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18:6 Fasting: What You Need to Know to Be Successful
Intermittent Fasting

18:6 Fasting: What You Need to Know to Be Successful

Written by Thalia Oosthuizen | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Published on 2022 July 14
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4 min

18:6 IF regimen is very popular as you have plenty of time to enjoy delicious food. However, can this method help to lose weight and what are the possible benefits of this fast?

18 6 fasting

Intermittent fasting is a big hit nowadays and lots of people are keen to start their fasting journey. However, this process is both exciting and nerve-wracking. There are many questions in the beginning.

Where do you start? How long do you fast for? How long should your eating window be? 

Don’t worry. We’ve got the answer to all of those questions and more as we look into the 18:6 intermittent fasting window.

What Is 18:6 Fasting?

So, what exactly is 18:6 intermittent fasting? Let’s take a look at the numbers first. This particular eating window results in a fasting period of 18 hours and an eating window of 6 hours. Depending on when you start eating, you could be eating from 12 PM to 6 PM every day and fasting for the rest of that 24-hour period.

This is a particularly strict and rigid form of fasting. There are other fasting schedules that are much more fluid. For example, the 16:8 fasting schedule is quite the same, with 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating. If you’re new to fasting, you might find the 16:8 schedule more accessible while you’re getting used to not eating.

If you’re looking for a great place to get started, we recommend DoFasting, an intermittent fasting app that helps you create personalized fasting schedules and track how many calories you’re getting. Plus, it offers tips and tricks to keeping a full stomach and even offers recipes to fill your 6-hour eating window.

18:6 Fasting Results

The most common and most desired result out of any intermittent fasting schedule is weight loss. But what are some of the other results from fasting that you might not even realize you need?

More energy

After fasting, you may notice that you have a lot more energy throughout the day. It can take a week or so to realize that change, but this is because your body is getting more efficient at burning fat stores for energy in the absence of carbohydrates.

Better heart health

Scientific research has some promising conclusions on the benefit of fasting for your heart. 18:6 fasting could reduce your LDL cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, and lower your heart rate, which can all help towards a healthier heart.

Reduced inflammation

Chronic inflammation is terrible for our bodies and leads to a wide variety of risky health conditions. Fasting has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which could lead to a lower risk of things like cancer or arthritis.

18:6 Fast and Weight Loss

Of course, 18:6 intermittent fasting can also help you lose weight. If weight loss is your primary motivator for getting into intermittent fasting, then you’re in luck. Many fad diets create a yo-yo effect, which leads right back to weight gain.

However, intermittent fasting, and especially the 18:6 protocol, is a great way to create sustainable weight loss. The CDC recommends that weight loss be sustained at 1 to 2 pounds per week. Any faster, and it could cause health issues, like weakening of the heart muscles.

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With a balanced diet and a 6-hour eating window, many people have found that 18:6 intermittent fasting has allowed them to sustain up to 2-pounds-a-week progress with losing weight. 

So, if your goal is to lose weight, this eating schedule is definitely one of the best ways to do so.

Benefits of an 18-Hour Fast

If weight loss isn’t enough of a benefit for you, here are some of the other ways 18:6 intermittent fasting can benefit your mind and body.

#1 Cell repair

The cells in our bodies are constantly changing, and sometimes, they get damaged. Fasting is a quick way to encourage our bodies to work on cell repair. The changes in our hormone levels encourage our bodies to use stored fat to initiate repairs that our bodies need to keep functioning.

#2 Lower risk of type 2 diabetes

Fasting helps lower blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance. In turn, this easily helps patients who are at risk of type 2 diabetes lower their risk factors. If you often find yourself eating a lot of sugar or processed foods, an 18:6 fast might be right for you.

#3 Helps brain function

While also assisting with a metabolic function that helps with losing weight, fasting helps the metabolic function that affects your brain. 

Fasting can reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, and blood sugar levels, which are all good for brain function.

Drawbacks of an 18-Hour Fast

Of course, intermittent fasting is not without its drawbacks. 

If you find yourself not eating enough calories during your eating window, you could be at risk of fatigue and unhealthy weight loss. A healthy diet includes making sure you get the calories you need to make it through the day.

Yes, you might feel hungry. About 8 hours after your last meal, you’ll probably start to feel those hunger pangs that signal it’s time for a snack. Don’t worry – drink water or tea to help fill that hunger. Hunger lasts no longer than 20 minutes.

6-hour eating windows might also be particularly restrictive. You may find that you’re not able to go out to eat with friends as often, because you’re restricted to 6 hours in which you can eat. This can start to feel pretty isolating. Feel free to adjust your eating times to your schedule.

A Word From Nutritionist

The benefits of intermittent fasting are amazing, from weight loss to heart health. However, an 18:6 intermittent fasting schedule is definitely one of the more rigorous protocols that one can have on this particular diet plan.

Your 6-hour eating window might leave you feeling isolated from your friends or more hungry than usual. It’s important to do what works best for your lifestyle. Eating larger meals throughout the day might help stave off those hunger pangs.

Make sure that you’re getting enough healthy fats and proper nutrition during your eating periods. Fewer calories might lead to faster weight loss, but it can also cause your body undue stress. Remember to talk with your doctor before diving into intermittent fasting.

Conclusion

No matter what your goal is for fasting, whether it’s losing weight or benefiting your heart health, an 18:6 fast is one of the best ways to go. 

While you may have fewer hours to eat, the processes that your body goes through while fasting will definitely make up for your missed snacking time.

You always want to be careful with fasting, however. Make sure you’re getting all of the calories you need to keep your body going and that you’re getting enough meals. Your body will burn fat, repair your cells, and reduce your stress, all while fasting.

Written by
Thalia has always wanted to be a writer, starting her first local newspaper at the age of 11. She also has enjoyed a passion for health and fitness since a young age, playing many sports through her schooling career, and still enjoys biking, running, and swimming today. She studied English Language at University for 3 years, developing a passion for spelling, grammar, and research. She now has over 10 years of experience writing, proofreading, and editing, and has paired this with her love for health and fitness by writing health content.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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