Health

The 16:8 Diet

Intermittent Fasting (IF) has been all the rage for a couple of years now, with the 5:2 Diet, the 4:3 Diet etc. Now, thanks principally to Hugh Jackman’s ripped Wolverine, comes the 16:8 Diet

Jackman’s 16/8 intermittent fast involved consuming 6,000 calories during an eight-hour window and then fasting for 16 hours.

“I’m on this 16/8 diet. I eat about 6,000 calories for eight hours from 10 am to 6 pm and then fast for 16 hours a day. Sometimes I would to have wake up in the middle of the night to eat. All the science shows that you burn fat at night, and by fasting you build lean muscle

There is a lot of science behind intermittent fasting or having a period of each day when you are not eating. So you eat for an eight-hour window and then don’t eat for 16 hours”

The 16:8 Diet sees magic in eights: eight hours, eight minutes and eight foods

Eight hours: You eat for eight hours a day, after fasting for 16 hours. You can do this for as few as three days a week (slower weight loss), or seven days a week (greater weight loss). During those 16 hours you can consume zero-calorie fluids such as water, coffee or tea (decaf after 4 p.m.) or fat-free broths (like chicken or beef). Those 16 calorie-free hours make your body burn-off all the glycogen calories stored in your liver

Eight minutes: Before breaking the 16-hour fast, exercise for 8 minutes, as intensively as possible. This short workout starts burning calories from stored fat in your body, since your body no longer has stored glycogen calories to burn

Eight foods: Lastly, you can eat anything for the remaining eight hours, but for best results include foods from these eight groups: eggs and lean meats, yogurt and dairy, nuts, beans and legumes, raspberries and other berries, tree fruits, whole grains (quinoa, oatmeal), spinach and green vegetables. If possible combine a fat buster (the first four) with a health booster (the second four). Examples include raspberries with low-fat plain yogurt or celery sticks and homemade hummus

Do I have to eat in the same 8 hour time span every day?

Not at all. The 16:8 Diet can easily be adapted to any sort of hectic, changing lifestyle. The key to success is simply to alternate 8 hours of feasting with 16 hours of fasting. As long as you stick to that pattern, you’ll realize all the benefits

So, for example, a 9-to-5 type can break their fast at 11 am and be home in time to eat dinner at 7. Presto, that’s 8 hours, and she can follow that pattern from week to week. But if a work event, dinner date, or party arises, they can just shift that first meal later in the day, so the 8 hours are 1 pm to 9 pm. And for shift workers who may need to eat their first meal at noon on one day and at 5 pm on another, the plan still works, as long as they observe the 8-hour feasting pattern

I only want to follow the plan 3 days a week. Should I do my 3 days all in a row, or is it better to alternate them?

Whatever is most convenient for you. For example, some people say they find it easier to wake up late on Saturday and Sunday, enjoy a leisurely morning, and then eat a delicious brunch around noon. (These people obviously don’t have young children!) If that fits your lifestyle, then just slip in one more day during the workweek and you’re all set. But if your weekends are hectic, you might want to forget about trying to follow the diet and instead do it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Or Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Or Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Or whatever. As long as you hit your times, you’ll change your body- and your life

Can I eat as often as I want during my 8 hours?

Yes! You’re free to eat what you like, when you like. If you want two big meals at lunch and dinner and that’s it, fine. If you want to graze through the whole 8 hours, that’s okay, too. It really depends on your lifestyle and your favorite foods

Am I allowed to have coffee or tea during the fasting period? And can I put milk and sugar in it, or is that cheating?

Coffee and tea are absolutely encouraged because caffeine is an appetite suppressant. But it’s also a mild diuretic, so make sure you’re drink extra fluids to compensate. As for the milk and sugar: Yes, that’s cheating, but your secret is safe with us. It’s a minor intake of calories, but if it makes your favourite beverage go down easier, go for it. Just try to keep the additions as light as possible

Can I have milk, juice, soda, sweetened coffee drinks, or bottled iced teas during the fasting period?

Sadly no. There’s really only one way to screw up this diet, and it’s by drinking lots of extra calories during your fasting times. And it’s an easy mistake to make. The average Brit drinks a whopping 450 calories a day, and many of them come from surprising sources. For example, let’s say you want to stay hydrated during your fast, so you reach for a bottle of flavoured water, for example Volvic’s Touch Of Fruit. What could be bad about that? It’s got antioxidants, for goodness sake! But in fact you’re drinking 150 calories of pure sugar along with your H2O. Drinking just one of these concoctions a day in place of plain water could add 15 pounds to your body over the course of a year. And worse, you’ve broken your fast with these junk calories, so bye-bye health and weight-loss benefits!

For the maximum benefit, stick with calorie-free drinks

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