For people who are accustomed to eating 3 meals a day plus snacks in between, a fasting diet may sound absurd. But a recent study found that doing a 16:8 fasting diet is actually beneficial for weight loss and lowering blood pressure.
Before we go further, know that fasting is an ancient practice. In fact, fasting has been known as a religious practice, which is particularly true in Islam. However, fasting is also practice for health and wellness practice.
Among the known historical figure to did fasting include Plato and Socrates. Therefore, fasting is not a new or modern 21st-century concept.
16:8 Fasting Diet For Weight Loss
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago says a daily 16:8 fasting diet is beneficial. Among the notable health benefits is weight loss and lowering of blood pressure.
But what does a 16:8 fasting diet means? Well, the protocol is simple. You can eat during an 8-hour window while abstaining from food for 16 hours except for water.
In fasting, water is essential to avoid dehydration. Unless, of course, for people who have done fasting for years as their regular practice, they can go without water for several days or weeks.
In this study, 23 obese participants with average BMI of 35 were allowed to eat between 10 AM and 6 PM. After that time, from 6 PM to 10 AM the next day, they were only allowed to consumed water.
This study lasted for 12 weeks, and the results are in.
Did The 16:8 Fasting Diet Works?
Definitely, it works. Researchers say that participants in this study were consuming fewer calories, lost weight and blood pressure improvements.
On average, the obese participants in this study were consuming 350 fewer calories. They also lost around 3% of their body weight and improvement in their blood pressure level.
In other words, this type of fasting is more effective than counting calories. Krista Varady, corresponding author of the study says;
Can Anyone Do This Type of Time-Restricted Eating?
Certainly, anyone can do it just these 23 obese participants in the study. But first, know that fasting is not a form of starvation. Fasting, however, offers a lot of therapeutic benefits.
Moreover, the most common form of fasting just like the 16:8 in the study is intermittent fasting. And, this type of approach in fasting is not only the most common but easier for most people.
In fact, a lot of people are doing this unknowingly. It simply a habit, perhaps, from the first day you tasted food. If a person’s normal eating cycle having the last meal at 6 PM and have his first meal at 6 AM, it is a 12-hour fast.
That is why we call the first meal of the day “breakfast“. This means to break the fast that you just did for 12 hours earlier.
Hunger Creeps and Food Cravings Happen
For those who are doing this consciously for the first time, hunger and food cravings happen. However, this hunger is very untimely. Most of the time, you can simply drink water and it will go away.
The key is to eat appropriate foods. Eating foods high in simple carbohydrates particularly those loaded with refined and added sugars makes you feel hungry fast. The reason there are no dietary fibers in these foods. Healthy experts call them empty calories.
They may provide you with a sense of fullness but only for a short time. Yes, it gives you high energy but quickly crashes. This is what an energy drink does to you upon consuming it.
So, be meticulous with the foods you are eating. Increase your intake of energy-boosting foods and those foods that can maintain and boost metabolism.
Swap your junk foods with high intake of fruits and vegetables including dark green leafy veggies. And, more importantly, choose organic whenever possible.
Instead of snacking on candies, white bread, and other sugary packaged snacks, snack on nuts and seeds, or even fresh salads instead.
But, here’s one thing to keep in mind, when you break your fast, make sure you pick the right foods. Because, when you are having your intermittent fasting and you are eating fast foods or some other foods stripped of essential nutrients, it is a bad idea.
Instead of getting the results you desire, you could end up experiencing the opposite. And, then, you will blame that fasting is not working and perhaps, load of other reasons. It’s a good lifestyle only when you fully switch towards healthy eating and lifestyle practices.