I have compiled a list of the most popular IF protocols so you can choose one that fits your lifestyle. For more detail, please refer back to my beginner's guide to intermittent fasting.
The 5:2 Diet
This plan involves fasting for two non-consecutive days a week. Dieters may consume up to 500-600 calories on fasting days, so there is no need to give up food entirely. During feeding days, you can eat normally.
The 5:2 Diet is ideal for those who are new to intermittent fasting. It enjoys huge popularity in the U.S and U.K., offering a lot of flexibility. On a typical fasting day, you can eat low calorie foods, such as eggs, lean meat, vegetables, or fish. Due to the calorie restriction, you'll lose weight and enjoy better health.
The Warrior Diet
Thousands of athletes have embraced the warrior diet as a way to shed pounds and build muscle. Developed by fitness expert Ori Hofmekler, this eating plan involves fasting during the day. Dieters can have a big meal at night within a four-hour feeding window. Some choose to eat small amounts of vegetables and fruits during the fasting period. This plan is based on the paleo diet, so it puts emphasis on whole, natural foods.
As its name suggests, this dietary plan involves fasting every other day. It's a favorite choice for most people. Some versions allow the consumption of up to 500 calories on fasting days. Alternate-day fasting is perfect for those with a busy schedule and prevents any weight gain from diet slip-ups. It’s adaptable to any lifestyle and offers quick results in terms of fat loss.
Lean Gains, also known as the 16/8 fasting diet, involves an eight-hour feeding window followed by 16 hours of not eating. Dieters can have two, three, or more meals during the feeding window. This plan was created by Martin Berkhan, a trusted fitness expert. For instance, you can have your last meal at 8pm and eat again at 12 noon the next day. During the fast, it's allowed to drink coffee, water, unsweetened tea, and other non-caloric beverages. For best results, eat clean between fasts. This method works out well for many people because the bulk of the fasting hours occur during sleep.
Eat Stop Eat
Developed by fitness specialist Brad Pilon, Eat Stop Eat appeals to those who want to lose weight and improve their diet. This method involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week. During non-fasting days, you're free to eat just about anything as long as you watch your portions. A slice of cake is fine, but the whole cake isn't. Most dieters who use this approach fast from breakfast to breakfast, or dinner to dinner. Beginners can start with shorter fasting periods of 14 to 16 hours.
As you can see there are many variations of this method of dieting so there is something for everyone. Think about what will work for your lifestyle and do a short experiment to see how it goes. Commit to trying out each method for one week at a time and then decide which worked best for you.