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The Difference Between Intermittent Fasting and Time-Restricted Eating

by | Jun 16, 2020 | FAST FACTS

Intermittent fasting continues to grow in popularity and continues to grow in interest among health practitioners as well as the general public seeking to transform their health. 

Recent research surrounding fasting shows clear benefits to the human biology, including loss of visceral fat, healthy blood sugar levels [1], and even neurological benefits [2]. More studies are being conducted as we speak.

 But there’s one thing that seems to always be inaccurately reported: the actual definition of intermittent fasting.

There are many ways to fast, and one of the most talked-about ways isn’t actually called intermittent fasting: it’s called time-restricted eating.

Intermittent Fasting VS Time Restricted Eating

Here’s the difference:

Intermittent fasting refers to fasting on different days, intermittently. For instance, you’d be on an intermittent fasting schedule if you ate normally Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but then fasted on Sunday and Wednesday. This particular example is also called the 5:2 fast, referring to 2 days of fasting, and 5 days of normal feasting.

However, there’s a popular eating schedule that’s being referred to as a type of intermittent fasting but is actually time-restricted eating. TRE is defined as eating within a short window of time every day, normally 8-12 hours a day.

One trend you may have read about is called 16:8 fasting, where you eat all of your day’s calories within an 8-hour window, and fast for the remainder of the day. For instance, you may take your first bite at 9 am but will stop eating after 5 p.m.

In Summary: 

  • Intermittent fasting means to fast on some days and eat normally on others.
  • Time-restricted eating means eating only within a short window of time every day.

Read More:

  1. Effects of intermittent fasting on body composition and clinical health markers in humans
  2. Intermittent metabolic switching, neuroplasticity and brain health