Weight loss: All you need to know about the 16:8 diet and 6 tips to burn belly fat using intermittent fasting

A study claims that the 16:8 diet may be better when it comes to losing weight than the popular 5:2 method. Intermittent fasting is linked to a number of health benefits, including weight loss. Here are a few tips to help you slim down your waistline successfully with the 16:8 diet.

The 16:8 diet is a great tool for weight loss without calorie counting or eliminating certain foods

The 16:8 diet is a great tool for weight loss without calorie counting or eliminating certain foods  |  Photo Credit: Thinkstock

New Delhi: Intermittent fasting has been in the limelight for quite some time now as a way of shedding those extra pounds. A growing number of experts say that it can accelerate fat loss and promote overall health. Some animal and human studies have suggested that intermittent fasting (IF) may offer health benefits besides helping you get leaner and fitter. But there are different types of intermittent fasting for weight loss. One newer approach is time-restricted eating, in which you’re supposed to fast for 16 hours a day, then eat for the remaining 8 hours. This form of intermittent fasting is widely referred to as the 16:8 diet.

Recently, a study, published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging, suggested that following the 16:8 diet boosts weight loss – in a span of just 12 weeks. Fasting is linked to a number of health benefits, including weight loss, lower blood pressure, and reduced cholesterol. Wondering what the 16:8 diet is all about and how does it work? This is different from the popular 5:2 method, which allows you to consume only 500-600 calories on two days of the week but eats normally the other 5 days. On the 16:8 diet, you can eat whatever you want for the 8 hours between 10 a.m and 6 p.m, and fast for the remaining 16 hours of the day. During the 16-hour fasting, dieters could only drink water or consume calorie-free beverages. Read – Weight loss: Here’s why intermittent fasting may be the best diet plan

How does the 16:8 diet help in weight loss?

For the new study, published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging, the researchers examined 23 obese men and women who followed the 16:8 diet for 12 weeks. When compared their results against a control group that ate normally, these participants lost a modest amount of weight – around 3 percent of their body weight – in three months and lowered their blood pressure. The researchers also found that these people also consumed around 300 fewer calories a day, which supports weight loss, compared to the control group who ate normally.

The findings suggest that the 16:8 diet is a great tool for weight loss without calorie counting or eliminating certain foods. The researchers believe that this plan of intermittent fasting may be easier for people to maintain than the 5:2 plan.

Does the 16:8 intermittent fasting plan have any flaws?

While the 16:8 diet has some benefits, it is ‘not a sustainable diet in the long-term’, University of Newcastle’s Professor Clare Collins, accredited practising dietitian and spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia, was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald.

According to Professor Collins, the 16:8 diet may not be ideal for people who are on medication that needs to be consumed with food or at set times. Moreover, the 16:8 eating plan limits the time you eat, but it doesn’t recommend to make changes in your eating habits. While the diet may help people prevent snacking after dinner and promote mindful eating, Professor Collins says that there is a significant flaw in any diet that advocates eating ‘whatever you want’.

Overall, the 16:8 diet could be a great way to get started for people who are obese or overweight, says Professor Collins, adding they should consult a health professional before getting into it.

Tips to help you succeed with the 16:8 diet: Dos and Don’ts

One of the best things about fasting is that it can help you enter ketosis more quickly – that sweet state of fat burning. While fasting for short periods helps you eat fewer calories, hold on to more muscle mass when dieting, and makes healthy eating simpler, you would want to keep in mind a few things while following an intermittent fasting etiquette. Here are a few tips to help you slim down your waistline successfully with the 16:8 diet:

  • With the 16:8 protocol, you can eat anything you want during the 8 hours of your eating window. But to lose weight effectively, you need to make healthier food choices by focusing on nutrient-dense foods that help you burn fat. So, eat a balanced diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meat, eggs, dairy, nuts, and beans each day.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep you well-hydrated for many reasons. This can also reduce hunger levels.
  • You may drink coffee and other non-caloric beverages during fasting, but preferably with no sugar, milk or cream, which contain calories.
  • Avoid junk and processed foods that contain excessive amounts of calories.
  • Just like any other weight loss plan, you need to stick with it for an extended period of time if you want it to work, so consistency matters.
  • Stay active – It is recommended to include some strength training to burn body fat while holding on to muscle.

Note: Intermittent fasting can be a great way to lose weight and highly beneficial for some people. However, one must also know that it is not for everyone. Always consult with your doctor or other healthcare professional before starting this or any other diet program to determine if it is safe for you.