What is intermittent fasting?

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor

Intermittent fasting has proved a key weight loss diet trend in recent years, and it seems science is also in favour of the technique.

Also known as time restricting eating, it’s a diet pattern which incorporates regular, planned fasting.

Restricting when you eat – rather than what you eat – can have benefits for both your health and your waistline, according to a new research from the University of Adelaide.

Intermittent fasting is said to help you lose weight. [Photo: Getty]

In a (relatively small) study of 85 obese women, those who ate 70% of their required energy intake just once a day, at breakfast, lost more weight than those who ate the same amount of food throughout the day.

The women who fasted also saw an improvement in their overall health, such as less risk of heart disease.

Three common intermittent fasting methods

The 16/8 method

If you are following the 16/8 diet technique, you only eat during an eight hour period of the day. This typically involves skipping breakfast, and only eating – for instance – between 11am and 7pm, instead.


This is the ‘once a day’ eating method followed by dieters in the University of Adelaide study. It involves eating just one meal a day, and fasting 24 hours before eating at the same time the next day.

The 5:2 diet

The 5:2 diet involves eating normally for five days a week, and eating just 500 calories on two non-consecutive days during the week.

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