Read this article to discover the extraordinary benefits of fasting 16 hours a day and how to do it properly.
Fasting is almost as old as the world itself, even though back then the hunting and gathering communities did not necessarily deem it as such.
Fasting for 16 hours a day aligns with the 16:8 intermittent fasting method. This type of fasting allows you to fast for 16 hours and eat within the remaining 8-hour window.
The biggest question, however, is, does it work? Studies upon studies have been done and if they are anything to go by, fasting 16 hours a day comes with so many benefits that we will discuss below.
Benefits of Fasting 16 Hours A Day
1. It Is Better Than Dieting
Fasting 16 hours a day is better than dieting, most of which demand the cutting out of some food groups.
While it still requires you to be mindful of the portions, you do not have to stick to a near-zero calorie count that other diets advocate for.
You learn to perceive food for what it is, that is, nourishment, and not some enemy trying to make you fat and ruin your life.
2. It Helps You Lose Weight
If you are in it for weight loss, fasting 16 hours a day actually works. In fact, most people who fast this way do it purely for weight loss purposes.
The fact that you only have eight hours to eat by default reduces the number of calories you take. This research found that fasting can reduce your body weight by up to 8%.
3. Reduces Body Fat
Weight loss doesn’t always translate fat loss. When most people lose weight with crash diets, they lose water weight, muscle mass, and a little bit of body fat. But with 16-hour fasts, you’ll mainly lose body fat.
A recent study revealed that long haul fasting can result in up to 16% of loss of body fat within 3-12 weeks.
4. It is Easier to Incorporate into Your Day
Most people eat three main meals a day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Fasting 16 hours day simply requires you to forego one of those meals instead of squeezing them all together within the 8 hours. This is very easy to implement and follow through.
Compare this to a diet that asks you to count every last calorie in every spoon. Or one that requires you to ignore a food group totally. Or even those that demand an entire overhaul of your fridge and pantry – fasting 16 hours a day is more practical.
5. Boosts Metabolism
One of the reasons fasting 16 hours a day enhances weight loss is it boosts metabolism. This may come as shock to those who believe that eating many small meals through the day is the key to a fast metabolism.
Research shows that changing the timing of meals and extending the overnight fast significantly boosts metabolism.
6. Improves Heart Health
Fasting 16 hours a day may greatly improve your heart health. It reduces the bad cholesterol that clogs the blood vessels and heightens the chances of heart disease.
7. Regulates Blood Sugar
Fasting helps in regulating blood sugar and increasing insulin sensitivity, according to this study conducted on participants with Type 2 Diabetes.
Eating carbohydrates on a normal day may be detrimental to your body due to the blood sugar spikes. However, fasting for 16 hours helps your body cope better with starches and sugars by causing cells to respond better to glucose.
8. Promotes Mindful Eating
Most people eat not because they are hungry, but because it is time to eat or because food is available.
Fasting helps you eat only when you are hungry, and not for fun or pleasure.
9. Resets Hunger Hormone
Most overweight people can hardly tell when they are hungry because the signaling systems of their bodies do not function properly.
In which case, fasting for 16 hours helps in resetting these signals, so that you only feel hungry when you are truly hungry, not otherwise.
10. Promotes Longevity
Did you know the more you fast, the more likely you are to live longer? Studies in animals link regular fasting to longer life and slow aging.
A deep look into the diets of some communities whose members live for long shows that fasting is a regular practice among them.
11. Prevents Some Types of Cancer
While most studies on the effect of long-term fasting have not been graduated from animals to human beings, they show that cancer cells may suffer the same effect of chemotherapy during fasting.
12. Helps Maintain Lean Mass
With most diets, you may lose weight but lose muscle mass at the same time. This is never good news because muscles are very important in helping maintain a fast metabolism.
With fasting, however, you keep all your muscles and enjoy the great energy bursts they provide.
Fasting for 16 hours sounds like an awfully long time, but while it might be hard to envision, these tips make it easy to execute:
How to Fast 16 Hours A Day
Eat sufficient portions
In the eight-hour window that you are supposed to eat, eat practical portions that will see you through the next 16 hours.
Avoid flimsy portions that will make the 16 hours hard, at the same time to do not eat everything.
Fasting does not require you to cut out some foods, eat a balanced diet. Proteins will also help you feel fuller for longer.
Adjust your sleeping schedule
Plan your window in such a way that a better part of the 16 hours is spent sleeping, while the 8-hour window is spent during the day.
You are not active as you sleep so you will not need food anyway. You are more active during the day so your body will utilize the food you eat better.
Find the perfect window
You might need to experiment a little bit in order to find the most suitable eating window for you.
Some people prefer breaking their fast as early as 9 am, others prefer to wait till noon to take their first meal. You pick what works for you.
If you feel hungry, take water or a low-calorie beverage, like green tea. They will induce satiety as you wait for your eating window.
The idler you are, the more you will be aware of your hunger, even if it is not that serious. You will be tempted to act on those eating urges.
Therefore, do something that will take your mind off food.
Start fasting for say, 7 hours and keep adding the hours until you transition smoothly into fasting for 16 hours a day. Do not shock your body into the new regime.
The Bottom Line
In the beginning, you might find it hard getting used to fasting 16 hours a day. But then again, what good thing comes easily.
The first three days are often the hardest as your body adjusts to it, but once you get a hang of it, it is a smooth sail.
If you want to burn fat fast, combing 16 hour-fasting with these short fat-burning home workouts.