18:6 Intermittent Fasting

Research studies have proven that the 18:6 Intermittent Fasting method can cause you to lose weight fast. So, this is an excellent guide for beginners!

Intermittent fasting is practiced as a regular schedule where it shifts from fasting to food intake. This has become a popular vogue among nutritionists and diet planners.

When practicing intermittent fasting, life can be converted to a healthy and straightforward way. See Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting and the Best Diet For Longevity.

What Does Intermittent Fasting Mean?

Intermittent fasting is a weight-loss strategy that switches between fasting and eating windows. Intermittent fasting is considered as an eating pattern rather than a diet plan.

Several discontinuous fasting methods include an 18/6 fasting schedule and a 16-hour fasting schedule. This is the practice of continuing fasting for several hours and then consuming foods for the rest of the hours of the day.

Fasting is not a new concept. We as humans have practiced this since ancient times. Before the development of technology and the evaluation, humans survived by hunting. In that period, people lived fasting for many hours.

Other types of fasting include dry fasts which simply means no intake of food or drinks. Water fasts mean only water is taken in the system. These two types of fasting are very restrictive and require a lot more caution and discipline. 

But they were energetic and powerful to carry out their daily tasks. Research studies have proven that humans can live without food for many hours and even a few days. Therefore it is clear that intermittent fasting will not create a nutritional shortage if it is practiced correctly.

After the industrial revolution and due to the advancement of technology, life has become so simple. People live worldly life with poor physical activities. As a result, the risk of becoming obese has risen during the past few decades.

Obesity has become a risk factor for many health issues and is considered a threat to life. Today, intermitted fasting is regarded as a successful weight-losing strategy.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

You can practice intermittent fasting in different ways. However, all methods follow a schedule of fasting and eating periods. For instance, you should eat during an 8-hour window and fast for the remaining 16 hours of the day.

What Is Metabolic Switching?

Most people choose intermittent fasting with a desire to lose weight. Although there are many other health benefits of intermittent fasting, metabolic switching is essential to consider during weight loss.

We store the excessive calories we consume as glycogen in the liver and as ketones within fat cells. We become obese when our bodies accumulate this fat.

During fasting, the glycogen stores deplete and provide glucose for the body functions. But when you fast for more than 12hrs the energy source switch towards the fat cells. The body converts the ketone bodies within the fat into energy by depleting fat stores. This phenomenon, known as metabolic switching, successfully aids in weight loss.

fork and knife on a plate with an alarm clock. intermittent fasting concept.

What Are Types of Intermittent Fasting?

The intermittent fasting diet has gained popularity and is highly recommended for weight loss. There are several accepted methods for practicing intermittent fasting. So you can choose the best option that suits your lifestyle.

1. 5.2 fast diet

5.2 fasting is one of the intermittent fasting techniques known to have poor compliance. You divide the seven days of the week into five eating days and two fasting days. The two fasting days each week are crucial.

Fasting for a full 24 hours can be challenging. Therefore, women should restrict their calorie intake to up to 500 calories, while men should limit themselves to a maximum of 600 calories. However, for the other five days, there’s no calorie restriction. It’s recommended to consume nutritious foods to maintain optimal health.

2. Overnight fasting

This is considered the most precise method for beginners. Overnight fasting is easy to practice as there is no need to skip any meal.

You can fast for 12-14hrs and continue eating for the rest of the hours. It is straightforward to fast at night as you will sleep around 6hours from the 12 fasting hours. You can have dinner as early as possible and try to have breakfast after 12hours.

Although this is the easiest method, this will not be beneficial in weight loss, because sometimes 12hours is not enough to have the metabolic switch. As you consume foods for many hours, 12hours will not be enough to have metabolic control.

3. 14:10 hour fast/ 16:8 hour fast/ 18:6 hour fast

This is the widely used method in weight loss programs. You can fast either for 14hours, 16hours, or 18hours.

So, you can continue eating the rest of the hours to complete the daily nutritional demand. The beginners can start the program with overnight 12-hour fasting.

When your body gets adapted to fasting, you can change it to 14-hour then to 16 or 18hour fasting. So your body will have enough time to switch metabolism.

While continuing the intermittent fasting, make sure to calculate the daily energy requirement. The calorie intake for the day must not exceed the daily energy expenditure. If not, there is no use in fasting.

  1. 14/10 method: you fast for 14 hours and eat for 10 hours, for example, your eating window can be from 9 am and 7 pm.
  2. 16/8 method: you fast for 16 hours and eat for 8 hours, for example, your eating window can be from 9 am and 5 pm
  3. 18/6 method: you fast for 18 hours and eat for 6 hours, for example, your eating window can be from 9 and 3 pm.

4. Whole day fasting

This isn’t easy to practice this method. It is indicated to fast for 24-hours. So it becomes difficult to practice with the usual daily activities. The other thing is we will not receive the daily nutritional requirements when we fast the whole day. As you will crave after 24-hour fasting, there is a higher tendency to have more calories in the next meal.

5. Twice per week fasting

As the name implies, you will choose two days out of the week when you will fast. It is required that you eat 500 calories or less for two days. However,  for the other 5 days, you are required to eat healthy meals.

6. Alternate day fasting

This method of intermittent fasting indicates that you fast one day then eat the next, however, on the day you eat, you restrict the number of calories to only 500 calories.

Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting:

1. Losing weight

The research studies have proven that intermittent fasting can aid weight loss. During intermittent fasting, the stored fat gets burned and loses weight.

The insulin level within the blood starts to deviate with fasting. As a result of insulin depletion, the body signals to release stored glucose to the bloodstream.

Therefore, the regular practice of intermitted fasting can result in weight loss. The weight loss process can be sped up when intermittent fasting is combined with exercises and metabolic boosters.

It allows the gastrointestinal tract to rest and recover during the fasting hours. So other than weight loss, it helps the GI tract to get ready for the subsequent digestion.

2. Insulin resistance

Fasting is the best method to alleviate insulin resistance. It helps in reducing blood sugar levels by 3-6%. So reducing insulin resistance helps you to prevent getting type 2 diabetes.

3. Reduce body inflammation

The release of inflammatory marks will result in body inflammation. Fasting is considered a specific option to control the release of inflammatory markers. Therefore it alleviates the chance for many chronic diseases.

4. Protect heart

High cholesterol level, high Blood glucose, High LDL is not favorable for the heart. Fasting always maintains lower glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL in the blood. So it helps in preserving heart health.

5. Improve brain health

 Intermittent fasting can elevate certain brain hormones. The elevation of BDNF may help in growing new nerve cells. So it reduces the chance of getting degenerative brain diseases.

Intermittent fasting during breakfast and dinner. intermittent fasting concept, top view.

Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Body Cells and Hormones:

Few changes take place at the cellular level when your body is fasting. So the hormone levels may alter to restore the blood glucose by depleting fat stores. The gene expressions may change and initiate cell growth and repair.

The human growth hormone level increases to improve muscle growth while the fat stores start depleting.

The insulin level declines by alleviating the blood glucose level. Thus, the body can more easily access and convert fat stores to energy.

During fasting hours, the body repairs new cells, including nerve cells. It also removes and repairs dysfunctional cells as necessary.

Why Is 18:6 Intermittent Fasting Good?

The studies have shown that 18 hours of fasting benefits are higher and last longer when compared with other fasting techniques.

A study that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, entitled, ‘ Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease, ‘claimed that intermittent fasting (18:6) has effectively hacked human metabolism.“

Evidence is accumulating that eating in a six-hour period and fasting for 18 hours can trigger a metabolic switch from glucose-based to ketone-based energy, with increased stress resistance, increased longevity, and a decreased incidence of diseases,” says the study.

To take advantage of this fasting method, you get to eat larger meals in a six-hour window.  Eat a large breakfast and a fairly decent meal around 3 pm.

Breakfast can look like oatmeal with almond butter, fruits. The second meal is rice and beans with a salad.

Make sure you are eating healthy, lots of fiber,  proteins, like beans, seeds, healthy fats like avocado tend to keep you feeling full for longer. 

Drink lots of water in between your meals, no snacking. 

Go to bed early, making sure you get at least 7 hours of rest.

Exercise daily, either, walking, cardiovascular exercises, and strength training. 

Despite the evidence for the health benefits of intermittent fasting and its applicability to many diseases, there are impediments to the widespread adoption of these eating patterns in the community and by patients.

First, a diet of three meals with snacks every day is so ingrained in our culture that a change in this eating pattern will rarely be contemplated by patients or doctors.

The abundance of food and extensive marketing in developed nations are also major hurdles to be overcome.

Second, on switching to an intermittent-fasting regimen, many people will experience hunger, irritability, and a reduced ability to concentrate during periods of food restriction.

However, these initial side effects usually disappear within 1 month, and patients should be advised of this fact.17,20,27

How Long Does It Take For 18:6 Intermittent Fasting To Work?

The rate of fat store depletion depends on your daily activity level and your daily calorie intake. If you follow the right guidelines of intermittent fasting, you can significantly change your weight after 1 day.

Possible Risks of Intermittent Fasting:

Only if you are healthy should you consider intermittent fasting, and not if you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic disease. If your BMI is under 18, you shouldn’t follow intermittent fasting. Since this method leads to weight loss, it might make you lose more weight and become skinny.

Eating disorders are also a topic to consider. If you wish to try intermittent fasting, Frist makes sure that you are not suffering from an eating disorder.

Sometimes, intermittent fasting may not give the best results for women as for men. So some women may feel it as useless. Sometimes sudden weight loss and fasting can result in irregular menstruations.

If you have a chronic disease condition, don’t try intermittent fasting. Fasting for a prolonged period can worsen the disease condition and result in various complications. Before trying fasting techniques, make sure that you are physically and psychologically ready for that.

Do not try any of the fasting techniques if you suffer from any following.

Diabetes mellitus

Eating disorders

Take medications that require foods to take at the right time.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, liver diseases, kidney diseases, etc. 

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12 Comments

  1. I started the 16/8 sometimes 17/9 and on Saturday I do 15/9 fasting and I dropped 8 pounds in the first month. I am very motivated. I would say that you need at a minimum no less than 14/10 for it to work while you break into the habit of going a longer time without eating. I love black coffee, so it helps curve appetite so i don’t feel hungry. I hope that in the next few months I can lose another 20 pounds to feel better. and be healthy, i take my vitamins, and eat healthy. i cut out sodas and sweets. My Fiance has done this for half a year and lost every inch of his belly. it works!!

    1. That’s fantastic to hear about your success with intermittent fasting! The 16/8, 17/9, and 15/9 fasting routines can be quite effective for weight loss and improved overall health. Cutting out sugary drinks and sweets is also a great step towards a healthier lifestyle.

  2. Thank you for the article. It’s wonderful. I have been intermittent fasting for 26 days now. Most days I fast for about 18 hours, but I have on occasion only fasted 15 hours and a few times fasted 20 hours. It has been much easier than I expected. I also watch my carbs and I am averaging about 24 grams of carbs per day. So far I am down from 203 to 192. That’s 11 pounds in 26 days. I am sure that my weight loss will slow down a bit but that’s ok with me. I would like to get down to 170. I actually like the way I feel when fasting. It frees up so much more time for me to do other things. I am in a better mood most days too. I can’t believe it took me until 46 years old to hear about the benefits of IF. Hopefully more people can benefit from it as well. Thanks again for your insightful article.

    -Greg

  3. I’ve been on 18/6 since November and have lost a size from bordering on an 18 (perimenopausal weight gain over ten torrid years) to a 16 and dropping. I eat porridge for breakfast, or seeded wholemeal toast, with a portion of fruit juice, and a 750ml pot of herbal tea. Then I eat when hungry, about 3, and have a full meal of whatever is planned. Don’t feel hungry till a few hours after I wake. I have another two 750ml pots of herbal tea through the day. Never feel hungry between meals. I can do this every day, I don’t need more food, obviously.

    1. Hello, talk about the story of my life. I’m so happy intermittent fasting is working for you. I’m one of those people the weight is stubborn to lose ever since menopause. Thank you for sharing your feedback.

  4. I feel the typical 3 meal/day is what’s causes diabetes (and maybe even cancer). The spike and drop in insulin throughout the day causes diabetes. And eating throughout the day leads to autoimmune issues and eventually to cancer. I have family/friends who follow typical 3 meal per day (breakfast, lunch, dinner), they eat healthy, but have diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure.

    1. I agree with you! If one is eating 3 meals then the 3rd meal must be very light. Basically, eat a big breakfast, like a King, lunch like a prince and supper like a pauper but preferably not at all.

  5. If you want to experience benefits of fasting…18 (or more) hours of fasting is the best. For about 1 year, I’ve been doing 20:4 method (Weekdays) and 18/6 on weekends. Wish I had known about this in High School. Growing up we were pressured to eat 3 meals and snacks. I think recommended 3 meal/day made us unhealthier (poor focus, memory, eye, and skin health, slurred speech, anxiety, motion sickness, loud/intense hunger pains, laziness, etc). 20:4 fasting cured the above issues.

    1. Thank you for sharing your testimony with us. The reason why 18:6 is great is that it is important to eat breakfast at least 2-3 hours after waking. Most plant protein takes about 4-6 hours to digest and then you give the stomach 1 hour to rest. So 5 hours in between meal 1 and meal 2 is preferred. Keep up the good work.

  6. Hi, thanks for this information. However, I would like to say that your article suggests that fasting is only for healthy people. People with a condition should not fast. But most people nowadays are with some kind of condition like diabetes, kidney disease etc.
    On the other hand I have read and heard many success stories of people recovering from diseases like cancer by fasting. So I am a bit confused and sceptical.

    1. They shouldn’t fast without some kind of medical supervision. If they have no knowledge and experience the outcome can be negative and I’m not going to be blamed. I have to use wisdom and cover what I put out there. Not everyone has the knowledge or experience you may have and not everyone follows instructions.

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