This is likely the most well-known schedule for Intermittent Fasters.
Those familiar with my other posts know that this is not a schedule that I promote. However, I do want to give an overview and point out a few considerations.
16 refers to the number of hours fasted each day, 8 is the number of hours to consume.
In these 16 hours, you are getting many benefits from the fast. Time to digest/absorb the nutrients from the meal you ate, as well as time for your insulin levels to normalize. This is especially important if you have pre-diabetes or insulin resistance. Allowing your body time to normalize glucose levels, allows insulin production to stop. You can read a little more about this in my blog about insulin.
A 16:8 window can be kept easily by skipping breakfast and not eating after dinner. This is why many opt for this approach. It can fit into your life with very little modification.
One drawback to this approach is that a larger window for consumption places the you to monitor intake levels. Often this is done by counting calories or macros.
Even with fasting approaches, if you consistently consume more energy than you are able to expend, then you will have leftover energy to store. This means “you get fat”.
If you choose the 16:8 approach, I recommend that you count calories and try to stay below your basal metabolic rate (BMR). I also recommend that you stick to just 2 meals within this 8-hour window. No snacking between meals, cut back on sweets and process foods. These items prolong insulin elevation. You want to decrease the chronic elevation during this protocol.
A fitness routine is an important addition to any lifestyle choice. Our bodies are made to move, not be sedentary. Many lifters adopt a 16:8 approach with the goal of ensuring they have time to consume adequate protein. Protein is an important element of muscle building. The amino acids in proteins you eat are broken down in order to construct new muscle tissue within your body. For this reason, I know many who use a wider window to ensure they are consuming adequate protein for this rebuilding. Once again, I must reiterate, longer time to consume proteins also means longer times to consume other things. If you are good at tracking these things then this may be the plan for you. If you are looking to get away from tracking consumption, then there are a few other options to consider: 18:6, 20:4, OMAD as examples.
My recommendation: if you are at or very close to your ideal weight, consider 16:8 combined with a fitness routine. If you are needing to lose fat, start with an 18:6 window with the goal of tightening that to 20:4 until you reach your ideal weight.
Let me know if you have questions…