What's The Difference Between Intermittent Fasting And Alternate Day Fasting?

Intermittent fasting and alternate day fasting are two forms of fasting that people practice to achieve better health and lose weight. Both methods focus on eating during certain "windows" and only consuming water and/or unsweetened drinks while fasting. Alternate day fasting is a type of intermittent fasting that uses longer fasting windows (via Mayo Clinic).

Aside from alternate day fasting, there are two other types of intermittent fasting that are popular. One approach is time restricted, and it involves eating during a particular time window and then abstaining from food for the rest of the day. During a fasting schedule with an eight-hour window, you might eat meals between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. You could also choose to eat between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., for a six-hour eating window. Another fasting schedule includes eating a healthy diet for five days of the week and fasting for two days. A more sustainable approach to this method allows you to eat 500 to 600 calories on fasting days (via Johns Hopkins Medicine).

Alternate day fasting is stricter than other forms of intermittent fasting

Alternate day fasting requires a bit more control than the other two types of intermittent fasting because you fast on one day and eat whatever you like on the next day, continuing this pattern throughout the week. Because you are fasting for longer periods of time, your body goes into what is called autophagy — a process that recycles decaying parts of your cells. This process can reduce the risk of certain diseases including heart disease, infection, and some cancers. Some studies indicate that autophagy can help you live longer (via Healthline).

For most people, the different methods of intermittent fasting are safe. However, pregnant and lactating women should seek advice from their physician before embarking on a fasting journey. Likewise, those diagnosed with kidney stones, acid reflux, or other medical conditions should talk with a doctor before giving it a try.