16-8 Intermittent Fasting
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16-8 Intermittent Fasting: What You Need to Know

16-8 intermittent fasting is a method in which an individual stays off food and any calorie-containing drinks for 16 hours a day, consuming them within a period of 8 hours daily. It is sometimes referred to as the 16:8 plan or diet. 

In this article, everything an individual needs to know about intermittent fasting will be discussed.

Fasting is a process that has significant religious meaning, but it is also vital in many cultures. In recent times, people have gone on fasting in order to lose weight. 16/8 intermittent fasting is a kind of fasting method embarked on by most individuals for the sake of losing weight. It has been reported to be a sustainable, easy, and convenient method to lose eight. Intermittent fasting is also said to improve the overall health of an individual. The belief is that a 16-8 plan assists an individual’s internal clock, the body’s circadian rhythm.

Depending on an individual’s preference, this method can be done gradually. An individual can begin by doing this fasting once or twice a week and then every day as they progress. During the 16 hours of abstaining from food, an individual can always drink water. The individual may also take non-caloric beverages such as tea or plain coffee.

When it is time to eat, nutritious whole foods such as whole grains, fruits, unsweetened tea, veggies, eggs, and fish can be eaten.

Getting Started on 16-8 Intermittent Fasting

Following a 16/8 intermittent fasting routine is quite simple, flexible, and less restrictive. Compared with other forms of diets, 16/8 intermittent fasting may only disrupt the diet to a minimum level, giving measurable results in the process. 

Before starting this routine, an individual should choose an 8-hour period that they must stick to. Food should be eaten during this period. People can always experiment with the best time that will suit their lifestyles. Usually, the 16-hour fasting period should be one’s sleeping time. Eating hours can fall in the middle of the day. The best practice is to avoid eating food 2-3 hours before sleeping. To help tick to the chosen time, an individual may decide to set timers. Some preferred times by people are:

  •  9 am to 5 pm
  • 10 am to 6 pm
  • 12 pm to 8 pm
Intermittent Fasting 16/8 Method
Picture courtesy: Intermittent Fasting

Helpful Tips

Tips that can help with a 16:8 plan may include:

  • Regular intake of water.
  • practice mindful eating,
  • exercise during the 8-hour window in order to trigger hunger,
  • reduce exposure to food, especially during the fasting period, so as not to trigger hunger,
  • meditating during the fasting period, especially when feeling hungry.

List of Foods and A Meal Plan

The ultimate goal of properly planning a 16/8 intermittent fasting routine is to ensure that an individual maximizes the potential health benefits of the diet. Therefore, nutritious whole foods and beverages should be consumed. If done right, the individual will get a healthy weight.

Foods that can be taken include:

  • Fruits: apples, berries, peaches, tomatoes, pears, oranges, etc.
  • Vegetables: cucumbers, broccoli, brussels sprout, cauliflower, etc.
  • Whole grains: oats, rice, barley, buckwheat, etc.
  • Protein sources: eggs, meat, nuts, fish, legumes, etc.
  • Healthy fats: olive oil, fatty fish, olives, avocados, etc.
  • Drinks: calorie-free beverages, unsweetened tea, and coffee.

These drinks can be taken even during the fasting period to stay dehydrated. They also help in controlling the appetite. 

Foods to avoid include:

  • deep-fried foods,
  • ultra-processed foods
  • sugary drinks
  • most frozen meals
health benefits of intermittent fasting
Picture courtesy: Love Earth Organic

Health Benefits

Studies have been conducted, and these have shown that intermittent fasting may lead to

These benefits are discussed below.

  • Controlled Blood Sugar – It has been discovered that fasting intermittently and sticking to a healthy balanced diet can help improve the control of blood sugar. The routine has been proven effective in reducing fasting insulin and blood sugar levels. This, in turn, reduces an individual’s risk of developing diabetes.
  • Prevention of Disease – There are suggestions that practicing intermittent fasting can help prevent certain diseases such as heart conditions, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, etc. An individual with health-related problems should, however, seek advice and the supervision of a doctor if intermittent fasting can be embarked on.
  • Weight Loss – It is known that fasting can help reduce weight, which has been proven by research. The consumption of calories can be effectively reduced when the window for eating is restricted. This will eventually help in weight loss.
  • Extends Longevity – Studies done where animals were subjected to intermittent fasting revealed that the lives of the animals were extended. In humans, there is limited proof to show extended longevity. 

Other benefits include:

  • improved insulin sensitivity,
  • behavioral changes that may extend longevity. 

How to know if 16/8 intermittent fasting is right for you

Although it has its pros, intermittent fasting may cause adverse effects on some individuals. These effects include an increase in weight, weakness, increased consumption of food, and short-term hunger. 

This routine should never be thought of as a replacement for eating a balanced healthy diet containing whole foods. Normal healthy eating and lifestyle can be followed without embarking on intermittent fasting.

It is always best to seek advice from a healthcare professional before deciding to begin intermittent fasting. The doctor will find out if the individual has an underlying health condition that may pose a threat to the routine. Some of these underlying conditions could be:

  • diabetes
  • low blood pressure
  • a history of eating disorder or disordered eating
  • if the individual is on any medication.

Women who are trying to have a baby, are pregnant, or are currently nursing mothers are not advised to do intermittent fasting.

If an individual begins this routine and then starts experiencing any adverse effects, they should visit a doctor.

Downsides

  • Overeating – Some individuals may decide to stuff themselves up with food during the 8-hour window for eating. This may result in some problems, such as weight gain, problems with digestion, and unhealthy eating habits. To fully enjoy the weight loss benefit of intermittent fasting, it is best practice to restrict overall calories.
  • Some Physical Symptoms – Some beginners of 16-8 intermittent fasting may experience some adverse side effects. These effects are usually short-term, and they include hunger, fatigue, and weakness.
  • Hormonal Changes – Though old and carried out on animals, some studies reveal changes in hormones and undereating due to intermittent fasting. This may be negative for individuals with ovaries as this could affect the menstrual cycle and fertility.

Human studies need to be conducted to reveal how intermittent fasting may affect the health of the reductive system. There are suggestions that people who have undergone menopause may be affected differently.

16-8 intermittent fasting is a convenient dieting routine that involves eating during an 8-hour window after fasting for 16 hours. It has many benefits, such as weight and controlling blood sugar, but it also has some adverse effects. Before embarking on this routine, it is always best to seek advice from a medical professional. 

FAQ

What is the 16-8 intermittent fasting? 

16/8 intermittent fasting is a method in which an individual stays off food and any calorie-containing drinks for 16 hours a day, consuming them within a period of 8 hours daily. It is sometimes referred to as the 16:8 plan or diet.

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