March 18, 2023

16/8 Intermittent fasting

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting represents a meal plan that involves not eating anything for a period of time, alternating it with time frames in which you need to consume the necessary calories for a day. This article explains the process of the 16-hour intermittent fasting, also known as the 16/8 diet or 16/8 program. Basically, this involves a 16-hour time frame in which you do not eat anything, only drink water or tea, followed by an 8-hour period when you are free to eat. The benefits of this program include preventing type 2 diabetes and many obesity-related afflictions, alongside losing weight.

How does it work?

Some people believe this method works by supporting the body’s circadian rhythm, which is its internal clock. Most people who follow the 16-hour intermittent fasting diet abstain from eating at night, in the morning, and in the evening, although there are multiple time windows in which you can eat. The majority of people trying this diet tend to consume their calories in the middle of the day. Another thing that people find interesting about this diet is that there are no restrictions on the type or amount of food a person can eat during the 8-hour window. Being so easy to grasp, this food plan seems relatively easy to follow. But don’t be fooled! Chaotic eating can get you to an even worse place than where you started.

Suggested meal plan

Although intermittent fasting does not specify which foods are allowed and which foods are banned, it is best to keep in touch with healthy foods and limit or completely avoid unhealthy foods. High consumption of unhealthy products can lead to weight gain. As always, the best meal plan consists of a healthy balance of nutrients:

  • Fruit and vegetables: they can be fresh, frozen or preserved in water
  • Whole grains, such as quinoa, brown rice, oats, and barley
  • Lean proteins such as fish, chicken, beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, seeds, low-fat cottage cheese, and eggs
  • Healthy fats from fatty fish, olives, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds.

Your main goal is finding the best mix of foods that can keep you feeling full for as long as possible. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are high in fiber, which means they can keep you feeling full longer. Keep in mind that healthy fats and proteins are your trusted friends when it comes to eating less but feeling fuller.

Advice for following this diet

Give cinnamon tea a chance: during the 16 hours of fasting, this tea can keep your stomach from growling, and your mind can be free thinking about anything but food. You should drink plenty of water no matter if you are following a diet or not, but intermittent fasting is quite a strenuous activity for your body, so staying hydrated is a must. This might sound childish, but try staying away from social media or television. You don’t want to think about food because you saw a fast-food advertisement on your phone! This way, you can practice social media fasting too. Be careful when you exercise! Pushing limits on an empty stomach can make you feel nauseous, or worse, faint. Instead, opt for exercising during the 8-hour period, this way you can eat before and after you are done burning calories.

Benefits for choosing intermittent fasting

Researchers have been studying intermittent fasting for years. Like the large majority of innovative diets, the results of the studies are sometimes contradictory and inconclusive. However, existing research on intermittent fasting, including fasting 16/8, indicates that it may provide some very important benefits. Some of them include:

  • Weight loss: Probably the most obvious benefit, weight loss is the main reason why people want to start dieting in the first place. By having a time frame in which you can eat, your metabolism speeds up while you reduce your caloric intake. A 2017 study suggests that intermittent fasting leads to greater weight loss in men with obesity than regular dietary plans. Research back from 2016 shows that men who followed intermittent fasting 16/8 for a period of circa 8 weeks, during which time they did resistance training, showed a significant decrease in fat. It is also good to note that participants maintained their muscle mass throughout the diet.
  • Prevents diseases: Although research in this field is limited, people that follow intermittent fasting suggest that it can prevent multiple conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some types of cancer, and even neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Increases your life expectancy: Studies conducted on animals suggest that intermittent fasting can help them live longer. For example, a study in mice found that repeated short-term intermittent fasting increased the lifespan of females.


Besides the desired results, such as weight loss or an overall great way to prevent any unwanted health problems, intermittent fasting is not risk-free. Like in many other diets, there are cases of side effects.

Some side effects that have been reported include:

  • Feeling hungry, weak, and tired at the beginning of your dieting journey.
  • Excessive consumption of unhealthy foods during the 8-hour window due to excessive hunger that cannot be well-controlled.
  • Stomach burns because of overeating in the short time allowed to do so.

Although not thoroughly documented, intermittent fasting may be less beneficial for women than for men. Some research suggests that this type of radical dieting could negatively affect women's fertility.

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Meet Zoe

A passionate blogger and wellness enthusiast who's on a mission to spread positivity and inspire others to live a healthy, happy life. With a wealth of knowledge and experience in the world of health and wellness, Jane's blog is the go-to destination for anyone seeking tips, advice, and inspiration on how to achieve optimal physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
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