/8 Intermittent Fasting Method: What Is It How To Start Fasting For 16 Hours A Day And Is It Good For Weight Loss
The 16/8 intermittent fasting method or also called the 16:8 diet is one of the most popular fasting styles today. People who practice this type of fasting claim that this is an easy and sustainable way to improve overall health and lose weight.
If youre a beginner with fasting and want to learn more about this eating pattern, you are at the right place.
In this article, you will find out what is 16/8 intermittent fasting, how to start fasting for 16 hours a day, benefits, and potential risks.
Also, if your goal is to lose weight by practicing this fasting method you can read how this eating pattern helps with weight loss and how much weight you can lose with a 16/8 diet.
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How To Avoid High Stress Hormones
Avoiding the cortisol increase that accompanies fasting can be done by many of the same things we mentioned above.
Drinking coffee with some clean-burning MCT oil or coconut oil mixed in may well be enough to help your body transition with a minimum of stress.
Does The 1: 8 Intermittent Fast Diet Actually Work
As far as the benefits of intermittent fasting go, one study found that it helped people lose a modest amount of weight and also lowered their blood pressure. Its suspected that the reason it helps people lose weight is that eating within an eight-hour window simply limits the total amount of calories consumed in a day, New York-based nutritionist Lauren Harris-Pincus, RD, tells Health. But ultimately, the only way to lose weight is to create a caloric deficit where you consume fewer calories than you expend.
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/8 Fasting Benefits: Fact Or Fiction
The 16/8 intermittent fasting approach shows promise for supporting some aspects of health, but any splashy claims of effortless weight loss or disease prevention are premature at best, experts tell WW. Most studies thus far have been small or conducted on animals more research is needed to figure out the full effects of intermittent fasting, as well as optimal approaches. Heres what science has to say about some hot topics so far.
Whats Your Intermittent Fasting Objective
You may start intermittent fasting because you want to lose some weight, let say 11 lbs. Choose a plan and go with it until you hit that target of 11 lbs.
Or you may want to lose a certain percentage of body fat.
Get yourself an electronic body fat estimator and latch on to a plan and off you go. Monitor what you are doing, to see if you have lost the percentage of body fat you plan to lose.
If it takes you 8 weeks to lose 11 lbs, then its up to you if you wish to continue or not.
It is difficult for anyone to prescribe how long you should or can do intermittent fasting for. Because I, for instance, do not know you personally. Only if someone is coaching you on a one-to-one basis can they tell you how long you should do intermittent fasting for.
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Beverages You Can Consume While Fasting:
- Water Carbonated or plain water contains no calories and will keep you hydrated during a fast.
- Diluted apple cider vinegar Drinking 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar mixed into the water can help you stay hydrated and prevent cravings during a fast.
- Coffee and tea You can consume them without adding milk, sugar, or cream.
Some people drink coffee with MCT oil, ghee, or coconut oil during their fast. Oil breaks a fast but it wont break ketosis and can tide you over meals.
Also, some people drink bone broth that is a rich source of nutrients and can help replenish electrolytes lost during long periods of drinking only water.
Drinks that contain any calories like bone broth or coffee with MCT oil will technically break your fast. However small amounts of these drinks wont throw your body out of ketosis.
Saturated And Trans Fats
These two types of fat belong to the group of bad fats. Both saturated and trans fats can harm your body and are recommended to be avoided and substituted by healthy fats. Saturated fats are also called solid fats, due to their ability to become solid at room temperature. Dietitians recommend consuming no more than 13g of saturated fats per day. You can find this type of fat in animal meats and their products, dairy , certain vegetable oils , and processed foods .
Trans fats are not healthier than saturated fats. These fats are manufactured and were widely used in fast-food production, as they are relatively cheap and can be preserved for a longer time. It is best to avoid them completely. Trans fats usually occur in fried foods, some baked goods , cookies, crackers, pizza dough, fast foods, packaged foods, shortenings, and stick margarine . Always look for the words hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats or oils on the ingredients list and avoid those product that contain them.
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/4must Have Foods During Intermittent Fasting
One doesn’t have to count and restrict the calories, as long as you eat healthily in the given 8 hour time frame. While the 16:8 diet does not specify what food to include and what to avoid, it is beneficial as it maximises the potential of the diet, if one sticks to healthy and nutritious options in the eight-hour window.
Balancing your meals with a good variety of healthy whole foods is very important. One must include food such as:
- Fruit: Apples, bananas, berries, oranges, pears, etc.
- Vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, leafy greens, tomatoes, etc.
- Whole grains: Barley, quinoa, rice, oats, etc.
- Healthy fats: Avocados, coconut oil and olive oil
While fasting, avoid, junk as well as processed foods. One should consume water regularly throughout the day this will help control the appetite. Try meditation during the fasting period, to allow hunger pangs to pass and exercise just before or during the eating window as it will trigger hunger and ensure that you are full.
With inputs from: Honey Thaker, Head Nutritionist – Fitness Science & Nutrition, Purenutrition.in
Intermittent Fasting Vs Keto Diet
Unlike the Keto Diet each day of the intermittent fast is independent of the day before or after. This means it can be added once a week, Monday to Friday or even every day. Individuals with a lot of weight to lose can do it 5- 7 days a week. Others who have reached their goal can do it every Monday or Monday and Tuesday to compensate for overeating on the weekends.
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Drawbacks Of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
16/8 intermittent fasting may be associated with many health benefits, but it does come with some drawbacks and may not be right for everyone.
Restricting your intake to just eight hours per day can cause some people to eat more than usual during eating periods in an attempt to make up for hours spent fasting.
This may lead to weight gain, digestive problems and the development of unhealthy eating habits.
16/8 intermittent fasting may also cause short-term negative side effects when youre first getting started, such as hunger, weakness and fatigue though these often subside once you get into a routine.
Additionally, some research suggests that intermittent fasting may affect men and women differently, with animal studies reporting that it could interfere with fertility and reproduction in females .
However, more human studies are needed to evaluate the effects that intermittent fasting may have on reproductive health.
In any case, be sure to start gradually and consider stopping or consulting your doctor if you have any concerns or experience negative symptoms.
Restricting daily food intake may cause weakness, hunger, increased food consumption and weight gain. Animal studies show that intermittent fasting may impact men and women differently and may even interfere with fertility.
Intermittent Fasting: One Of The Simplest And Most Successful Plans
Fasting starts in the evening and lasts for 16 hours extending to noon or 1 pm the next day depending upon when it started. This is the easiest plan to follow since for most people it means skipping breakfast, having lunch, snacks the next day. You are in mild ketosis and burn fat all night. Breakfast is coffee or tea with any high fat, zero- sugar creamer and 0 sugar artificial sweetener. The fat in the creamer increases the ketosis. Its great for Monday following weekend overeating or drinking. Fat is added in form of coconut oil capsules and olive oil salad dressings.
During the 16 hours only coffee/tea with a no sugar creamer and zero calorie drinks are allowed. Its ideal for those that routinely skip breakfast.
Metabolic Changes and Weight Loss:Two massive studies from the NIH have reviewed 815 and 2184 studies of weight loss and metabolic changes during fasting. Intermittent fasting causes decrease in insulin and increase in human growth hormone and norepinephrine which results in fat burning. Grehlin levels which increase appetite during the fast. Weight loss significantly above placebo studies and averaged between 1/2 to 1-2 lb per week depending on the frequency of the fasting days, the gender, weight and age of the dieter. Once a week fasting in a 45 year old, 175 lb female averaged about 1/4 to 1/2 lb.
This plan is useful for several weight management situations:
Expanding the Weight Loss in the 16 Hour Fasting:
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Recommended Foods And Tips
While the 16:8 intermittent fasting plan does not specify which foods to eat and avoid, it is beneficial to focus on healthful eating and to limit or avoid junk foods. The consumption of too much unhealthful food may cause weight gain and contribute to disease.
A balanced diet focuses primarily on:
- fruits and vegetables, which can be fresh, frozen, or canned
- whole grains, including quinoa, brown rice, oats, and barley
- lean protein sources, such as poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, seeds, low fat cottage cheese, and eggs
- healthful fats from fatty fish, olives, olive oil, coconuts, avocados, nuts, and seeds
Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are high in fiber, so they can help keep a person feeling full and satisfied. Healthful fats and proteins can also contribute to satiety.
Beverages can play a role in satiety for those following the 16:8 intermittent fasting diet. Drinking water regularly throughout the day can help reduce calorie intake because people often mistake thirst for hunger.
The 16:8 diet plan permits the consumption of calorie-free drinks such as water and unsweetened tea and coffee during the 16-hour fasting window. It is important to consume fluids regularly to avoid dehydration.
What Are The Possible Side Effects
There can be a number of possible side effects of intermittent fasting.40 Heres what to do if you encounter them:
- Hunger is the most common side effect of intermittent fasting. This may be less of an issue if youre already on a keto or low-carb, higher-fat diet.41Learn more
- Constipation is common. Less going in means less going out. However, keep in mind this is a normal response to eating less. It is not a concern and shouldnt require treatment unless you experience significant bloating or abdominal discomfort. Standard laxatives or magnesium supplements can be used, if needed.
- Headaches are common and tend to disappear after the first few times on fasts.42 Taking some extra salt often helps mitigate such headaches.43
- Mineral water may help if your stomach tends to gurgle.
- Other possible side effects include dizziness, heartburn and muscle cramps. Learn more
A more serious side effect is the refeeding syndrome. Fortunately, this is rare and generally only happens with extended fasts when one is undernourished.44
Since most of these side effects are manageable, they do not mean you have to stop your fast. However, if you truly feel unwell, are excessively dizzy, profoundly weak or have other severe symptoms, then you should break your fast.
Just remember to go slowly when you break it and prioritize fluids and salt . And of course, if the symptoms persist, see your doctor immediately.
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Is 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Safe
Limiting daily calorie intake to an eight-hour window does not pose serious health concerns for most healthy adults, Dr. Steger says. If you have an underlying health issue such as diabetes, if you are pregnant, or if you have a history of disordered eating, she recommends chatting with your doctor before trying a fasting regimen or making any major change to your diet.
And dont forget that you might feel moody and hungry while your body gets used to fasting for long stretches . In some cases, people report feeling nauseous or dizzy, or experiencing diarrhea or constipation.
Some unpleasant side effects can pop up when the body switches to using ketones for energy, a temporary phenomenon popularly known as keto flu. Those symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, constipation, and difficulty exercising.
Harbstreet also cautions against clock watching. Speaking from her experience working with clients, she says, There are people who obsess over what time it is and wait for the seconds to tick down to when their eating window will open, but this kind of approach can possibly lead to bingeing and, afterward, guilt or shame. If you relate to that feeling, the 16/8 method might not be a healthy eating approach for you.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe
Some people try intermitting fasting for weight management, and others use the method to address chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol or arthritis. But intermittent fasting isnt for everyone.
Williams stresses that before you try intermittent fasting , you should check in with your primary care practitioner first. Some people should steer clear of trying intermittent fasting:
- Children and teens under age 18.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- People with diabetes or blood sugar problems.
- Those with a history of eating disorders.
But, Williams says, people not in these categories who can do intermittent fasting safely can continue the regimen indefinitely. It can be a lifestyle change, she says, and one with benefits.
Keep in mind that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people. Talk to your doctor if you start experiencing unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea or other symptoms after you start intermittent fasting.
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How Do I Manage Hunger
The most important thing to realize is that hunger usually passes like a wave. Many people worry that hunger during intermittent fasting will continue to build until it is intolerable, but this does not normally happen.46 Instead, hunger comes in a wave. If you simply ignore it and drink a cup of tea or coffee, it will often pass.47
During extended fasts, hunger will often increase into the second day. After that, it gradually recedes, and many people report a complete loss of hunger sensation by day 3 or 4.48 Your body is now being powered by fat. In essence, your body is eating its own fat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and therefore is no longer hungry. Learn more
Intermittent Fasting Is Not Enough To Keep You In Ketosis
The 16/8 fasting window may not be enough to get you into or keep you in ketosis. Even if you do end up in ketosis, if you continue to eat a diet with even a moderate amount of carbs itll probably kick you out of ketosis each time.
This can result in unpleasant side effects such as the keto flu and being overly hungry each time you start fasting again.
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How To Get Started 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
16/8 intermittent fasting is simple, safe, and surprisingly easy to get started with.
Just pick an 8-hour feeding window, eat 1-3 nourishing meals within that window, and abstain from anything except coffee and water the rest of the time.
The most popular 8-hour window is 12 pm to 8 pm. That said, 16/8 fasting is highly flexible.
You can structure it around your work schedule, workout schedule, or family time. You can eat from 12-8 on weekdays and switch things up to 8-4 or 2-10 on the weekends.
Others opt to eat between 9 am and 5 pm, which allows them to have a more standard breakfast, lunch, and early dinner. This type of circadian eating is thought to be good for digestion.
IF becomes even easier if you already skip breakfast. Youll just need to refrain from snacking or drinking calorie-containing beverages outside of your preferred 8-hour window.
Most people find that their body adjusts to 16/8 fasting within a few days, after which the fast becomes surprisingly hunger-free.
Best Foods To Break A 16 Hour Fast
The best way to break a 16-hour fast is with nutrient-rich foods that can fuel your body with the nutrition it needs to stay healthy.
Nutrition refers to more than just calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fats . It also includes micronutrients like vitamins and minerals both essential for many body functions.
As you can imagine, its not about the number of calories alone that will determine your success with intermittent fasting but the quality of the foods that make up those calories.
The top nutrient-dense foods to break a 16:8 fast include:
- Lean proteins: chicken and poultry, meat, fish, legumes , eggs, nuts, and seeds.
- Vegetables: fresh or frozen, the richer in color the better.
- Fruits: fresh or frozen, a variety of fruit is the best option.
- Whole grains: rice, oats, quinoa, wheat , and other ancient grains.
- Healthy fats: olive oil, avocado , coconut oil, and fats from nuts .
The most important thing to remember is to provide your body with a variety of foods from which it can get the nutrition it needs.
Eating the same foods each day can lead to nutritional deficiencies and meal boredom.
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