Fasting has quickly become a popular health trend, but 16:8 intermittent fasting has gained the most traction recently for its claims of weight loss and other potential health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at intermittent fasting and figure out if it actually works.
What is Fasting?
Fasting has since been modified for use by those looking to improve their health. While some choose to fast to remove toxins from their bodies, most choose fasting as a means of losing weight or tightening up their muscle mass.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of diet regimens that schedule your meals instead of completely removing foods or cutting calories to achieve successful fat loss.
Intermittent fasting runs on the idea that short fasts give your body an opportunity to burn your fat instead of working to metabolize the foods you eat throughout the day. When you’re not fasting, you can essentially follow your regular diet and even treat yourself to extra foods.
There are several variations on intermittent fasting. During a 5:2 diet, you can eat as much as you want for physical satisfaction five days out of the week and then fast on a calorie-limited diet (usually about 500 calories for women, 600 calories for men) the other two days of the week. Others find success with fasting for 24 hours, from dinner to dinner, once or twice a week.
What is 16:8 Intermittent Fasting?
16:8 intermittent fasting has gained popularity among those who not only want to lose some fat, but also gain lean muscle mass. The actual method is very simple. For 16 hours every day, you fast. You then fill all your normal foods, calories, proteins, carbs, and macronutrient ratios into the other 8 hours.
Most people will fast from 8:00 pm to noon the next day. Considering you’re asleep for half that time, it makes the process much easier. Simply skip breakfast and eat your first meal of the day in the early afternoon. However, you can schedule your fasting period to fit your normal routine.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
To understand intermittent fasting, you first have to understand fed and fasting states. Your body is normally in a fed state, during which time it’s digesting the food you have eaten and absorbing all the various vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and nutrients. Your fed state lasts several hours, and your body does very little fat burning during this time thanks to higher insulin levels and a general preoccupation with break down the food you ate.
After your fed state, your body enters the post-absorptive state. During this stage, your body is not actively digesting or processing food. The post-absorptive state lasts for about 12 hours after your last meal. After the 12 hours have passed, your body transitions to its fasting state.
Normally, you wouldn’t enter a fasting state in the morning because you break your fast with breakfast within the first couple hours of waking up. With 16:8 intermittent fasting, you can easily reach a fasting state. During the fasting state, your insulin is low, allowing you to more easily burn fat. Fasting also forces your body to take energy from glycogen stores, so that when you do eat again, any excess refills those glycogen stores instead of turning into fat.
What to Consume During a Fast
You should ideally consume no calories during your fast, but there are a few things you can consume to help you get through the process. If you’re wondering what to eat while intermittent fasting, you can consume:
- Water – Drink lots of water. Just because you are hungry does not mean you need to be dehydrated. Drinking water will also help to suppress your hunger.
- Gum – Some people just need to keep their mouths busy during a fast, and gum can fulfill that role. However, it may act as a signal to your stomach to get ready for actual food, which can cause cravings and amp up your hunger.
- Coffee or tea – Plain coffee and tea contain caffeine, which has been shown to assist in fat burning. However, be careful of going overboard. As effective as caffeine is, it can also cause jitters, increase your anxiety, and cause a variety of other health problems such as high blood pressure, indigestion, and insomnia just to name a few.
Potential Benefits of 16:8 Intermittent Fasting
16:8 intermittent fasting comes with a variety of reported benefits, including:
- Fat loss – Intermittent fasting with the 16:8 regimen has been shown to lead to increased fat loss and a leaner overall physique, particularly if you already have a low percentage of body fat.
- Fewer cravings – Intermittent fasting may help to curb cravings for unhealthy foods, giving you the self-knowledge to know when you’re actually hungry and when you just want a snack.
- Greater insulin response – When you break your fast, your insulin levels will be much better balanced, allowing for fewer fluctuations, fewer cravings, and improved protein synthesis for greater muscle mass.
- Improved cognition – Some people on the 16:8 intermittent fasting regimen report greater focus and general improvements in cognitive performance.
Tips for 16:8 Intermittent Fasting
If 16:8 intermittent fasting seems difficult, here are some simple tips to help you along your journey:
- Break your fast with regular sized meals – When you do break your fast every day, stick with normal sized meals. As tempting as it might be to eat huge meals or feast entirely on junk food, you will only be damaging yourself in the long run and reversing any benefits you are getting from the fast.
- Start small – Start small before your dive headfirst into 16:8 intermittent fasting. Make one small adjustment, like changing your regular mealtimes by a couple hours.
- Give it 2 to 3 weeks – If you are having an especially rough time, give yourself two to three weeks to truly see if intermittent fasting of any kind is right for you. That is about the time it takes for your body to adapt to the fasting schedule. That is about when you should also see results from the intermittent fasting.
- Experiment– It’s okay to experiment, try new things and be flexible with the process. If 16:8 intermittent fasting does not seem to be working or does not feel right, there are a variety of other fasting methods out there. The main ideas of all fasting techniques are essentially sometimes you eat and sometimes you don’t. Adjusting that to your own needs can help you get the results you want and empower you.
- Drink water – This cannot be stressed enough. Water will fill your stomach, helping you get through your fasting phase easier. It is also a necessity for when you are working out. Do not skimp out on water just because you are fasting.
- Listen to your body – Your body knows what it needs and when. If you are feeling lightheaded or unwell during a workout, make sure you are drinking water. If you are feeling weak or hungry throughout the day, adjust your diet to make sure you are getting enough calories, particularly from fats and protein. Above all, if you feel severely off, put a pause on your fast and reevaluate what you want from your personal health.
Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
You may be wondering “does intermittent fasting work?”, and the answer is yes and no. 16:8 intermittent fasting can be effective, but it is absolutely not a miracle solution. Intermittent fasting is just one factor that will determine your fitness, body composition and overall health. You will not suddenly go from average to ripped by pushing breakfast back. Even when you’re on an intermittent fast, you still need to maintain a healthy, balanced diet along with a regular workout routine.
If you do plan to do an intermittent fast, make sure you do your research and plan out every meal and fasting period. Some fasts can backfire. As you eat less, your metabolism will slow down to help you save energy. After you’ve finished your fast, you may feel hungrier, feel greater cravings, and overeat, essentially causing you to gain back any weight you might have lost. The average person may be better suited to a combination of portion control, more exercise, and cutting down on sweets instead of intermittent fasting.
Do not fast at all if you have diabetes as fasting can cause dangerous fluctuations in your blood sugar. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not fast either.
Along with fasting, you may consider taking a supplement like Thyrovate™ from MYOKEM™. Thyrovate™ is an advanced, stimulant-free weight loss agent that can reduce your appetite and increase your resistance to stress while accelerating fat loss, particularly targeting your midsection. Try Thyrovate™ with intermittent fasting for some amazing results.