What is 12:12 Fasting | How does it work | Benefits | Guidelines of 12-hour Fasting | What to Eat While 12-Hour Fasting
Time-restricted eating is the emerging diet trend that many are following. Intermittent fasting is considered an effective weight loss strategy that can reduce your belly fat and improve your health in many ways.
There are different types of intermittent fasting like 16/8 fasting, OMAD fasting, alternate-day fasting, etc. But, if you are a beginner and want to try intermittent fasting, these methods may feel too restrictive. Hence, here is the best intermittent fasting method for beginners – 12/12 intermittent fasting. It is an overnight fasting method believed to bring promising weight loss and metabolic benefits by allowing your body to enter ketosis.
Let’s understand more about 12/12 fasting, how it works, its benefits, and how to follow this fasting method.
What is 12:12 Fasting?
The 12/12 fasting is a type of intermittent fasting, where you can eat for 12 hours of the day and fast for the remaining 12 hours. It is also known as overnight fasting, as eating is restricted to a 12-hour window and fasting during the night. For example, if you finish your dinner at 8 p.m., next, you can eat your morning breakfast at 8 a.m. This is the simplest type of fasting, especially for beginners who are trying to shed some weight.
To know more about intermittent fasting and its types, read – A Complete Guide To Intermittent Fasting + Daily Plan & Schedule.
How 12-hour Intermittent Fasting Works
Overnight fasting creates a shortage of carbohydrates in your body. It initiates ketosis, and your body starts utilizing ketones for fuel. This daily metabolic switch from glucose to ketones reduces oxidative stress and inflammation, supports metabolic health, and leads to numerous other benefits.
Some studies suggest fasting for more than 12 hours yields further metabolic benefits. But, fasting for more hours means missing a meal which may affect the adherence to this routine. If you are not willing to fast for extended periods, include a fasting-mimicking diet that is low in calories, sugars, and protein but high in unsaturated fats. Including a low-calorie, high-fat fasting snack can help in maintaining the fasting benefits.
Benefits of Restricting Your Mealtime
The time-restricted eating method helps you overcome nutritional challenges predisposing to obesity. During the 12-hour fasting routine, you focus more on nutrient-rich food than unhealthy snacks. There are various benefits of following a 12-hour fasting method;
By fasting for 12 hours, you allow your body to flush out toxins. When you are well hydrated during the fast, your body can efficiently remove the toxins from your body through sweat and urine.
Your body needs the energy to detoxify and digest food. But when you are fasting, your body focuses completely on detoxification. This way, you achieve optimum cleansing, cellular repair, and healing much needed for better health.
2. Weight Loss
During the 12-hour fast, you will experience a metabolic shift. When your body runs out of stored glucose, it starts utilizing stored fats for energy. When you fast for 12 hours, your body is forced to tap the stored fat, leading to weight loss.
Time-restricted feeding, where food is restricted to a few hours, leads to improved metabolism. According to a survey report, obese individuals who followed an eating window of 11 hours experienced reduced body weight. The participants in the study also experienced improved energy and better sleep.
3. Reduced Inflammation
Low-grade inflammation plays a significant role in various age-related diseases such as dementia, diabetes, osteoporosis, increased blood pressure, etc. Fasting and calories restriction reduces the risk of such inflammations and prevents the occurrence of age-related disorders.
Evidence suggests fasting reduces oxidative stress, promotes autophagy, and contributes to the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. Also, with enhanced detoxification, fasting decreases inflammation.
4. Better Focus
The metabolic switch to utilize ketone bodies for fuel leads to improved functioning of the brain’s neural network. Due to the enhanced functioning of the neuronal circuits involved in cognition and mood, the 12-hour fasting results in better focus. It is believed to bring significant improvement in learning and memory.
5. Improved Workout
Exercising with limited availability of carbohydrates triggers the adaptation of muscle cells to utilize stored fats. This means when you exercise during your 12-hour fasting window; your body burns more fat for energy.
A study was conducted to evaluate the effect of exercising after an overnight fast. The results revealed that fasting improved skeletal muscle adaptation during workouts in young, healthy men.
Guidelines to Follow 12-hour Intermittent Fasting
The right way to begin any fasting routine is to start slowly. You don’t have to start with a full 12-hour fast from day one. Give your body time to adapt to the fasting routine. You can begin by having an early dinner and slowly increase your fasting window. If you are used to feeding your body first thing in the morning, start your morning slowly by delaying any food for 30 mins, then one hour, and so on. This way, you can extend your fasting window from 8 to 9 hours to a full 12-hour window.
When you are planning for 12-hour fasting, try to stick to a routine and decide your fasting window. You can choose 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or 9 a.m. to 9 p.m based on your daily schedule. Having a fixed routine helps your body to adapt well to the fasting and feeding routine.
What to Eat While Following 12-Hour Intermittent Fasting
An important thing to consider about any fasting method is making healthy food choices. During your fasting window, you should eat nutrient-rich healthy food to avoid experiencing any deficiencies. Avoiding unhealthy snacks and processed food can enhance the effects of your 12-hour fasting.
You can consider adding these foods to your eating window;
- Legumes and beans
- Whole grains
- Lean meat
During your fasting window, you should drink enough water to stay hydrated. You can also drink non-caloric beverages like tea, coffee, lemon, or mint-flavored water, etc. These beverages keep you satiated and comfortable during your fasting window.
If you need help planning your fasting meals, get the proper guidance from the 21-Day Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan. Here you will get customized meal plans based on your preferences. The right nutritional guidelines, easy-to-follow recipes, and weekly shopping lists make it easy for you to follow a fasting routine successfully.
How Safe is 12-hour Intermittent Fasting?
The 12-hour intermittent fasting is the safest and easiest-to-follow type of fasting for healthy adults. However, if you have any underlying medical condition, you should consult your healthcare provider. During fasting, your body enters ketosis; hence, this fasting routine is not recommended if you have liver and kidney-related issues. Understand your body needs and seek proper guidance to follow 12-hour fasting.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, intermittent fasting is not advisable. Also, if you have a history of any eating disorders, this fasting routine is not recommended.
To know more about who should avoid intermittent fasting, read – Is Intermittent Fasting Safe? Should You Try Or Avoid It.
If you are a beginner, starting with 12-hour intermittent fasting is the best strategy. It is a sustainable approach that brings excellent results. The 12-hour fasting, when combined with healthy eating, brings various health benefits. If you want to lose weight, boost your digestion, and get better mental clarity, consider 12-hour intermittent fasting. It is an easy and sustainable diet approach that can work well in the long term.