Let’s start with a bit of history. Fasting has been a practice done for centuries. It can be traced back to ancient greek times. Greek physician Hippocrates recommended abstinence from food or drink for patients who exhibited certain symptoms of illness. Through the centuries since then fasting has been used for religious purposes, ethical as well as health purposes. In this post I’m going to get into fasting for health and the benefits of it. 

Some variations of fasting are more extreme than others. It is definitely recommended that if you are very underweight or having an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa, fasting will NOT be a good fit for you. 

If you’re at a healthy weight or overweight, fasting can have many benefits. Some versions may work better for you than others so make sure you listen to your body and do what feels right for you!

Food clock. Healthy food concept on black table background

There are few common ways that you can do, and I’m gonna dive into those:

(Disclaimer. I am not a medical professional. Information provided in this post is written based on multiple studies and is for educational purposes. I neither recommend nor discourage this way of eating, I simply share the benefits that have been observed through the studies. If this way of eating is something you’re interested in I’d recommend checking with your medical provider if you have any concerns)


1. The 16-8 method


This one of the most and most doable versions of fasting. Also known as the 18-6 method or 14-10. What this means is on every day basis you eat during the smaller “eating window” and fast the remainder of the time. 


[The first 4 hours of the fast are anabolic, meaning your body is converting food into glucose, amino acids and fatty acids that our body needs to have energy and  function efficiently. 

Hours 4-16 are catabolic, this is the time when the body starts tapping into the glucose from liver glycogen and fatty acids from fat stores. What does it mean exactly? Once the body exhausts the energy from glucose (from the carbohydrates that you consume) it moves onto using the energy from the fatty acids from food and the fat stores. 

Hours 16-24 are the fat burning hours. This is when glycogen becomes depleted, glucose from gluconeogenesis starts to rise and lipolysis breaks down fat stores and fatty acids are being mobilized for energy, liver starts to synthesize ketones from excess energy produced by fatty acids and oxidation. 

Yes, I said ketones. No you don’t need to follow a Keto diet to have your body create ketones. A definition of ketones according to WebMD:

“Ketones are chemicals your liver makes. You produce them when you don’t have enough insulin in your body to turn sugar (or glucose) into energy. You need another source, so your body uses fat instead. Your liver turns this fat into ketones, a type of acid, and sends them into your bloodstream.

So what does it all mean in english? During these hours your body is no longer using glucose from the carbohydrates and moves onto using energy from the fat storage in the body. ]

Hours 24+ Ketosis state. Hours when the glycogen stores become depleted and your body is fully reliant on the fatty acids from fat stores to be used for energy .


These are the most common brackets for daily fasting and during the “eating window” you eat what you normally would eat during the longer time. You can decide what fasting window works the best for you and your lifestyle. 

A note to go with that is, if your goal is to lose weight focus on having a healthy nourishing diet during that time, rather than following the “eat whatever you want” strategy. Calories consumed over 15 hours or calories consumed over 4 are the same. 


2. The 5:2 method

the 5:2 diet

When following this diet you eat normally 5 days out of the week and fast (eat about 500-600 calories) on the other 2 days. 

There hasn’t been any studies to prove the effects of this particular fasting method, however there have been plenty of studies on intermittent fasting itself that found multiple benefits. 


3. Eat Stop Eat method

eat stop diet

Very similar to the 5:2 method but instead of having a little bit of food on the fasting days you don’t have any and fast for 24 hours 2 days out of the week and eat normally the other 5 days. 

The difference with the 5-2 method is that during the fasting days you can consume water, tea and coffee as well as other 0 calorie beverages. 


4. The Warrior Diet

warrior diet

With this diet you only have a little bit of food throughout the day and have one giant meal in the evening. This diet allows you a 4 hour eating window and consists of a lot of whole unprocessed foods. 


5. Spontaneous Meal Skipping. 

You can guess it from its name. This method does not follow a structured plan, rather than just listening to your body and if you’re not feeling hungry or you’re having a busy day and don’t feel like cooking and taking time to eat.  

The point is, there’s no one fits all like with literally any diet/way of eating. Some people thrive on 20 hour fasts while others can’t get it to 14. Important thing here is listening to your body and doing what feels good. 


So why even bother trying to get into intermittent fasting? What’s the point? 

The point is the benefits that this structured eating regimen will bring you. 


General health benefits:

Studies have been done on animals and humans and found multiple benefits of intermittent fasting:

Weight loss: limiting eating windows can help control the amounts of food consumed and aid in losing the weight. 

Insulin Resistance: intermittent fasting can reduce insulin resistance and lower blood sugar by 3-6%. That also aids in prevention of Type 2 Diabetes.

Inflammation: intermittent fasting shown reduction in markers of inflammation. 

Heart Health: intermittent fasting increases the brain hormones BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or abrineurin) and may aid in growth of new nerve cells. 


Affect on the hormones: 

Human Growth hormone increases rapidly that aids in fat loss and muscle gain. 

Insulin sensitivity improves as the level of insulin drop. Lower insulin helps in making fat storage available for energy use. 

Cells repair is triggered by fasting which removes old cells and replaces them by new ones.


What if I want to lose weight?

It has been proven to be a great tool in weight loss! Hormonal changes that are caused by intermittent fasting can help facilitate weight loss. Intermittent fasting helps burn fat and increases metabolic rate. 


Who shouldn’t be following intermittent fasting regiments?


Once again, this way of eating is not for everyone. There are groups of people who wouldn’t benefit from it. If you have underlying health conditions, you should consult your doctor before adopting this diet. 

This is particularly important if you:

  • Have diabetes.
  • Have problems with blood sugar regulation.
  • Have low blood pressure.
  • Take medications.
  • Are underweight.
  • Have a history of eating disorders.
  • Are a woman who is trying to conceive.
  • Are a woman with a history of amenorrhea.
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding.

All of these sound great! I don’t have any health related issues! Where do I sign up? 

It’s important to check with yourself if this is something that you feel ready to do. Is your relationship with food in a good place? If you don’t have psychological attachment to food this diet might just be for you. Starting small would be the best way to get into it. Start at the 13-16 hour fasting window, move up if you feel like that’s benefiting you and just see how it feels. 

Have you tried fasting? If so, do you like it and have you noticed any changes from 3 meals per day eating style?  Are you curious but scared you won’t be able to do it? Let’s chat about it! Feel free to share in the comments. 

Notes and links for sources, because science is important:






Case study: effects of intermittent fasting on health, aging and disease. 

Intermittent fasting helps with run the body without the sugar in the breaks between food

Knows to help with diabetes. Diabetes can be reversed with diet and fasting.


Reduced blood pressure

Reduces blood lipids

Reduces markers of inflammation

Reduces Oxidative stress and risk of cancer

Increase cellular turnover and repair 

Increase fat burning 

Increase growth hormone release

Increased metabolic rate 

Improves appetite control

Improves blood sugar control

Improves cardiovascular function and effectiveness of chemotherapy 

Shown neurogenesis


These benefits have been seen on generally healthy individuals. 


More advanced than general calorie counting. Not for a green person. understanding food and balance and only then.

If you gotta fast you have to work on relationship with food and have a good relationship with food 

2007 study by stout  with healthy individuals 3 meals per day vs 1 meal per day- same amount of calories

Unless you’re diabetic or pre diabetic fasting gives you more stable blood sugar than eating small meals 

Increased protein synthesis 

Religion fasts because of health benefits.

It reduces tumor growth and cures cancer in animal studies. 

Fasting increases body’s cells removal process.

Restricting meals gives body time to remove waste and not have to function 24/7 on 6 meals per day.

Psychologically food attachment



By Co-Author (Primary): Karina Movsesova

Editor: Amanda (Meixner) RocchioAll about Fasting