What is Intermittent Fasting? Different Types of Fasting Explained

What is Intermittent Fasting? Different Types of Fasting Explained

Are you familiar with intermittent fasting? The concept behind intermittent fasting is that eating is more about when and how long you eat versus what you eat. There are several different types of intermittent fasts, but the key is the length of the fasting period:1

  • Time-restricted feeding is also often called overnight fasting, where you have an overnight fast of 14 or 16 hours. For example, for a 14-hour overnight fast, you would eat between 9 am and 7 pm and then stop eating or drinking anything other than water, black coffee, or tea after 7 pm and before 9 am.

  • The 5:2 method caps calories to just 500 total for two days a week (you choose which days) and for the other five days, you eat a normal healthy diet.

  • The alternate day fast limits calories to 500 total every other day and on the non-fasting days, you eat a normal healthy diet.

  • The 24-hour fast is perhaps the most difficult because it requires that you stop eating and drinking (other than water, tea, or black coffee) for 24 hours.

Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

How healthy is intermittent fasting? Research in this area is growing. Most people use intermittent fasting to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, which research shows can be a beneficial strategy if this eating pattern can be maintained and sustained.2 In addition to weight loss, intermittent fasting may help support brain health and may even help you live longer.3

People are drawn to intermittent fasting because there are no special foods to buy, no calorie counting or restrictions for the overnight fast, and for many people, it can be easily incorporated into their daily routine. It’s important to note that when you are not fasting, focus on eating a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet.

Supplements While Fasting

As with any eating pattern, it’s important to ensure you are getting the vitamins, minerals, and other key nutrients needed for optimal health. Fortunately, there are targeted intermittent fasting supplements available.

The best supplements for intermittent fasting will contain:

  • B-12 and electrolytes to support energy and balance

  • 30 mcg of iodine to support healthy thyroid function

  • Creatine monohydrate to support muscles, strength, and physical performance

Out of the three above, electrolyte balance is key to staying afloat during the fasting period.4 Fast Support+ features an electrolyte blend of magnesium, chloride, sodium, and potassium to fuel the body with key hydration. Fast Support+ is also vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, sugar-free, and made without soy.

This combination of nutrients is specifically designed for people who are intermittent fasting and gives the body the fuel it needs before, during, or after the fast. These nutrients support healthy thyroid function, energy metabolism, and nervous system health.*

If you’re thinking about trying some form of intermittent fasting, be sure to take supplements while fasting to fill any potential nutrient gaps and support your body during the fasting period.

Follow @zhou_nutrition for more fitness and wellness tips!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


  1. Taylor A. Intermittent fasting: how it works and 4 types explained. Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials. 2022;Mar 2. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/intermittent-fasting-4-different-types-explained
  2. Vasim I, Majeed CN, DeBoer MD. Intermittent fasting and metabolic health. Nutrients. 2022;14(3). https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/14/3/631
  3. Wilhelmi de Toledo F, Grundler F, Sirtori CR, Ruscica M. Unravelling the health effects of fasting: a long road from obesity treatment to healthy life span increase and improved cognition. Ann Med. 2020;52(5):147-161. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7877980/?report=reader
  4. Shrimanker I, Bhattarai S. Electrolytes. StatPearls. 2023;July 24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541123/?report=reader#_NBK541123_pubdet_


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