Known as the 16:8 diet or plan, 16:8 intermittent fasting is gaining popularity among health enthusiasts. This type of fasting requires individuals to restrict their eating window to 8 hours, while abstaining from food for the remaining 16 hours each day.
People who practice this method typically consume all their meals within that daily fixed eight-hour timeframe.
This guide will explore the benefits of this the 16/8 intermittent fasting, offer tips for getting started, and provide insight into potential risks.
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What is 16:8 Intermittent Fasting?
The 16:8 intermittent fasting method involves consuming food during an 8-hour window and abstaining from food for the remaining 16 hours of the day.
This type of time-restricted fasting is believed to work by supporting the body’s circadian rhythm, or internal clock.
Most people following this plan tend to avoid eating at night and during parts of the morning and evening, while consuming their daily calories in the middle of the day.
The 16:8 eating plan allows for flexibility in terms of food choices and portions, making it relatively easy to adhere to.
How to Get Started With 16:8 Intermittent Fasting?
To start with 16:8 intermittent fasting, choose a 16-hour fasting window that includes the time spent sleeping.
Some experts recommend finishing eating in the early evening as metabolism slows down after this time. But if that’s not feasible for everyone, it’s best to avoid food consumption for at least 2-3 hours before bed.
The recommended 8-hour eating windows include:
- 9 am to 5 pm
- 10 am to 6 pm
- noon to 8 pm
Within these times, people can eat their meals and snacks at convenient times. It’s important to plan your meals to avoid excessive hunger and prevent blood sugar peaks and dips.
You may want to start slowly by extending your fasting period gradually until you reach 16 hours. And always remember, it’s essential to listen to your body and adjust accordingly if needed.
Health Benefits of 16:8 Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting, including the popular 16:8 method, has been the subject of research for decades. While findings can be mixed or uncertain, studies have suggested that this type of fasting may offer several potential health benefits.
Some of these benefits include improved insulin resistance and blood sugar control, weight loss or management, reduced inflammation, and even potential improvements in brain function.
However, it’s important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the effects of intermittent fasting on long-term health outcomes.
16:8 Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
By limiting the time window for food intake, individuals may naturally consume fewer calories, leading to weight loss and improved metabolism.
A study from 2017 found that intermittent fasting resulted in greater weight and fat loss in men with obesity than a traditional calorie restriction diet.
Additionally, a research from 2016 showed that following a 16:8 approach for 8 weeks combined with resistance training led to decreased fat mass while maintaining muscle mass in male participants.
16:8 Intermittent Fasting for Disease Prevention
In addition to aiding in weight loss, studies have shown that this type of fasting may play a role in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
These benefits may be due in part to the reduction in inflammation and cellular stress that can occur during periods of fasting.
Another benefits of this type of fasting include potential protection of learning and memory, and slowing down brain-related diseases. Additionally, animal studies have shown that it may reduce the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and cancer.
16:8 Intermittent Fasting for Longer Life Span
There is evidence from animal studies that intermittent fasting may increase lifespan, particularly in female mice. However, the long-term safety and potential benefits for human longevity are not yet known as human studies are limited.
Nonetheless, proponents of this method claim that it can improve blood sugar control, aid weight loss, reduce inflammation and lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Side Effects and Risks of 16:8 Intermittent Fasting
While 16:8 intermittent fasting can be an effective way to lose weight and improve overall health, it may not be suitable for everyone.
It’s important to note that the plan comes with certain side effects and risks. These include:
- Feeling hungry, weak, or tired during the initial stages of the plan.
- Risk of overeating or consuming unhealthy foods due to excessive hunger during the 8-hour eating window.
- In some cases, heartburn or reflux may also occur as a result of overeating.
Before starting any diet plan, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to evaluate potential risks and benefits based on individual needs and health status.
Who should avoid practicing the 16:8 intermittent fasting?
- Women, in particular, may not benefit as much from this type of fasting and some research even suggests it could negatively affect fertility.
- Individuals with a history of disordered eating should also approach intermittent fasting with caution as it can be a risk factor for eating disorders.
- The 16:8 plan is potentially unsuitable for those with a history of depression or anxiety as chronic calorie restriction can aggravate the conditions.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women and individuals trying to conceive should avoid this type of fasting altogether.
- Individuals who are currently taking medications, have an underlying health condition such as diabetes or low blood pressure, or a history of disordered eating or mental health disorders.
So is 16:8 Intermittent Fasting Suitable for You?
If you’re looking for weight loss and disease risk reduction, 16:8 intermittent fasting might be worth considering.
If you do try this diet plan, it’s important to eat healthy, fiber-rich foods and stay hydrated throughout the day. However, as with any new diet or exercise regime, it’s best to check with a doctor or nutritionist first if you have any medical concerns or underlying health conditions.