Intermittent fasting (IF) is quickly becoming one of the most popular trends in human health and nutrition. But what is intermittent fasting, and why are people raving about it? There are several different intermittent fasting protocols, but the two most common are 20-4 and 16-8. In this blog post, we will compare these two protocols and help you decide which might be best for you.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is simply a dietary protocol that cycles between periods of eating and fasting. There are several different intermittent fasting protocols, but the two most common are 20-4 and 16-8. In this blog post, we will compare these two protocols and help you decide which might be best for you.

What Is An Eating Window In Intermittent Fasting?

An eating window is the time frame during which you are allowed to eat. In intermittent fasting, there are two main protocols: 20-4 and 16-8. In the 20-4 protocol, you have a 20-hour fasting window and a 4-hour eating window. In the 16-8 protocol, you have a 16-hour fasting window and an 8-hour eating window.

This is important because the length of your fasting window will determine how much time your body has to burn fat. The longer the fasting window, the more time your body has to burn fat.

Why Intermittent Fasting?

There are many reasons why people intermittent fast. Some people do it for weight loss, while others do it for health benefits such as increased energy and improved mental clarity. Intermittent fasting has also been shown to have several other health benefits, including decreased inflammation, improved heart health, and increased lifespan.

How Intermittent Fasting Works

Intermittent fasting works by giving your body a break from digesting food. When you fast, your body is able to focus on other things, such as repairing damaged cells and producing new ones. Intermittent fasting also allows your body to burn through its stored sugar (glycogen) and start burning fat for energy.

Intermittent fasting burns fat

This is why intermittent fasting is so effective for weight loss. When you fast, your body is forced to burn through its stored sugar and start burning fat for energy. This process, known as ketosis, can help you lose weight quickly and effectively.

Intermittent Fasting 20 4 vs 16 8

Now that we know what intermittent fasting is and how it works, let’s compare the two most popular protocols: 20-hour fast vs 16-hour fast.

As we mentioned earlier, the 20-hour fast has a 20-hour fasting window and four-hour eating window. This means that you will fast for 20 hours and eat for four hours each day.

The 16-hour fast, on the other hand, has a 16-hour fasting window and an eight-hour eating window. This means that you will fast for 16 hours and eat for eight hours each day.

So, which protocol is better?

There is no “right” answer to this question. It depends on your goals and preferences. If you are trying to lose weight, the 20-hour fast may be more effective because it gives your body more time to burn fat. If you are trying to improve your overall health or maintain your goal weight, the 16-hour fast may be a better option because it allows you to eat more often.

Intermittent Fasting Morning vs Evening

For most intermittent fasters, either the 20-4 or 16-8 protocols work best if your window is in the afternoon, but not so late that it interrupts your circadian rhythm.

What is circadian rhythm?

Your circadian rhythm is the natural 24-hour cycle that controls your body’s sleep-wake cycle. It is controlled by a part of your brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus switches on and off different hormones that regulate various aspects of your health, including hunger, appetite, energy production, and body temperature.

circadian rhythm sleep hypothalamus

How does eating late affect circadian rhythm?

Eating too late can interrupt your circadian rhythm, which can lead to a number of health problems. When you eat late at night, you are throwing off your circadian rhythm and disrupting the natural balance of these hormones. This can lead to a variety of health problems, including weight gain, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease.

That said, for most people, it’s easy to get through early hours without food. If you decide your window will be later in the day, don’t make it so late that it will disrupt your sleep. Aim for a window that is at least four hours before you go to bed.

Intermittent Fasting Rules

Now that we’ve covered the basics of intermittent fasting, let’s go over some general rules to follow when starting out.

  • Start with a shorter fasting window, such as 12 hours, and gradually work your way up to a longer fasting window, such as 16 or 20 hours. You might say, “That’s dumb. I already have a twelve-hour window. Not so fast! You will be counting EVERYTHING that passes your lips such as that buttered popcorn while you’re watching your shows before bed. Start by exercising your discipline before shrinking your eating window.
  • If you are new to intermittent fasting, it’s best to start with one or two days per week or every other day. You can gradually increase the number of days you fast as you get more comfortable with the practice.
  • When first starting out, it’s important to listen to your body and eat when you’re hungry. As you get more comfortable with intermittent fasting, you will learn to ignore the hunger pangs and not eat unless you are actually hungry. Remember, there’s a difference between hunger and cravings!
  • Drink plenty of fluids while fasting, especially water. Avoid drinks with caffeine, as they can dehydrate you – at least as much as you can. We get it! Coffee makes the world go round. Just follow up with water.
  • Make sure to include plenty of healthy foods in your eating window. This will help ensure that you’re getting the nutrients your body needs while fasting.
  • If you’re having trouble sticking to your intermittent fasting schedule, try using a food journal or an app to track what you eat and when. This can help you stay on track and avoid any cheating.

Intermittent Fasting 20-4 vs 16-8 Recap

So there you have it. Intermittent fasting is a method of eating that cycles between periods of food and non-food. Intermittent fasting can be done with different timeframes, including the 20:4 protocol or 16:8 protocol. The benefits are many but intermittent fasting should not be attempted without careful consideration as to your goals and lifestyle. Intermittent fasting provides weight loss, improved health markers, and reduced inflammation among other things for those who practice it properly. If you want to try intermittent fasting we recommend starting slow at first until you know what works best for your body type to avoid any negative side effects like hunger pangs or an imbalanced circadian rhythm. Start by tracking what you eat during these windows so that if they do start working well for you, you will have a better idea as to what foods make the cut.