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16/8 intermittent fasting

A beginners guide to 16/8 intermittent fasting.

16/8 intermittent fasting involves 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating. This article reviews how it works and if it's suitable for you.

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts, and fact-checked by experts.
We look at both sides of the argument and strive to be objective, unbiased, and honest.
16/8 intermittent fasting: A beginners guide
Last updated on January 13, 2024, and last reviewed by an expert on September 21, 2023.

Fasting is a tradition that dates back centuries, deeply rooted in various religions and cultures worldwide.

16/8 intermittent fasting: A beginners guide

Nowadays, there are modern takes on this age-old practice.

One such method that has gained popularity is the 16/8 intermittent fasting. Many believe it’s a straightforward, sustainable, and practical approach to shed pounds and boost overall well-being.

This article will delve into the 16/8 intermittent fasting method, exploring how it functions and if it’s the right choice for your health journey.

In this article

What is 16/8 intermittent fasting?

16/8 intermittent fasting means you’ll eat your daily meals within an eight-hour window and fast for the remaining 16 hours of the day.

You can choose how often to follow this pattern, from once or twice a week to daily, based on your comfort level.

This method has become quite popular among those aiming to shed pounds and boost their metabolism.

Unlike many diets with rigid rules, the 16/8 method stands out for its flexibility and simplicity, fitting seamlessly into most lifestyles.

It doesn’t just help with weight loss. Many also credit it with better blood sugar management, enhanced mental clarity, and longer life.

Summary: The 16/8 approach to intermittent fasting involves eating during an eight-hour timeframe and fasting for 16 hours. This method can support weight loss, optimize blood sugar levels, and potentially enhance cognitive function and lifespan.

How to get started with 16/8 intermittent fasting

Starting the 16/8 intermittent fasting is straightforward and adaptable.

First, pick an eight-hour window that best suits your day and stick to eating within that time.

For instance, many choose to eat between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m., letting them fast through the night and skip breakfast, yet still enjoy a wholesome lunch and dinner.

Some prefer the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. slot, allowing for a nourishing breakfast, a mid-day meal, and an early dinner or snack.

Intermittent fasting for weight loss: A comprehensive guide
Suggested read: Intermittent fasting for weight loss: A comprehensive guide

You’re free to adjust and select whatever hours align with your routine.

During your eating hours, focus on nutrient-dense foods to maximize the health benefits.

Incorporate a diverse range of wholesome foods like:

Stay hydrated with zero-calorie drinks like water, black coffee, or unsweetened tea.

However, remember that indulging excessively in unhealthy foods can diminish the benefits of the 16/8 method, potentially impacting your health negatively.

Summary: To start the 16/8 method, set an eight-hour eating window. Prioritize a diverse and balanced diet. Avoid excessive unhealthy foods to make the most of this fasting approach.

Benefits of 16/8 intermittent fasting

The 16/8 intermittent fasting method is a favored choice for many since it’s straightforward and long-lasting.

What makes it more appealing is its ability to save both time and money, given you’re preparing fewer meals.

When looking at health, several advantages come with 16/8 intermittent fasting:

Suggested read: Intermittent fasting: The ultimate beginner’s guide

Summary: The 16/8 fasting method is both simple and time-saving. It’s believed to promote weight reduction, stabilize sugar levels, boost brain health, and potentially increase lifespan.

Potential downsides of 16/8 intermittent fasting

While 16/8 intermittent fasting boasts numerous health perks, it’s not without its challenges and might not suit everybody.

Limiting eating to just an eight-hour window can tempt some to overeat during their feeding times, trying to compensate for the fasting hours.

Such behavior might result in weight gain, stomach issues, and cultivating poor eating habits.

Initially adopting 16/8 intermittent fasting might cause temporary discomforts like hunger pangs, feeling weak, and tiredness, but these usually lessen as your body adjusts.

Moreover, there are hints from animal research that intermittent fasting may have varied effects on men and women. For example, it might pose challenges to female fertility.

But it’s essential to note that comprehensive human studies are still in the pipeline to understand its implications fully.

If you’re thinking of trying this fasting method, start slow and seek medical advice if any discomfort persists or if you’re uncertain.

Suggested read: 8 science-backed health benefits of fasting

Summary: Eating within a limited timeframe can lead to temporary discomforts like fatigue and overeating. The potential gender-specific effects of intermittent fasting, especially on female fertility, require more investigation.

Is 16/8 intermittent fasting a good fit for you?

The 16/8 intermittent fasting approach can be a reliable, straightforward, and beneficial method to boost your health, especially when combined with wholesome food choices and a balanced lifestyle.

However, it’s crucial to understand that it’s not a replacement for a diverse diet filled with natural foods. And remember, you can maintain good health even if this fasting method isn’t your cup of tea.

While many healthy adults find 16/8 intermittent fasting safe, it’s wise to chat with your doctor before diving in, particularly if you manage specific health issues.

This is particularly vital if you’re on medications, dealing with conditions like diabetes, have low blood pressure, or have struggled with eating habits in the past.

Intermittent fasting might not be the best choice for women aiming to get pregnant or those currently pregnant or nursing.

Always reach out to a healthcare professional if you’re unsure or if fasting causes any discomfort.


16/8 intermittent fasting means you eat during an 8-hour span and fast for the other 16.

This method can aid in shedding pounds, stabilizing sugar levels, sharpening the mind, and possibly prolonging life.

Consume nourishing foods in your eating window and opt for zero-calorie drinks such as water or black tea and coffee.

Always consult with your doctor before exploring intermittent fasting, particularly if you’re grappling with health challenges.

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