16:8 intermittent fasting is a time-restricted type of diet where you fast for 16 hours a day and only eat within an eight-hour window. Some people follow this diet daily while others choose to do it a few days a week.
“Intermittent fasting is an increasingly popular method of weight loss, and there are numerous types of fasting diets, including the popular 5:2 diet,” said Lucy Jones, Associate Nutritionist at Harley Street home (opens in new tab).
How does it work? When the body goes into “starvation” mode during fasting due to lower glucose levels, it begins a homeostatic process known as autophagy, the body’s way of cleaning damaged cells to regenerate new, healthier ones.
In addition to weight loss, many people do intermittent fasting for a number of other health benefits National Institute on Aging (opens in new tab) found that it can improve heart and brain health and lower blood pressure. If you’re interested in trying the 16:8 fast, read on to find out how to get started.
What is Intermittent Fasting 16:8?
Intermittent fasting 16:8 means you fast for 16 hours — or eat nothing — and only eat within an eight-hour window.
“Fasting has gained popularity in the health and fitness world in recent years,” says Dr. Mahmud Kara, the creator of KaraMD (opens in new tab). “There are many different types of fasting diets that people can follow according to their own health needs or goals. The eating style itself was established by Jason Fung, MD, and in its simplest form, fasting occurs when you alternate between periods of eating and not eating.”
But what does fasting do to the body? “When we eat food, our bloodstream is suddenly bombarded with nutrients in the form of simple carbohydrates, amino acids and fats, depending on the meal we eat,” says Dr. Kara.
“This forces the body into a highly metabolic state, which in itself requires a lot of energy. Constant eating, even when you’re consuming “good” carbs, fat, and protein, puts our bodies, and particularly our cells, in a state where they are signaled that they need to work — like removing digestive byproducts and metabolizing nutrients.
“Fasting gives our cells a chance to rest and repair. Because fasting plays an essential role in giving the body and its systems a chance to reboot, recent studies — including one in the New England Journal of Medicine (opens in new tab) — have suggested it may ultimately help in a variety of health areas: reducing inflammation, stabilizing blood sugar levels, improving weight management and reducing risk of chronic disease.”
Intermittent fasting 16:8: first steps
Intermittent fasting for beginners Using the 16:8 approach is relatively simple: simply select an 8-hour feeding window, eat one to three nutritious meals during that period, and then abstain from food the rest of the time. You can continue to drink water, herbal teas, black tea or coffee. The most popular time slot for dining is typically between 12:00pm and 8:00pm, but it’s entirely up to you to choose a time that suits your schedule.
Michal says, “Many people will find that a 16:8 fasting pattern isn’t all that difficult to start with. However, if you find that 16 hours is too long to start with, you can start with shorter fasts of around 12 hours and work your way up to the full 16 hours.
“During your eating window, it is recommended that you eat whole, nutrient-dense foods. When intermittent fasting, people often limit their calorie intake. Focusing on nutritious foods can help ensure your full nutritional needs are met.”
dr Kara adds, “Pay close attention to the quality of the food you eat. It’s always best to choose organic or locally sourced ingredients whenever possible to avoid harmful preservatives or additives that can contribute to the buildup of toxins or other health problems in the body. So, while fasting, avoid high-fat, high-sugar foods, refined carbohydrates, and other bad food options.
“Constant eating, even if you’re eating well, puts the body in a state where it’s being signaled to ‘build up’, which can be very taxing over time. Being able to rest and recover is essential for our body and its various systems to function properly. Ultimately, fasting gives your body a chance to rebalance itself.”
Is 16:8 fasting healthy?
“Intermittent fasting 16:8 has not been shown to be harmful to the average healthy individual,” says Michal Mor, PhD, co-founder and head of science at lumens (opens in new tab).
“Fasting has been shown to help people limit their calorie intake and lose weight, and it may also reduce the risk of obese health conditions like nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, as well as some chronic diseases.”
During studies, like one in the Canadian family doctor (opens in new tab) Journal, have shown that intermittent fasting can lead to short-term weight loss, a review in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (opens in new tab) suggests this is due to an energy deficit created by limiting your eating window, Jones says.
“Put simply, if you can only eat for a short time, you’re less likely to eat as much. Of course, this depends on the foods you eat. You could be eating very high calorie foods that are unlikely to leave you in an energy deficit. But ultimately, there is no conclusive evidence that intermittent fasting is superior to the standard calorie restricted diet. Many studies have shown that intermittent fasting and traditional calorie restriction have similar weight loss results.”
According to a study published in nutrient (opens in new tab)There’s also mixed evidence about the health benefits of intermittent fasting for cardiovascular disease risk factors, says Jones, and more research is needed before we can conclude on benefits.
“However, it should be noted that losing 5 percent of body weight (not specific to intermittent fasting) reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease, according to research,” she says.
Is 16:8 Intermittent Fasting Right For You?
“If you’ve decided you want to follow a 16:8 intermittent fasting or any other style of intermittent fasting, make sure it’s safe to do so by first checking with a healthcare professional such as a GP, nutritionist, or registered or associate staff speak nutritionist,” says Nigel DenbyNutritionist and Founder of Harley Street home (opens in new tab).
“I would not advise intermittent fasting for people with a history of eating disorders, underweight people, children or adolescents, pregnant or breastfeeding women or people with previous illnesses.” Intermittent fasting for women in general, a different approach than in men may be required.
If you’re being told it’s safe to do so, consider the following factors, Denby says:
- Is this definitely right for you? Do you feel full and good when you go without food for a long time? It’s important not to feel tired or weak if you don’t eat for a long time.
- Does that fit your lifestyle? Can you live your life around a limited eating window? Will this affect meal times with friends or family? Will being hungry in the morning affect your alertness at work?
- Is that sustainable? Will this type of diet leave you full, satisfied and happy? Our emotional health is just as important when we think about our diet. There’s no point in starting a new eating pattern if you can’t keep it up. You’ll likely feel guilty if you quit, and you may even experience weight gain.
- Are you hydrated? It’s crucial that you stay hydrated at all times, even during a fasting window. Water, herbal teas or black tea or coffee can all be consumed. Never limit your fluid intake. We recommend investing in one of the best water bottles and keeping it handy as a visual reminder to drink throughout the day.
- Do you still eat a healthy and balanced diet? Does your diet still include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein sources (beans, legumes, eggs, fish, etc.), and healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds)?
Jones adds, “Intermittent fasting is not superior to traditional energy restriction for weight loss. Some people will find that this eating pattern works well for them, while others find it difficult. Ultimately, the most important thing is finding the right diet for you, not when you start and stop eating.”
https://www.livescience.com/intermittent-fasting-16-8 Intermittent fasting 16:8: How-to, benefits and tips