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The Complete Guide on 16/8 Fasting Times and What It Can Do for You

Fasting is described as abstinence from food/beverage consumption for a set period. Intermittent fasting is an alternative to fully abstaining from food in which a specific timeframe is established for eating outside of an extended period of fasting. Time windows are established to help maintain consistency. One popular increment is the 16/8 method which entails a 16-hour fasting interval, including the fasting one does during sleep. This type of fasting is shown in various studies to be effective for weight loss and aiding in potential disease prevention.

Examples of Intermittent Fasting: Different Schedules & How They Work

Intermittent fasting (IMF) is the eating pattern during specific daily hours. It may seem odd, but giving up just a few foods can enhance your health and make you incredibly happy!

You can fit intermittent fasting into your lifestyle without a problem. When there is a particular schedule you would like to follow, it helps you prepare in advance and reduce the burden on your brain, so it will be easier to take on fast days.

For example, if you are an individual who works until 9 pm, choosing the fasting protocol, which begins at noon rather than midnight, may work better for you.

With intermittent fasting, you can create your diet too. We look at how to do an intermittent fast, what they are (as well as their pros and cons), five experimental schedules to try, and helpful tips to start 16/8 intermittent fasting immediately.

Eat Stop Eat

This intermittent fasting includes a 24-hour fast at least once or twice weekly. This is done by eating one meal on a fast day and then abstaining from other food or caloric beverages for the rest of that day.

The Eat Stop Eat diet has been shown to have some benefits over intermittent fasting. For example, it affects mortality risk in heart disease and heart attacks.

Eating a healthy diet while skipping meals might sound counterintuitive, but it can be very beneficial as it releases hormones that make cells regenerate while protecting organs like the heart and brain against damage.

It might sound extreme, but people who use this intermittent fasting technique tend to be passionate about their approach to health and other reasons and insist that it works for them well.

Alternate-Day Fasting

By default, human beings live under zero-carb diets provided they have stopped eating without letting any of the consumed foods pass through the intestinal lining into the bloodstream. So, eating got a few days or weeks can be enough to solve health problems. Some people hope alternate-day fasting gives good health results.

More and more people are turning to alternate-day fasting to maintain optimal health. Many nutrition researchers already recognize this form of fasting as a powerful therapeutic tool.

Different people aim to experience additional benefits while fasting on alternate days. Whether they want to purposefully increase their testosterone levels or reduce any noticeable cognitive declines due to aging, people can use this diet in so many ways – depending on their personal needs.

The 5:2 diet

The 5:2 diet is intermittent fasting that allows your body to go without food for at least 111 hours over a week.

The 5:2 diet is used for rapid weight loss and does not involve long periods of reduced calorie consumption, such as no-juice or cleanse diets. According to the 2010 “Public Health Nutrition review,” this diet could lead to short-term weight loss and improved insulin sensitivity.

According to the 5:2 diet, people can go about their day-to-day activities as usual five days a week and restrict their calorie intake to 500–600 calories on the remaining two days. However, detractors argue that this eating pattern is unsustainable and will only result in people feeling deprived. 

what is intermittent fasting 16/8

14:10 Intermittent Fasting

The 14:10 intermittent fasting method is a newer way to maintain your health and weight. Instead of eating only breakfast and lunch, people have been eating all day. There are two simple steps for the 14:10 intermittent fasting protocol.

First, you fast for 14 hours, starting at 6 pm and ending with breakfast at 10 am the next morning or lunch at 2 pm the following day. Second, you’re free to eat for the other 10 hours from 12-8 pm daily. The 10 hrs in-between functions as an on-off switch that regulates fasts levels down to a minimum threshold of 3 days per week – usually Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

One of the main reasons this method is popular with doctors and people who find it challenging to succeed at traditional fasting regimes is that there’s more time during part of the day when one may eat healthy food without overwhelming their bodies will larger meals.

16:8 Intermittent Fasting

The 16:8 intermittent fasting is a healthier way of practicing intermittent fasting because it involves drinking no calories for the whole day.

The plan is quite simple, all you need to do is, for example, eat dinner at 7 p.m., a meal containing all of the vital nutrients we need for one day. The same goes for our breakfast at 10 am and one hour before bed drink a full glass of water and then don’t eat anything till 1 pm the next day, but make sure that this snack doesn’t contain more than 50 calories because it will trick your metabolism into thinking that you are hungry. Then, of course, you will start overeating again, which could be unhealthy. 

Throughout the day, there will be 16 periods during which one can consume the food before turning to 8 hours of fasting. This pattern echoes our natural rhythm day-to-day. It was meant as an alternative to being hungry all the time and messing up your metabolism.

  • 12/12 vs. 16/8 intermittent fasting:

12:12 intermittent fasting restricts food for 12 hours a day, typically from around dinner to lunchtime the next day. 16:8 intermittent fasting is less strict; it suggests giving up your dinner and evening meal entirely to help you lose weight.

The 16/8 protocol is more intermittent than 12/12 because it forces the person to stop eating after 8 hours of more restrictive meal consumption. This study disputes the claims that 12 hours of eating vs. 16 might have better benefits for health than vice versa, providing scientific evidence that 16 hours window could be beneficial to low cardiac risk factors or as a cardiovascular well-being marker compared to other types of IF protocols.

16 vs 18-Hour Fast – Which Fasting Is Best for You

People who start intermittent fasting with 16 hours in between are more likely to have increased energy throughout the day because they have more frequent meals, which will keep blood sugar levels up. However, they also have more extended break periods and are more prone to snacking and binging when they come back with hunger cues, leading to weight gain over time.

The best fasting schedule for you will depend on why and how you plan to fast. For example, a 16-hour fast taken more frequently may show more good energy levels and health markers results. However, 18 hours might be better for weight loss due to slightly decreasing calorie intake. 

The choice is ultimately up to the individual’s preference and lifestyle.

Does 8-Hour Diet Work – Proven Benefits for Your Health

Like any intermittent fasting, 16/8 intermittent fasting aims to mimic ancestral eating patterns and activate our evolutionary foundation for health. 

Studies have shown that this transition is a natural process that occurs when the body runs out of energy from food. The body changes its energy source from glucose, stored in the liver, to ketones, which are stored in fat cells. As long as the body gets energy from glucose, it maintains or gains weight, but when the switch occurs, weight is lost.

16/8 fasting correlates with a wide variety of health benefits: 

  1. Improved fat burning
  2. Improved weight loss
  3. Reduced risk of cancer
  4. Optimized hormone levels
  5. Improved cholesterol levels
  6. Improved body composition
  7. Better blood sugar regulation 
  8. Reduced risk of heart diseases
  9. Increased activation of stem cells

And not just any weight loss, either — most people who practice intermittent fasting diet plan 16/8 find that most or all of the weight they lose comes in fat:

When you eat three carb-rich meals and snacks daily, the carbohydrates in your food break down into blood sugar almost immediately. So your pancreas releases insulin to shuttle this glucose into your cells,  keeping blood sugar safe. But unfortunately, when insulin is high, it also locks fatty acids into fat cells. 

Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting 16/8 on Women’s Health

One of the most well-known intermittent fasts is 16/8. The low-calorie consumption mimics the fasting periods our ancestors would have had to survive. Unlike other ways, the pros of intermittent fasting 16/8 are more than the cons. As a result, it’s easier to stick with.

Intermittent Fasting can lead to some people never sleeping through the night, which disturbs their eating schedule, so they end up gaining weight and binging later in the day.

Another major negative is a change in mood and mental clarity, as prolonged periods of not eating can affect:

  1. your hormone levels, 
  2. making you more irritable and pessimistic than usual for extended periods after you resume standard feeding patterns.

Other potential downsides include: 

  • dehydration, 
  • disordered eating, 
  • vitamin deficiencies, 
  • sleep deprivation, 
  • caloric deficit.

Ultimately, intermittent fasting has a good safety profile. However, if you experience any problems – such as loss of menstrual cycle – stop fasting immediately.

How to Start 16/8 Intermittent Fasting 

Many people will find a 16/8 intermittent fasting pattern relatively easy to start with. However, if you find that 16 hours is too long, you can start with shorter fasts of 12 hours and work your way up to a total of 16 hours. 

During your eating window, consuming whole, nutrient-dense foods is recommended. With intermittent fasting, people often end up restricting their caloric intake. Focusing on nutritious foods can help to ensure your whole dietary needs are covered.

To begin this fasting method, people should plan for the 8-hour window that they would eat their meals. People may plan this time to accommodate their work or regular sleep schedule.

Examples of 16/8 timeframes include:

  1. 6:00 am – 2:00 pm 
  2. 8:00 am – 4:00 pm 
  3. 11:00 am – 7:00 pm 
  4. 3:00 pm – 11:00 pm

These times may vary from early morning to afternoon and afternoon to evening. During this time, meals can be prioritized according to one’s needs (i.e., breakfast can be skipped for a heartier lunch), and snacks can also be eaten throughout.

How Much Weight Can You Lose During Intermittent Fasting? 

Research has shown that intermittent fasting may be able to help with weight loss by boosting metabolism. However, metabolism may be different from person to person. In addition, because intermittent fasting entails restrictions on certain foods, losing weight is likely to occur, but most likely in populations high in obesity. According to experts, intermittent fasting has been found to promote an average loss of 7-11 pounds over 10 weeks.

What to Eat and Drink During 16/8 Intermittent Fasting 

To promote effective results during this type of fasting, eating a balance of fruits and vegetables, along with sources of lean protein and healthy fats, is recommended. These protein sources, such as tofu, eggs, poultry, nuts, and seeds, can help maintain one’s satiation during fasting. In addition, nutrient-rich grains, such as brown rice, oats, and quinoa, also serve as beneficial carbs to add as a side dish. 

During this time, it is also recommended to steer away from processed items such as chips, frozen meals, high-sugar sweets, drinks, and other fried/greasy meals.

As far as beverages are concerned, increased water consumption is best to help stay hydrated and reduce cravings during fasting. Coffee, herbal, and unsweetened teas also serve as supplemental options.

Also read: Can You Eat When You’re Fasting?

What to Eat During 16 8 Fasting: The Common Food List

The great thing about the 16/8 fasting diet is you can eat anything you want, within reason, but it’s important to choose whole foods and those high in vitamins during the eating period

  • Whole grains: Rice, oats, barley, wholegrain pasta, and quinoa.

Whole grains contain healthy amounts of fiber, which have been shown to promote feelings of fullness and, therefore, can help prevent overeating. 

Whole oats, quinoa, spelled, brown rice, whole-grain bread, and pasta are great examples of healthy complex carbs.

  • Protein: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds.

Fish and seafood provide both protein and heart-healthy fats, as well as high contents of vitamin D. If you follow a 16/8 intermittent fasting, opt for omega-3 supplements to obtain beneficial essential fatty acids since your body cannot produce them on its own. 

  • Fruit: Apples, bananas, berries, oranges, and pears.

Fruits are a great addition to any healthy diet. They offer vitamins and minerals, aid digestion, reduce cell damage, and improve skin. They can be mixed into yogurt or oatmeal.

  • Vegetables: Broccoli, spinach, and other leafy greens.

Cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and broccoli are fiber-rich. Fiber can help you feel full for longer, facilitating intermittent fasting periods. 

  • Healthy fats: Olive, coconut oil, avocados.

Avocados have the highest calories of all fruits, but this doesn’t mean you should avoid them when trying to lose weight. This is because they are rich in unsaturated fats, filling you up and staving off hunger even while fasting.

How Many Calories to Eat During 16/8 Intermittent Fasting 

As aforementioned, many internal/external factors, such as genetics and family history, could affect one’s experience with effective weight loss. Currently, 2,000 calories serve as an average recommended daily amount, yet this amount can be adjusted during intermittent fasting. An intake of 1,200-1,600 calories is an ideal balance during this time, as consuming less than this amount can be dangerous.


Intermittent fasting, when done correctly, can be a gateway to weight loss while sticking to nutrient-dense foods and being mindful of time windows when fasting.

In addition to the intermittent fasting diet plan 16/8, exercise and good sleep hygiene are essential to healthy living and will facilitate your weight loss efforts. You can also use a fasting app to manage your fasting routine and track the micronutrients you get with meals.

However, the best way to determine if intermittent fasting suits you is by consulting a healthcare professional.



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Kimberly Tytyk is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach (INHC) and a Certified International Health Coach (CIHC). Following decades of personal experience transforming her personal health and achieving remission of autoimmune thyroiditis and PCOS, Kimberly completed her formal coaching training in 2021 at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Her passions include deep nutrition, holistic and balanced living practices, regeneration, community-building, and finding bliss — usually in a cuddle with her husband and dog.

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