Intermittent fasting is one of the best things you can do for your longevity. However, there’s a lot of different schedules and systems you can use for fasting. So which one is the best one?
In terms of popularity, there are two main intermittent fasting schedules: 16/8 and 5/2. 16/8 is based on a daily schedule (fast for 16 hours, eat for 8) whereas 5/2 is based on a weekly schedule (fast for 2 days, eat for 5). I’ve tried both these schedules pretty extensively, but for the sake of this post I’ll be focusing primarily on the 5/2 schedule.
Before I go into my review, I’ll go a little bit more in depth on exactly how 5/2 works. As you might imagine, you pick five days where you can eat and two days where you can’t. Those two days need to be spaced out with an “eat” day in between, as to not lose too much energy from the fast (e.g. you can have [FAST] [EAT] [FAST] but not [EAT] [FAST] [FAST]). You also can at least have *some* pick-me-up during fasting days, but they’re very light: 500 calories maximum.
The 5/2 is ideal if you’re a person who has a lot stacked on two particular days. For example, I try to have all my meetings and lectures on Tuesday and Thursday, so I barely have time to eat then anyway! Building a 5/2 around those dates allows me to both build my physical longevity as well as better adapt to the lack of food on those days and feel a lot less hungry.
But how does it compare against 16/8? Personally, I prefer the 5/2. When it came to 16/8, I just felt myself being hungry constantly. I mostly attribute it to the fact that there’s no real “break” when you’re doing 16/8 -- it just happens every day. With 5/2, your break time is a lot longer, and so you have at least some moments to play catch up. However, I imagine that these factors highly depend on the person, and you personally might be able to catch up on 16/8 just fine.
Want to know more about intermittent fasting? Then I suggest you try checking out Shanah. Shanah is a longevity habit tracker that helps you build skills such as intermittent fasting. You can learn more here.