18/6 Intermittent Fasting: A Beginner’s Guide to the Popular Fasting Method

  • Intermittent fasting 18/6 is an eating pattern where you alternate between fasting and eating. 
  • The popular 18/6 technique calls for an 18 hour fast followed by a 6-hour interval for eating.
  • This fasting method has many potential benefits, such as weight loss, enhanced insulin sensitivity, and increased longevity.
  • Consult a professional before trying 18/6 fasting to learn about the potential side effects.

Looking for a new way to help you slim down? Many turn to 18/6 intermittent fasting, a 6-hour eating window approach that entails eating for six hours and fasting for eighteen (18+6).

Many cultures and religions have engaged in 18/6 intermittent fasting, whether for physiological or spiritual reasons. Fasting, for example, is a widespread practice in Islam during Ramadan, and it has also been employed for medicinal purposes in traditional Chinese medicine.

With the advent of publications such as “The Fast Diet” and “The 5:2 Diet” in the early 2010s, intermittent fasting acquired popularity in current times. These works offered several intermittent fasting regimens, such as the 16/8 and 5:2 methods, and highlighted the possible health advantages of these fasting approaches.

Whether you want to lose weight or boost your metabolism, 18/6 fasting may be just what you need. Let’s get started!

Benefits of 18/6 Intermittent Fasting

Weight loss, improved metabolic health, enhanced energy and mental clarity, lower risk of chronic illness, and longevity are potential advantages of 18/6 intermittent fasting.

Studies have demonstrated that 18:6 fasting improves insulin sensitivity, lowers blood sugar, and reduces inflammation. Certain animal studies suggest it may help enhance longevity and postpone the onset of age-related disorders.

Weight Loss

woman measuring her body while standing at the weighing scale

Cutting your daily calorie intake by restricting the number of meals you consume each day can help you lose weight. You may find it simpler to stick to a calorie-restricted diet and establish a calorie deficit if you reduce your eating window to six hours.

When you fast, your body starts using the fat that has been stored as fuel, which may result in further weight loss. However, keep in mind that weight loss is not guaranteed and that results will vary depending on individual factors such as age, gender, activity level, and overall diet.

Improved Insulin Sensitivity

The 18/6 approach may enhance insulin sensitivity (the body’s ability to respond to insulin and control blood sugar levels). Fasting lowers insulin levels and uses stored glucose for energy, which can enhance insulin sensitivity.

Studies have shown intermittent fasting improves glucose metabolism, lowers fasting insulin levels, and reduces insulin resistance. Enhancing insulin sensitivity may also lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Lowered Risk of Chronic Diseases

The 18/6 method may lower your chance of developing chronic conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. Intermittent fasting has been demonstrated in studies to reduce inflammation, improve blood lipid levels, lower blood pressure, and minimize oxidative stress, all of which are risk factors for chronic illnesses.

Better Brain Function

Intermittent fasting on an 18+6 schedule may increase brain function and protect against age-related cognitive decline. Intermittent fasting has been proven in animal studies to boost the synthesis of BDNF, a vital protein for the development and survival of brain cells.

Increased Longevity

According to several studies, intermittent fasting at 18/6 may improve longevity by increasing cellular health and thus lowering the chance of cellular damage. As a result, you reduce the health risks that come with aging, such as age-related conditions.

How to Get Started with 18/6 Intermittent Fasting

After learning about the advantages of 18/6 intermittent fasting, you may wonder, “How long does it take for 16/8 intermittent fasting to work?” The answer is two weeks to a month, as long as you follow some steps for effective 18:6 fasting:

Consult Your Doctor

Contacting your doctor before beginning any new diet or fasting program is always a good idea, especially if you have any underlying health ailments or concerns. They can advise you on safely adopting 18/6 intermittent fasting and help you assess if it is good for you.

Determine Your Daily Eating Window

The eating window for 18/6 fasting is 6 hours, while the fasting window is 18 hours. You can change your eating window as required based on your schedule and lifestyle, but it’s vital to maintain consistency.

Plan Your Meals and Snacks

During the 6-hour eating window, you should eat healthy, nutrient-dense foods that will provide you with sustained energy and keep you feeling full. Snacks like nuts, seeds, and fresh fruits can boost energy without breaking your fast. You can even try following a 16/8 intermittent fasting 7-day meal plan.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking more water can help suppress your appetite, at least momentarily. Herbal teas, black coffee, and sparkling water are other excellent alternatives. Just avoid sugary drinks and alcohol, which can negate the benefits of intermittent fasting 18/6. If you’re active or live in a hot area, drink more water than the recommended 8 to 10 glasses per day.

Ease Into the Routine

Begin by progressively expanding the duration of your fasting window by 30 minutes every day until you reach the ideal 18 hour fast window. Gradually reduce your caloric intake during your eating window to avoid overeating and ensure you get enough nutrients throughout the day.

What to Eat During 18/6 Intermittent Fasting

During the 18/6 intermittent fasting period, it’s important to ensure that the body receives adequate nutrition during the eating window. Check out some examples of what to consume:

Whole Foods

The vitamins, minerals, and fiber that your body needs to operate correctly are provided by whole meals, which are nutrient-dense. Consuming entire meals throughout your eating window can help you reach your weight reduction objectives, boost your general health, and optimize the advantages of intermittent fasting.

Fiber-rich Foods

foods rich in fiber

Fiber-rich meals might help you feel fuller and minimize hunger cravings when on an 18 / 6 intermittent fast. Whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are high in fiber and can aid in regulating your digestive system and overall health.

Healthy Fats

You can find healthy fats in avocados, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, and olive oil. These meals give essential nutrients and help you feel full and pleased throughout your fast. Due to their high calorie content, it’s crucial to control your 18 6 fasting portion sizes when eating them.

Protein-rich Foods

Protein-rich foods include lean meats like chicken, turkey, and fish, as well as eggs, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Nonetheless, while protein is vital for a healthy diet, it should not constitute the majority of your caloric intake.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are particularly beneficial for people who practice 18/6 intermittent fasting since they keep you full and content during your eating window. Try to consume more vegetables, oats, potatoes, and fruit to ensure a good balance of nutrients and energy to fuel your body throughout the day.

Tips for Successful 18/6 Intermittent Fasting

These pointers will assist you in staying on schedule and avoiding cravings when practicing 18/6 fasting:

Be Consistent

Maintain a consistent eating schedule and try to eat at the same times every day. This will assist in regulating your body’s hunger cues, making it simpler to stick to your fasting regimen. Consistency in the sorts of things you eat can also be beneficial.

Listen to Your Body

If you feel ill or lightheaded, it might be an indication that you need to change your eating window or meal plan. If you feel abnormally hungry throughout your fasting phase, you may need to change your meal composition to include more protein or fiber-rich meals to keep you feeling full.

Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress can result in overeating, binge eating, and emotional eating. As a result, it is critical to discover stress-relieving hobbies such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises for joy and relaxation.

Get Enough Sleep

woman sleeping at night

Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every night and have a regular sleeping routine. Inadequate sleep can cause increased hunger, cravings, and weariness, making it harder to keep to an intermittent fasting 18/6 program.

Be Patient

It can take a few weeks to notice physical changes due to your new eating routine. Focus on the long-term advantages for your health and well-being as you persevere, remain upbeat, and have an optimistic attitude.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

By avoiding these traps, you can be sure that your 18:6 fasting routine is working for you and that you are achieving your health goals:

Overeating During the Eating Window

Overeating during the eating window is a mistake many make. Eating larger meals and more snacks than required might be tempting because there is only so much time to eat. Exercise portion control and abide by the eating window by consuming nutrient-dense meals.

Choosing the Wrong Types of Foods

Select full, nutrient-dense foods that give your body the nutrition and energy it requires instead of consuming empty calories from processed and sugary meals. To help you feel full and satisfied between meals, include a balance of complex carbs, good fats, and protein-rich foods in your diet.

Not Drinking Enough Water

During a fast, drink plenty of water. To add taste and aid digestion, you may also try adding some lemon or lime to your water. Avoid sugary drinks since they might undermine your efforts and cause you to break your fast.

Fasting for Too Long

A slowing in metabolism brought on by an extended fast might cause your body to store fat rather than burn it. It may result in feelings of weakness, lightheadedness, and exhaustion, making it challenging to follow your fasting schedule.

Not Seeking Medical Advice

Before beginning an 18-6 intermittent fast, seeing a doctor is advised to avoid negative health repercussions. It’s always best to get medical advice before beginning the fasting.


To conclude, 18/6 intermittent fasting can have positive health effects, including weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, decreased risk of chronic illnesses, improved brain function, extended lifespan, etc.

To stick to the regimen, you should ease into the habit and carefully plan your meals and snacks, stay hydrated, and pick whole foods, fiber and protein-rich foods, healthy fats, and complex carbs. It’s crucial to be consistent, pay attention to your body, control your stress, get adequate sleep, and be patient when using this fasting strategy.

Before beginning the 18/6 fasting regimen, you should get professional advice to help you plan your fasting and eating windows and address potential side effects!

Frequently Asked Questions About 18/6 Intermittent Fasting

Is it safe?

Yes, 18/6 intermittent fasting is safe as long as you consume sufficient calories during your eating window. However, getting a doctor’s opinion before starting is the best course of action.

Can I exercise while fasting?

Yes, you may exercise while fasting, but you should pay attention to your body and modify your workout program as necessary. To complement your workout regimen, it’s crucial to keep yourself hydrated and feed your body with wholesome meals throughout your eating window.

What if I don’t feel hungry during the eating window?

It’s fine to skip a meal or have a smaller meal if you are not hungry within your eating window. Listen to your body and eat only when you are truly hungry, not simply when your eating window allows for it.

Can I drink coffee or tea while fasting?

You can have coffee or tea throughout the fasting period 18/6, but it’s recommended to stick to unsweetened or basic black coffee. Your fast might be broken by other additions to your coffee or tea.

What if I have a medical condition?

Always get advice from your healthcare professional before beginning a new diet or fitness routine if you have a medical issue. Based on your unique health requirements and medical history, your healthcare practitioner can assist you in deciding if intermittent fasting is safe and suitable for you.


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