What is the 16:8 diet? Discover how intermittent fasting can help you lose weight

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intermittent-fasting(NaturalHealth365) It almost sounds too good to be true: fast for 16 hours per day, eat as usual during the other 8 hours, then watch the weight fall off. But new research suggests that the seemingly simple “16:8” equation – also called, intermittent fasting – really does work.

Intermittent fasting, sometimes referred to as ‘IF,’ offers many different variations.  But, the 16:8 protocol is one of the most popular and researched methods of IF.  Plus, it’s proving to be a valuable alternative for people living with obesity.

Editor’s note: For best results in using IF, during the 8 hours that you may eat something – try to eat the best quality (organic) food possible.  The rest of the tips – in this article – are really good.

With intermittent fasting, ‘don’t count calories,’ study says

We know, we know – conventional wisdom says never skip breakfast.  It’s supposed to be the most important meal of the day, right?

But proponents of intermittent fasting see no problem with skipping your morning meal. In fact, according to a 2018 study just published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging, if you can withhold from consuming anything other than water for 16 hours per day, then you can expect to see drastic weight loss…even if you don’t change the rest of your diet!

The team of researchers, led by Krista Varady, associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago, recruited 23 individuals with obesity and had them follow the 16:8 diet for 12 weeks.

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They were instructed to fast from 6 p.m. and 10 a.m., and were only permitted water or calorie free drinks during these fasting hours. Between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., however, they could eat whatever and however much they wanted.

They didn’t have to count a single calorie.

After 3 months of this style of intermittent fasting, the researchers found significant health improvements in their study subjects. Compared to a control trial, the 16:8 dieters consumed an average of 350 fewer calories per day, had lower systolic blood pressure, and lost 3% of their weight – a respectable and sustainable rate of weight loss.

The researchers concluded: “These preliminary data offer promise for the use of time-restricted feeding as a weight loss technique in obese adults…[8 hour] time restricted feeding produces mild caloric restriction and weight loss, without calorie counting” (emphasis ours).

Beyond weight loss: 3 additional health benefits of intermittent fasting (some may surprise you)

As mentioned, the 16:8 diet (also known as time-restricted eating) is one of the more popular types of intermittent fasting. Not only is it effective, but it’s much easier to stick to compared to another popular method known as alternate day fasting – where a person fasts completely for 24 hours but then can eat whatever they want during the next 24 hours.

But the benefits don’t stop at weight loss. Check out these 3 ways IF benefits your health:

  • Improves gut bacteria diversity, which can improve digestion and strengthen your immune system.
  • Decreases your risk of type 2 diabetes (IF also reduces the risk of cancer, at least in animal models – more research is necessary).
  • Lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels – higher levels are associated with heart disease.

About 93 million Americans are obese.  A staggering statisitc, to say the least.  So, the 16:8 diet offers a different approach to weight loss without requiring people to stick to nit-picky diets – which is extremely promising and appealing to many people.

Just be smart and chat with your doctor before experimenting with fasting – especially if you currently have health issues.

Sources for this article include:

Cell.com
MedicalNewsToday.com
MedicalNewsToday.com
CDC.gov
Isopress.com
NIH.gov