I’m sure you by now you already know that fad diets, cheap weight-loss advice and outdated bulking diet plans are things I’m far from an advocate of. They’re overrated, impractical and, to be honest, most of the time pretty useless.
It’s all about eating clean, consistent, correctly timed and making sure that you hit your suggested macros and micronutrients. As I’ve previously explained, meal timing is imperative but not an absolute necessity.
On that note, what exactly is the 16:8 Diet and is it a worthwhile diet plan or just a complete fad?
The 16:8 diet is something that people have been raving about for ages which, for obvious reasons, rings the ‘is this a fad’ alarm bell alarm bill immediately. The diet works on a 16-hours ‘off’ and 8-hours ‘on’. In other words, you have to fast for 16 hours and eat all your meals in 8.
The diet originates from David Zinczenko and Peter Moore of Men’s health, they state, quite rightfully, that your body processes foods and fat storages better by intermittent fasting.
Tried and Tested
The diet has been tried and tested and does give benefits in the form of weight loss. It also, over an 8 week period, increased strength, improved metabolism, body composition, inflammation and cardio risk factors. So, theoretically speaking – this philosophy works. The diet has been famously used by Hugh Jackman as the Australian A-Lister prepared for his role as Marvel favourite, Wolverine.
What can I eat?
Fortunately, the diet works on a ‘meal timing’ perspective, so isn’t suggesting, like many diets, you have to only eat certain foods, which is really positive in making sure that the diet remains suggestive and focused on clean eating – rather than a money-making fad (did I mention, I’m not the biggest fans of fad diets?)
The only ‘rule’ to the foods you can eat is it’s designed to be a low-carb and high-fat diet which, irrespective of meal timings, is an excellent philosophy if you’re wanting to accelerate fat loss.
Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially during those fasting periods to ensure you don’t get dehydrated.
The pros and cons
Late night snacking would be a thing of the past, but then again, so would breakfast – there’s your first juxtaposed analysis of the diet.
The idea you can eat what you want in an 8-hour window is, to be truthful, a foolish suggestion. Manipulating the diet to ensure you’re; clean eating, having the correct nutritional nutrients and not indulging in any foods, will lead to a promising philosophy with this diet.
You may, at first, start to also feel hungry as your body begins to adapt to the diet but that is quickly rectified as soon as your body begins to adapt to the diet.
It improves your insulin levels
When you eventually leave the 16-hour period you thought would never end, you’ll be more sensitive to insulin, so your insulin levels will remain more stable. To you and I that means you’ll have balanced blood sugars to you feel less tired, hungry or agitated which helps to accelerate fat loss and lets your body adapt to the foods better.
From here forth, I’d rather stop calling this a ‘diet’ and start calling it a ‘nutritional philosophy’ – this breaks the stereotyping of this diet being another fad. The best thing about this nutritional philosophy is you don’t have to limit yourself to calories, macros and micronutrients. You can still eat your meal plans, your recommended calories and your recommended macros, you just have a shorter timescale to eat in.
The biggest negative is based on how you deal with foods. If you’re not a big eater, you’ll probably find yourself eating fewer calories throughout the day. As this is sold as a fat-loss diet, it’s not a bad thing to be eating less, the only way you’ll lose weight is if you eat at a calorie defect.
Are you training fasted?
Make sure you stock up on BCAA’s to give you the extra energy you’ll need, it will be a massive challenge if you’re training on an empty stomach but is easily avoided by hitting your nutritional goals and supplementing where needed.