The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting Terms

Intermittent Fasting. Oh, how I adore thee! But, you’re quite confusing at times, that’s for sure.

As a beginner to the intermittent fasting world, you’re sure to hear a lot of knew words, phrases, and even acronyms that will seem quite foreign. In order to assist you in your transition, I’ve compiled a list of the most common (and some uncommon) terms you may encounter.

As I continue to learn more and more about intermittent fasting and its benefits, I’ll be sure to add any relevant words or phrases to this list as I do.

Also, if you come across any in your IF education that I have not yet included, please share and I’ll add them! Team work, yo!


The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting Terms

Listed in alphabetical order

  • Alternate-day Fasting/ADF – fasting method of alternating days of feasting and fasting every other day; i.e. fast Sunday, eat Monday, fast Tuesday, eat Wednesday, etc.
  • Appetite correction – a state in which an individual’s appetite is regulated according to their body’s needs rather than desires; 2 Made famous by Dr. Bert Herring’s book AC: The Power of Appetite Correction
  • Autophagy – a metabolic process in which the body essentially consumes its own tissue, mostly the damaged and unnecessary
  • Clean fast – a fast free of all additives such as cream, sugar, calories, artificial sweeteners, etc. A clean fast is one in which only black coffee, plain tea, and/or water are consumed
  • HGH/Human Growth Hormone – hormone responsible for stimulating growth, reproduction, and regeneration; it’s release is increased while one is in the fasted state
  • Deep fast – sixteen or more hours into any given fast
  • Eat. Stop. Eat. – as made famous by Brad Pilon, an intermittent fasting protocol in which an individual takes one or two 24-hour periods each week to fast completely (essentially a version of the 5:2 method)
  • Extended Fast/EF – typically a fast that is longer than a 24 hour period
  • Fast 5 – made famous by Dr. Bert Herring (author of AC: The Power of Appetite Correction); intermittent fasting protocol in which food is only consumed between the hours of 5 pm and 10 pm
  • Fat adapted – a metabolic state in which an individual’s body effectively burns stored body fat for energy (as opposed to burning glucose or glycogen)
  • Glycogen – from “a substance deposited in bodily tissues as a store of carbohydrates. It is a polysaccharide that forms glucose on hydrolysis.” Laymen’s terms: unused/unprocessed energy the body uses first before reverting to stored fat.
  • Insulin resistance – condition affecting the cells in which these cells are unable to use insulin effectively in processing glucose to energy
  • Insulin response – the body’s response to food consumption, especially carbohydrates, to maintain blood sugars at a healthy level; release of insulin upon food consumption in order to convert glucose to energy
  • Intermittent Fasting/IF –  a dietary lifestyle in which one restricts food consumption to a limited time frame
  • Keto – refering to the ketogenic diet; as defined by Wikipedia, “The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates.”
  • Ketosis – as defined by, “a metabolic state characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies in the body tissues, which is typically pathological in conditions such as diabetes, or may be the consequence of a diet that is very low in carbohydrates.”
  • Leangains – intermittent fasting system developed by Martin Berkhan that adheres to the 16:8 protocol; based on the guidelines of skipping breakfast, consuming large meals later in the day, and training hard in order to cut fat and build muscle effectively; gives greater focus on nutrition adherence than other methods
  • NSV/Non-Scale Victory – a positive result of one’s efforts not related to movement of numbers on a scale; examples: others seeing positive changes related to one’s efforts; feeling healthier; increased self discipline; fitting into smaller clothing; etc.
  • OMAD/One Meal a Day – an IF protocol in which one eats only one meal each day, preferably full of nutrients and to satiety
  • OPAD/One Plate a Day – an IF protocol in which one eats only one plate each day; usually adhered to in order to increase the rate of weight loss
  • Satiety – state of being satisfied, but not over stuffed; important to understand that when discussed in the IF culture, satiety means to stop when your body fills satisfied
  • Warrior Diet – an IF protocol created in 2001 by Ori Hofmekler; this approach calls for consuming most/all of one’s daily calories in one large meal at night, typically within a 4 hour eating window
  • Window – refers to the time frame in which one either fasts or feasts; ie “fasting window” or “feasting window”
  • 4:3 IF method – in a 7 day period: eating normally for 4 days; fasting for 3 days
  • 5:2 IF method – in a 7 day period: eating normally for 5 days; fasting for 2 days
  • 16:8 IF method – in a 24 hour period (one day): fasting for 16 hours with an eating widow of 8 hours

Well, there you have it! Again, I will add to this list as is necessary and always welcome suggestions to my email.

Best of luck in you intermittent fasting journeys!


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