Dr. Anthony Gustin is a board-certified sports chiropractor, functional medicine practitioner, entrepreneur, podcast host, and founder of Perfect Keto.
Intermittent fasting is an effective fasting method with research-backed health benefits, including healthy weight loss, better cognitive function, and lower inflammation.
Intermittent fasting has become a popular tool for improving overall health and reaching nutrition and fitness goals, and the most well-known approach is 16/8 intermittent fasting.
If you want to start intermittent fasting, 16/8 is the easiest and most sustainable approach.
In this article, you’ll learn:
Intermittent fasting (IF), also known as time-restricted feeding, means eating within a specific daily window of time (called feeding period) and fasting outside of that window (called fasting period).
There are several different types of intermittent fasting but the 16/8 method is the most popular because it’s the easiest.
Doing an 16/8 intermittent fast means that you fast for 16 hours and eating only within an 8-hour window throughout the day, such as from 12pm to 8pm.
The easiest approach is to skip breakfast and eat until later in the day. For example, if you finish dinner by 8:00 pm, you can’t eat again until midday the next day.
16/8 Intermittent fasting is only one approach.The windows can vary based on the individual. Someone might only eat within a six-hour window (18/6) or four-hour window (20/4).
How 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Works
Restricting calories is a helpful metabolic stressor, like exercise. Eating within a certain time frame pushes your body in a different metabolic direction than if you were eating all the time.
Intermittent fasting will trigger autophagy, which is a crucial defense mechanism against malignancy, infection and neurodegenerative diseases. It’s basically your body’s way of cleaning out cells that aren’t performing at their best.
Research find short-term fasting is an effective way of triggering neuronal autophagy (cleaning up brain cells that aren’t doing well) and therefore protect your brain against neurodegenerative diseases.[*]
Intermittent fasting also triggers a beneficial metabolic reaction, that includes:
- Inflammatory markers decrease
- Blood glucose levels and insulin decrease
- The neurotrophin BDNF increases
These are powerful changes that lead to several health improvements.
7 Health Benefits Of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
Adopting this eating style may seem difficult if you’ve never tried it before, but once you get used to it, it’s easy to follow, and the research-backed benefits make it an excellent tool to improve your health.
Intermittent fasting has been researched for its ability to improve multiple aspect of your health.
#1: Fat Loss
Intermittent fasting can help both healthy and overweight adults lose weight and body fat effectively. Human intervention trials have consistently found doing IF significantly reduces weight.[*]
In almost any type of fasting, losing weight is relatively easy because you’re consuming fewer calories.
#2: Improved Cognitive Function
Another perk of intermittent fasting is it can improve brain function, boost focus, and get rid of brain fog.
Studies[*] find that restricting calories moderately can:
- Protect the brain by reducing oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids and nucleic acids.
- Elevates levels of BDNF, an important neurotrophin that is needed for synaptic plasticity.
#3: Lower Inflammation
Intermittent fasting, or restricting calories, also lowers markers of inflammation, which in turn aids cognitive function and protects your brain health.[*]
#4: Lower Blood Pressure
Research finds intermittent fasting can help reduce blood pressure.[*]
#5: Blood Sugar Control
Intermittent fasting is also an excellent tool for blood sugar regulation. Research on human subject finds that IF reduces blood sugar, insulin, and improves insulin sensitivity.[*]
#6: Better Metabolic Health
Due to the different beneficial effects of intermittent fasting on health markers, it supports overall metabolic health.
Research finds intermittent fasting can improve metabolic profiles and reduce the risk of obesity and obesity-related conditions such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.[*]
The positive effects IF has on your metabolic health, inflammatory markers, and blood sugar control may contribute to a longer lifespan and healthy aging.
Even though human trials are still needed to measure IF’s impact on longevity, multiple animal studies show calorie restriction has increased lifespan.[*]
Another way intermittent fasting can improve your health is by facilitating ketosis.
How To Do 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
To do intermittent fasting correctly and reap all the health benefits, here’s what to do:
- Pick your fasting window: Choose the 8-hour period you’ll eat and when you’ll stop. The easiest approach is to have an early dinner and skip your morning breakfast. For example, eating only from 01:00pm to 09:00pm.
- Have healthy meals during your eating window: A bad diet during your eating window can offset the metabolic benefits of intermittent fasting, so stick to nutritious foods from clean sources. Here’s a list of the best keto-friendly foods to eat.
- Eat fatty, satisfying meals: While you don’t need to be keto to try intermittent fasting, eating fatty foods will make fasting a lot easier and sustainable. Keto foods are healthy and satisfying, so you won’t be hungry during your fasting window.
One of the best things about fasting is it can help you get into ketosis faster.
The two are related for three reasons:
- For your body to get into ketosis, you must be fasting in some sense — either by not eating any food at all or by keeping carbs extremely low. When you’re in ketosis, it means your body is breaking down fat for energy.
- Intermittent fasting helps deplete your glucose stores at a faster rate, which speeds up the process of running on fat.
- Many people who start a ketogenic diet begin by fasting to enter ketosis more quickly.
So, is 16/8 intermittent fasting guaranteed to get you into ketosis?
It’s not, but it can help get you there if you do it along with a ketogenic diet.
16/8 Intermittent Fasting and The Ketogenic Diet
There are three compelling reasons to combine intermittent fasting with a keto diet:
#1: Intermittent Fasting Is Not Enough To Keep You In Ketosis
The 16/8 fasting window may not be enough to get you into or keep you in ketosis. Even if you do end up in ketosis but then continue to eat a diet with even a moderate amount of carbs, it’ll probably kick you out of ketosis each time.
This can result in unpleasant side effects such as the keto flu and being overly hungry each time you start fasting again.
#2: The Ketogenic Diet Makes Fasting Easier
Eating a ketogenic diet allows your body to become keto-adapted (running on fat and not depending on mainly on glucose).
This makes intermittent fasting much more comfortable because there’s no switching between glucose and ketones, thus eliminating the feeling of needing to eat every few hours.
Therefore, your intermittent fasting window won’t be a struggle because you won’t feel as hungry as you wait until the next feeding period.
#3: The Ketogenic Diet Keeps You Satisfied
Another great perk of the keto diet is its high level of satiety.
Not only does ketosis itself tend to stifle hunger, the high level of fat in the keto diet makes it much easier to stay satisfied and eliminates those intense feelings of hunger and cravings throughout the day.
This is perfect for someone doing intermittent fasting.
Perfect Keto founder @dranthonygustin does intermittent fasting on the regular without feeling hungry because he eats nutrient-dense, high-quality keto meals in between his fasting window, like this one:
How to Get Into Ketosis Using the 16/8 Method
While 16/8 intermittent fasting itself is not the only way to get into ketosis, it’s a good start.
To get into ketosis, the best way is to combine a healthy ketogenic diet with a intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting, especially the 16/8 approach, is completely safe and beneficial. Contrary to common belief, moderate calorie restriction is a healthy practice that improves your metabolic health.
However, if you’re using it to get into ketosis, it might not be enough to get you there. If your goal of fasting is to enter ketosis, you also need to follow a ketogenic diet.
Key Takeaways:16/8 Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting is safe and a powerful tool for improving your health.
- The 16/8 intermittent fasting approach means you fast for 16 hours and eat only in an 8 hour window.
- Fasting triggers autophagy, which is needed for a healthy metabolism.
- Fasting also has plenty of research-backed health benefits including better brain function, lower blood sugar levels, and lower inflammation.
- Fasting can be a great way to get into ketosis, but it’s not the only way.
- If you want to use fasting for ketosis, it’s ideal if you do it while following a ketogenic diet.
Don’t forget to download your free Intermittent Fasting eBook, and get ready to rock IF.