The tempting promise of intermittent fasting is that it can be more advantageous to alter mealtimes than the actual meals. What exactly are the rules for less frequent eating?

Celebrities and CEOs alike support intermittent fasting for its ability to help people lose weight and improve their health. Dietitians advise caution when skipping meals, even if there is encouraging evidence that fasting can speed up the healing process in our bodies and possibly increase longevity. Intermittent fasting is a sort of time-restricted diet in which fasters compress their meals into a smaller window of time during the day by leaving a large gap between their final meal of one day and the first of the next. Fasters frequently try to eat every eight hours and aim for a 16-hour gap between meals. The DNA Dietitian, a London-based consultancy whose founder is Rachel Clarkson, claims that even if you cut calories, you won’t make the required behavioral adjustments about what you put into your body.

Those looking to reduce weight might not want to try intermittent fasting because there might be other reasons to adjust their eating habits. Due to the possible health advantages, autophagy—a mechanism associated with fasting—is gaining popularity. It is the process by which the body starts recycling the structures inside its cells.