Fasting diets are the newest fad in weight loss, but are they really new? Fasting dates back centuries in the long tradition of religious fasting. Many religious groups have periods of fasting in their rituals including Muslims who fast from dawn until dusk during the month of Ramadan, and Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus who traditionally fast on designated days of the week or year.
While recent interest in fasting is for weight loss, many of the studies on fasting focus on longevity and disease prevention. Researchers have know that when you restrict food intake, you can extend life span and it seems to enhance the ability to counteract the disease process. Fasting is defined by eating no or very little food for periods ranging from 12 hours to three weeks.
Below are a few different examples:
Intermittent fasts Eating no food or cutting back on calorie intake (50 calories per day) only intermittently (like the 5:2 diet)
Time-restricted feeding Consuming calories only for a four to six hour window each day (skipping breakfast and only eating luch or early supper)
Periodic fasts An extreme approach, typically last several days or longer. These diets involve drinking only calorie-free fluids or very few calories for long stretches to get the body into full fasting mode.
Fasting-mimicking diet a plant-based diet that involves eating very few calories, through light foods like soups, energy bars, and energy drinks for several days each month.
Before you start any diet, consult with your physician.