18/6 vs 16/8 Intermittent Fasting: What’s the Difference?
Intermittent fasting (IF) has become increasingly popular over the past few years. This form of dietary restriction involves alternating between periods of eating and fasting, which can lead to a variety of health benefits. One of the most common forms of intermittent fasting is 16/8 fasting, also referred to as leangains fasting, in which you fast for 16 hours a day and have an eight-hour eating window. The 18/6 fasting protocol is also gaining traction, as it involves fasting for 18 hours a day. In this article, we’ll explore the difference between these two fasting protocols and examine the pros and cons of each.
What is 16/8 Intermittent Fasting?
16/8 intermittent fasting is one of the most popular forms of IF. As the name implies, this type of fasting involves fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8 hours in a 24-hour period. During the fasting period, you can drink calorie-free beverages like water, black coffee, and tea. This type of fasting is often referred to as leangains fasting and is believed to have a range of health benefits, including improved digestion and weight loss.
What is 18/6 Intermittent Fasting?
18/6 intermittent fasting is similar to 16/8 fasting, but involves fasting for 18 hours and eating for 6 hours in a 24-hour period. As with 16/8 fasting, you can drink calorie-free beverages during the fasting period. This type of fasting is often referred to as a moderate-to-advanced fasting option, as it is more restrictive than 16/8 fasting but not as intense as alternate-day fasting.
Benefits of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
The benefits of 16/8 intermittent fasting include improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, and improved digestion. It is believed that this type of fasting can help your body burn fat more efficiently, as it restricts calorie intake and encourages your body to turn to stored fat for energy. Additionally, 16/8 fasting is easy to stick to and is often considered a good option for those who are new to intermittent fasting.
Benefits of 18/6 Intermittent Fasting
The benefits of 18/6 intermittent fasting are similar to those of 16/8 fasting, but may be slightly more pronounced. This is because 18/6 fasting involves fasting for two additional hours, which may help your body to burn fat more efficiently and reduce inflammation. Additionally, 18/6 fasting may help to reduce hunger, as it requires you to consume fewer calories over the course of the day.
The Verdict: 16/8 vs 18/6 Intermittent Fasting
The most obvious difference between 16/8 and 18/6 intermittent fasting is the additional two hours of fasting. In 16/8, you fast for 16 hours, while in 18/6, you fast for 18. That may not seem like much of a difference, but it can make a big impact on your body and your overall health.
For those who are new to such an eating approach, the 16/8 fasting may be better, as it has a bigger eating window. With 18:6, it is clear that it is a moderate-to-advanced fasting option, which may require a bit more discipline and effort. For more experienced intermittent fasters, 18/6 fasting may be a good option to explore.
It is important to note that fasting for more than 16 hours may not be beneficial for everyone. While fasting for 20 hours or 23 hours a day is superior over fasting 16 hours, the benefits of low insulin start at about 13–14 hours. If you are new to fasting, it is best to start with 16/8 fasting and gradually increase the length of your fasting window if desired.
Overall, 16/8 and 18/6 intermittent fasting are both effective and beneficial forms of dietary restriction. While 16/8 fasting may be better for those who are new to IF, 18/6 fasting can provide additional benefits for more experienced fasters. In either case, it is important to pay attention to your body and to listen to its cues. If intermittent fasting is not working for you, it is best to stop and to explore other dietary approaches.
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