16/8 Intermittent Fasting: Definition, Benefits, Risks and Dangers
Also known as "fasting" in English, 16/8 intermittent fasting is becoming more and more popular. So what are the benefits? Are there health risks? Precision dietitian and naturopathic therapist Olivia Charlet evaluates.
With intermittent fasting becoming fashionable, it has made a place for itself in our eating habits. First of all, there is the water fasting, which consists in consuming only water, herbal tea or broth for a certain period of time. However, this type of fasting "must be accompanied and requires a preparation period of one week to enter into this fast plus a week of rehabilitation to leave it, with the gradual reintroduction of food in small amounts," specifies Olivia Charlett, micro-nutritionist and physiotherapist.
If you don't want to disturb your habits too much, it is easier to incorporate intermittent fasting into your daily life. Most prevalent? 16/8 intermittent fasting with 16-hour fasting and 8-hour window for two meals. Olivia Charlet asserts that "16/8 intermittent fasting allows you to improve many parameters in your health and change traditional eating habits for morning, noon, and evening meals."
That's not all: there is also an 18/6 fast with an 18 hour fast and a 6 hour eating window as well as a 24 hour fast that consists of eating only one meal per day.
16/8 Intermittent Fasting: What Exactly Is It?
Intermittent fasting is basically a way of eating. “It mainly consists of not eating for a longer period of sleep, that is, sixteen hours in a row, and eating two meals within a 6-hour period. During the fasting period, except for sleep, it is still necessary to drink water or hot beverages such as unsweetened tea,” the specialist specifies.
Thus, by practicing 16/8 intermittent fasting, you can choose between:
Eat lunch and dinner. Olivia Charlet explains: “For the 4pm fast, dinner should end before 9pm, and lunch can start at 1pm.”
Eat breakfast in the morning and lunch. Thus, “for 16 hours of fasting, breakfast can start at 6:30 in the morning and lunch can end at 2:30 in the evening.”
How many times a week can you fast 8/16 intermittently?
The main advantage of 16/8 intermittent fasting is that you don't have to practice it every day, especially when starting out. According to the specialist, there are no restrictions in the strict sense of the word, the main thing is to go gradually, especially when you are not used to it. Thus, “When you begin 16/8 intermittent fasting, it is recommended that you do it once or twice a week, so that the change is not abrupt. The most important thing is to listen to yourself. You do not have to live intermittent fasting is a limitation. Ultimately, you should It becomes a lifestyle, not a chore.”
According to the specialist, it is quite possible to do this 7 days a week or 5 days a week. In other words, you try fasting Monday through Friday, then eat in the morning, noon, and evening during the weekend.
Who can practice 16/8 intermittent fasting?
This way of eating is mainly for healthy people. It is not recommended for pregnant women or children because for the latter, “intermittent fasting is useless, and the most important thing for them is to eat a balanced meal in the morning, noon and evening,” the expert confirms. In addition, it is not recommended for people who are underweight: “In this particular case, if you want to mimic the effects of intermittent fasting, you should follow a diet with a low glycemic index, either low in carbohydrates and high in good fats, with breakfast being recommended. With protein and fat.
Spotted Youth 16/8: What are the health benefits?
16/8 Intermittent fasting has many health benefits. According to a micro-nutritionist, it is primarily appreciated for its impact on weight loss and on the immune system. “Our current diet is based on carbohydrates, including grains, starchy foods and sugars, which we eat at nearly every meal. As we age, insulin receptors become less and less sensitive. Intermittent fasting will improve this insulin sensitivity and help avoid peak blood sugar, Thus, we will lose weight and improve many of the markers associated with hyperinsulinemia,” notes Olivia Charlet, a micro-nutritionist and naturopath.
It also has virtues for our digestive system: “If you suffer from digestive issues such as bloating or bowel disorders, then intermittent fasting can be a solution. The more you eat, the more it stimulates your digestive system, and in the end, it can't. Rest from any time. By the practice of intermittent fasting, you are putting your digestive system to rest, which promotes the improvement of your gut flora.”
That's not all, 16/8 intermittent fasting also helps "stimulate bacteria called ackermansias," which produce short-chain fatty acids. In particular, it produces butyrate, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory, the specialist explains.
Intermittent fasting: does it affect fatigue and energy?
"A breakfast consisting for example of toast with butter, jam, chocolate and orange juice is really high in carbohydrates and promotes a spike in insulin. This can lead to hypoglycemia after a few hours, which causes a lack of focus and energy and leads to food cravings." Thus the specialist reveals the benefits of just drinking a hot drink in the morning: "The fact that you don't eat and have green tea or another hot drink without sugar in the morning will give you a lot of energy and you won't gain it. It doesn't have that famous insulin spike."
What are the risks associated with intermittent fasting?
Olivia Charlet explains that intermittent fasting poses no real risk to health if applied correctly: "There is no real danger if meals are well-balanced. The idea is not to skip a meal and then eat a lot. It remains important to include protein, fat and fiber in your meals. There are people who, for example, want to skip breakfast and therefore eat a lot in the evening, which is counterproductive.”
Additionally, if you are prone to hypoglycemia, the specialist recommends, before beginning the 16/8 intermittent fasting regime, “rebalance your diet by significantly limiting all carbohydrate sources and following a diet rich in good fats. You will not experience hypoglycemia. in the blood anymore. And then implement intermittent fasting."
Intermittent fasting: what food do we eat?
When we choose intermittent fasting, we often wonder what foods we like best during meals. Feel free to prefer foods that have a moderate glycemic index and ideally somewhat low GI to maximize the effects of intermittent fasting on your health. Consider sardines, which are very rich in omega-3s, but also proteins, not necessarily animal-based but vegetarian, such as Organic tofu," Olivia Charlett explains.
In addition, the expert emphasizes that we must not forget about fats because they are essential for health, especially for the brain but also for the hormonal system: “Eating good fats, especially organic virgin oils, also makes it possible not to have cravings. For example, it is possible to eat 1 A teaspoon of organic coconut oil.
If you want to opt for a salad, prefer "oils rich in omega-3s or seeds such as camelina oil, sacha inchi, hemp oil, or seeds and ground flaxseed," the specialist recommends. “For cooking, coconut oil and red palm oil are preferred, which do not oxidize when heated. If you like to eat starchy foods, consider brown rice, sweet potatoes, and quinoa.” Olivia Charlet concludes that nuts such as walnuts or almonds will also be your best allies, not to mention "olives and avocados which will allow you to limit starchy foods and stabilize your blood sugar even more".
Thanks to Olivia Charlet, Micro-Nutritionist and Naturopath, author of "Thin and Healthy Thanks to Fasting," Editions Leduc