What Exactly Is The 1: 8 Diet
Its pretty simple. Basically, during your 16-hour “fasting” period, you limit yourself to black tea, coffee, or diet soda. Then, for the next eight hours, you can eat whatever you want . That’s it.
Scientifically, at least, the 16:8 diet seems to check out. In a recent study published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging, 23 obese men and women followed the 16:8 diet for 12 weeks. Compared to a group that ate normally, those on the 16:8 diet took in 350 fewer calories per day, lost a modest amount of weight , and lowered their blood pressure.
But, keep in mind: This was a small study and few others have examined the 16:8 diet specifically, so its tough to draw any firm conclusions just yet. More research needs to be conducted before we can see if and how it can be implemented into an actual plan effectively, confirms Beth Warren, RDN, founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Secrets of a Kosher Girl.
Still, other types of intermittent fasting show promise. The 5:2 diet, for example , resulted in more weight and fat loss compared to day-to-day calorie restriction in a 2017 study in the International Journal of Obesity.
It Is Easier To Incorporate Into Your Day
Most people eat three main meals a day breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Fasting 16 hours day simply requires you to forego one of those meals instead of squeezing them all together within the 8 hours. This is very easy to implement and follow through.
Compare this to a diet that asks you to count every last calorie in every spoon. Or one that requires you to ignore a food group totally. Or even those that demand an entire overhaul of your fridge and pantry fasting 16 hours a day is more practical.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work
There are several different ways to do intermittent fasting, but they are all based on choosing regular time periods to eat and fast. For instance, you might try eating only during an eight-hour period each day and fast for the remainder. Or you might choose to eat only one meal a day two days a week. There are many different intermittent fasting schedules.
Mattson says that after hours without food, the body exhausts its sugar stores and starts burning fat. He refers to this as metabolic switching.
Intermittent fasting contrasts with the normal eating pattern for most Americans, who eat throughout their waking hours, Mattson says. If someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and theyre not exercising, then every time they eat, theyre running on those calories and not burning their fat stores.
Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat.
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Other Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting 1: 8 Schedule
The jurys still out on some of the broader health claims, but theres no denying that 16:8 fasting packs some profound health benefits, including:
Intermittent fasting may also reduce the likelihood of some cancer types, and some animal studies suggest it may even help you live longer. However, intermittent fasting isnt for everyone, and though the benefits are unquestionable, there are also possible adverse side effects.
What Are The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
As we mentioned previously, the benefits of intermittent fasting extend beyond weight loss. There is a mound of evidence that points to intermittent fasting providing full-body benefits as well as brain benefits. Here are some of the benefits of intermittent fasting, whether it be 16/8 or 12/12:
- Lowered risk of type 2 diabetes – Fasting can reduce your insulin resistance, which can help lower blood sugar levels, protecting against type 2 diabetes
- Reduce oxidative stress and inflammation – Oxidative stress can oftentimes lead to chronic diseases. Fasting can help enhance your bodys resistance to oxidative stress, fighting off inflammation
- Improved heart health – Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve numerous different risk factors, including blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers, and blood sugar levels
- Prevent cancer – While more research is needed, current research does show that fasting can help prevent cancer
- Brain health – Fasting can induce bodily functions, such as autophagy, which help reduce oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, and reduce blood sugar levels
When considering starting a fasting diet, you should consider all of these benefits, on top of the weight loss aspect of the diet.
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The 16/8 Fasting Meal Plan
The 16/8 method involves skipping breakfast and restricting eating to 8 hours, so you can eat from noon-8 pm and fast for the next 16 hours.
If you usually skip breakfast, this will be the easiest method. Another example is to stop eating at 9 pm and start again at 1 pm the following day.
During that 8-hour window is when you may eat 2-3 meals .
If youre new to IF, its recommended that you start with the 16/8. Your 8-hour eating window can be 9 am-5 pm, or 10-am-6pm, or 11 am-7 pm. You can always experiment with different timeslots to see which one fits your biology, schedule, and lifestyle.
16/8 Fasting Schedule
- 7:30 AM drink lemon water
- Skip breakfast
- 3:00 PM have a snack
- 8:00 PM have dinner
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Choosing A Time Window
To get started, begin by picking an 8-hour window and limiting your food intake to that time span.
Popular 16/8 time windows include:
- 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Many people prefer to eat between noon and 8 p.m., since you need to fast only overnight and skip breakfast but can still eat a balanced lunch and dinner, along with a few snacks throughout the day.
Others opt to eat between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., which allows plenty of time for a healthy breakfast around 9 a.m., a standard lunch around noon, and a light, early dinner or large snack around 4:30 p.m. before starting your fast.
However, you can experiment and pick the time frame that best fits your schedule.
It may help to set timers at both the beginning and the end of your eating window to remind you when to start and stop eating.
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What Happens To Your Body When You Fast For 16 Hours
The 16/8 intermittent diet is one of the most popular intermittent diets because its easy to follow, flexible, and is sustainable for the long term. The fasting window isnt extreme and there are no strict calorie restrictions. It can also help you count down the amount of money you spend on food, so think of that as an added benefit. Here are some of the health benefits of fasting for 16-hours:
- Weight loss – Fasting for 16-hours can boost your metabolism, quickly increasing weight loss
- Improved blood sugar control – Fasting for 16-hours has been shown to reduce insulin levels by up to 31% and lower blood sugar by 3-6%
- Enhanced longevity – Fasting can help you live a longer, healthier life
The benefits of a 16:8 diet are essentially the same as a 12/12 diet. What diet works best for you will largely depend on what youre hoping to get out of your diet.
Intermittent Fasting Type Also Aids Weight And Fat Loss
As we have mentioned, one of the primary 16:8 fasting benefits includes your bodyâs ability to burn fat mass for fuel. This eliminates fat stores in the body, helping you permanently lose pounds through calorie restriction and eating periods, as well as preventing future weight gain.
Instead of just losing water weight, intermittent fasting and ketosis directly target fat build-ups in your body for lasting results.
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Try Sticking To The Following Foods On The : 8 Diet:
- Whole grains: Ones like rice, oats, barley, wholegrain pasta and quinoa will keep you fuller for longer.
- Protein: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds will keep you full.
- Fruit: Apples, bananas, berries, oranges and pears will offer good vitamin sustenance.
- Vegetables: Broccoli and leafy greens are especially good for making sure youre eating enough fibre.
- Healthy fats: Olive oil, coconut oil, avocados.
How I Feel After 2 Years Of Intermittent Fasting
1. The biggest benefit of intermittent fasting is simplicity.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, President Obama described an interesting strategy he uses to make his life simpler. Youll see I wear only gray or blue suits, he said. Im trying to pare down decisions. I dont want to make decisions about what Im eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.
What President Obama is referring to is a concept called decision fatigue and it can drastically impact your ability to make decisions throughout the day. I explained the science of decision fatigue in this article.
For the President, simplifying his clothing choices is a way to make life simpler and improve his decision making abilities. For me, intermittent fasting provides the same benefit. Eliminating breakfast and not thinking about food until 12pm each day has allowed me to reduce the number of decisions I make in the morning, thus reducing decision fatigue and increasing the willpower I have for the rest of the day. That means I have more energy to put toward doing work that is important to me.
One of the best ways to find happiness and success in life is to strip away the unnecessary things and focus only on what is needed.
2. Intermittent fasting is an excellent travel strategy.
The solution? Treat your travel days as a fasting day and then eat twice as much good food the following day.
3. So far, intermittent fasting has not hurt my long-term health.
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Best Hours For Intermittent Fasting 16/8
When choosing which 8 hours of the day will make up your eating window, really considering your daily routine and schedule will be key. Most often, people following 16/8 intermittent fasting will choose to skip breakfast and eat in a window from roughly 11 a.m.-7 p.m. or 12 p.m.- 8 p.m., with those later hours allowing for flexibility for after work get-togethers and later dinners with friends and familythis option is also great for late-risers. If you choose to allow for coffee or tea in your plan, you can ease into your day with a cup and then begin your eating window with lunch or a late-morning snack.
In our current pandemic climate, however, you probably don’t have any after-work gatherings with friends on your agendain which case you may want to try moving your last meal earlier in the day so you can allow for an earlier breakfast. Intermittent fasting allows for flexibility, and the best schedule can only be determined by what you will be able to stick with .
Spontaneous Fasting / Skipping Meals
This is one that I would recommend for anyone who is on the fence about intermittent fasting, or feels overwhelmed by setting restrictive fasting times.
This is a gentle introduction to intermittent fasting, which is led by your lifestyle and body. It is perfect for those who donât like to feel restricted, or get disheartened if they donât meet the criteria of their diet.
You simply allow yourself to skip meals if you donât feel hungry, or too busy to eat.
Cooking and eating take up a surprising amount of time, and embracing this way of eating will give you the time to work on other thingsâmaybe replace a meal with something you enjoy, like going for a walk or yoga ð§ââï¸
Spontaneous meal skipping is an effective way to recondition the popular belief that we need to eat three meals a day. You will not starve if you skip a meal now and then!
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Overeating And Potential Weight Gain
Restricting your intake to just 8 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. This may lead to weight gain, digestive problems, and unhealthy eating habits.
Interestingly, current research doesnt suggest that intermittent fasting leads to any more weight loss than typical diets that recommend overall calorie restriction. Both eating patterns may lead to modest weight loss .
If weight loss is your primary goal, you may therefore prefer to lower your calorie intake instead of fasting intermittently to prevent the overeating that may occur when restricting intake to a certain time window.
How To Succeed With Intermittent Fasting
Since it saves time and money, many have no problem starting IF. Others, however, may find it challenging to start especially when they are used to eating three meals and snacks every day. Here are some tips for success:
You can also learn more about the potential side effects of intermittent fasting in our evidence-based guide.
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Study Participants Lost Over Half A Pound Each Week On Average
Participants in the study lost an average of a little more than half a pound a week during the study, which is considered safe for weight loss.
âWe didnât specifically ask anyone to restrict their calories,â Taub said. âWe just told them to restrict their eating window. And one of the nice things is people inadvertently without even meaning to do reduce their calories by a little bit.â
Nearly two-thirds of the patients continued adhering to their fasting routine for at least a year after the study ended because it made them feel better. Some were able to quit or reduce their cholesterol or blood pressure medications. Taub told her patients that they should aim to eat nutritious, healthful meals during the study, but stressed ânot to starveâ and ânot to be very skimpy on the calories.â
âThis is not a caloric restriction diet,â she said. âWe do tell them during those 10 hours to eat, and be content. And I think thatâs whatâs also self-sustaining is people donât feel hungry. People donât feel deprived.â
Taub says that sheâs adopted a version of the same fasting plan, and now typically restricts her eating to between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm. Many of her friends and family are trying out their own versions of the idea.
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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Editorial Sources And Fact
- Harris L, Hamilton S, Azevedo LB, et al. Intermittent Fasting Interventions for Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports. February 2018.
- Varady K, Cienfuegos S, Ezpeleta M, Gabel K. Cardiometabolic Benefits of Intermittent Fasting. Annual Review of Nutrition. October 2021.
- Shetty AK, Kodali M, Upadhya R, Madhu LN. Emerging Anti-Aging Strategies Scientific Basis and Efficacy. Aging and Disease. December 2018.
- Haupt S, Eckstein M, Wolf A, et al. Eat, Train, Sleep Retreat? Hormonal Interactions of Intermittent Fasting, Exercise, and Circadian Rhythm. Biomolecules. March 2021.
- Faris MA, Kacimi S, Al-Kurd RA, et al. Intermittent Fasting During Ramadan Attenuates Proinflammatory Cytokines and Immune Cells in Healthy Subjects. Nutrition Research. December 2012.
- Nencioni A, Caffa I, Cortellino S, Longo V. Fasting and Cancer: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Application. Nature Reviews: Cancer. November 2018.
- Arnason TG, Bowen MW, Mansell KD. Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health Markers in Those With Type 2 Diabetes: A Pilot Study. World Journal of Diabetes. April 2017.
- Mattson MP, Longo VD, Harvie M. Impact of Intermittent Fasting on Health and Disease Processes. Ageing Research Review. October 2017.
How Much Weight Can You Lose On The 1: 8 Diet
To lose weight on the 16:8 diet, it’s important to match the fasting with healthy eating and exercise. If done so correctly, there’s a typical weight loss of around seven to 11 pounds over a ten week period, according to a review of studies by Sydney Medical School . They found, on average, someone weighing 90kg would lose 5% of their body weight in 10 weeks.
But how much weight you lose on the 16:8 diet depends on eating fewer calories than you’re burning. According to a leading study by the University of Vienna , this energy deficit can be achieved in many ways – but is ultimately the only method of weight loss. When you eat food, your body metabolises it to create energy. This is used for daily activities – everything from breathing to walking around. If you have more energy than what your body burns, the extra is mainly stored as fat. If you have less energy than what your body burns, your body will turn to fat stores for energy. Aka. the calorie deficit.
While intermittent fasting has benefits, eating in a 8-hour period alone will not automatically mean you lose weight. The plan is just one way to achieve the deficit without having to count how many calories you burn in a day . The given eating time aims to automatically restrict the amount of food you can eat, leading to weight loss.
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