Intermittent Fasting. You’ve possibly heard them mentioned in yoga classes or TV programs. Maybe someone’s even given you the advice that you should work on a specific intermittent fasting diet plan.
But that doesn’t mean you know what they are. Rest assured: you are not alone. 16/8 intermittent fasting is one of the most popular styles of fasting for weight-loss and to improve overall health.
Many high-quality studies show that 16:8 intermittent fasting has major benefits for your body and brain.
The goal of this post is to provide the details of the 16:8 diet plans, rules, regulations, guidelines, health benefits and side effects. We’ll also help explain the research work and the impact these may have on your mind and body.
What Is 16/8 Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating plan that switches between fasting and eating on a regular schedule. It does not say anything about which foods to eat, but rather when you should eat them.
The 16:8 intermittent fasting is a form of schedule fasting plan. It involves consuming foods during an 8-hour window and avoiding food, or fasting, for the remaining 16 hours every day.
There are no restrictions on the types or amounts of food one to eat during the 8-hour window. This flexibility makes the plan relatively easy to follow.
Some people believe that this technique works by supporting the body’s circadian rhythm, which is its internal clock.
The eating and fasting cycle are repeated based on personal preferences. Some people do it just once or twice per week. Some people do it to every day.
Most people who follow the 16:8 plan abstain from food at night and for part of the morning and evening. They tend to consume their daily calories during the middle of the day.
Rules and Guideline: How to Do it
The basic rule to get started with your 16:8 diet plan is to pick an eight-hour window and restrict your food intake during that time span.
You also need to choose the 16-hour fasting window that includes the time that you will be sleeping.
You can do this by skipping breakfast, eating your first meal at noon and your last meal at 8 pm. Some people love food consumption in the early evening, as metabolism slows down after this time. However, every one has personal preferences.
The three most common types of 16/8 Intermittent fasting are:
- Eat full from 12 noon midday to 8 pm evening and fast from 8 pm to next day 12 noon.
- Eat small lunch at 2 noon midday and take full dinner before 8 pm and fast from 8 pm to next day 12 noon.
- Eat Keto diet from 12 noon midday to 8 pm evening and fast from 8 pm to next day 12 noon.
Diet Plan: Foods and Tips
In order to maximize the potential health benefits of your diet, it’s important to stick to nutritious whole foods and beverages during your eating periods.
Filling up on nutrient-rich foods can help round out your diet and allow you to reap the rewards that this regimen has to offer.
Try balancing each meal with a good variety of healthy whole foods, such as:
- Fruits: Oranges, berries, apples, bananas, peaches, pears, etc.
- Vegetables: Leafy greens, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, , etc.
- Whole grains: Quinoa, rice, oats, barley, buckwheat, etc.
- Healthy fats: Olive oil, coconut oil, and avocados.
- Protein: Nuts, seeds, legumes, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, etc.
- Drinking water and unsweetened fruit juice, even while fasting, can also help control your appetite while keeping you hydrated.
On the other hand, taking junk food can negate the positive effects associated with 16/8 intermittent fasting and may end up doing more harm than good to your health.
Fasting puts your cells under a mild stress. Scientists observed that the process of responding to this stress, on your low-calorie days, strengthens cells’ ability to deal with stress and potentially fight off some diseases.
Eating during a set period can help people reduce the number of calories that they consume, which may also help boost metabolism and weight-loss.
A 2017 study suggests that intermittent fasting provides greater weight loss and fat loss in men with obesity than regular calorie restriction.
A 2018 study indicates that in addition to weight loss, an 8-hour eating window may help reduce blood pressure in adults with obesity.
Here are some intermittent fasting benefits researches has revealed so far:
- Thinking and memory. Studies discovered that intermittent fasting boosts working memory in animals and verbal memory in adult humans.
- Heart health. Intermittent fasting improved blood pressure and resting heart rates as well as other heart-related measurements.
- Physical performance. Young men who fasted for 16 hours showed fat loss while maintaining muscle mass. Mice who were fed on alternate days showed better endurance in running.
- Diabetes and obesity. In animal studies, intermittent fasting prevented obesity. And in six brief studies, obese adult humans lost weight through intermittent fasting.
- Tissue health. In animals, intermittent fasting reduced tissue damage in surgery and improved results.
However, some research shows that intermittent fasting works – at least in the short term.
A scientific 2017 study found very little difference in weight loss between participants who practiced intermittent fasting — in the form of alternate-day fasting rather than 16:8 fasting — and those who reduced their overall calorie intake.
16:8 diet plan relies on the understanding that fasting reduces oxidative stress on the body, which can decrease inflammation and the risk of chronic diseases.
In some studies, people who followed this diet did lose weight and also had a decrease in some of the markers that show inflammation.
The 16/8 intermittent fasting plans may not be suitable for every one. It may be associated with many health benefits, but it does come with some side effects and may not be right for everyone.
For some people, 16:8 diet plan may cause short-term negative side effects when you’re first getting started, such as hunger, weakness and fatigue — though these often subside once you get into a routine.
Other drawbacks of 16:8 fasting can be poor sleep, muscle mass loss, if you are not taking adequate nutrients and proteins.
Controlling your food intake to just eight hours per day may cause some people to eat more than usual during eating periods in an attempt to make up for hours spent fasting.
Which may lead to weight gain, digestive problems and the development of unhealthy eating habits.
In 16:8 intermittent fasting involves eating only during an 8-hour window and fasting for the remaining 16 hours.
It may help you with weight loss and improve blood sugar, brain function and longevity.
Eat a nutrient-rich diet like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and lean protein during your eating period and drink sufficient water.
It’s best to talk to your medical expert before trying intermittent fasting, especially if you have any underlying health conditions. 16/8 intermittent fasting can improve your overall life balance, health and mental states as well.