Brief summary of the differences that exist between the various forms of intermittent fasting.

If you’re unclear about what intermittent fasting is, read this.

  • ADF (alternate day fasting, 36/12 hrs fast/feed). See also The Alternate-Day Diet, which is a milder form of ADF. While I don’t think The Alternate-Day Diet is an optimal approach for the fitness enthusiast, Johnson’s book is surprisingly good and scientifically accurate. Everything about the title (“turn on your skinny gene”) screams faddishness, but I was pleasantly surprised after finishing it. Having read all the quoted studies on ADF myself, I could not find any major misrepresentation of the findings apart from a few too optimistic blurbs about fasting and life extension. I can easily recommend this book for it’s summary of the ADF findings. And while the nutritional advice might not be cutting edge, it’s certainly not bad or misleading either.
  • The Warrior Diet (20/4 hrs fast/feed). WD is actually not intermittent fasting in the strictest sense of the word, since the author allows small meals during the fast (vegetables, fruits). The WD book is somewhat of a cult classic, but the book prefers to quote stories and myth instead of scientifical evidence to supports it’s (sometimes ridiculous) claims.
  • Eat Stop Eat (24 hrs fasting, 1-2x/week). You can read my review of Eat Stop Eat here. This is a book I highly recommend for those interested in fat loss and the physiology of fasting. Eat Stop Eat has a strong following with many success stories.
  • The Fast-5 Diet. (19/5 hrs fast/feed). Fast-5 should be available for free on the Fast-5 website. I shouldn’t critique a book that is given a away freely. But let’s just say I don’t consider reading it the greatest investment of time you can make if you have the most basic understanding of how weight loss works.
  • Leangains (16/8 hrs fast/feed)

Within each of these systems, there are more or less specific guidelines regarding nutrition, ranging from the very vague (ADF) to the strict (Leangains).

Leangains is specifically tailored to fitness and strength training, and for those wanting to get as lean and strong as possible. In comparison to other intermittent fasting based diets much more emphasis is put on proper pre- and post-workout nutrition. There are also specific guidelines with regards to calorie cycling, macrocomposition and meal timing.

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