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Home Fasting 16:8 Intermittent Fasting: Your Complete Guide to This Method

16:8 Intermittent Fasting: Your Complete Guide to This Method

16:8 intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that has been used by many to successfully lose weight and improve health. Rather than restricting what you eat, it restricts when you eat, helping you eat less and be in a calorie deficit.

For many people, intermittent fasting has been the answer to reducing their body weight after little success with other diet types. There are many different IF protocols, including the 16:8 method. Find out more about this type of IF below.

What Is 16:8 Intermittent Fasting?

16:8 intermittent fasting is an intermittent fasting schedule that involves an eating window of 8 hours and a fasting period of 16 hours. It is one of the less challenging options, and a typical 16:8 schedule looks something like the following; begin eating at 12 PM and end at around 8 PM after your last meal of the day. Then fast from 8 PM through until midday the next day.

As with all intermittent fasting protocols, you can shift this time frame to suit your day and activities. For example, if you prefer eating in the morning, you can shift the eating window and begin fasting earlier in the day.

The 16:8 protocol is generally a good place to start, but it is quite restrictive. If you’re finding it difficult or want to begin with a less challenging method, consider trying the 12-hour fast or the 14:10 method first. This way, your body can get used to long periods without food first.

How Long Does It Take for 16:8 Intermittent Fasting to Work?

The amount of weight you lose and the timeframe in which you lose it is down to genetics, starting weight, age, and much more. This means it is different for every person. Some people may notice weight loss from the 16:8 intermittent fasting schedule within just 2 weeks, but for others, it could take up to 6 weeks or even more to notice a difference.

It is important not to be discouraged by this if you don’t notice weight loss immediately. It is not recommended that you weigh yourself every day or even every week. To notice weight loss progress, taking pictures at regular intervals is more likely to keep you motivated and show your progress better.

Additionally, you should remember that while the 16:8 method does help you lose weight, it also has many other health benefits. This means you may notice improved digestive health or improvements in the health metrics you track, like better blood sugar regulation, sooner than you notice weight loss.

Changing your eating habits and reducing your calorie intake does more than just help you to slim down – there are lots of benefits to this eating method that cannot be seen on the outside.

Is 16:8 Intermittent Fasting Good for Weight Loss?

Yes, the 16:8 intermittent fasting method is a great way to lose weight. It is particularly useful for those who have struggled with calorie restriction in the past because it enforces a natural deficit, not by limiting what you eat but by limiting when you eat.

On top of this, the intermittent fasting method isn’t a diet per se and is usually classified as an eating style. This means you can continue it for the rest of your life and avoid the weight gain that often comes after a period of aggressive dieting. It is a lifestyle rather than a form of calorie restriction.

What Can You Drink While Fasting 16:8?

During your fasting periods, you can drink water and other zero-calorie beverages. You may also drink unsweetened black coffee, tea, and herbal infusions. It is important that you don’t break your fast with what you drink, so avoiding anything that will cause a blood sugar spike is key.

Followers of the intermittent fasting method will likely be aware that there are 2 kinds of fasting: clean fasting and dirty fasting. While clean fasting means that during your fasting period, you will drink strictly no-calorie beverages (water, green tea, black tea, or black coffee), a dirty fasting diet gives you more options.

If you opt for dirty fasting, then during a fasting window, you may also consume beverages that do not cause a blood sugar spike but do contain calories. These can include bone broth, which is great for much-needed electrolytes, and keto-friendly drinks, like bulletproof coffee.

What Can You Drink While Fasting 16-8


5 Benefits of 16:8 Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is known for its many benefits for your health. It has been widely researched and has become popular because of these advantages. Check out the benefits of intermittent fasting below to work out if this is the right kind of eating style for you.

#1 Weight loss

Intermittent fasting is known for its ability to help people lose weight as it restricts when you can eat, inducing a caloric deficit and helping you to eat less. By reducing your eating window, you cannot physically eat as much as you usually would.

Weight loss

Secondly, there is evidence that fasting can boost your metabolism. Your metabolism, or metabolic rate, is essentially how quickly your body burns through calories doing necessary life processes. 

#2 Blood sugar control

Intermittent fasting is thought to reduce both fasting insulin and blood sugar, which may reduce your overall risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This form of diabetes is caused by the body not responding properly to insulin and leads to higher blood sugar levels and other complications if not managed properly.

Additionally, if you already have type 2 diabetes, then fasting may be an effective management tool as it is thought to reduce insulin resistance. Reduced sensitivity to insulin is a factor in the development of diabetes, so increasing it can also help to manage the condition.

#3 Improved focus

Some research suggests that intermittent fasting can improve cognitive function and help you focus better. It is thought to release chemicals in the brain which help you concentrate better while protecting you from the negative effects of stress.

In addition, there is evidence that fasting improves autophagy. This is the process by which cells are renewed and recycled in the body, and it generally slows as we age. Decreased autophagy can be linked to neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s, but research hints that fasting could reduce your risk of developing these conditions.

#4 Boosts metabolism

We’ve already touched on the benefits of a better metabolic rate for weight loss, but a slow metabolism goes hand-in-hand with a range of metabolic disorders, including diabetes, obesity, Wilson disease, and mitochondrial disease. This is because you’re more likely to gain weight if you have a slow metabolism.

Your metabolic health is incredibly important to your overall health, so reducing your risk of metabolic disorders is a good idea.

#5 Heart health promotion

Your heart is integral to life, health, and pretty much everything. It pumps blood around the body, oxygenating cells and helping you to survive day-to-day, so if it’s not working properly, it can lead to big problems.

Heart health promotion

Fortunately, intermittent fasting is known to have a profound effect on your heart health. Not only does it support better weight management and reduce insulin sensitivity to reduce blood sugar levels, but it also reduces blood pressure and has a positive effect on cholesterol levels.

Blood pressure, blood sugar control, and blood cholesterol levels are all markers of heart health, and keeping them in check can reduce your risk of many cardiovascular diseases.

Side Effects of 16:8 Intermittent Fasting

While the 16:8 method can be a great way of reducing your food intake, losing weight, and improving your health, it may also have some side effects. These include:

  • Dizziness
  • Extreme hunger
  • Faintness
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Irritability
  • Nutrient deficiencies 

You may be able to mitigate some of these negative effects by staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet during your eating windows which include lots of fiber and protein, and taking appetite suppressants. However, some people should still avoid intermittent fasting completely.

Anyone who has a condition that could be exacerbated by long periods without food should not try fasting, nor should anyone pregnant or breastfeeding. Additionally, if you have an eating disorder, or have had eating disorders in the past, then fasting diets should not be tried as they can lead to disordered eating patterns.

If you want to try the 16:8 method but don’t know whether it is suitable for you, you should speak with a doctor before making any changes.

16:8 Intermittent Fasting and Diabetes: Is It Beneficial?

There is a lot of evidence as to the benefits of intermittent fasting diets for people with type 2 diabetes, and it is often touted as an effective management tool if properly supervised by a doctor. It is thought to reduce insulin resistance and improve blood sugar control, both of which are key to the effective management of diabetes.

For those with type 1 diabetes, a fasting diet is thought to have some benefits, but much of the research done into it has been performed on animals, not humans. If you have diabetes and would like more information, it is best to speak with your primary healthcare provider, who can give you more explanation on the benefits of such a diet and whether or not it is safe for you.

Potential benefits of the 16:8 method for diabetes may include:

  • Improved insulin resistance
  • Enhanced blood sugar regulation
  • Weight loss
  • Improved cholesterol levels
  • Boosted heart health


What to eat during intermittent fasting?

During intermittent fasting, you can’t eat anything. Fasting is a period where food intake is not allowed and you can only consume water and other zero calorie beverages until your next eating window.

How many calories to eat during intermittent fasting 16:8?

The intermittent fasting method does not set out calorie limits. Instead, you should aim to eat a normal caloric intake in the eating window. Fasting is a really good choice if you have struggled with calorie restriction in the past.

How often should you do 16:8 intermittent fasting?

The 16:8 method is generally considered safe to follow 7 days a week, 365 days a year. However, some people find it restrictive and may choose to cycle between fasting and normal eating. It is entirely up to you and your personal preferences.

A Word From an MD

The 16:8 method is a fasting style that involves 8 hours of eating and 16 hours of fasting. It is a popular eating method and is less challenging than other styles of fasting, like the 5:2 method or the Warrior Diet.

Like all fasting methods, it comes with many benefits, like increased longevity, better heart health, and better blood sugar regulation. If you’re using fasting for weight loss, it is important to continue eating healthy and nutritious foods and load up your plate with lean protein and fiber-filled vegetables.

As with all diets and eating regimes, don’t push yourself too far, and stop if you feel ill. Some people should not try this eating method at all, including pregnant people, those who are breastfeeding, anyone with a medical condition that would not be safe doing so, and those who have had an eating disorder in the past.


The 16:8 method is a style of intermittent fasting. It has many benefits and only a few drawbacks. It is a good eating method for weight loss and is safe enough to be used daily. If you’re new to IF, consider trying the 12-hour fast or 14:10 method first to ease your body into fasting.

Written by
Edibel Quintero, MD

Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel's goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.

16:8 intermittent fasting

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