16/8 Intermittent Fasting Basics

Intermittent fasting has become one of the hottest health trends today. It is helping people trim their weight and dependence on food. Several studies have noted that intermittent fasting has a tremendous enhancing effect on the body and brain. Part of its appeal is that it does not dictate what to eat but when to eat. 

What Is Intermittent Fasting? 
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a general term that refers to eating patterns based on periods of eating and abstaining from foods. IF methods vary among followers, but the methods are based on a practice as old as humanity. Since prehistoric times, people have been able to go without eating for protracted periods of time. Fasting periodically is actually more natural than always having three or more meals a day.   

What Is the 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Method? 
The 16/8, also known as the Leangains protocol, is the most popular IF method. Fasters eat within a chosen eight-hour time frame, such as noon to 8:00 p.m. They do not eat (or they drastically reduce calorie intake) the other 16 hours of the day. Many fasters regard the 16/8 method as the easiest to start and maintain. In fact, anyone who has ever gone to bed early and slept in late has virtually done the 16/8. 

How Do I Follow the 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Method? 
The 16/8 IF cycle can be repeated according to personal preference and goals -- from once weekly to daily. It is extremely flexible and can benefit almost any individual. The 16/8 method is simple to follow and requires little effort to produce significant results. 

Follow this steps to get started: 

1. Chose an eight-hour time frame into which you will restrict your eating. This could be 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., or whatever works with your lifestyle. 
2. Space several small meals and snacks throughout your chosen eating time frame. This will help stave off hunger pangs and stabilize blood glucose levels. 
3. When you do eat, choose nutrient-dense whole foods and drinks. Highly processed “junk” foods and beverages can undo the positive effects of IF, especially if over consumed. 
4. Opt for calorie-free drinks such as water and unsweetened coffee or tea when fasting. It is important to stay hydrated throughout the day. 

What Are Some Benefits of the 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Method? 
The 16/8 method is a favorite in the health community for a variety of reasons. Its simplicity, flexibility, and tangible results are hardly duplicated with other diets. Research has shown that 16/8 intermittent fasting: 

  • reduces the amount of time and money required to purchase, prepare, and eat food,

  • elevates metabolism and promotes weight loss,

  • helps augment levels of human growth hormone (HGH) which is linked to cellular regeneration,

  • enhances insulin sensitivity, and

  • helps protect against brain aging and chronic disease by altering molecules and genes.

Is 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Right for Me? 
It is always best to check with a doctor before beginning any major shift in eating patterns. This is especially true if you have a medical history of health conditions or are taking medications. When combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, 16/8 intermittent fasting can improve your well-being significantly.