DThe 16/8 diet, which is based on the principle of intermittent fasting, is a simple and effective way to maintain a stable body weight. Plus, avoiding food from time to time can help normalize blood sugar levels and reduce appetite – which can help you lose weight.

In addition, low blood glucose increases the fat-burning potential of norepinephrine, which is important when exercising for weight loss. Intermittent fasting 16/8 – where do beginners start, how much weight can you lose, and when to expect results?

// What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is a diet that involves periodically stopping food for a specific period of time. The most popular option is the 16/8 diet, in which food can only be consumed within 8 hours.

The benefits of intermittent fasting are based on the fact that such a refusal to eat helps to normalize the body’s response to carbohydrates. In particular, we are talking about lowering glucose levels and improving the processes of insulin production¹. Plus, the 16/8 diet can optimize the production of the saturation hormone leptin².

In practical terms, intermittent fasting helps you learn to better control your hunger. Often people do not eat when they are really hungry – for example, to get pleasure or to get rid of boredom.

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How much can you lose weight?

Strictly speaking, neither the intermittent fasting itself nor the 16/8 diet imply a reduction in caloric intake. However, the restrictions imposed on the interval of food consumption definitely affect how many calories are consumed – it is difficult to eat more than 700-800 kcal at a time.

At the same time, a daily deficit of 300 kcal is the figure that triggers the process of losing weight. According to a two-year observation of 143 adult men and women, restricting the daily menu to such a small figure resulted in a loss of 8 kg of excess weight³.

In other words, the result on a 16/8 diet will only appear if you reduce your daily calorie intake by 10-15%.

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Diet 16/8 for beginners

If you are new to intermittent fasting, a “lightweight” schedule is recommended for the first week. If the 16/8 diet implies eating in an 8-hour interval (usually from 12.00 to 20.00), then the 14/10 regimen is suitable for beginners, when it is allowed to eat in a 10-hour interval.

In this case, breakfast is allowed (the 16/8 diet itself excludes it), lunch, afternoon tea and an early dinner. Plus, you need to be more careful about what you are eating – excluding ultra-processed foods, fast carbs, and foods high in animal fats.

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Practical advice

First of all, the intermittent fasting menu is built on an abundance of foods that help maintain stable blood sugar levels – and thus ensure long-term satiety. We are talking about meat and other protein products, whole grains, nuts and vegetables.

We also recommend paying attention to the so-called “keto coffee” – a drink based on strong brewed (or instant) coffee with the addition of ghee. Thanks to the combination of caffeine and a special type of fatty acids, coffee with butter provides an energy boost and blocks hunger.

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Daily allowance of vegetables

Recall that both the World Health Organization and the Russian Ministry of Health remind that the consumption of 400 g of vegetables daily is one of the main components of proper nutrition and diet for maintaining health.

Eating 5 vegetables and unsweetened fruits daily has been proven to be a key factor in preventing cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.four

// The healthiest vegetables

An example of a menu for a week by day

16/8 intermittent fasting refers to a 16-hour fast every day and an 8-hour period when you can eat. Usually we are talking about skipping breakfast and early dinner, but the schedule may vary depending on your daily routine.

// Monday

  • lunch – baked eggplant, grilled meat
  • Afternoon snack – keto coffee, whole grain crisps with low fat cheese
  • dinner – vegetable salad with egg and canned tuna, a handful of fresh berries or nuts

// Tuesday

// Wednesday

  • lunch – lean beef patties, vegetable salad with chia seeds
  • afternoon snack – low-fat yogurt, 1-2 citrus fruits
  • dinner – baked salmon with pumpkin puree

// Thursday

// Friday

  • lunch – chicken breast with boiled brown rice
  • Afternoon snack – oatmeal, 2 dark chocolate wedges
  • dinner – borscht with lean beef

// Saturday

  • lunch – Caesar salad with chicken
  • afternoon snack – low-fat unsweetened yogurt, a handful of nuts
  • dinner – fish baked with vegetables

// Sunday

  • lunch – navy-style whole grain pasta
  • afternoon tea – oatmeal with banana
  • dinner – vegetable pie with chicken and egg

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Comments (1)

Intermittent fasting does not prohibit calorie-free drinks – usually we are talking about all kinds of tea (both black and green, and herbal), coffee and mineral water. Sweetened drinks are not recommended because they can affect insulin levels.

Also, if you feel acute hunger, you can refresh yourself with a piece of cheese – or even break your diet. Ultimately, your own feeling is much more important than the generalized recommendation – even if you miss one of the fasting days, nothing bad will happen.


The 16/8 diet is an intermittent fasting scheme originally used by athletes for drying. This diet helps to normalize the body’s response to fast carbohydrates – which normalizes blood sugar levels and helps to lose weight (by reducing appetite).

Scientific sources:

  1. Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease, source
  2. Intermittent fasting: the science of going without, source
  3. 2 years of calorie restriction and cardiometabolic risk (CALERIE): exploratory outcomes of a multicenter, phase 2, randomized controlled trial, source
  4. WHO: Promoting fruit and vegetable consumption around the world, source

Date of the last update of the material – March 25, 2021

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