Are you considering a fasting diet? If so then one of the popular options is something called intermittent fasting (IF). This requires you to follow a fasting/eating cycle periodically or daily. Studies show that the best results in terms of weight/fat loss are when you fast for 18+ hours like an 18/6, 20/4 fasting/eating split. There’s even Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) that includes a 24/24 cycle. However, another option is intermittent fasting 16/8. This is a good option if you’re just starting with IF. Many people might even find it tough to “fast” for 12 hours between dinner and breakfast so this is a good way to get started.
In some ways IF works like the keto diet. The main difference is Keto is a low-carb/high-fat (LCHF) diet that produces similar results as fasting without actually fasting. IF causes your body to get energy from stored fat instead of food carbs. That’s because after several hours your body uses up all the energy from calories/carbs from your last meal. When that happens, your body goes to Plan B, which is fat stores. Fun Fact: 1 pound of body fat is equal to 3,500 calories. This process is more complex than the body’s first choice of energy from food calories.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
We’ve all heard of “fasting.” We do it every day when breakfast breaks the fast from the previous night’s dinner. When we think of fasting though it might seem like something to do from time to time for health or religious reasons.
Intermittent Fasting (IF) has been around for a while. It’s been trending in recent years but one theory is the weight loss/supplement industry doesn’t want people to know about it.
Here’s why. The weight loss industry was worth over $70 billion in the USA alone last year. Meanwhile, the global supplement industry was worth nearly $125 billion last year.
What’s the big deal? Intermittent Fasting doesn’t require you to make any wholesale changes to your diet. In theory, you should still eat a wide range of healthy foods during your eating window.
However, the main difference will be when you eat instead of what you eat. For example, if you do a 16/8 split, you’d eat dinner at 5 PM then breakfast at 9 AM.
Here are some of the benefits of intermittent fasting:
1. Blood sugar levels
Health conditions like insulin resistance, prediabetes, and diabetes are more likely when you experience blood sugar spikes during the day. This often results from big meals or eating all day.
IF can lower insulin resistance. That can help to lower blood sugar and reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes.
2. Weight/Fat loss
There are a few ways you can achieve these goals. You’ll generally be eating fewer meals. That’s because you’ll probably be likely to eat 2 meals with a 16/8 split, for example. Fewer meals generally mean fewer calories/carbs.
Meanwhile, your body will also turn into a fat-burning machine.
Many health experts believe inflammation is one of the main causes of serious diseases. It’s important to reduce how much damage “free radicals” can cause healthy cells. IF seems to help.
How to Do Intermittent Fasting 16/8
Fans of IF 16/8 claim it’s a practical method. That’s because it’s a convenient technique to lose weight and burn fat. It can also help to boost overall health.
This IF method requires you to consume food/beverages with calories within an 8-hour window. Meanwhile, you avoid eating during the other two-thirds (16 hours) of the day.
You can follow this fasting/eating cycle every day or one or two times per week. It’s up to you based on factors like your workout schedule and fitness goals. For example, if you do regular workouts you might want to include them during your eating hours or skip fasting those days.
One of the main benefits of intermittent fasting is how easy it is to follow. There are no strict rules or restrictions about what you can or can’t eat. What’s most important is not eating during the fasting phase. You even get to pick which hours you eat and fast.
One popular method is to make your eating window between 12:00 noon and 8 PM. This means you’ll skip breakfast than eat a well-balanced lunch and dinner. You can even eat some healthy snacks during the day.
Another benefit of this option is half the fasting hours will be while you sleep. You can even eat a few hours before bedtime, so you won’t even be hungry when you go to sleep.
Another option is to eat between 9 AM and 5 PM. That allows you to eat a healthy breakfast in the morning. It only requires you to eat an early dinner and avoid evening snacks (sorry, that includes midnight snacks).
The fasting/eating times you pick aren’t as important as sticking to them. That’s why you should consider your daily schedule so you can plan your meal times around them. For example, you might have work or school in the daytime or nighttime.
Intermittent Fasting Tips
1. Avoid binging when breaking fasts
Studies show this can be one of the drawbacks of fasting. There’s nothing wrong with having a small cheat food when breaking your fast.
One way to avoid this situation is to eat a few healthy snacks during your eating window. That will help to keep your blood sugar up during the day, so it will be easier to get through the fasting hours.
2. Drink zero-calorie drinks while fasting
It includes water, brewed coffee, and green tea. Make sure to avoid adding white sugar since this could cause blood sugar spikes. You could add a little real milk/cream if you have health conditions like acid reflux to neutralize the drinks’ acidity.
3. Do workouts during eating periods
It will provide the energy you need for cardio/weight-resistance exercises.
4. Eat healthy meals
This isn’t’ a game-changer but will help you get through your fasting period. Some good options include:
- Whole grains
- Healthy fat
Try to avoid simple carbs with a high glycemic (GI) index. These foods, like refined flour, white rice, and processed sugar cause your blood sugar to spike. When that happens, you’ll be more likely to do binge eating and be tempted to eat during the fasting period.
5. Do some experimenting
You can become a guinea pig for your own IF experiments. This can help you pick the best times for fasting/eating. For example, if you have work or classes in the daytime you might want to schedule your eating window during that time.
You might need to make some tweaks when you’re getting started. For example, you might discover it’s tough to fast all morning. If so, you could start your fast in the late afternoon to get better results from Intermittent fasting 16/8.