There are a ton of diets and eating plans - so many that it can get overwhelming. One of the hottest trends is ntermittent fasting.

It alternates between fasting times, where you do not eat, and non-fasting times. For example, eating between the hours of noon and 8PM only and then only drinking water between 8PM and noon the next day.

Proponents of this eating plan say that, in addition to weight loss, it may also reduce blood pressure, blood sugar levels which benefit heart health and help prevent Type 2 Diabetes.

Intermittent fasting is not food-restrictive like typical diets might be. Instead, it sets up an eating pattern to follow. During the times of fasting, water and zero-calorie drinks are allowed. During periods of eating, it is best to be conscious of how much you are eating, making sure you don’t overeat.

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There are different types of intermittent fasting schedules, but first, let’s talk about the benefits. This diet can aid in weight loss and reduced belly fat. By limiting eating patterns, you will most likely eat fewer meals which could lead to a calorie deficit. It can help lose weight without losing muscle mass. Some swear by this diet and others say it’s not for them.

Drawbacks of the diet may be that you actually overeat at the allowed times and that you may feel hungry when you are fasting. Critics say it could disrupt your normal digestive processes, but it is really a decision for each individual.

If you are considering intermittent fasting, talk with your healthcare provider to see if it is safe and appropriate for you.

Here are some of the intermittent fasting plans:

  • 1

    16/8

    This method means the fasting window is about 16 hours and the eating window is about 8 hours. Typically this method is demonstrated as eating between 12 pm and 8 pm and then fasting from 8 pm to 12 pm the next day. Another popular schedule is eating from 11 am to 7 pm and then fasting from 7 pm to 11 am the next day.

  • 2

    24-hour Fast

    This method involves one or two 24-hour fasts per week. Therefore, once or twice a week you would stop eating foods after dinner until that time the next day. The other five or six days of the week allow for normal eating.

  • 3

    Alternate-day Fast

    As the name suggests, you would alternate normal eating days with either a 24-hour fast or a limited calorie intake day. For example, day 1 would be a normal eating day, day 2 would be a fasting day where you only eat a few hundred calories or completely fast, day 3 would be normal, and so on.

  • 4

    5:2 Diet

    This form of fasting includes 5 normal eating days of the week and 2 days where women are limited to 500 calories and men are limited to 600 calories. You can space out the two restricted days throughout the week.