16/8 Diet: A Simple Guide On What It Means, What You Can Eat & More

4 min read

Take your first step to a healthy lifestyle with the 16/8 diet and enjoy its many benefits including weight loss.

(This is a chapter of a bigger guide on intermittent fasting guide.)

If you wish to get started on intermittent fasting, 16 hour intermittent fasting option is the most feasible for beginners because the fasting period conveniently includes nearly 8 hours of targeted sleep that individuals are supposed to get each day, leaving only 8 hours of fasting when you are awake.

What is the 16/8 diet?

16/8 diet plan

In this schedule, you eat all meals within an 8-hour window and fast for the rest of the 16 hours i.e. avoid all meals and calorie-rich liquids.

For instance: If you wake up at 7 am, eat your first meal after 11 am and your last meal meal before 7 pm. From 7 pm until bedtime, you avoid all foods.

Repeat the same schedule next day.

The traditional concept of breakfast won’t apply here. As the name suggests, it is the first meal that ‘breaks your fast’ but it doesn’t necessarily need to be eaten within the first few hours of waking up.

What can I eat on the 16 hour diet?

  • Between the 8 hour diet plan and the 16 hour fast, you are free to consume any food of your choice, with zero restriction on calories. You don’t have to divide your meals into breakfast, lunch or dinner either. The general rule is to eat when you are hungry and eat till you satiated.
  • During the 16 hours of fasting, you MAY consume black tea or coffee (with no sweeteners or dairy), zero-calorie drinks or sugar-free chewing gums.
  • To make the most of the 16/8 fasting weight loss benefits, avoid combining the diet with poor eating choices. Eat healthy, whole foods as much as possible.
16 hour fast diet
Eat healthy and whole foods during your 8-hour eating window.

Are the 16 hour fast benefits different from other forms of intermittent fasting?

Other forms of intermittent fasting have extended fasting hours that go from 20 hours to even 72 hours. Extended fasting between meals is beneficial for healing at a cellular level and is often employed to treat severe ailments. It is often practised at intervals or until certain health targets are achieved.

In comparison, fasting 16 hours a day is a regular discipline that helps you not only achieve weight loss but also maintain body fat composition and insulin levels, among a host of other benefits.

Is the 16/8 diet plan same as the Leangains diet plan?

Nutritionist and trainer Martin Berkhan came up with Leangains (also known as the 16/8
intermittent fasting) as a daily plan that involves resistance training, a specific meal plan
and fasting.

Like the 16 hour fast diet, Leangains breaks the day in to a strict feeding window of 8 hours and a fasting window of 16 hours.

What sets it apart from the typical 16/8 diet is that it recommends three large meals in a day:

  • First meal eaten (preferably at 1 pm) after a one-hour workout,
  • Second meal at 4 pm, and
  • Last meal at 9 pm

The timing, though encouraged, can be altered as per individual schedule.

What can I eat in the Leangains diet?

  • Since Leangains is devised to gain strength and muscle, it involves counting your macros and specific dietary requirements.
  • You can have tea, coffee, diet drinks and sugar-free gums — provided they are zero calories or under 10-20 calories — during the fasting window.
  • A BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) supplement or whey protein is encouraged before workout. Your first meal after a workout is expected to be the biggest meal of the day.
  • In your most active days, Leangain recommends meals high in carbohydrates and calories. During less active days, low-carb high-fat meals are considered ideal,
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