Diet trends come and go, and it can be tough to tell if a new weight loss craze is based on solid science or just another frustrating fad. Intermittent fasting is a weight loss technique that has been gaining popularity recently.
It promises weight loss with next to no calorie counting or change in food choices. But is it all it is cracked up to be?
If you are taking your health and weigh loss seriously you need to know that your diet will work. Here we will take a look at exactly what intermittent fasting offers and if it follows up on its bold claims.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Those unfamiliar with intermittent fasting might dismiss it as an extreme and unhealthy practice. You may worry that you will feel faint, unwell or experience mood swings if you start skipping meals. In reality, intermittent fasting combines your normal diet with short fasting periods in between. It has become popular because it does not require any change in what you would usually eat.
There are actually many different intermittent fasting methods that you can choose from. Here are three of the most popular:
The 16/8 Method:
This is probably the most popular method. It requires skipping breakfast and making lunch your first meal of the day, eating within an 8-hour window each day.
24 Hour Fasts:
This ‘Eat-Stop-Eat’ diet recommends fasting for periods of 24 hours, once or twice every week.
The 5:2 Method:
This method involves eating normally for 5 days of the week, and on the two remaining days only consuming around 500 calories for women and 600 for men. 
The main rule is that you do not compensate for your fasting periods by consuming more than you usually would during your eating periods.
While you do not eat during fasting periods, you can drink as much as you need to. Water, tea and coffee are recommended options, although drinks with 0 calories are the best choices. 
As long as you stay under the 500 calorie mark during your fasting period, you will still experience the benefits of the fast. 
How does Intermittent Fasting Help Weight Loss?
The main way that intermittent fasting aids weight loss is through calorie restriction. If you are consuming a normal number of calories when you are eating, but you stop eating for certain periods in the week, then overall you are consuming fewer calories in the week.
Most people also find that the less they eat, the less they want and need to eat.  Because of this, their calorie intake naturally declines over time as they find they need less food to feel satisfied.
Intermittent fasting is also an excellent way of breaking bad habits and eating cycles. You can rid yourself of food addiction and find yourself craving food less. You are not eating the addictive sugary foods during your fasting periods, so your cravings will decline over time.
How to Succeed with this Diet
While the weight loss should happen naturally on an intermittent fasting diet, there are things you can do to speed up the process and give yourself the best possible chance of losing weight.
It is important that you are exercising while on this diet.
There is a technique known as calorie cycling which you can use to your advantage. Eat more on the days that you are working out, which will allow you to build muscle while exercising.
Then eat less on the days where you are resting, so that you burn fat on these days. 
While you are not restricting calories during your eating periods, the food you eat on this diet is still incredibly important.
Try to maintain a healthy diet with plenty of fresh whole foods and you will speed up your weight loss, as well as feeling more alert.
Consistency and patience are huge elements of intermittent fasting. As with any diet, you cannot expect overnight results, but need to stick at it for a prolonged period of time in order to see the results you want.
Your body may not adjust to the idea of fasting straight away, but it will soon adapt to your diet.  While you may start out fasting once or twice a week, you can gradually increase your fasting periods in length and frequency to see faster results. 
In the mornings and during fasting periods you can use tea or coffee for a small caffeine intake that will help curb your appetite. Avoid artificially sweetened drinks like diet sodas, as these can actually increase cravings for sugar and cause you to over indulge or eat more unhealthy foods. 
Who should not Practice Intermittent Fasting?
We do not recommend you choose intermittent fasting as your weight loss diet if any of the following apply to you:
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Expectant or breast feeding mothers should not fast, as they are in need of more nutrition that usual.
- You are still growing.
Young children and teens should not practice fasting as their bodies are also in need of constant rich nutrition to grow and develop.
- You are taking medication.
Ask your doctor before beginning a fasting diet, as your dosage may need to be adjusted. This is particularly true with insulin.
- You have low will power or a food addiction.
If fasting period are causing intense cravings that are leaving you in danger of binge eating or overeating during eating periods, this diet is not for you. 
Overall, intermittent fasting has been used effectively by many people as a weight loss aid. The lack of calorie counting and food choice restriction makes it a popular choice. With exercise, healthy food choices and intermittent fasting, you will see weight loss with intermittent fasting. With a combination of muscle building and fat burning you can use this diet to reach the weight you want, so give it a go.