How Does 16:8 Intermittent Fasting Work for 13 Health Benefits?
In recent times, the 16:8 Intermittent Fasting trend has really caught on. Also known as the 16:8 diet or the 16:8 plan, this type of intermittent fasting is quite popular now. It involves an eating plan where you fast for 16 hours a day and eat all you want for the remaining 8 hours. Research suggests that weight loss, fat loss, along with prevention of Type II Diabetes is possible with the help of this diet plan.
WHAT IS 16:8 INTERMITTENT FASTING?
16:8 intermittent fasting is a form of time-restricted fasting where you consume all kinds of foods during the 8-hour eating window. The other 16 hours of the day are spent in fasting and avoiding food. The 8-hour period is usually during the daytime where people plan and eat their daily calories.
There are no restrictions on the types of food or the amount of food that you consume during the eating window. This flexibility enables people to follow it rightly.
HOW CAN YOU DO 16:8 INTERMITTENT FASTING?
You may be worried as to how you can manage to stay hungry for about 16 hours a day. Well the easiest way to do this, is to choose your 16-hour fasting window during late evening and early morning. This is the time when everyone spends sleeping. Hence it is easy to avoid food at such times.
So, your 8-hour eating windows could be –
- 9:00 am – 05:00 pm
- 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
- 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
- 12:00 noon – 8:00 pm
Choosing from the above timeframes will help set your meal timings right. Having a proper meal timing and eating regularly is necessary to avoid sudden blood sugar spikes or drops and to avoid excessive hunger. Based on your routine and lifestyle, you can choose the best suited time frame for yourself.
Eating your last meal at least 2-3 hours before bedtime helps in complete digestion and breakdown of your food.
Regardless of the time frame you choose, it is necessary that you eat your meals regularly after smaller intervals throughout the day. This will ensure your blood sugar is stabilized and keep your hunger pangs under control.
Consuming a meal rich in all nutrients is a must so that you can reap the benefits of this meal plan. Balance your diet during the 8-hour eating window by adding a good variety of wholesome foods like:
- Vegetables: Leafy greens, roots & tubers, salads, other veggies like tomato, cauliflower, peas, okra, pumpkin, etc.
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, pears, oranges, watermelon, berries, peach, etc.
- Whole grains: Rice, oats, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, dahlia, etc.
- Lean proteins: Fish, meat, poultry, legumes, eggs, nuts, seeds, etc.
- Healthy fats: Coconut oil, nuts, seeds, olive oil, cold-pressed vegetable oils, etc.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids like water, unsweetened tea/coffee, fruit juices, vegetable soups, etc.
- Too much of anything: Overloading on junk food or eating high-calorie foods during your eating window can negate the positive effects of intermittent fasting and you may end up doing more harm than good to your body.
13 HEALTH BENEFITS FOR 16:8 INTERMITTENT FASTING
The 16:8 intermittent fasting diet has various health benefits related to it. Let’s jump right into the benefits, shall we?
- Easy to follow
Since you do not have to restrict your meals or the foods you eat, it is quite an easy diet to follow. Known for its flexibility and sustainability, this diet plan can be followed for a long time.
It helps you plan your meals in advance and thereby, reduces the amount of time, energy, and money that you spend on making foods for various meals. You now have a fixed routine and mealtime. This ensures that you are prepped and ready for each meal well beforehand.
- Helps lose weight
Fasting helps boost your metabolism and increases your weight loss curve. Restricting yourself from eating for a few hours a day can help cut your calorie intake. This enables preferred appropriate weight loss.
- Blood sugar control
Now that your mealtimes are fixed and you are eating regularly, your blood sugar levels stay controlled. Intermittent fasting has been found to lower fasting insulin levels by up to 41% and thereby lower your blood sugar levels by 3-6%. This helps reduce your risk of diabetes.
- Long lifespan
Some studies have proven that intermittent fasting helps extend longevity and improves the way of life.
- Lose belly fat
Intermittent fasting ensures you eat fewer, yet healthier meals. This suggests that you don’t eat junk food and empty calories. This results in 4-7% of belly fat loss and a decrease in the waist circumference.
- Changes function of cells, genes, hormones
Fasting helps bring about certain changes in the body that help reduce your blood sugar levels, help in weight loss, and induce important cellular repair along with waste removal from the body.
- Reduces insulin resistance
Insulin resistance is the main cause behind development of type II diabetes. By following the 16:8 intermittent fasting programme, your insulin resistance is lowered, and blood sugar levels remain controlled.
- Reduces oxidative stress
Oxidative stress is the main cause of ageing and many chronic diseases. Fasting enhances your body’s resistance against oxidative stress. It also helps fight inflammation and keeps many chronic diseases at bay.
- Promotes heart health
Intermittent fasting helps improve various risk factors related to heart diseases like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, inflammatory markers, and blood sugar levels.
- Prevents Alzheimer’s
Currently, there isn’t any cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Intermittent fasting helps delay the onset and reduce the severity of this disease. Animal studies also suggest fasting helps protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinsonism, Huntington’s disease, etc.
- Improves cellular repair processes
When you fast, your body cells initiate a cellular process called autophagy. This is the body’s waste removal process that involves breakdown of cells and metabolisation of proteins that build up inside the cells over time. Autophagy helps provide protection against various diseases like alzheimer’s and cancer. Hence, fasting triggers this process and promotes waste removal from the body.
- Promotes good sleep
By following the intermittent fasting routine, your body gets used to a certain pattern of eating and mealtimes. This helps maintain the regulated circadian rhythm and promotes a good night’s sleep.
With such a variety of health benefits, the 16:8 intermittent fasting helps you live a healthy life while also ensuring proper nutrition intake. Consult your dietitian today and understand how you can incorporate the 16:8 intermittent fasting in your routine. Need to connect with our health expert? Drop a comment below!