rana MI, Ayyaz A, Khan MY, Imran M. Intermittent fasting positively modulates human gut microbial diversity and ameliorates blood lipid profile. Front Microbiol. 2022 Aug 23;13:922727. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.922727. PMID: 36081793; PMCID: PMC9445987.


  4. Yuan X, Wang J, Yang S, Gao M, Cao L, Li X, Hong D, Tian S, Sun C. Effect of Intermittent Fasting Diet on Glucose and Lipid Metabolism and Insulin Resistance in Patients with Impaired Glucose and Lipid Metabolism: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Int J Endocrinol. 2022 Mar 24;2022:6999907. doi: 10.1155/2022/6999907. PMID: 35371260; PMCID: PMC8970877.


  5. Phillips MCL. Fasting as a Therapy in Neurological Disease. Nutrients. 2019 Oct 17;11(10):2501. doi: 10.3390/nu11102501. PMID: 31627405; PMCID: PMC6836141.


  6. Ahmed FW, Majeed MS, Kirresh O. Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia. [Updated 2022 Sep 20]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-.

  7. Strasser B, Spreitzer A, Haber P. Fat loss depends on energy deficit only, independently of the method for weight loss. Ann Nutr Metab. 2007;51(5):428-32. doi: 10.1159/000111162. Epub 2007 Nov 20. PMID: 18025815.



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