The 16/8 Intermittent fasting is an eating plan that cycles between a period of eating and a period of fasting. In fact, it does not really specify what you should eat and how many calories should you eat. How many calories you should eat during your 16/8 intermittent fasting really depends on what your goals are. In a sense, this is not a conventional diet, instead it is more of an eating pattern.
What is the 16/8 Intermittent Fasting?
The 16/8 intermittent fasting is one of the most popular style of fasting. People often state that this is one of the more convenient, easiest and good for beginner style of fasting. To practice 16/8 intermittent fasting, all you have to do is reduce your intake of food and caloric drinks to within an 8 hour window. This means that you are eating for 8 hours of the day and then fasting for the rest of the 16 hours.
While you are fasting, you are not allowed to eat any food or drink anything that contains calories. Instead, you are free to drink water and drinks with no calories such as black coffee or plain tea. In fact, I personally love to drink plain green tea while I am fasting as there are some little benefits to it!
In my opinion, 16/8 intermittent fasting diet is easier to follow than many other diets. I think it is less restrictive and allows for more flexibility. It does not limit what foods you can or cannot eat during your diet, nor does it state how many calories you should stick within.
By fitting your eating window into 8 hours, it could mean just skipping breakfast or dinner. You could skip breakfast and start eating from 12pm to 8pm. While you could choose to eat between 9am to 5pm, opting to eat an early dinner or a snack. You should try it out and find the right time that fits your schedule!
Limiting Calories if You Want to Lose Weight
If your plan is to lose weight while you are intermittent fasting, then you should consider limiting your calories. On the most basic level, to lose weight you need to eat less calories than you burn. This is essential the calories in, calories out model.
When the number of calories you take in from food and drinks are equal to the number of calories you burn to sustain your body, you are breaking even, which means that your weight will remain the same and stable.
Therefore, you will need a calorie deficit to lose weight. Once the calories your body needs a day is met, the extra calories you eat are stored for future use, most of it would be stored as fat. However, you also need to consider that not all calories are made equal.
You should always pay attention of the quality of the calories you eat. Different foods go through different pathways in your body. For example, different types of calorie sources can have effects on your hormones, energy expenditure, hunger and even how you control food intake.
How Many Calories Should You Eat Then?
So, with all things considered, how many calories should you eat during your eating period in your 16/8 intermittent fast if you are trying to lose weight?
It really depends on the individual as it depends on a variety of factors such as your age, sex, height and activity level. But on average, if you cut 500 calories a day while you are intermittent fasting, you should lose around 1 pound in a week. This is because 500 calories in 7 days adds up to 3,500 calories, this accounts to around 1 pound in your body.
When who are between the ages of 19 to 30 generally need 2,000 to 2,400 calories a day to maintain their weight. This means that you should be eating around 1,500 to 1,900 calories a day if you plan on losing 1 pound a week. For those of you who are older, you tend to expend less calories. Women between 31 to 59 years old would usually require 1,800 to 2,200 to maintain their weight.
Men generally need more calories than women to maintain their weight. Men between the ages of 19 to 30 should generally eat 2,400 to 3,000 calories to maintain their weight. Those of you who are over 31 would need around 2,200 to 3,000 calories.
What you should remember is that these are just general number of calories you need. The number of calories you might need to eat to lose weight depends on your height, weight, how active you are and even your health status.
Caloric Reduction With Intermittent Fasting
The idea of the 16/8 intermittent fasting is that you will naturally reduce your calorie intake because you have less time to eat throughout the day. By eating one less meal, it should lead you to a caloric reduction and therefore leading to weight loss.
In addition to helping you to lower your caloric intake, fasting can also help change your hormone levels leading to weight loss. When you fast, your insulin levels lower and your fat burning hormone increases.
With the changes in your hormones, studies have shown that fasting might actually increase your metabolic rate by at least 3.6%. The fat burning effects typically start at around 12 hours into your fast and really goes up when you fast between 16 to 24 hours.
What if You are Not Trying to Lose Weight?
If you are not trying to lose weight while doing the 16/8 intermittent fasting, then there is no need for you to reduce your calories. This means you can eat your typical amount of calories to maintain your weight. If you are trying to gain weight, then I would suggest you eat more calories!
This applies to those who are fasting for other health benefits. There has been many studies that suggest that there are many powerful benefits to intermittent fasting. Some of these include improving your insulin resistance, extending your lifespan, reducing body inflammation and improve your heart health.
Intermittent fasting is a pretty popular plan for those of you who are trying to improve your health. To some people, it is a much simpler plan as it is easier to follow and does not require you to limit certain foods, plan recipes or even meal prep in advance.
Personally, I think it is a great diet plan that helps simplify your weight loss. Of course, if you are trying to lose weight, it does not make sense to eat junk food everyday as long as it is within your feeding hours. You still need to make simple changes into eating healthier and reduce your caloric intake to lose weight.
But for those of you who are just using intermittent fasting to improve your health regardless of your weight, it does not really matter much how many calories you are eating. As long as you are not going crazy during your eating hours, you should be fine.
Monitor your experience while you are doing your 16/8 intermittent fasting. Like all diets, it requires you to feel it out and adjust it to perfectly match your needs. There is no such thing as a perfect diet, what works best is that you can personalise it and match your needs.