Welcome to The Fast Diet › The official Fast forums › Body › Different approaches to intermittent fasting › 16:8 anyone?
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19 Jun 16
Has anyone lost weight by eating sensibly during an 8 hour stretch and fasting 16 hours by itself without doing the 5/2 diet???
There are several diet books about eating windows but there is only one clinical study I am aware of on ‘eating windows’. In it, the subjects either ate three meals a day or one meal a day in a 20:4 timeframe. The meals were designed so the subjects were eating to about their TDEEs. For some reason, the 20:4 diet contained slightly fewer calories than the three meal a day diet. One of the authors of the study is Mark Mattson, an acknowledged leader in the IF research world.
The individual finding on weight loss was that the 20:4 people lost a little weight because of the lower caloric intake, but even given that weight loss “no significant differences from baseline were seen in body weight, fat mass, fat-free mass, or total body water in either period of the study.” So weight loss under 20:4 was not significant according to the authors.
The study also found people on 20:4 showed a “significant increase in hunger; a significant modification of body composition, including reductions in fat mass; significant increases in blood pressure and in total, LDL-, and HDL-cholesterol concentrations; and a significant decrease in concentrations of cortisol.
Looking at the study results in their entirety, the authors concluded “The present findings suggest that, without a reduction in calorie intake, a reduced-meal-frequency diet does not afford major health benefits in humans.” http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/4/981.long
So, in short, at least for a 20:4 eating window, you will not lose a significant amount of weight if you eat to your TDEE but you will be likely to increase your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It appears there is no ‘magic’ to a 20:4 eating window. But if you eat less than your TDEE by about 20 to 30% during your eating window over a long period of time, you will be on an every day reduced calorie diet that will cause you to lose weight and perhaps provide other health benefits – “A long-term reduced-meal-frequency diet that also includes a 20–30% reduction in calorie intake would more closely resemble the intermittent fasting regimen that is widely used in rodent studies.” To put that in perspective, if your TDEE is 2000 cal., your calorie intake would have to be between 1400 to 1600 cal. a day to get results.
If you believe 16:8 will help you in some way, go for it. But from the research there seems to be no reason to bother unless you turn it into an every day reduced calorie diet. The bottom line is that it is the caloric restriction that yields benefits, not the time between meals.
I started an18:6 eating plan in July of 2015. I also eliminated sugar and faux sugar from my diet. Additionally, I no longer read or watch TV when I eat. I have lost 49 pounds. I drink whole milk and use half and half in my coffee and hot tea. I use unsalted butter and have a 4-ounce sirloin steak and salad every day for lunch. I eat whole grain bread in moderation. I do limit carbohydrates but not drastically. I love Cabot’s Greek 10% milk fat yoghurt. Usually I have that once a day with raisins and walnuts. I do not limit my salt, fat or caloric intake. I never suffer from hunger and enjoy eating more than ever. I make my own salad dressing and eat very little processed food. I eat different things for dinner and usually have a bowl of shredded wheat each day. How much of this weight loss is “no sugar” or mindful eating, I do not know. But a big part of it is limiting the hours when I eat. I do not count calories because everyone processes them differently. And for example, the difference in the way our bodies process calories in sugar vs. calories in steak renders it a meaningless measurement in my opinion. My blood work is much improved and my energy level is higher. Some people can eat sugar. I am not one of them. My plan is not for everyone. But I believe everyone can benefit from a reduced eating window as reliable studies have proven (two rat and one human). How narrow a window depends on what suits the individual, what they can live with. And everyone who has looked down at an empty bowl while watching TV and wondered who ate their dinner can benefit from mindful eating.
Well Simco, still being a little selective in your reading of the research I see.
The authors concluded:
“Consumption of 1 meal/d resulted in weight loss and a decrease in fat mass with little modification in calorie consumption”
I’m not sure how you managed to miss that….
As the authors pointed out, the 20:4 diet contained fewer calories than the control diet and was the cause of much of the recorded weight loss. As the authors concluded, the entire weight loss, regardless of cause, showed “no significant differences from baseline . . .”
I’m not sure how you managed to ignore that . . .
There is no doubt that cutting caloric intake as you have done causes weight loss.
Congratulations on your successful diet!
Thanks simcoeluv, but not sure I cut calories as I don’t count them. If I don’t know, I’m sure you don’t either.
It is easy for you to figure out – just compute your current TDEE, add 500 or so calories per day and eat that many calories each day for a week or two in an 8 hour period and see if you stop losing and start gaining weight. As the study showed, it is easy to eat to your TDEE in four hours or less. If you continue to lose weight, the eight hour eating period will be the cause. If you stop losing weight or start gaining weight, it will be the calories, not the eating period, that are controlling.
As you say, only you can tell for you, but the science is pretty clear cut for most people.
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I wanted to try the 16:8 plan and see how I do with weight loss. I have also read The 8-week Blood Sugar Diet and the Hot Belly Diet so I combine my knowledge to come up with a diet. I eat a lot of khichadi. I am basically a vegetarian but do eat meat occasionally. I also eat eggs and yogurt. I eat steel cut oats and slow cook all my grains with a little olive oil and refrigerate them overnight to increase the resistant carbs. My big meals will be in the morning and at noon. I will eat fruit before 3pm and then fast until 7am the next day. I have difficulty losing weight and would like to lose at least 20 pounds. LostinMaine’s results are encouraging!!
I’m not sure why you’d mention elevated BP either Simco, as I seem to remember it was thought to be an artefact of sampling time…
I guess it just goes to show that everyone can be guilty of bringing bias, and cherry picking, to support their own particular beliefs…
Look who is talking!
I’ll stick with what the authors wrote: “The present findings suggest that, without a reduction in calorie intake, a reduced-meal-frequency diet does not afford major health benefits in humans.”
If you believe differently, you should contact the authors and explain to them where they went wrong. Or, you could cite research that contradicts the authors of the study – and forward that research to them.
Your choice, but leave me out of it. Don’t blame me for what the authors wrote. A person asked if there was any evidence that doing 16:8 and eating normally would cause weight loss, and I simply offered the only research I am aware of that addresses the question asked. You have offered nothing but personal attacks because the research I offered disagrees with your beliefs.
Lighten up! You may live longer, although I have no studies to support that belief :}}
20 Jun 16
If only humans were mice!
FYI, 16 hours of fasting for a mouse is about equivalent to a four day water fast for a human. Studies have confirmed that periodic four or more day water fasts for humans can yield significant health benefits. So the research you cited is indicative of the potential health benefits of fasting, but the fasting period (16 hours) does not apply to humans.
As for the glucose study, it raises interesting possibilities. But, as your citation states: “Randomized trials are needed to confirm whether prolonged nighttime fasting could improve biomarkers of glucose control, thereby reducing breast cancer risk.”
In other words, no proof yet, just a hypothesis. I truly hope future research confirms the hypothesis!!! It would be a relatively easy and cost effective way for both women and men to cut their breast cancer risk. And just because there is no proof that it will cut the risk, if a person has a family history of breast cancer or is otherwise concerned, there is absolutely no reason why they cannot practice 16:8 just in case it works.
It is clear that the mice fed during a restricted time were overall healthier and thinner regardless of how many calories they consumed. This Is important research.
I’m just trying to bring a bit of balance to your reporting/ spin of that study…
And I quote the authors…
“It is interesting that body weight and body fat decreased in the 1 meal/d diet, which may be partially explained by a slight deficit of 65 kcal in daily energy intake. This change in body composition may also be influenced by the effect that eating patterns could have on metabolic activity.”
‘Partially explained’ is interesting isn’t it? That means that the body weight and body fat decrease on 1 meal/day could not be totally explained by the calorie deficit. i.e. the calorie deficit by itself was not large enough to result in the reduction in body weight and body fat recorded.
“In conclusion, altered meal frequency is feasible in healthy, normal-weight, middle-aged men and women. Consumption of 1 meal/d resulted in weight loss and a decrease in fat mass with little modification in calorie consumption.”
What’s that? Eating patterns may influence metabolism? What, like lowering insulin (the fat storage hormone)? Why yes.. and that certainly seems to be what Dr Fung (an internationally respected excpert) believes.
Hmm, so should I wait for more clinical trials (like that bloke who posts a lot on the forum suggests) or should I give it a go because the emerging evidence (and experts who really can speak with some authority on the subject) suggest that there may be benefits…?!
“I’m not sure why you’d mention elevated BP either Simco, as I seem to remember it was thought to be an artefact of sampling time…
I guess it just goes to show that everyone can be guilty of bringing bias, and cherry picking, to support their own particular beliefs…”
Many people ‘follow’ 20:4 or 16:8 on their diet days, whether they characterized them that way or not. There are several threads on this site about raised blood pressure levels on diet days. Some have even announced they were quitting 5:2 because of the elevated blood pressures they were experiencing. I noted the blood pressure information because when there is a clinical study that finds that 100% of the participants experienced significantly raised blood pressures when following an eating pattern similar or identical to that followed by people doing 5:2, I felt that information could be helpful to some people on this site. As many will not click on the link to the study, or read all of it if they do, I felt the information was important enough to highlight in my comments rather than expect people to read the study and discover the information for themselves. I have no interest in minimizing the importance of the information, much less keeping it from those that might benefit from knowing about it.
The same for my highlighting the cholesterol findings. Many on this site are concerned with their cholesterol levels. When a clinical study finds that all of its participants experience significant increases in cholesterol levels when following an eating pattern common to those doing 5:2, well, some on this site might be interested in that fact. I have seen posts of those who have recently started 5:2 and gone to their doctors for blood tests that report that their cholesterol levels have gone up, much to their concern. This study might explain why. As you know, I am not as concerned about cholesterol levels as some are, and most people that lose weight also experience lowered cholesterol levels as a result, but nevertheless this information is clearly of interest to many, many on this site that are concerned about their cholesterol levels and considering incorporating eating windows into their non diet day eating pattern.
The difference between us is you have an agenda of total support for eating windows to the point of trying to minimize or even hide information not supportive of the concept, while my agenda is to provide people with relevant, independent information that can help them make informed choices about their health. If a solid clinical study comes out tomorrow that says eating windows are the most healthy things in the world, I will happily post that study. But as of today, tomorrow has not arrived.
Thanks for your response. I am wishing you success in whatever plan you choose. I’m sorry this thread has become a kind of tug of war. I found counting calories makes sense for some people. Weight Watchers works for many. But neither worked for me.
I struggled with being overweight for decades. This last plan of mine was to find a way of eating that would allow me to control my eating without sucking all the joy out of meals. It has allowed me to focus on what I can eat. I’m now two pounds below my weight goal. My system is a mishmash of what I had read about and certainly isn’t for everyone. In my opinion, no one system works for everyone and you have to try what you believe will work for you. You can modify a variety of plans to synthesize the one that will allow you to reach your goal and maintain it for life.
(I won’t be coming back to this discussion thread as there is nothing more for me to contribute. Wishing you the best!)
But you didn’t provide all the information in an unbiased summary for people Simco. That’s my point.
You don’t believe there’s any benefit to time restricted feeding. The key points that jumped out at you, and that you related initially, were apparently all negatives.
I do believe there are benefits to time restricted feeding. I saw positives in their conclusions.
21 Jun 16
Geez Happy, I’m supposed to provide a summary of all of the information in a long clinical study in a manner you deem unbiased? Or suffer personal attacks if I don’t?
Could you please, please let it go?
I have let it go. I’ve pointed out that there were potential benefits, which you had omitted to mention. Nothing more to be said 🙂
25 Jun 16
ok, I haven’t logged in here for almost a year, because I now follow 16:8, and wondered if there was a 16:8 thread.
At the risk of offending anyone, I just gotta say this. I read opinions on here that sound like fact/real science, and it’s quite frustrating.
Guess what, there are human studies done on time restricted fasting. And this coming year, according to fasting researcher Krista Varady, there will be more. I’ll link one of them. Also, the slight rises in blood pressure/cholesterol that are initially noticed, go down once the body acclimates to fasting. Simcoe, do your homework and search on Sciencedaily. There are a ton of fasting studies on that website that verify this. You give out information like you are an unqualified expert, and you are not. I guess I finally reached my breaking point with this thread, and I apologize to any administrators if I am sounding rude. But really, this site needs to verify that unless we are getting info directly from Dr. Mosley/and or links to verified studies, the rest is OPINION ONLY. Here is a link to a study done on HUMANS:
P.S. Amen HappyNow.
26 Jun 16
Most biological science is fraught with bias, whether it is intended or accidental. So looking at individual papers to the exclusion of others is dangerous. If you follow a particular “theory” and its working for you then it cant be wrong. It may not be the best approach but it cant be wrong. In my opinion eating during a restricted window has some merit as it will restrict your insulin spike to one event per day which is better than three meals per day (or more??) which will produce 3 insulin spikes for the day. What I think is more important is the types of foods you eat. You want to minimise your calorie rich carbohydrate type foods as they provide a double whammy. Lots of cals and they spike your insulin levels.
So short story, if you restrict to 20:4 and eat chocolate glazed donuts in your 4 hour window I doubt it will have the desired weight loss you are seeking. My take in descending order of importance: what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat.
Hi Naomi, to answer your question, no I haven’t done 16:8 without 5:2, but I have done 16:8 with 5:2. Don’t know if this will help but for what it’s worth this has been my personal experience.
Been 5:2 for 19mths, lost 16kgs then maintained for 8months and now losing again from 2 months ago. I am forced to be sedentary by chronic ill health. On FDs I learnt that was hungry after I first ate, and switched to 1 meal after 6pm. I have learnt there is such a beast as “the Hunger Dragon”. On nonFDs I have for a long time now eaten in a16:8 pattern beginning anytime after 12noon. I am rarely hungry before then. If I eat 3 meals a day as others do I will overconsume for the day. Eating 16:8 helps keep the Hunger Dragon in control. I also cannot lose the weight, despite being the right calories if I eat starchy carbohydrates ie. any grain food or gluten free version of it, potatoes, corn, pumpkin, sweet potato, peas, legumes, lentils, chickpeas, red beans and sugar of course etc. so, till I am done, I have to exclude these except for special celebrations.
22 Jan 17
Sorry if I appear ignorant. What book are you referring to?
Is it The 8-Hour Diet by David Zinczenko?
13 Feb 17
I guess a lot will depend on genetics too.
I like 16:8 better than 5:2.
I was too hungry on 5:2 and 16:8 is helping me gain control over my eating in general. My window for eating is 10am-6. This has trained me to not eat at night. 5:2 didn’t retrain my overall eating. This may be the best part of it. I am loosing weight. But more than that my eating is more controlled. It isn’t that hard to wait til 10 for breakfast or not eat after 6 pm. I also am focusing on eating lower carb but definitely not keto as of yet. Lower carb helps. If I have rice at dinner I will go to bed hungry. If I don’t I am not terribly hungry.
I have been doing 16:8 for over year. As a binge eater I’ve found it’s one of the few tools that actually help me have some control when I’ve having trouble with bingeing behaviour. When I started 16:8 I was at a weight I was comfortable with, so was only trying to maintain and I did OK on 16:8. I did not lose weight, but did maintain, which was my goal. (Although I did have to really watch my calories, even with 16:8 as I gain weight really easily – I have an unusually low TDEE and have to stay under 1400 calories to maintain my weight).
However, I gained 10kg very quickly, over a few weeks at the end of last year (overeating in December). I started 5:2 at the beginning of January and have lost weight at a rate I’m happy with. I am still doing 16:8 every day regardless of whether it’s a FD or NFD, although in reality my eating window on a FD is usually only about 4 hours as I only have a piece of fruit mid-afternoon and an evening meal.
The 16:8 eating window concept isn’t a temporary thing for me, because it helps me control bingeing it’s something that I’ll probably always use. I adapted the end of my eating window recently by deciding that my eating window ended either at 9pm or when I’d finished eating dinner (whichever came first) as I was sometimes bingeing after dinner. As soon as I’ve finished dinner I tell myself “dinner’s done”, which means no more food today. Sometimes this means my eating window is only 6-7 hours if I’ve eaten dinner early. So far this adaption has worked really well for me, I find I stick to my “curfew” every night without an internal mental battle.
I will keep doing 5:2 until I get back to my comfortable weight and then I’ll reevaluate. I will probably look at using some fasting when needed to maintain weight in the longer term.
15 Mar 17
Just started – Day 3 today after I’ve been to bed a bit too late!
The British ‘Woman’ magazine has two pages of a five day plan of the 16:8 – it’s brilliant. Just get stuck in, do what it says, and my goodness it’s easy. Let you know in 10 days where I’m up to. I have a stone to lose, that’s all, and so I’m hoping to lose this, or most of it, before Easter. And with those couple of pages in that magazine – a magazine I never buy but found on the train into Leeds – I have suddenly got determined. 5:2 was fine but hard in some respects. The fact that you have eight hours to eat, you eat sensibly, cut out spuds, bread and whole pile of stuff, including wine, you pick your hours, it’s great. 11am to 7pm or 12noon to 8pm is a terrific. It’s just about skipping breakfast at 8 or 9, and eating it later. I don’t mind porridge at 11 or 12!!
16 Mar 17
Why are you weighing yourself so much. If you put 2lbs of food in your body, and then weigh yourself, the chances are you’ll weigh tow pounds more. I do this diet religiously, and it works, and I weigh myself once a week.
13 Apr 17
16/8 did work for me until I think I started getting out of control with my calories. I did fine aroind 17-1800 calories. Ultimately I couldn’t keep it that low so I went back on 5 2. Because of my activity level my TDEE was pretty high so that worked out for me. I love to eat. Lost 40 lbs doing 5 2though.
13 Jun 17
Just started the 16/8 and I am amazed at the quick results. I am eating 1200-1400 on non exercise days, otherwise 1600 on exercise days. Skipping breakfast is way easier to keep than 6 teeny meals a day. When lunch time comes, I am rarely that hungry so I have no temptation to over eat. Dinner, the same. The “before breakfast” hours I use to begin loading up on water. Yeah, I can do this diet! I REALLY need to reset my grelin/leptin cycle.
16 Jun 17
16:8 works for me to maintain. OH still has a stone to lose, he needs to do 5:2.no loss with 16:8. Surely it’s the change in eating patterns which stops the body going into starvation mode and the metabolism slowing?
19 Jun 17
I’m hoping to combine the 5:2 with the 16:8 eating window. X
9 Sep 17
62kilo – is that your goal? …
16:8 is amazing, (but no snacks) as it’s the perfect path to reach 5:2 and even 4:3.
I started with 4 days of two meals and 3 days of 1 meal and I continued it for 2 weeks. Then I went on a holidays and couldn’t continue with 4:3, so shifted to 5:2, and even that was impossible.
So, last week I started 16:8, strictly. Same as yours, 1st meal by 1:00 PM and 2nd by 7:30 PM, No snacks and now I’m back on the same weight which I had when I stopped my 4:3.
Even 16:8 is an amazing way, as slowly your body will adjust to it and after some time, 2-3 weeks or even months, you will naturally say that 2 meals are more then enough and then you will have complete control on 5:2, 4:3 or even 1 meal per day.
16 May 19
I too have begun the 16:8 diet but was discouraged by the moderator I guess because they felt I should do 5:2 fast in order to have better results. I had tried the 5:2 fast diet in the past and it really worked for my midsection as well as cholesterol. However, I found after 6 months that I would eat way over my TDEE on the ‘feast’ days and so I had to stop the diet.
Since then, I have managed to lose 30 lbs on my own in a year or so by monitoring calories and exercising on treadmill three days per week at 3.5 mph/2% incline.
To answer your original question, I have seen 1/2 lb weight loss in the 2 weeks since I began this type of IF. I find this much easier to stick to. However, I only do this Sun-Thurs then eat in a wider window Fri and Sat. I still stick to around 1450 cal every day. I don’t limit the types of foods I have however. I feel that for me that would cause me to binge. I am wondering if I need to do this seven days a week versus 5 to achieve the full effect of it. Not sure. Thoughts anyone who has used this IF method versus 5:2 IF method?
17 May 19
Congratulations to you on a job well-done!! Thank you for your tips and insights as well as encouragement that 16:8 will reap benefits, along with overall healthy eating.
When doing 16:8 diet, are you doing this every day or five days or every other day? Just wondering if I could break from it for Fri and Sat then get back to it Sun-Thurs? I attempt to keep my calories to 1450/day whether it’s an IF day or not. I don’t always restrict carbs or sugars but should probably learn to do this more.
I know that everyone is different but what have any of you found to be the best pattern of eating for 16:8, every day, every other day, 4/7 days etc.?
Thanks! Good luck to all!
Do you happen to have a link to the magazine article? I would love to have access to it if so. I live in the US so not certain what mag and issue etc.
In 16:8 IF, is it ok to put 20 cal of FF half and half in my coffee in the morning or am I in some way defeating my fast earlier than I would like to? My window is 11:30a-7:30p. I was thinking that I read somewhere that it’s ok to have a ‘splash’ of cream in your coffee as long as it’s kept under 50 calories? Is this correct?
4 Jun 19
I am thinking about trying the 16:8 to see if I can break the plateau I am at on the 5:2. I don’t think I am understanding 16:8. On every day, do you fast for 16 hrs, then eat your full amount of calories in the 8 hr window? Is that correct? Or, as I think I am reading your post, in addition to the 16:8, you still have to eat the 500 calories on 2 of the days? Which is correct? Thanks!
25 Jun 19
Good luck in your 16:8 fast diet! Before I began 16:8 I had done 5:2 and I did well for awhile but didn’t lose enough over time to warrant my voracious appetite the other days! Probably in my head but I was having problems with 5:2 psychologically!
So, for about 9 months, I made up my mind that I was going to use Fitness Pal app and decrease my caloric intake with a few days of treadmill-I lost 30 lbs! Then I began to hit a plateau and get bored with ‘just that.’ I then read up again on the ‘varied ways people can do the intermittent fasting diet: 5:2, 16:8, 20:4, alternate day etc., and decided that the only one I could even begin to attempt at this point was 16:8. So, I too have followed for about one month. This is what I have experienced: while I have lost noticeable inches around my chin/face/arms/abs, the scale has not reflected such at all. I do this diet 5/7 or 6/7 days per week not always 7/7 and that may be how one can receive the most benefit.
I exercise moderately for 30 min 3x/week on treadmill. I know I need to add weights as well but one step at a time! I believe that any fasting diet if done within specific perameters of the diet, will reap benefits but possibly not pounds lost at first? Here’s what I saw in my research:
’16/8 intermittent fasting involves eating only during an eight-hour window during the day and fasting for the remaining 16 hours. It may support weight loss, improve blood sugar, boost brain function and increase longevity.’
I know I can benefit from any of those things…and I will add that my mental clarity has improved!
In the meantime, I am going to continue to try to eat less than my TDEE i.e., continue my reduced caloric intake (my dr said 1450 cal was doable for me) and hope these efforts will begin to show on the scale. I know others have benefited from cutting out sugar and doing whole foods-that can’t be bad either. I just have a sweet tooth but am attempting as part of this to try to control this! It’s hard!
Plus, I’m at ‘that age’, perimenopause, where it’s even more difficult for me to lose weight. My eventual goal is also to increase my activity level though I’ve heard weight loss is still best achieved through 80% diet/20% exercise ratio…that being said, exercise helps those endorphins flow and helps me think more about what I eat as well as being good for the heart, brain, bones and muscles! Whew!
We all have to find our way in this weight-loss, health journey! The fact that we are here sharing our stories, insights etc., means we are all trying! If anyone reading this has any encouraging and helpful hints, I would appreciate them! If as I’ve noted that some of you choose to respond with rigid thinking and judgmental views, don’t waste my time or yours please.
Happy Fasting! To our health!
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