What is 16/8 intermittent fasting?
16:8 intermittent fasting is a time-constrained eating pattern. In this, people fast for 16 hours and consume food in the remaining 8 hours in a 24 hours cycle. People believe that this method works by supporting bodies internal clock i.e. circadian rhythm. People who follow this method usually take their daily calories during the middle of the day. There is no boundation on the type and amount of food that a person eats during the remaining 8 hours. This makes the method easy to follow.
People may choose any of the windows to follow – 9 am to 5 pm, 10 am to 6 pm & 12 noon to 8 pm. In this time frame, one can have their proper meal and snacks as per their convenient time.
Types of Intermittent fasting
- Fast for 12 hours a day
- Fasting for 16 hours
- Fasting for 2 days a week
- Alternate day fasting
- A weekly 24 hours fast
- Meal skipping
- The warrior diet
Recommended food to eat
A balanced diet comprises
Fruits and Vegetables. Whole grains including brown rice, oats, and barley. Lean protein sources like fish, nuts, cheese, and eggs. Healthy fat from olive oils, coconuts, avocadoes nuts, and seeds.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, which helps in feeling full. Regular drinking water can help to reduce calorie intake. This plan allows having tea and coffee during 16 hours of fasting. Fluid intake keeps the body hydrated.
Intermittent Fasting is useful
- Fat loss & Weight loss: Studies suggest that intermittent fasting leads to greater weight loss and fat loss in men with obesity. It helps in boosting metabolism. It decreases belly fat also.
- Teenagers: can also follow intermittent fasting provided they take sufficient nutrients for rest of the day.
- Useful in preventing diabetes and CNS disorders: This method is helpful in preventing conditions like type-2 diabetes, heart conditions, and neurodegenerative (CNS or brain) diseases.
- Increases lifespan: Animal studies suggest that intermittent fasting may help animals to live longer.
Diet plan with intermittent fasting
Diet tips of intermittent fasting for vegetarians –
- For breakfast: oats, mung dal chilla, pessarettu dosa, mashed tofu paratha
- Lunch: brown rice, phulke, lobia curry, quinoa, and sweet potato patty
- Dinner: Dal bati, missi paratha, Makki di roti with saag, rajma (vegetable)
Diet tips of intermittent fasting for weight loss
- Light morning meal – soaked almonds or walnuts or raisins or fig. 1 seasonal fruit
- Breakfast – High protein – Chilla/poha/upma
- Lunch – Dal, roti, sabji, dahi
- Evening snack – Energy bars, makhana, murmura
- Dinner – High fiber and high protein – Veggies, roti, Dalia, soup
Diet tips of intermittent fasting with PCOS
- Fasting time – Drink water
- Break your fast with peanuts, almonds, and lukewarm water
- Meal 1 - oats and besan chilla
- Meal 2 – Veggies salad or omelet or
Diet tips of intermittent fasting with thyroid
- Thyroid-relevant nutrients – Selenium, iodine, and zinc are important
- Don’t combine fasting with extreme calorie restriction – Make sure you eat enough nutrients when you actually eat.
- Be careful of extended fasts.
- Stay away from stress.
Diet tips of intermittent fasting with diabetes
- Avoid heavy meals or high carbohydrate food right away when you breakfast. It will raise blood sugar levels. Instead, eat fiber and protein-rich food.
- Eat nutritious foods – diabetes-friendly foods and avoid processed foods.
- Monitor your blood sugar levels often. Break the fast immediately if you experience extreme fatigue or weakness. Talk to the doctor before resuming fast.
How Do I start intermittent fasting?
Beginners can just aim for 12-hour fasting and then extend it to 14-16 hours as you get more comfortable. Beginners need to take the last meal 1-2 hours before going to bed and the first meal should be taken within 1-2 hours after getting up. Apart from this, do include 30 minutes of physical activity daily.
Side effects of intermittent fasting
Some people have reported certain conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol, and arthritis as side effects of intermittent fasting. Hence do consult your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms.
A person may feel weakness, tiredness, and hunger in starting stage of the plan. One may end up overeating due to excessive hunger after 16 hours of fasting. Acidity or gastric reflux as a result of overeating.
Limitations of fasting
This method is not suitable for everyone because of some of its limitations. Some research shows that intermittent fasting is more beneficial to men than women. It could negatively affect female fertility. Individuals who have a history of disordered eating should avoid intermittent fasting. It is not suitable for a person with depression and anxiety.
Intermittent fasting during pregnancy
This fasting is not suitable for pregnant ladies, the one who is breastfeeding, and females trying to conceive.
Intermittent fasting for a lifetime
Long-term intermittent fasting has been shown to protect against many age-related diseases including diabetes and CVD. The study reveals that people who do fast has a greater survival than those who don’t. This indicates that intermittent fasting is associated with longer longevity.
Intermittent fasting is not for everyone. Individuals who are underweight, under 18 years old, pregnant or breastfeeding, have a history or currently struggle with eating disorders, and those with diabetes, or on certain medications should refrain from intermittent fasting. Before starting intermittent fasting, it is best to consult a doctor or dietitian to see if it’s appropriate for you.