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Health & Wellness

Intermittent Fasting: Weight Loss Based On When You Eat, Not What You Eat


Most diets center on what and how much you eat. The current popular trend of intermittent fasting takes a different approach by creating cycles or patterns of when you eat and when you fast.

Most types of fasting involve abstaining from all or some food or drinks for 24 to 72 hours.  

Rachel Trammell, a registered dietitian with Parkland Hospital System, says intermittent fasting simply means cycling periods of time during the day when you don’t eat.

“Sometimes that means you take two or three days a week where you don’t eat,” Trammell said. “Some people do a time-based intermittent fasting — hours of the day where you’d eat and hours where you fast.”

Trammell says intermittent fasting can help with weight loss for some people, but she strongly recommends consulting your physician before you try it.


Examples Of Popular Intermittent Fasting Plans:

  • The 16-8 method is where you’d have eight hours of the day where you’d eat and 16 hours of the day where you fast.
  • The 5-2 diet is where you don’t eat for two days during the week and the other five days you do eat.
  • With eat-stop-eat, you’re doing pauses during the day. You have a time where you eat, then you fast, then you eat. You’re giving your body little chunks of time. The theory is your body would have a chance to digest nutrients.

What You Eat Still Counts:

Your body still needs those good macro nutrients like proteins, fats and carbs. Good high fiber carbs like brown rice or vegetables to help your body function best.

Who Should Avoid Intermittent Fasting:

  • If you have an eating disorder like bulimia or anorexia, this is not a good idea for you because you can become obsessed with the times that you’re eating and that become a problem.
  • If you have diabetes, and you’re taking insulin, it’s never a good idea to take insulin without eating food.

On The Other Hand:

Someone who is having a problem with overeating and is really struggling with a lot of sugar cravings might do well with having that start and stop time to tell themselves it’s time to eat, it’s time to stop eating, and during the day have some structured meals.


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Answers have been edited for claridt and brevity.