Fasting is the abstinence from food for a period of time in order to achieve certain benefits, not only physical but also mental and spiritual. Intermittent fasting 16/8 is one of the easiest forms of fasting. Unlike other forms of fasting, it is easier to implement and sustain over time. But, how do you do intermittent fasting 16/8, and what are its benefits?
Intermittent fasting 16/8 is a type of fasting. It has an 8-hour feeding window and a 16-hour fasting window. It is one of the most practical forms of fasting and can even be carried out by most people safely. The main benefits include increased weight loss, increased energy and vitality, better metabolic control, less anxiety, and easier implementation.
Table of contents
- What Is 16/8 Intermittent Fasting?
- How To Implement Intermittent Fasting 16/8?
- What Foods Can And Cannot Be Eaten During Intermittent Fasting 16/8?
- What Are The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting 16/8?
- What Are The Drawbacks Of Intermittent Fasting 16/8?
- Who Can Do Intermittent Fasting 16/8 And Who Cannot?
What Is 16/8 Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting 16/8 is a practice characterized by a 16-hour fasting window and an 8-hour feeding window. It is one of the easiest ways to fast, as each person can adapt the schedules to their routine.
Also, most people can carry it out without contraindications (adverse effects), while providing benefits not only physically but also spiritually.
It is important to clarify this type of fasting is not based on the restriction of volume or type of meals or amount of calories. The only restriction is the established time schedules.
How To Implement Intermittent Fasting 16/8?
Before establishing your eating and fasting schedules, it is a good idea to review your routine. Most people find it more comfortable to skip breakfast and have the first meal at noon, continuing the eating window into the afternoon.
Here are some options you can implement when choosing your eating window:
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.
In case you work at night, you can use a schedule from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. as well.
In order to enhance the effects of fasting, it is recommended to have balanced meals, i.e. to include good quality carbohydrates, proteins and fats. This way, your insulin and blood glucose levels will be more balanced and you will avoid hunger peaks, cravings, and anxiety.
What Foods Can And Cannot Be Eaten During Intermittent Fasting 16/8?
While there are no food restrictions, it is recommended to include real foods from all food groups, including:
- Dairy: milk, cheeses, and yogurts without sugars
- Eggs and meats: poultry, fish, pork, beef
- Seeds: chia, flax, amaranth, pumpkin, etc.
- Legumes: beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, etc.
- Cereals and derivatives: whole grains, whole wheat flours, whole-grain bread, egg noodles
- Vegetables: all kinds
- Fruits: all kinds
- Nuts: walnuts, cashews, peanuts, etc.
- Sweets: opt for those that are natural, without added glucose – they can be homemade
- Fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, butter, heavy cream
It is recommended to avoid inflammatory foods, mainly those with added artificial sugars and trans fats (packaged foods with refined flours or hydrogenated vegetable oil).
What Are The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting 16/8?
This type of fasting has been associated with both metabolic and spiritual benefits.
Increases Weight Loss
The weight loss associated with this type of fasting comes from caloric restriction. So, by decreasing the number of meals, participants restrict their calories.
A study published this year compared the effects of calorie restriction alone and calorie restriction associated with intermittent fasting. The results showed there was no difference in outcomes. Both groups lost weight and reduced their fat mass percentage and waist circumference.
Increases Vitality And Energy
Studies show this type of fasting improves the quality of life and decreases the level of fatigue, especially in people with work overload or night schedules.
A reasonable explanation for this is the body has more hours of metabolic rest, in which the cells can renew themselves and optimize their energy metabolism.
Improves Blood Glucose Control
Intermittent fasting 16/8 helps lower fasting insulin levels and maintain stable blood glucose levels. This is especially true when, during the feeding window, participants eat low-carbohydrate meals.
Fasting activates the mechanisms necessary to utilize fatty acids as a source of energy. This is why glucose and insulin are more controlled. In addition, if complemented with low-carbohydrate diets, this effect can be enhanced.
This type of fasting helps reduce chronic low-grade inflammation. This is because, during periods of fasting, the cells perform a “cleansing” by eliminating toxic waste and neutralizing oxidative stress-generating molecules.
The primitive populations that performed fasting as a religious practice associated it with an improvement in the spiritual state, with a decrease in carnal appetites.
Researchers conducted a study on the effects of fasting on the levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. It concluded that 16/8 intermittent fasting was able to reduce levels of anxiety, stress, and depression, although more research needs to be done.
Easier To Manage Than Other Diets
Unlike other types of diets to improve the quality of life, this type of fasting is easier to apply for several reasons:
- no need to menu plan
- don’t need to restrict food
- no need to count calories or weigh food
- participants can safely implement this from one to several days a week
What Are The Drawbacks Of Intermittent Fasting 16/8?
While this type of fasting has several advantages, it can also have certain disadvantages.
Some people, especially those prone to eating disorders, may find their compulsory or purging behaviors exacerbated. So, it is not recommended in these cases.
Those suffering from anxiety disorders may also be affected by having to go longer without eating.
Fasting times force the body to use alternative sources of energy, such as fats. This is very good, but it can generate discomfort such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, etc.
It is always recommended to start small to evaluate any adverse effects, and it’s also recommended to consult with a medical professional before starting.
Who Can Do Intermittent Fasting 16/8 And Who Cannot?
This type of fasting is especially useful and recommended for overweight people and those who want to improve their metabolic parameters, such as blood glucose.
It is also safe for people with fatigue or who want to improve their vitality.
However, other groups of people should seek medical advice if they want to implement a 16/8 intermittent fasting protocol. These include:
- people with diabetes and insulin treatment.
- those with eating disorders
- people taking any type of medication
- pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children
Intermittent fasting 16/8 is a type of fasting characterized by an 8-hour feeding window and a 16-hour fasting window. Among its main benefits are greater weight loss, increased vitality and energy, reduced inflammation, improved fasting blood sugar and insulin levels, and greater control of stress, anxiety, and depression levels.
It is a flexible protocol that can be useful for most people, except for a small group such as children, pregnant women, and people with conditions such as insulin-dependent diabetes and eating disorders.
So, what has piqued your interest in intermittent fasting 16/8? Let us know your reasons and why in the comments below!