HEALTH: Fasting for better health

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  • The 5:2 diet includes five days of regular eating and two days of 800 calories
  • People can eat what they like in the 1:1 diet as long as they have 500 calories
  • Skipping one meal and extending the night fast is another option for dieters
  • Metabolic balance aids weight loss, and improves sleep, digestion and energy
  • The eight-week diet was designed to prevent and reverse type 2 diabetes 

Confused by fasting? You are not alone. Yet, the below guide takes you through the different diets available and how you could benefit from cutting calories.

The health benefits of embracing, rather than fearing, hunger have been increasingly recognised and are challenging the traditional three-meal, two-snack mindset.

Fasting, whether it’s for a few hours a day, several days, a week or a block of days every few months, is not just about weight loss but about helping to prevent major killer diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

Fasting increases fat loss from around our middles, which has been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and Alzheimer’s.

It has also been associated with improved blood pressure and insulin sensitivity, better gut health, lower cholesterol and better brain function

Yet, fasting is not for everyone, and children and pregnant women should steer clear, as should those who suffer from adrenal fatigue or eating disorders. Those with medical issues should seek advice first.

Here is Get The Gloss‘ guide to which fasting diet plan does what.

Guide takes you through the different types of fasting and how you could benefit (stock)

Intermittent fasting  

The 5:2 diet: aka The Fast Diet, the best known of the fasts and was made famous by Dr Michael Mosley.

Comprising of five days of regular eating and two ‘fast’ days of 800 calories, it has been associated with improved DNA repair and brain function.

An increase in fat loss was also demonstrated in a 2011 Manchester University study.

Dr Mosley lost 20lb in 12 weeks and saw his blood sugar and cholesterol levels return to normal after being pre-diabetic.

The 1:1 diet: aka Alternate Day Fasting. Published as The Every Other Diet by Dr Krista Varady and Bill Gottlieb, it involves eating 500 calories every other day.

You are able to eat what you like during the fast, provided calorie intake is limited on the fast days.

The 6:1 diet: Made famous by Coldplay’s Chris Martin, this diet involves completely fasting for one day and eating as normal for the rest of the week.

It sounds like the simplest diet within this category, but it is not advisable to fast without any food (or just drinking water), as you will most likely lose muscle.

Some plans allow dieters to eat what they want as long as they stay within a number of calories

Time-restricted feeding  

The 2 Meal Day: Created by personal trainer and online health coach Max Lowry, this plan involves skipping one meal (either breakfast or dinner) and extending your night fast (that is, while you’re sleeping) to around 16 hours.

It allows for a greater degree of flexibility for social arrangements in the evenings.

The Warrior Diet: Published by Ori Hofmekler in 2001, it involves one meal per day in the evening.

The idea is to emulate the way our warrior ancestors ate their ‘hunt’ at night to distribute ‘undereating’ and ‘overeating’ throughout the day.

Its emphasis is placed on whole foods and whole grains.

How to Lose Weight Well: Published by Dr Xand van Tulleken (who himself lost six and a half stone doing it), this evening meal focused plan can be adapted to best suit your lifestyle and objectives.

To help achieve faster weight loss and the benefits of intermittent fasting, it recommends one 800-calorie meal a day or, if that’s too infrequent, two healthy meals a day of 1,200 calories or three meals of 1,500 calories.

Metabolic Balance: Founded by Dr Wolf Funfack, this diet plan claims to aid weight loss and improve sleep, digestion and energy levels by advocating a five-hour fast in between meals over three months.

Provided by nutritional therapists on a widespread scale, it is favoured by Sam Smith and Kirstie Allsopp.

16:8: aka The 8-Hour Diet. Published by Men’s Health Editor David Zinczenko and Peter Moore, this plan comprises of 16 hours of fasting and an eight-hour window to eat.

As well as weight loss, fasting also reduces the risk of heart disease and certain cancers


Fast Mimicking diet: Devised by a company called ProLon, the inspiration behind this plan’s name derives from its objective to support the body while convincing it that it is fully fasting at the same time.

Created by Valter Longo, professor of gerontology and biological sciences at the University of Southern California, the diet comprises balanced meal boxes designed to be used for five days every month.

Using natural, gluten-free and plant-based ingredients, the meals are low-protein, low-carb and high in good fats, with 770 to 1,100 calories per day.

The Bodhimaya Method: Founded by brothers Daniel and Cornelius O’Shaugnessy, this method combines the format of the 16:8 plan with a fast day food plan portion ratio of 1:7:2 (carbs to veg to protein).

Buchinger Wilhelmi: A selection of medically supervised fasts starting from a minimum of four days (10, 14 and 21 day programs are also available).

Fast days feature small amounts of food (of around 250 calories) and a carefully regulated exercise plan to prevent muscle loss.

Eight-weeks: aka The Blood Sugar Diet. Created by Dr Michael Mosley, this plan has been devised specifically to prevent and reverse type 2 diabetes and involves eating three small meals with a total of 800 calories for eight weeks.

This article was originally published by Get The Gloss and reproduced with their permission.  

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