Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating strategy that involves going through extended periods of not eating, dotted with restricted eating periods, that’s quickly become a popular method for people to lose weight, regulate insulin levels, and lower blood sugar.
Despite its popularity, there’s no one-size-fits-all method that works for everyone. There are several ways to intermittent fasting, but the one that’s most used is the Leangains diet, or 16:8.
This means fasting for 16 hours a day, and eating in a condensed eight-hour window, like noon to 8 p.m.
But again, you don’t have to adhere to these numbers. Many people swear by 14:10 or 12:12, though there is a cut-off for how long your fasting windows should be if you want the benefits of intermittent fasting.
Registered dietitian Susan Dixon, MPH, MS, says keeping your eating window to eight to 11 hours, and fasting time to 13 to 16 hours is best for keeping insulin levels lower for longer periods of time in your day.
“However, that doesn’t mean the relationship is cause and effect,” she said in an interview with POPSUGAR. “It has been observed in the literature that people who fast for 13 or more hours nightly tend to be less likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, large waist circumference, obesity, and elevated blood lipids.”
If your goal with intermittent fasting is weight loss, remember you’ll still need to be mindful of eating in a calorie deficit without going under 1,200 calories a day. So, don’t be so worried about 16:8, and find the plan that works best for your body and schedule. But, make sure you fast for at least 13 hours regardless of how your fast.
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