Low Carb Intermittent Fasting (LCIF) is not a diet in the conventional sense. It is based on meal timing combined with a low Carbohydrate intake. Specifically, you are consuming a low Carbohydrate daily intake of food within a specified ‘caloric window’ and fasting for the remaining hours of the day. Depending on your approach, the ‘eating’ window may be anything from 8 hours or less.
LCIF delivers a number of health benefits and when incorporated with a caloric deficit is a powerful weight loss tool. You can read more about our approach in our complete guide found here.
Regardless of the reasons why you may be interested in undertaking LCIF, a central tenet to this approach to nutrition is Intermittent Fasting which dictates when you eat rather than what you eat.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the different ways you can undertake Intermittent Fasting. So if the standard 16:8 method doesn’t fit within your lifestyle, there are a number of alternate options available.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
The 16:8 Method
There are a number of ways to approach Intermittent Fasting. The most common being the 16:8 method, first made popular by Martin Berkham of leangains.com.
The 16:8 method requires fasting for 16 hours and consuming your calories during the remaining 8 hours of the day. Many people practice this method by abstaining from food after 8:00 p.m. They will then skip breakfast and consume their first meal at midday.
However, this largely depends on your lifestyle. If for instance you work late into the evening and rise later than most people you can simply push back the eating window to best suit your schedule. In the case of a shift worker, this may mean you are waking mid-morning and fasting until much later in the day e.g. 5-6pm.
And while this is the method we recommend especially if new to LCIF, as it appears to be the easiest in terms of adherence the 16:8 method may not be optimal for everyone.
12 Hour Fasting
As the name suggests, the fasting window is 12 hours as opposed to 16. Beginners may find this approach easier than the 16:8 method before transitioning to a longer fasting window. We recommend a similar approach. Begin by simply skipping breakfast, but eat your final meal little later into the night than you may normally.
Not for the faint of heart, the 5:2 approach requires two full days each week of very low caloric intake e.g. 400 – 600 calories. While fasting is not required on subsequent days, this approach still takes some adjustment. However over time, 5:2 fasting becomes far more manageable and a convenient way to incorporate intermittent fasting into their schedule.
OMAD (one meal per day)
The Warrior Diet or OMAD (one meal a day) centres around consuming one large meal per day. The meal is consumed within a 4-hour window. You are then expected to fast, or consume just a very small amount of calories for the remaining 20 hours. Much like 5:2 fasting this can be challenging for beginners. But once the body has adjusted can be a convenient approach to LCIF.
24 Hour Fasting
This approach is similar to the 5:2 fasting diet, however, requires only one full day of fasting instead of two.
Alternate Day Fasting
Alternate day fasting, as the name suggests requires fasting on alternate days. This does not mean a zero caloric intake is required on the non-fasting days. However, caloric intake on fasting days should still be very low e.g. under 500 Calories.
Please speak to your doctor prior to undertaking any of the more extreme approaches e.g. 5:2 and OMAD or if you have an underlying condition or eating disorder.
In the case of LCIF, we recommend the 16:8 approach. This is simpler for most people to transition to and the easiest in terms of adherence. However there’s no reason you can’t integrate any of the different types of intermittent fasting methods described above.