When it comes to health and nutrition, there are plenty of regimens people choose to live by—from veganism to a model’s diet. A particularly popular option is 16/8 intermittent fasting, which has become increasingly common in recent years. The 16/8 intermittent fasting, known for its weight loss capabilities, enables people to regulate their calorie consumption effortlessly.
16/8 Intermittent Fasting
Compared with the traditional diet that requires you to limit your overall calories strictly and eat multiple meals, this fasting approach does not ask for such a strict regimen. Instead, it involves decreasing the number of meals eaten in one day and condensing eating times into an 8-hour window. You fast for 16 hours each day while packing all your food intake into those eight hours.
Intermittent fasting not only aids in weight loss but also keeps your body healthy. When the glucose levels drop during a fast, it triggers autophagy: a homeostatic process initiated by the body to eliminate damaged cells and create new healthier ones. This can have anti-aging effects and defend against bacteria and viruses that cause infection or turn normal cells into cancerous ones.
How Fasting Works
Have you ever wondered how fasting works? Our body is not taking in any energy when we fast, and our blood sugar remains steady. Simultaneously, insulin secretion reduces while the body uses fat for fuel rather than glucose (known as ketosis). Moreover, once the brain notices that there’s no external energy source coming into the cells, it starts repurposing residual energy, which helps cleanse out aging cells.
Taking periodic breaks from eating not only gives our cells the much-needed rest and recuperation period, but it can also have significant benefits for our health. Recent research reveals that fasting may help regulate blood sugar levels, decrease inflammation, lose weight, and lower the risk of chronic diseases. Additionally, abstaining from food helps to reduce insulin production, which is beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes.
Not just what we eat is critical for our health, but also when we consume it. For example, eating mainly during daylight hours can help with weight control and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Our circadian rhythms have a significant impact on this process. Circadian rhythms are the natural, internal processes regulating our body’s 24-hour physical, mental and behavioral cycles.
These cycles respond primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment. They affect physiology, such as hormone release, eating habits, sleep patterns, and other vital functions related to a person’s health. Circadian rhythms are central to the 16/8 intermittent fasting approach.
Because 16/8 intermittent fasting involves restricting eating patterns to an 8-hour window, usually between 12 pm and 8 pm—by eating only during certain hours, we can take advantage of our body’s natural circadian rhythm and optimize its functions for health benefits.
Closely Monitor Your Progress
16/8 intermittent fasting can provide countless benefits, yet newcomers might find it difficult and unable to go long periods without food. It’s also imperative to note that type 2 diabetics should use caution as their blood sugar levels could skyrocket with this diet plan.
Having an electronic blood sugar monitor and seeking medical advice is essential for anyone with diabetes. Though a standard recommendation may be to eat two meals within 8 hours, this can lead to unwanted indigestion and nutritional deficiencies from the caloric deficit caused by eating only two meals per day.
To avoid these issues, it’s best to spread out your daily intake of food into three smaller but balanced meals throughout the day. If you want to experience the numerous health benefits of fasting, here are some simple steps that will help you successfully transition into a regular fast and see results:
1. Start with a 12 or 14-hour Fast
Starting with a 16-hour fast might seem intimidating, but why not take it one step at a time? Begin your journey by embracing the 12-hour fasting window. You can incorporate sleep into your schedule to make this easier to achieve.
For instance, if you start fasting at 6 pm, then by 6 am the next day, you have completed 12 hours! Once these become second nature and more manageable, try pushing yourself further until, eventually, those 10 am meals arrive—that’s when you know that an impressive 16 hours has been accomplished.
2. Eat More Protein & Reduce Refined Carbohydrates
Boosting your protein intake can help to slow down feelings of hunger. Protein is far less likely than carbohydrates to bring about a spike in blood sugar levels, resulting in you feeling fuller for longer.
When your glucose balance remains steady, it’s associated with higher leptin levels and consequently reduced cravings—allowing the body to tap into fat reserves more quickly while also curbing appetite.
Significantly decreasing consumption of processed carbs has an additional advantage here as it helps protect against insulin spikes which only lead to further hunger pangs!
3. Focus on Natural Foods & Stay Away from Processed Foods
While you are within your eating window, whole and nutrient-dense foods should be prioritized. Make sure that the food quality is of a high standard—going organic or locally sourced whenever possible will help prevent an increase in appetite and blood sugar levels due to added ingredients. Even though fasting only restricts when you eat rather than controlling calories, it does not mean that processed meals may be consumed without moderation.
4. Appropriately Increase the Intake of Healthy Fats
If your hunger strikes for a limited period, you’ll likely consume fewer calories and risk energy depletion. Incorporate higher-fat meals like cheese and lean meats into your diet to increase fat intake without overextending the calorie deficit or damaging your body’s health. Furthermore, almonds, macadamia nuts, and pecans are all excellent sources of healthy fats!
5. Stay Hydrated
Proper hydration is essential to the success of any fast. Keep yourself fueled and energized throughout your cleanse by drinking fluids like water, herbal teas, black tea, or coffee- avoid limiting your intake! To help replenish electrolytes during fasting days, consider buying a large water glass and some Himalayan salt; add lemon juice for an extra boost of nutrition.
6. Decide Whether to Continue Based on Your Feelings
If you’re thinking of using fasting or calorie restriction to shed some weight, first ask yourself: am I able to go for extended periods without feeling famished? And, as necessary, does it leave me energized and not fatigued?
We must consider our emotional well-being when evaluating dieting options; if fasting hurts our mental state and leads to negative eating habits, it may be abandoned. Your overall health is the priority here.
Fasting and other nourishing diets can help you shed pounds while preserving your health. However, no scientific research conclusively proves that fasting is the superior option—it could be an excellent fit for some individuals but difficult for others. Ultimately, selecting an eating plan that fits into your lifestyle and works best for YOU matters most!