The 8-hour diet is also referred to as 16:8-hour diet implying 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating. This is a form of intermittent fasting which helps obese individuals lose weight and lower their blood pressure. Intermittent fasting in recent years has gained a lot of followers who believe it to be a fast and effective way to shed some pounds. Research supports the 8-hour diet saying that it’s a more natural way for humans to eat. The theory behind this mode of eating is that the body was designed to run best with periods of eating followed by periods of fasting.
In the old days, a man ate after he made his kill for the day or collected the food to be eaten. Basically, the early man had to do some exercise before eating and when he ate it was a big meal to sustain him for long hours. This is exactly what the 8-hour diet is trying to imply. But the big question is, does it really work?
How to Get Started On The 8-Hour Diet
In order to know if this diet really works, we need to know more about it. The 8-hour diet is a simple, safe and sustainable way of eating. You need to pick an eight-hour window then limit your food intake to that time span. In the past days, people who used this fasting routine preferred to eat between noon and 6 p.m. Meaning you’ll fast overnight and skip breakfast but eat a healthy well-balanced lunch and dinner including healthy snacks throughout the day.
Although others preferred to eat between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m., where they eat breakfast, lunch and a light early dinner or snacks around 4 p.m. However, this doesn’t mean you should use the above eating time frames, feel free to choose a period that suits you.
Remember even though you’re fasting, you’ll be required to eat several small healthy snacks throughout the day to stabilize your blood sugar levels. Also, for the diet to be beneficial, it’s important you stick to nutritious whole foods and beverages during the eating period. Balance your meal with a good variety of healthy whole foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, healthy fats, and proteins. Additionally, drink calorie-free beverages such as water and unsweetened tea or coffee.
Why Does The 8-Hour Diet Work?
First things first, the 8-hour diet will only work if you have a clear guideline of your eating plan with a blend of high-calories and low-calorie foods that will keep you full and prevent unhealthy snacking. Now, the reason why people find the 8-hour diet useful is because of the limited eating time and being cautious about what they eat. Since they have 16 hours of fasting, they spend some of this time planning healthy meals they will eat when the fasting period is over. However, don’t restrict yourself to eating only certain foods. There are a lot of healthy foods you can eat in measured portions while you’re on the 8-hour diet.
Benefits of The 8-Hour Diet
16/8 intermittent fasting is a flexible, easy to follow and sustainable eating plan that can be done on a long term basis. It’s also convenient especially for people in certain job fields who don’t have a lot of time to spend while cooking. Plus, you cut down on money. In terms of health, the 8-hour diet has a long list of benefits including:
- Increased weight loss: Restricting eating to a few hours a day cuts back the number of calories you will be consuming and studies show that it boosts metabolism increasing weight loss.
- Improved blood sugar control: This diet has been found to reduce fasting insulin levels by up to 31 percent and lowers blood sugar by three to six percent. This is useful for diabetic persons.
- Enhanced longevity: According to animal studies, intermittent fasting may extend longevity although more human studies are needed.
Is the 8-Hour Diet Right for You?
Living a healthy lifestyle, eating a nutritious diet and following the 8-hour diet is a safe and easy way to improve your health. However, you can be healthy even if the intermittent fasting doesn’t work for you. Additionally, because the 8-hour diet is considered safe for healthiest adults, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak to your doctor before starting it especially for those with some health issues. For women trying to conceive, those breastfeeding or pregnant, they shouldn’t try this form of eating. If you’re taking any medications or have diabetes, low blood pressure or a history of an eating disorder, be careful when practicing intermittent eating or better still talk to your doctor first. For any concerns or adverse side effects while fasting seek medical attention immediately.
The 8-hour diet involves eating during the 8-hour window and fasting for the remaining 16 hours. There is some evidence to show that this diet supports weight loss, brain function, and longevity. If you feel that this is the right eating plan for you, then it’s worth trying. Otherwise, eat healthily and drink calorie-free beverages like water.
All images by Pixabay