The 16:8 Diet is a weight loss method that involves daily fasting and an 8-hour eating window. But based on a lot of the user reviews we found around the web, many people are not shedding pounds with this diet approach.
Our research team spent this week digging into the 16:8 Diet foods, side effects, ingredients and science behind this program – and to keep things simple, we compressed all of the details into this review to give you the final verdict.
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What is 16:8 Diet?
The 16:8 Diet is essentially a fasting method that involves only eating during an 8-hour window each day. This means you spend 16 hours of each day fasting.
The purpose of this approach is to give your body time to process the nutrients from the foods you’ve consumed, all while burning off the extra calories.
Unlike other weight-loss plans, you are not expected to fast for an entire day or days each week.
Nor do you have to count calories or give up certain foods you enjoy – but you are expected to eat healthy.
How Did 16:8 Diet Start?
The 16:8 Diet method comes from a book by David Zinczenko (the author of Eat This, Not That) and Peter Moore (an editor-in-chief of Men’s Health), called “The 8 Hour Diet.”
This approach is said to help you get rid of belly fat, burn off stored fat cells, sharpen your mind, and live a longer and healthier life.
This diet plan gained some popularity after being used by certain celebrities.
For example, Men’s Health reports that actor and celebrity Hugh Jackman used the 16:8 Diet to get fit for his role as “Wolverine.”
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16:8 Diet Claims
The 16:8 Diet is not just about losing weight. This program is said to reduce your risk of getting life-threatening conditions, while combat harmful inflammation in the body, reducing your chances of heart problems, lowering the body’s cortisol levels, reducing stress, and even promoting mental health and well being.
Furthermore, this diet, since it involves daily fasting, is claimed to help reduce insulin levels.
It helps speed up cellular repair to better rejuvenate the body.
When to Eat on the 16:8 Diet?
Since this is an intermittent fasting approach, you can choose your 8-hour window for when you want to eat on the 16:8 Diet.
You may first want to consider your schedule. When is the best time for you to eat? Maybe this is between 9 am and 5 pm, or maybe between 10 am and 6 pm works better for you.
It doesn’t really matter, as long as you stick to the 8-hour time frame each day.
16:8 Diet Power Foods
While there are no forbidden foods with the 16:8 Diet, you are encouraged to eat healthy foods that nourish the body and provide substantial energy. Here are some examples of foods to include:
You also need to consider portion size – especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
Just because no foods are ruled out does not mean you should gorge on foods high in fat, salt, sugar and empty calories.
So, when you consider the 16:8 Diet ingredients, think along the lines of a grocery list that includes a broad array of whole foods that fall into all major food categories or groups, advises the National Health and Medical Research Council.
The 16:8 Diet Coffee and Alcohol
Yes, you can have both coffee and alcohol on the 16:8 Diet plan. Again, you need to include these beverages in you 8-hour eating window.
Also, in regards to coffee and tea, you can add cream and sugar if preferred.
You can also have some coffee and tea (as well as plenty of water) during the 16-hour fasting period, states Men’s Health.
After all, caffeine is a stimulant, which helps with appetite suppression.
16:8 Diet Benefits and Results
Here is a look at the proposed 16:8 Diet benefits you should see while following this intermittent fasting approach:
Burn off more fat
Lower stress levels
Improve mental health and well being
Promote heart health
Allow the body to process food better
Lower blood insulin levels
Promote muscle growth
Encourage cellular repairs
Remove waste from the body and cells
As for actual 16:8 Diet results, these will vary from person to person. That said, some users did report noticeable results within the first couple of weeks.
It just depends on how devoted you are to the diet, what you eat during the 8-hour eating window each day, how many calories you consume, and how much physical activity you get. Your health, age, and metabolism will also make a difference.
Does 16:8 Diet Work?
Alright, does the 16:8 Diet work or is this all just a scam? Well, a major component here is intermittent fasting. Some studies have shown that this approach can help improve health and overall weight loss results.
For instance, some research published in the “Journal of Translational Medicine” concluded, “Our results suggest that an intermittent fasting program in which all calories are consumed in an 8-h window each day, in conjunction with resistance training, could improve some health-related biomarkers, decrease fat mass, and maintain muscle mass in resistance-trained males.”
But note that the intermittent fasting was combined with resistance training.
Moreover, a study from “Cell Metabolism” revealed that “Time-restricted feeding stabilized and reversed the progression of metabolic conditions in mice with pre-existing obesity.”
Also, Men’s Journal reports, “Study after study confirms that any form of intermittent fasting will help reduce weight and improve body composition, though the results are probably about the same as you’d see from restricting your calories.”
Details on 16:8 Diet and Weight Loss
The 16-8 Diet helps with weight loss by limiting the amount of time you are allowed to consume food, as opposed to completely focusing on calorie intake.
This way your body can fast for 16 solid hours every single day.
The main purpose of this is to give the body a chance to process all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients from the food you ate, while also allowing it to digest everything and burn off calories – without causing any additional weight gain.
However, this doesn’t mean you’ll experience substantial weight loss on this diet program, but it may offer some other health benefits.
You also must factor in how many calories you consume during the 8-hour window, as well as the foods you get the calories from.
If you consume too many calories, especially from unhealthy foods rich in bad fats and sugar, you’re unlikely to lose any weight at all. In fact, you may even end up gaining weight, says Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
How to Follow the 16:8 Diet
The 16:8 Diet is fairly simple to use. Here are the basic steps you should follow:
Choose an 8-hour time frame for eating that best suits your schedule.
Refrain from eating during the other 16 hours each day.
Focus on healthy foods that are high in nutrition.
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Coffee and tea are allowed during fasting hours, but try to avoid cream and sugar during these hours.
The 16:8 Diet and Exercise
There is no exercise required with the 16:8 Diet. Since this approach involves intermittent fasting, you may not have as much energy to exercise vigorously.
However, if you choose to incorporate some mild physical activity, this is really up to you. For instance, daily walking is not too strenuous or exhausting but still helps with calorie burning and overall wellness, Harvard Health states.
That said, regular physical activity is important for overall health and wellness. Research has shown that a regular exercise program can help you control your weight for the long run.
Daily physical activity can help reduce your risk of heart problems, help regulate your blood sugar levels, elevate mood, strengthen your bones and muscles, improve mental health, sharpen your learning and thinking skills, and even aid with the prevention of certain types of health problems, according to MedlinePlus.
Also, the more you move, the more calories you burn, which helps with weight reduction and long-term weight management.
Potential 16:8 Diet Side Effects
There are some 16:8 Diet drawbacks that you should be aware of. Here are some issues that may arise while using this diet:
Overeating due to increased hunger from fasting 16 hours
The 16:8 Diet may help with immune system and digestive health
16:8 Diet Cons
The 16:8 Diet plan may leave you feeling hungry
This approach may cause headaches and heartburn
Some people experience dehydration with intermittent fasting
Some users have reported lower energy levels
It may be more difficult to exercise regularly
The 16:8 Diet may interrupt your nightly sleep
16:8 Diet Alternatives
There are some alternatives to the 16:8 Diet plan as well. You may want to consider other weight loss programs and products that are backed by solid science and research.
First, consider the type of weight-loss method or approach that best suits your lifestyle and goals.
This will help you pinpoint a diet program or supplement that works for you.
We recommend that you learn all you can about the diet product, such as cost, customer reviews, side effects and supporting research before making any decisions.
16:8 Diet vs. 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 Diet is similar to the 16:8 Diet. Also called The Fast Diet, this plan also involves intermittent fasting. Michael Mosley, a journalist and a British doctor, brought this diet to the forefront.
It’s called the 5:2 Diet because you eat normally five days a week, but restrict your calorie intake the other two days – to 500-600 per day.
Similar to the 16:8 Dieting method, there are no specific foods you need to avoid, which means you get to decide what you want to eat. Furthermore, you pick the two days you wish to fast on.
But again, you are encouraged to eat healthy foods, and you should not binge on junk food or consume massive amounts of calories at once.
It’s always best to implement portion control and sensible eating – or else you might sabotage your health and weight-loss results.
What Users Are Saying
“‘m not sure you can *really* eat whatever you want, as much as you want, as long as you eat within an 8 hour daily window. But I appreciate that the author used the gimmick of the number 8 to also suggest what you *should* be eating each day…”
“It is alot easier to follow than I expected and I have lost weight with this plan.”
“Tried the 8 hours for a whole month. Did absolutely nothing for me. In fact, I gained 2 pounds. Perhaps the 16 hours fasting is not good for the metabolism.”
The Bottom Line on the 16:8 Diet?
Finally, will the 16:8 Diet plan help you lose weight? Well, based on the research we found, the intermittent fasting involved can help you shed some pounds. Studies have shown that this approach may also help prevent certain health issues. However, we did notice that some people who’ve tried this approach complained about the 8-hour eating window, and others said they saw no substantial results.
If you want to boost your weight-loss results, you should consider a diet plan or supplement that is backed by solid research but doesn’t leave you feeling hungry or unsatisfied half the day.
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