16:8 diet plan: what can you eat and what are the benefits?

If you found the 5:2 diet too hard, read on for an easier diet plan!
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  • The 16:8 diet has been one of the most popular diet plans we've seen in years - and with good reason.

    We’ve had the 5:2 diet; where you eat normally for 5 days out of 7 and then eat 500 calories in any 2 days of choice. And while it’s proved effective for most who’ve tried it, there’s now a newer diet that’s even more simple – the 16:8 diet.

    It’s an easier and more consistent way of fasting that avoids those 2 days of stomach growling hunger!

    How does the 16:8 diet work?

    The 16:8 diet works on an hourly basis. So each day you can eat within an 8 hour time frame and fast for the remaining 16 hours. The best part? You don’t have to restrict yourself to 500 calories at all – as long as you eat healthily in your 8 hour time frame, you’ll see the weight drop off.

    Experts say that the 16.8 diet restricted schedule gives our bodies the chance to process the nutrients stored in foods and burns away calories. Plus, you won’t go hungry like you do on those two fasting days on the 5:2 either.

    Tom Jenane, nutrition and fitness expert said, “The 16:8 diet is a brilliant form of intermittent fasting that has proven results in a number of cases.”

    Even the celebs are getting involved. Hugh Jackman reportedly used the 16:8 diet to get in shape for his Wolverine films (it’s even been named The Wolverine Diet!) and Jennifer Love Hewitt is also said to be a fan!

    Where does the 16:8 diet come from?

    The diet stems from the book 8 Hour Diet by author David Zinczenko and editor-in-chief of Men’s Health Peter Moore, who suggest that a longer fasting time between eating gives the body the time it needs to process the food and burn away extra fat stores.

    When can I eat on the 16:8 diet?

    The 16:8 diet is a fasting diet that, for most of it, you actually sleep through (phew!) You can pick an 8 hour window to suit your day – so it could be between 10am – 6pm or 11am – 8pm, for example. Plus, you can still drink tea and coffee outside of those hours too, so it’s not just water!

    Most people choose to fast through the night, and opt to eat their first meal at about 12pm in the middle of the day.

    Tom said, “The most common hours adopted for the eating period is 12 till 8pm. The reason for this is because people aren’t normally that hungry in the morning, you don’t want to be consuming too many calories during the evening and this allows us to eat our lunch and dinner as well as a snack.”

    What can I eat on the 16:8 diet?

    This diet isn’t suggesting you cram all the food you can into 8 hours. But you do need to make sure you’re eating a balance of fat busting and health boosting foods. Experts have suggest making sure you get a balance of lean meat, eggs, dairy, vegetables, nuts and beans each day. It really is that easy!

    Tom said, “Many fail by packing in too many calories into the 8 hour period, often trying to get some in before the 8 hours ends. You should still be following a strict diet with a complete nutritional breakdown, to ensure you are consuming a targeted number of calories, not to mention macro nutrients and ensuring you’re not consuming too much sugar.”

    Are there any health benefits?

    Luckily for us, it’s not just about losing weight.

    There’s also a whole bunch of health and wellbeing benefits from the humble 16:8 diet. It can help reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease, reduce cortisol levels (that means less stress!) and help reduce inflammation. Plus, since you won’t be dealing with hunger for two days a week, it’s better for your mental health.

    Those who’ve tried the 16:8 diet say how much more productive they are during fasting hours, spending less time stressing over food and more time channelling their energy into other beneficial tasks throughout the day.

    Need inspiration? We’ve got plenty of healthy recipes that will fit perfectly into your 16:8 diet plan – so you can get started right away.

    Have you tried the 16:8 diet? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know.