16/8 Intermittent Fasting: What Is It, Meal Plan and Health Benefits

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Woman eating during a 16/8 intermittent fasting diet

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Some people call it a lifestyle, we call it a diet worth investigating. Thus, we decided to take a deeper look into various types of intermittent fasting. Today we’re gonna explore the 16/8 intermittent fasting plan: how it works, what to eat, what kind of results you might get, and whether it is good for you or not.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is one of today’s most popular ways of losing weight and maintaining good general health, with great results and achievements among those who have tried it. When it comes to great success, it’s only natural for people to be drawn into the “herd effect” and try the intermittent fasting for themselves, favoring this type of diet.

What is the 16/8 intermittent fasting

16/8 intermittent fasting means that you can eat and drink foods and beverages that contain calories within 8 hours of the day and abstain from them for 16 hours. Within the 8 hours window, you can eat once, twice, three times, if you like. Depending on your general health, you can sustain this eating style every day or just once or twice per week. Keep in mind that the 16/8 plan does not specify what foods to eat, but rather when it’s best to eat them!

Advice: make sure the 16 hours window includes your night sleeping hours so that the diet’s restrictions are easier to comply with.

Some people prefer to start their 8 hours window at 12:00 PM until 08:00 PM, so this means that they’re gonna skip breakfast, a habit that is very common nowadays (not a good one, though). However, there are other options available: from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM or from 10:00 AM to 06:00 PM.

Start with choosing the right time frame for your particular lifestyle.

16/8 intermittent fasting – what to eat

There is no general rule as to what foods you are allowed to eat and what foods are forbidden. Just make sure to have a good variety of foods, such as:

  • Fruits: berries, peaches, pears, bananas, apples, grapefruits, oranges. They can be fresh, frozen, or canned.
  • Vegetables: cucumbers, tomatoes, leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots.
  • Whole grains: brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, buckwheat, barley.
  • Proteins: eggs, seeds, nuts, fish, chicken, red meat, beans, lentils, tofu, low-fat cheese.
  • Good fats: avocados, olive oil, nuts, seeds, fatty fish.
  • Drinks: water, unsweetened tea and coffee, flavored water. Drinks are permitted during the 16 hours window, so you can keep yourself hydrated.

16/8 intermittent fasting meal plan

Here is a quick example of the dishes you can enjoy during this program. Adapt the hours to the eating and fasting pattern you have chosen for yourself.

  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs with veggies
  • Lunch: oven-baked chicken with veggies
  • Dinner: quinoa salad
  • Drinks: water, decaf tea, unsweetened coffee
  • Snacks: nuts, seeds, pistachios


  • Breakfast: granola toast and yogurt
  • Lunch: grilled red meat with a leafy green salad
  • Dinner: zucchini noodles pasta
  • Drinks: water, decaf tea, unsweetened coffee
  • Snacks: bananas, apples, fresh berries


  • Breakfast: avocado toast and chia pudding
  • Lunch: chicken meatballs with tomato sauce
  • Dinner: vegan quesadilla or grilled salmon with vegetables
  • Drinks: water, decaf tea, unsweetened coffee
  • Snacks: dark-chocolate-covered almonds

16/8 intermittent fasting benefits

A study from 2016 evaluated the health benefits for the 16/8 intermittent fasting plan by observing male subjects during an 8-week trial and discovered that this program, combined with resistance training, could improve some health-related biomarkers, decrease fat mass, and maintain muscle mass in resistance-trained males.

For obese men, the intermittent fasting method worked well in terms of weight loss, according to a study from 2018.

Another 2018 study showed that the 16/8 method can reduce blood pressure in adults with obesity, along with improved weight management.

A study from 2019 showed a connection between regular fasting and a lower incidence of heart failure in patients diagnosed with heart disease.

16/8 intermittent fasting side effects

There are a few setbacks that you need to be fully aware of before trying the 16/8 intermittent fasting program, such as:

  • some people tend to eat more than usual in the 8 hours window, to make up for the 16 hours of fasting, which could result in gaining weight.
  • hunger, fatigue, and weakness are experienced at the beginning of the program.

Is the 16/8 plan right for you?

In some cases, it’s best to talk to your doctor before initiating yourself on this journey. This especially important f you have an eating disorder history or if you take any medication for blood pressure or diabetes.

Pregnant women and breastfeeding moms should not follow this diet, nor those who are trying to conceive a baby.

Otherwise, if you are a healthy person and want to try the 16/8 program, keep in mind that it is not a wildcard for skipping a balanced, well-rounded diet.

See also:

Intermittent Fasting: Eat-Stop-Eat Diet

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