The Ultimate beginner’s guide to intermittent fasting

Diet & Fitness


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Practiced for centuries by different religions around the world, voluntary fasting is one of the best known dietary and food customs.

While thousands of people in the world have abstained from consuming food to cleanse their soul and spirit, in recent times there are those who have promoted fasting as a practice to lose weight. The ways to do it are many, but one that has gained much fame now is the intermittent fast 16/8.

The advantages of the 16/8 fasting method are that it is easy to do and can be sustained in the long term without any risk. Find out exactly what it is and if it is convenient for you.

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What is intermittent fasting 16/8?

Fasting 16/8 is one of the most popular methods of fasting that there is currently. In essence, it has no major rules: it is simply to limit the consumption of food to a time frame of 8 hours a day, maintaining a continuous fast for the remaining 16 hours.

Starting from this frame of 16/8, the person can decide how to schedule his fast for the week. You can fast one, two or more times a week, without ever putting your health at risk.

Unlike other methods of fasting, in the intermittent fasting 16/8 you can consume the same calories that are consumed normally, as long as it is done within the established 8 hours. It is thanks to this flexibility that it has become such an attractive method.

The good news is that it works as a method to lose weight, and to understand why, it is enough to discover what happens to us when we fast in this way.

What happens to our body when we fast?

When we fast following the 16/8 format, our body experiences a series of subtle but important changes at the cellular level.

When fasting, our blood sugar levels drop for longer than when we eat normally. This causes our body to produce momentarily less insulin.

Although decreasing our insulin levels may sound counterproductive, it is actually a great advantage: our body becomes more sensitive to produce it in the long term, which can be beneficial in preventing diabetes.

During this process there is also an increase in growth hormone and cell regeneration process, both important factors to burn fat and improve muscle composition .

How to practice fasting 16/8?

To practice fasting 16/8, it is best to select a block of 8 continuous hours of food that you are comfortable to follow, causing you to be satiated for most of the day.

Most prefer to do it between 12 noon and 8 o’clock at night. Another valid division is to eat only between 9 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon. During the hours of ingestion of food you should do the three main meals, along with a couple of smaller snacks, so that the drop in blood sugar during the rest of the day is not excessive.

In any case, try to privilege the consumption of natural and healthy foods during the 8 hours of ingestion allowed.

What foods to eat during the 16/8 fast?

These are good choices of nutritious foods to eat:

  • Fruits: apples, bananas, berries, oranges and pears.
  • Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, lettuce and spinach.
  • Grains: quinoa, rice, oats and natural wheat.
  • Healthy fats: olive oil, avocado or coconut oil.
  • Proteins: beef, poultry, pork, fish, legumes, eggs, nuts and seeds.

Likewise, remember to maintain proper hydration throughout the day, drinking water and non-sweetened beverages such as tea and coffee without sugar.

Benefits of fasting 16/8

As we have seen, fasting 16/8 has several benefits. Weight loss, better muscle development and control of sugar levels are the most obvious. However, recent scientific studies have pointed out other potential benefits.

A study in animals has indicated that, in the long term, fasting can activate cellular mechanisms in the body that are related to greater longevity. Similarly, another study in animals suggests that fasting promotes the regeneration of nervous tissue, which favors various brain responses.

Possible risks of fasting 16/8

Despite all its benefits, intermittent fasting may not be suitable for everyone. People with a tendency to anxiety or a history of overweight may end up eating more during the 8 hours that food is allowed. This can cause a counterproductive effect of fat gain, as well as dizziness, fatigue and upset stomach during the adaptation process.

If you decide to start with the fast 16/8 and it is hard for you to adapt to this routine after a couple of weeks, consult a doctor and decide if it is really for you.

Related Wiki Article: Intermittent fasting benefits 

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