While “dieting” has been a health conscious buzzword for decades, “fasting” seems now to be gaining in popularity. Perhaps that’s because fasting is associated with boosting metabolism and even promoting longevity. But how is fasting different than just cutting calories—and what’s the difference between different types of fasting? This Week’s blog post explores 5:2 fasting, minifasting, and how meal timing can affect your health.
Can you cut heart disease risk with 5:2 fasting?
While regular calorie cutting can help one lose excess weight, research suggests the 5:2 fasting regimen is specially positioned to help reduce heart disease by lowering triglycerides—fatty deposits in the blood—more than calorie restriction diets. The 5:2 fasting regimen has people eat a normal amount of calories 5 days of the week followed by 2 days of calorie restriction—usually under 500 calories a day. In addition to reducing triglycerides, 5:2 fasting is also associated with lowering systolic blood pressure by 9%. Take our daily quiz to learn more about 5:2 fasting and its benefits.
Can cutting calories just 5 days a month improve your health?
While “going on a diet” can evoke images of months living in starvation, minifasting can be a sustainable alternative that provides big benefits. In contrast to 5:2, minifasting refers to the practice of eating a normal amount of calories most days of the month, then cutting calories by half for 5 consecutive days. Research suggests minifasting can help trim body fat as well as lower blood sugar levels and reduce insulin—good for reducing risk of type 2 diabetes. Minifasting might be a healthy option that more people can easily stick to. Take our quiz of the day to see if minifasting is right for you.
Can eating before bed increase fat gain?
While daily calorie consumption is a big factor in metabolic health, it seems that time of day is also important. Research suggests eating just before bed can lead to weight gain/metabolic dysfunction, so it’s best to fast 3-4 hours before bed. Eating late at night is also associated with increasing inflammatory bacteria in the mouth. Intermittent fasting diets such as 16:8—eating within 8 hours of the day and fasting for the other 16—promote eating based on one’s circadian rhythm, which can promote metabolic health. Take our daily quiz to learn more about how meal timing can affect your health.
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