Intermittent Fasting: What Happens When You Fast For 16 Hours?

Stop counting calories and still lose weight? This is possible – with a special form of intermittent fasting! The requirement: Eat eight hours, and fast for 16 hours. We reveal how to lose weight and what numerous positive effects fasting has on the body!

The principles of intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting has its natural roots in the Stone Age. Our ancestors had to endure long periods of scarcity time and time again. If the hunt was not successful, the stomach remained empty for hours or days. Since then, the body has been prepared for fasting periods and survives longer periods of starvation by storing energy reserves in organs and tissues and mobilizing them when needed. The problem: Since there are no longer any hunger phases in everyday life with regular meals and many snacks, the body is constantly in storage mode. Through interval fasting – also called intermittent fasting – he learns to draw on his reserves. This heats the metabolism and prevents the yo-yo effect.

There are various models of intermittent fasting, for example, the 2:5 rhythm, i.e. fasting for two days and eating normally for five days, and the 12:12 method, in which the fasting period lasts 12 hours. However, these are just variations of the original form of intermittent fasting, which is based on the 16:8 principle: fasting for 16 hours and eating for eight hours.

Intermittent fasting using the 16:8 method

Eating is allowed eight hours a day, the other 16 hours no food at all. This acts on the body like a mini fasting cure. The body has enough time before bed to digest the last meal. It then falls back on the fat reserves until breakfast. The advantage of the 16:8 method is that it can be easily and permanently integrated into everyday life. For example, if you eat your last meal at 8 p.m., you can simply skip breakfast and go back to eating your normal lunch at noon. The eating window is then valid for eight hours, i.e. until 8 p.m. Sugar-free drinks, i.e. coffee, tea, and water, are allowed in abundance during the fast. In this way, waste products and toxins are flushed out of the body.

You don’t have to give up certain foods or count calories during the eating periods. Nevertheless, a healthy diet is also important here to support the metabolism. Part-time fasting aims to naturally save calories by skipping a meal.

Autophagy: This is what happens in the body during a 16-hour fast

16 hours without food – it is obvious that this has to do something to the body. But what exactly happens when you don’t eat for so many hours? First of all, the daily fasting periods have a positive effect on the metabolism. If the body does not get any food, it has to mobilize glucose and fat stores to generate energy. This leads to rapid weight loss.

One of the processes that intermittent fasting supports is what is known as autophagy. Doctors use this to describe the self-cleaning and self-repair of the cells, which is a naturally created anti-aging method of the body. Because the better the autophagy runs, the longer the cells stay young. This means that we stay young longer thanks to the body’s self-cleaning mechanism. The Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsum was able to prove this for the first time a few years ago after decades of research and even won the Nobel Prize for it in 2016.

The autophagy process is boosted by food deprivation and thus promotes cell rejuvenation. However, it is not enough to have breakfast two hours later than usual to achieve the desired effect. Cell repair only starts after a fasting period of 14 to 17 hours. That is why the 16:8 fasting method is ideal. When the body is starved of nutrients, the body draws energy from glucose stores, then fat cells. After that, the body taps into a final energy reserve: damaged cell structures that are simply recycled.

16-hour fast: It’s that healthy

If done properly and eating a balanced diet, intermittent fasting is a no-fuss way to shed a few pounds and give your cells a rejuvenating treatment. But the body benefits even more from part-time fasting:

  • Because the insulin level is constantly at a low level during the fasting periods, the risk of type 2 diabetes decreases.
  • Due to the low blood sugar and insulin levels, among other things, the body produces fewer inflammatory messengers, which can alleviate autoimmune and inflammatory skin diseases.
  • The gastrointestinal tract can also recover through fasting. And: If the intestine is not busy processing food all the time, it can eliminate harmful bacteria.
  • The cholesterol level decreases and with it the probability of developing cardiovascular diseases.
  • Growth hormones are increasingly released during periods of fasting, which serves to maintain and build muscle.
  • Intermittent fasting helps with fatty liver: The liver has time between meals to break down excess fat.

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