On top of kickstarting a new exercise regime, the new year is traditionally a period when many people reconsider their eating habits. In recent years, intermittent fasting has become a popular habit — and has been credited with some health benefits, be it to manage excess weight, chronic illnessesor flagging energy levels. But what exactly is intermittent fasting? And does all the hype around it stand up to scientific scrutiny?
The term intermittent fasting covers several approaches, each based on different principles. It is important to note that no matter which method is used, the restrictions only affect food — never water — intake.
- The “Eat Stop Eat” method: Put forward by Brad Pilon in his book of the same name, the principle is to alternate days of normal eating and fasting, including two non-consecutive fasting days in a week.
- The 5:2 method: Developed in the 2000s by the doctors Michelle Harvie and Tony Howell, this alternates between five days of normal eating and two days (which can be consecutive) of 70-75% calorie reduction during the week.
Excerpted from Salon