Diet & Recipes

Forget the 5:2 diet, it’s all about the 16:8 diet now

Wanna get in shape in 2017? Then read on...

The 5:2 diet is officially over – the latest weightless craze on everyone’s lips is the 16:8.

The numbers might appear confusing at first glance, but in practice, the 16:8 is a simple regime built around intermittent fasting (IF), where you only eat during a strict timeframe each day.

The plan has been credited with getting Hollywood lean machine Hugh Jackman in tip-top shape, and actress Jennifer Love Hewitt is said to be a fan too.

As with all diets, it’s worth getting all the facts and checking with a doctor before trying out a new eating plan, but here’s the lowdown if you fancy giving it a shot this new year…

How it works

Here’s the good news; the 16:8 is one of the most easy-to-follow weight loss plans going.

David Kingsbury, trainer to stars including Michael Fassbender, Chris Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence, explains: “The 16:8 diet is essentially where people fast for 16 hours and just eat in an eight-hour window. You can fit that in around your lifestyle.”

David, who appears on Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped New Year diet special, suggests that for many people the 16:8 is as straightforward as skipping breakfast and powering on through ’til lunch for the first meal of the day. It might be tough to go without that bacon sarnie or bowl of porridge, but the results could well be worth it.

During the 16 hour fasting period, you can have tea, coffee or water, but no sugary drinks – and no food whatsoever.

Are any foods restricted in the eight-hour window?

No. The idea is that you eat normally during the eight-hour period each day –although this doesn’t mean pigging out on as many chocolate bars and packets of crisps as you can stuff in your face in that time. As with most diets, moderation is key – but nothing is banned on the 16:8. This means that carbs, fats and even booze are all OK. Just not during the fasting time.

Similarly, there’s no hardcore exercise regime you have to follow on the 16:8, although working out will obviously boost your overall wellbeing and accelerate any weight loss.

The science behind it

Californian-based Dr Julie Shatzel – who also appears on the Food Unwrappedspecial – has seen amazing results from putting her own patients on the 16:8 diet.

“I’m a huge advocate of it, because what we’re finding with early human trials is that people are able to lose weight, eating relatively the same but just in an eight hour timeframe,” she says. “It seems to alter the metabolism for the better.”

As to why this happens, Dr Shatzel believes it’s all down to our internal body clock.“Our genes are pre-programmed to do certain things very well during the day and during the evening. By restricting our eating time we’re just revealing the true programming of our genes.”

How much weight can you lose

It’s different for everyone, and depends if you’re exercising too. But you can expect to shed at least half a stone – without even really noticing you’re dieting.

As Dr Shatzel says: “Those five or six pounds that always used to stick around? They just don’t stick around any more.”

Can you have cheat days?

Yes. The 16:8 does not have to be followed religiously every day, and you can have a couple of non-fast days a week and still expect to lose weight.

Is it healthy?

Medics seem to think so. With no food groups eliminated from the diet, it is not overly drastic – and according to the American Society of Clinical Nutrition, intermittent fasting can also reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Sounds like a win-win to us!

For more info, watch the Food Unwrapped diet special on Channel 4 on January 2.

Does this sound like the perfect diet for you? Let us know over on Facebook or Twitter.

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