You’ve probably heard the phrase intermittent fasting before. It’s been one of the most popular health trends over the past decade. Fasting is abstaining from food or drink for ethical, health, or religious purposes.
Abstaining from drink and food can be partial, complete, or intermittent. We’ll focus on intermittent fasting for health reasons, such as weight loss.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating routine where you limit your food intake to certain hours of the day. This kind of fasting includes periodic fasting, daily time-restricted eating, and alternate-day fasting. You have to find the one that’s best for you.
This method of fasting has grown in popularity over the years. Practicing intermittent fasting is known to help people lose weight, improve gut health, and improve their overall well-being and lifestyle. For more on that, click here, or continue reading about fasting for 18 vs. 16 hours and it’s effects.
The Concept of 18/6 Intermittent Fasting
One of the most common methods of intermittent fasting is the 18/6. This involves fasting for 18 hours out of the 24 hours of a day, followed by an eating period of six hours.
Since many consume the bulk of their caloric intake within a 12-hour feeding window, the 18/6 intermittent fasting method is one of the most time-restrictive feeding patterns under the umbrella of periodic fasting.
It’s important to note that there is no strict fasting or eating period. Your fasting regimen should be tailored based on a schedule that works for your lifestyle. Weight loss is probably easier if you’re under less pressure to stick with a rigid routine that doesn’t fit in with your typical daily activities.
Some people even eat one meal a day (OMAD) while doing an 18 hour fast.
The Concept of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
16/8 intermittent fasting is another popular method. This plan restricts calorie-containing drinks and food consumption to an eating window of eight hours a day. The fasting window is 16 hours a day. There is no specific time for the eight-hour eating period. It’s your choice, depending on your daily schedule.
Many people opt to skip breakfast and have their first meal at noon and their last meal at eight in the evening. Some avoid late eating and adhere to an eating schedule from nine in the morning to five in the evening. Other diets can establish strict rules, but the 16/8 time-restricted feeding method is more accommodating.
16/8 and 18/6 Fasting—Which One Is Better?
The 16/8 and 18/6 intermittent fasting methods look similar and might be confusing. However, once you understand the concept of the numbers, it’s easier to understand. The bigger number that comes first is the fasting window, while the smaller number is the eating window.
Neither routine is a conventional diet plan, as they aren’t specific regarding what you should eat or shouldn’t eat. The 16/8 and 18/6 intermittent fasting plans are all about your eating pattern. Both methods are popular for weight loss and other health benefits, such as metabolic health and lowering blood pressure.
It’s hard to say which is the best method because choosing between the two is about what suits you. The only definitive is that whatever restrictive eating plan you pick, ensure that you still maintain a balanced diet.
You can technically eat whatever you want on both plans, but it’s up to you to be smart about your eating choices. A healthy diet comprises fruits, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats.
While the 16/8 and 18/6 intermittent fasting methods can fit into any lifestyle, some people might find it hard to not eat for 16 or 18 hours straight despite the possible health advantages. Those that prefer a longer eating window may opt for the 16/8 method.
However, longer fasting times with shorter eating windows are more potent for losing weight. Stored fat is burned and used for energy during your non-eating periods. Therefore, it’s possible to achieve your weight loss goal faster with the 18/6 method.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that both restrictive eating practices can trigger binge eating, especially in people with a history of eating disorders.
Also Read: Differences in the 12 and 16 hour fast.
The Ideal Eating Window for Intermittent Fasting
Fasting should be used in conjunction with other healthy habits to work. A fasting plan can be tailored to suit your lifestyle, but for the best effect, it’s probably better to eat earlier in the day and avoid late eating. It’s recommended to eat breakfast because it gives you the boost of energy you need in the mornings.
Along with keeping earlier eating hours, allow your body to burn fat cells between meals by being active and not snacking.
The Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Fasting has been linked to many health benefits, including weight loss, improved blood glucose control, reduced inflammation, and improved heart health. It may also provide protection against certain diseases, such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
Weight loss can help reduce your risk of obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes, sleep apnea, and certain cancers. Intermittent fasting appears to be as beneficial as any other calorie-reduction diet.
It may contribute to weight loss through glucose metabolism by lowering insulin levels. The body turns carbohydrates into glucose, which our cells use for energy or transform into fat to be stored for later. Insulin is the hormone that helps glucose enter the cells.
Your insulin level decreases when you don’t eat. During fasting, decreasing insulin levels may cause cells to release their glucose reserves (or glycogen stores) as energy. Over time, with intermittent fasting, this process may lead to decreased weight.
Attaining optimal weight also depends on how many calories you intake. The calorie restriction that intermittent fasting promotes will also help you reduce your weight.
Lowers the Risk of Type-2 Diabetes
Intermittent fasting may also prevent type-2 diabetes. Obesity or being overweight is a predisposition to type-2 diabetes, as too much fat, especially in the abdomen, can cause insulin resistance. Since fasting helps to lower weight, that risk factor is significantly decreased.
Reduces Inflammation and Improves Brain Health
The popularity of the intermittent fasting trend started many studies. Research suggests that this fasting method may be more favorable than other diets for reducing inflammation. Therefore, it lowers the risk of conditions linked to inflammation, such as asthma, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Intermittent fasting may also be linked to a metabolic transition from glucose-based to ketone-based energy. Some benefits of ketones include improved energy, increased longevity, increased stress resistance, prevention of cancer growth, and enhanced regeneration of the nervous system.
Fasting for 18 hours or 16 hours is similar. The only difference between the intermittent fasting methods is the length of fasting time, with one being 16 hours and the other 18 hours. Moreover, the eating patterns developed with both methods are helpful to your overall well-being.
Intermittent fasting benefits include decreased incidence of chronic diseases and lowered body weight. However, as with any diet plan, it’s recommended to exercise caution and do what works best for you.