Intermittent fasting is an effective weight loss method that does not require counting calories, avoiding certain foods, or even exercising. According to research, the result of intermittent fasting is not only the normalization of hormonal levels, but also a slowdown in the aging process.

There are several schemes and options for intermittent fasting. The most popular, the so-called “16/8” diet, consists of eating exclusively on a schedule from 12 to 20 hours (or from 10 to 18 hours) – which means skipping breakfast. How to start intermittent fasting?

// What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is a dietary pattern that involves regularly stopping food for a specific period of time. For example, partial fasting (regimens 16/8 and 14/10) is recommended daily, while complete fasting (24/0) is recommended no more than once a week.

Intermittent fasting works by optimizing insulin production. In fact, the body becomes less sensitive to carbohydrates with a high glycemic index – which reduces the intensity of hunger and normalizes appetite, leading to weight loss.

The physiology of intermittent fasting is based on the effect on the hormonal system of the body. In addition to the effect on insulin, the production of the hormone of hunger and saturation of leptin is normalized¹. Also, with strength training, growth hormone synthesis increases – it is responsible for burning fat and gaining muscle.

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Research and feedback from doctors

In 2016, Japanese scientist Yoshinori Osumi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his study of intermittent fasting. He found that periods of fasting have a positive effect on cell renewal and help slow down the aging process2.

Studies show that fasting helps to get rid of defective proteins and organelles – in simple terms, from accumulated “debris”. When energy is low and the cell is hungry, it destroys damaged or old proteins more intensively, making them a source of energy. Which ultimately renews the body.

Intermittent fasting – principles

The essence of intermittent fasting is the periodic refusal to eat food. For example, the 14/10 regimen assumes 10 hours of fasting daily (suitable for beginners), the 16/8 regime for 16 hours, and the 20/4 regime for 20 hours of complete fasting each day.

The schedule assumes that most of the fasting period occurs at night when the person is asleep. In addition, it is necessary to refuse breakfast and late dinner – only drinks without calories are allowed. In the remaining time, you can eat without calorie control or BJU.

// Variants and schemes:

  • 14/10 – for beginners
  • 16/8 is the most popular scheme
  • 20/4 – for advanced
  • 24/0 – fasting day once a week

Where to begin?

It is best to start intermittent fasting with the 14/10 scheme. In this case, you can eat only during the period of 10 hours – for example, from 8 am to 6 pm. Note that in order to lose weight, the serving size should not change with this type of intermittent fasting – in fact, you should skip dinner.

After the body gets used to go without food for 10 hours (about 4-5 days), go to the 16/8 scheme – it requires giving up breakfast and, again, from dinner. You can eat, for example, from 10 to 18 hours or from 12 to 20 hours. An alternative option for intermittent fasting is a fasting day once a week.


Intermittent fasting is prohibited in the presence of cardiovascular insufficiency, hepatitis, cirrhosis, diabetes mellitus, thyrotoxicosis, thrombophlebitis, tuberculosis and hypotension. In addition, it can exacerbate problems with the gallbladder, adrenal glands, stomach ulcers and duodenal ulcers.

When to expect the result?

Strictly speaking, intermittent fasting is not a weight loss diet at all, but a way of life. As scientific research, intermittent fasting (without changing the caloric content of the diet) leads to a weight loss of 3-8% in 3-24 weeks³.

If you want excess weight to go away faster, it is recommended to control calories and the glycemic index of carbohydrates consumed – as well as regularly engage in cardio training. In this case, the result can be observed already in the second week.

We also remind you once again that intermittent fasting in the 24/0 mode (“fasting day”) can be carried out no more than once a week – and getting out of such fasting requires following the instructions. In particular, the first meal should be light enough – for example, fruit and vegetable juices.

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Intermittent fasting is a popular method of losing weight and boosting metabolism by normalizing hormonal levels in the body. If the 16/8 scheme is followed, the result in the form of weight loss will be noticeable already in the second week – and does not require a sharp decrease in the daily calorie intake.

Scientific sources:

  1. Beneficial effects of intermittent fasting and caloric restriction on the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems, source
  2. 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, source
  3. Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention, source

Date of the last update of the material – July 9, 2020

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