Dietitians and dieters alike are becoming obsessed with intermittent fasting (IF).
It’s the popular diet trend that’s said to efficiently lose weight, improve digestion, give you more energy, and settle sugar cravings.
IF isn’t to be confused with time-restricted eating, however. The latter is actually a form of intermittent fasting, but with a few key differences compared to other types of IF.
We’ll break down the key differences between the two diets to help you determine whether either of these eating methods can help you achieve your weight goals.
Time-restricted eating is a form of IF where you only eat at set, certain hours of the day. The eating window extends beyond the typical eight to 12-hour fast you endure when you sleep.
One of the more common time-restricted eating regimens is the 16:8 diet, or Leangains, where you fast for 16 hours of the day and eat in a set eight hour window, like noon to 8p.m. That window can change depending on your schedule, though people who follow this diet tend to stick to the same schedule each day.
Another example is the Warrior Diet, where your eating window is only four hours or less. This involves fasting all day and having just one large meal, usually at night. During the fasting window, you can still consume minimal calories from raw fruits and veggies – but remember to save the bulk of your calories for your designated eating window.
Intermittent fasting is an umbrella term that defines eating strategies that restrict calories during a particular block of time. Along with the 16:8 and Warrior diets, there are three other forms of popular intermittent fasting: 5:2 (the Fast Diet); Eat, Stop, Eat; and Alternate-Day Fasting.
The 5:2 diet involves fasting for two days a week where you restrict calorie intake to 500 or fewer per day. The other five days? Eat what you’d like. This form of IF is best known for helping Jimmy Kimmel and Benedict Cumberbatch slim down.
On Eat, Stop, Eat, you fast for a full 24 hours once or twice a week. It’s like the 5:2 diet, but stricter. Not eating a crumb for 24 hours is difficult, so this one isn’t for the faint of stomach. But like the 5:2 diet, you can eat what you’d like on the off days.
Following Alternate-Day Fasting is what it sounds like: you fast one day, which means eating less than 500 calories or nothing at all, then eat normally the next day, then repeat. The more demanding fasting schedule is extremely difficult for most people to maintain, however.
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