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The 8-Hour Diet—Review and Recommended Foods

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The principle of this diet is to eat for 8 hours a day and fast for 16.

The principle of this diet is to eat for 8 hours a day and fast for 16.

What Is the Eight Hour Diet?

The number one principle in the Eight Hour Diet is that the human body was designed to run best on longer periods of fasting followed by shorter periods of eating—the basic "feast or famine" experience that our ancient ancestors may have encountered. This diet plan has an eight-hour eating "window" followed by a 16-hour period of fasting.

The plan is highly customizable and allows you to designate your own eating window. It can work with nearly any lifestyle or schedule. You just have to cut your eating period down to 8 hours. Doing this is supposed to help your metabolism and assist you in using fat stores more quickly by entering Ketosis on a daily basis.

To do this you just need to follow a few simple rules:

  • Consume all of your daily calories during the 8-hour period. You shouldn't really consume ANY calories outside the window to maximize ketosis, however, the plan makes exceptions for coffee and tea. The 8-hour period can be determined by the dieter and chosen based on what will work best with your schedule. So if you want to eat from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or if you want to eat from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. It doesn't matter. Do what works for you!
  • This diet concentrates mostly on when you eat and less on how you eat. You may eat however you choose. It recommends that you eat certain power foods to maximize your weight loss, but aside from perhaps adding a few foods to your diet, you can eat whatever you want on this diet. There are no "forbidden" foods. The important thing is that you simply don't overdo it and that you follow your body's natural cues on what you need to eat.
  • Avoid sugary beverages and do not consume calories in drinks outside of your 8-hour window.
  • The recommendation is that you exercise for at least 8 minutes before breaking your fast to supercharge weight loss. This can be any type of exercise of your choosing.
  • There is an emphasis on drinking water during the 16 hours of fasting. Everyone's body needs to remain properly hydrated for maximum weight loss results.

That's the basic idea of the diet. It's very simple and easy to follow. That's an advantage of this diet, it's so simple. In general, the more simple the diet is, the longer the dieter can maintain the changes and see positive weight loss results.

The Power Foods

The best chance of weight loss on this diet comes when you use these "power foods" to super-charge your diet. There is a recommendation that you eat one food from the fat buster category and one from the health booster every day. Here is a partial listing of the recommended power foods:

Fat Busters:

  • Turkey, eggs, and lean meats
  • Walnuts and other nuts
  • Yogurt and other dairy products
  • Beans, peanuts, and other legumes

Health Booster:

  • Raspberries and other berries
  • Oranges, apples, and other fruit
  • Spinach and other green vegetables
  • Whole grain bread, cereals, and oatmeal

My Review of the Diet

I have tried the Eight Hour Diet and it did work for me. It eliminated my late-night snacking and I no longer ate breakfast because I had a later window. Both of these cut out a significant amount of calories each day. On top of that, I felt less bloated and more energetic throughout the duration of the diet.

Fasting for 16 hours was rarely difficult. It's quite easy to adjust to that and not feel deprived. A big change was that I looked forward to breaking my fast, and I was aware that I was not eating out of hunger when I was eating for 16 hours and fasting for 8 (my "normal" eating schedule). If I did experience hunger it was quickly quenched by drinking a glass of water and doing an activity that would take my mind off the hunger. The truth is that the hunger was not true hunger but more of a craving than anything.

At the end of the first week, I lost 5.5 lbs, and I continue to lose. This diet is so effortless and causes me to feel better and lose weight much more easily than any other diet I have tried. I would certainly recommend this diet to anyone who is overweight and is looking for a simple and easy long-term diet change that will allow you to lose weight.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 Mandy M S


saida on March 03, 2019:

I bought the book 8 hour diet its great!

I did so many other diet before but I was loosing and gaining back because there is no discipline for any other diets ,so as soon as I was in the kitchen something was in my mouth , but with 8 hour diet I keep my hand away form food after 8 hour eating time , and I try to combine this to my weight watcher to get better result. finally love this one !

topaz on July 25, 2018:

Been on this regime for 4 months. Total life change. Now i work out after losing my last 13 lbs.

Chris on July 21, 2018:

Can you drink alcohol?

Debra on May 03, 2018:

I have been on the diet 8 days and have lost a whopping 9.8 lbs! I am thrilled. I am a night nosher and this for some reason keeps me out of the pantry. I don't feel hungry and for some reason my appetite is lessening each day. I simply get up at 5:30 instead of 5:45 to get on the treadmill for 16 minutes each morning, I

What on March 13, 2018:

Yogurt and "other dairy" products are literally made of fat and sugar. They are NOT fat busters.

Denise on February 12, 2018:

I started this last Thursday and I love it, I eat what I want during my 8 hours and than I am done which is good for me "no more decisions to make, no food" however, I feel like maybe I have gained some weight what am I doing wrong? It's been almost a week.

Sam on January 28, 2018:

Hi can I drink some alcohol beverages on this diet?

Kathy Lawrence on December 13, 2017:

Hi! Can you add splenda to your coffee or tee?

Sivi on August 12, 2017:

I am going to give this a try. I started a few days ago and it is not very hard to do. I do work nights and will have to adjust the times when I am working a 12 hr shift.

It is too soon to tell if it is working, but I know that I am not eating as much as I normally do, so I do expect to see results.

I am committed to follow the regiment for a few month.

Ena on July 27, 2017:

I am giving this a go starting today, as I like to graze and eat now out o habit....need to get back to myself but may need to have tea at 9 30 but on day off want to wait til 11am but I think my work days will differ and may have to open window earlier. I like the sound of this, it may just save me. It was the way I naturally ate all my life when much younger.... food times and food was structured no grazing existed that kind of crap was not lying around. So I'm excited and see it as the way to go.

Tim on April 18, 2017:

I know it's been like 2 or 3 years since the people asked the question, but you can switch the times around if you need/want to. The idea is to let 12-16 hours pass to give your liver enough time to burn off all the glycogen from the previous day's meals. After glycogen is burned off the body then turns to fat stores for its energy source.

mike-kesthley on January 07, 2017:

Interesting approach to weight loss. Contains extensive "scientific" basis for the concept of controlled fasting. Seems adaptable to many other diet plans. I did lose 6 pounds in 2 weeks; will continue to see how it works. The "eat what you want and as much as you want" quick ads for this don't do it justice; the heart of the diet is about eating healthy foods; exercising; but all within the context of an 8 hour window.

Mike Kesthley,

CEO & Founder,

Susan on April 02, 2016:

I found out about the 16:8 eating plan a month ago and have found great success with it. I am down 9 pounds and the good news is, I don't think about eating anymore. Once I put that piece of fruit in me around 11:30/12:00 noon to break the fast I start my meals; a healthy breakfast and then a snack which is usually a piece of fruit or some cottage cheese and then dinner. I don't crave sweets anymore and feel so much better now. I am a pretty active 58 year old female whose weight has been hovering about 20 pounds too much the last 10 years. For some reason which I assume it is my metabolism has slowed down those 20 pounds have been a bear to shake off. I feel this is a very promising way of eating for me and hope others will give it a try.

Susan, Richmond, VA

Hutchison on October 20, 2014:

Hi there,

The required optimal number of calories is really related to the energy that is needed by the body so the most important variable when considering caloric intake is the activity level of the individual. Men have a slightly higher metabolism than women so their ideal or optimal calorie intake is about 2500-2800 calories per day depending on their height and activity level.


katarina100 on September 30, 2013:

I have 3 questions

1)Can i change the 8 hour period daily?

2)What kind of exercise is the 8 minuy=the exrcise? For example is cardio,aerobic, strength training?

3)We have to do the 8 minyte exrcise exactly before we start the 8 hour period?

Niroshi on May 16, 2013:

can i change the 8 hour period daily or does it have to be fixed once i have chosen the period