The practice of fasting for a predetermined period, or commonly known as intermittent fasting, has disrupted our mindset of having 3 square meals a day and changed the way we think about mealtimes.
Losing weight, improving brain function, and simplifying their eating habits are just a few of the reasons many people are adopting this kind of fasting practice.
In this article, you will learn what is the 16:8 intermittent fasting diet, and how to get started.
What is 16:8 Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is not a diet. It is more like practice because it doesn’t specify what and how much you should eat, but instead, it focuses on when you should eat.
The most popular version of this eating pattern is 16:8. That means, you are allowed to consume your meals during an 8-hour window, and then abstain from food for the remaining 16 hours.
How To Do It?
The 16:8 hours intermittent fasting is the most popular one because the larger portion of your fasting time is spent in your sleep. So to get started, you first have to select the hours during which you want to consume your calories for the day.
The most popular “eating window” that people use is between noon and eight o’clock in the evening. Most of the people find this easier because it means they only have to skip breakfast and eat their lunch at dinner time.
Some eating windows include:
- 10 am to 6 pm
- 11 am to 7 pm
- 12 pm to 8 pm
The development of the 16:8 intermittent fasting plan should be made based on your current sleep patterns and mealtimes as a guide. If you are an early riser, then maybe the first option (10 am to 6 pm) is best for you to avoid excess hours without food. Or for example, if your food cravings are strongest at night before bedtime, you should in this case decide to use 1 pm to 9 pm eating window. Remember, the most important thing is to abstain from food for 16 hours.
Sample 16:8 Fasting Schedule
- 7:00 am Wake Up
- 7:30 am Water with some lemon
- 7:45 am Skip Breakfast
- Midnight Lunch
- 3:00 pm Snack
- 6:00 pm Dinner
- 7:30 pm Snack
- 8:00 Begin the fast for 16 hours
Foods to Eat
Unlike other diets, 16:8 intermittent fasting is very simple to follow since it doesn’t restrict you on how many calories or carbs you should eat. This is the reason why many people say that it simplifies their eating habits and meal planning.
However, for the best effect, it is still recommended that you don’t eat sugar and junk food because these things are linked to many diseases anyway, and no diet will support the intake of such foods.
Even on this type of eating pattern, try to focus on healthy foods like:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains and complex carbs: Brown rice, barley, oats, quinoa, etc.
- Lean proteins: Lean red meat, fish, poultry, tofu, seeds, beans, eggs
- Healthy fats: Fatty fish, avocados, coconuts, seeds, nuts, olive oil, etc.
During the 16 hour fasting period, it is allowed to consume calorie-free drinks like water, unsweetened teas, and black coffee. Drinking fluids during the fasting hour is encouraged because it may increase the feelings of satiety, which means you will feel fuller for longer.
16:8 intermittent fasting has numerous benefits, and these are just a few of them:
Weight Loss and Difference in Body Composition
One of the reasons that this weight loss program is adopted by many dieters is that it increases your metabolism, and it does that in two ways:
First, following this eating pattern will result in eating fewer calories a day. There is just an 8-hour window for eating, and unless you overcompensate by eating a lot more than you can during meals, you will end up consuming a lot less food.
Additionally, your body responds to this 16 hour fast by adjusting the hormone levels to make the fat stores more accessible. When your body is cut off its preferred source of energy and that is glucose, it will respond with burning fat instead. This means that you will not just be losing pounds, but a big portion of those pounds will come from body fat storage.
Intermittent Fasting is Good For Your Brain
Usually what is good for the body, is good for the brain as well, and 16:8 intermittent fasting is known to improve various metabolic features that are very important for brain health like, reduced inflammation, reduction in blood sugar levels, and insulin resistance, and reduced oxidative stress.
It also increases a particular hormone called a brain-derived neurotrophic factor. A deficiency of this hormone is linked with depression and various other brain problems.
Even though most of the researches in this area is conducted using animals, there are many other non-scientific proves that intermittent fasting can extend humans’ lifespan.
In some of the studies that were performed on rats, they found that rats that were fasted every other day lived 83% longer than those who didn’t fast.
Even though there are not researches conducted on humans, 16:8 intermittent fasting is already very popular among the anti-aging crowd.
16:8 Fasting Meal Plan Sample
- Meal 1: Avocado and chicken salad
- Snack: Handful of mixed nuts and few apricots
- Meal 2: Pasta with macadamia basil pesto
- Snack: Cheese and glass of red wine
- Meal 1: Vegan chickpea salad
- Snack: Peanut butter and apple slices
- Meal 2: Grilled chicken over cauliflower rice
- Snack: Berries mixed with coconut cream
- Meal 1: Whole wheat tuna and avocado salad
- Snack: Greek yogurt
- Meal 2: Asian fried noodles
- Snack: Glass of milk and three chocolate chip cookies
- Meal 1: Quinoa with broccoli and tofu salad
- Snack: Mixed berries and a piece of 85% dark chocolate
- Meal 2: Grilled salmon with brown rice and parmesan-kale salad
- Snack: Baked apple with cinnamon
- Meal 1: Grilled turkey with cornbread
- Snack: Organic edamame and almond slices
- Meal 2: Corn and black bean salsa with grilled shrimps
- Snack: Walnuts and fruit salad
- Meal 1: Seared salmon with brown rice and green salad
- Snack: Greek yogurt topped with blueberries
- Meal 2: Mexican tempeh quinoa salad
- Snack: Watermelon slices
- Meal 1: Grilled chicken with sprouts and quinoa
- Snack: Hummus and pita with veggie sticks
- Meal 2: Chicken tortilla soup and garlic bread
- Snack: Banana slices dipped in 85% dark chocolate
How Often Should You Do 16:8 Intermittent Fasting?
This depends on your personal preferences and goals, but there aren’t any side effects if you like to repeat this cycle over and over or make it a lifestyle.
How Long Does It Take to See Results from 16:8 Intermittent Fasting?
The answer to this question depends on multiple factors such as gender, genetics, starting weight, age, fitness level, and the number of calories that are cut. In general, you will begin to see results in about a month.
The 16:8 intermittent fasting is known to be effective without any food restrictions. However, keep in mind that this way of eating combined with eating a variety of whole foods, fruits, veggies, and protein, limiting junk food, meeting your fitness needs, and enough rest can transform your life over a year.
Although 16:8 fasting is a safe process for most healthy adults, speaking with a registered nutritionist is always recommended.