This Is What You Need to Know About the 18/6 Version of Intermittent Fasting
There are many different styles of intermittent fasting. One such style is 18/6 intermittent fasting which involves fasting for 18 hours a day and eating all of your meals during a six-hour window. The most common form of intermittent fasting is 16/8, where you fast for 16 hours and consume food within eight hours — usually breaking your fast at midday and having your last meal before 8pm.
While 18/6 intermittent fasting is a little stricter, it’s not as strict as alternate day fasting, which requires one to severely restrict the number of kilojoules consumed every second day. Generally speaking, the 18/6 version means you’ll eat just two meals and a snack during the day — so you can decide whether you prefer skipping breakfast or dinner.
What are the health benefits of 18/6?
The health benefits of fasting are pretty lengthy, with a review published in The New England Journal of Medicine finding that it can reduce blood pressure, aid in weight loss and improve longevity in life expectancy. According to CNN, this research recommends physicians prescribe fasting to patients as a method of prevention or treatment for things like obesity, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Fasting has also been shown to help stablise blood sugar levels while also helping to improve mental cognition, with a study from 2009 finding that older adults who consumed a calorie-restricted eating plan experienced improved verbal memory compared to two other groups who hadn’t fasted.
One of the main motivators of undertaking intermittent fasting is typically weight loss. By choosing to restrict the window in which you eat your meals, it allows your body to exhaust its sugar stores and begin to burn fat instead, resulting in weight loss. Research has also found that this method of intermittent fasting generally reduces the amount of food you consume within a day, which in turn, leads to weight loss.
How does 18/6 fasting stack up?
As far as research goes, there doesn’t seem to be any literature that points to 18/6 intermittent fasting producing better or faster results than a style like 16/8 fasting. While the former gives you two more hours in the fasting period and usually means you consume less food, it could result in faster weight loss but we couldn’t find any study that substantiated this.
The bottom line here is that while intermittent fasting can be helpful for weight loss and improved blood sugar control, it is also fairly restrictive when it comes to the times in which you can consume food. Before trying out fasting for yourself, chat to your doctor about the pros and cons and whether this is something that would work for you.