How many Calories to Eat during Intermittent Fasting 16/8

Intermittent fasting means that you don't eat for a period of time each day or week. It can help you lose weight, improve health and perhaps even live longer.

By: Michael Pollan, Published on: 2023-10-27, Last Updated: 03-07-24

Reviewed by: Brene Brown

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Intermittent fasting is becoming more and more popular. Intermittent fasting has become a popular way to improve health and lose weight. If you're thinking about trying it, you might be curious how many calories you should eat, especially if you're following the 16/8 method. Let's break it down.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting (IF) is not a diet, but rather a pattern of eating. It means you are cycling between periods of eating and fasting. Instead of focusing on which foods to eat, you focus on when to eat them. It's a unique approach, and many people find it easier than sticking to strict rules of dieting.

What is 16/8 Intermittent Fasting?

The 16/8 method is one of the most popular types of intermittent fasting. It's simple: you fast for 16 hours each day and limit your eating to just 8 hours. For instance, if you choose to eat between 12:00 PM and 8:00 PM, then you would fast from 8:00 PM until 12:00 PM the next day.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work for Weight Loss?

The idea behind intermittent fasting is to give your body a break from digesting food. When we eat, our bodies break down food into sugars, like glucose. If we don't use this glucose for energy, our bodies store it as fat. But, when we fast, our body runs out of glucose to burn for energy. So, it starts burning stored fat instead. This is why many people use intermittent fasting to help them lose weight.

How Many Calories to Eat During Intermittent Fasting 16/8

When you decide to try intermittent fasting, one of the big questions is how many calories you should eat during your eating period. Let's understand this step-by-step.

  • Creating a calorie deficit

If weight loss is your goal, you'll need to eat fewer calories than you burn. This is called a calorie deficit. A general rule is that a deficit of 500 calories per day may result in a weight loss of about one pound per week. However, it's important not to cut your calories too drastically, as eating too little can slow down your metabolism and make it harder to lose weight.

  • Eating Healthy Foods During your Eating Period

It's not just about the number of calories, but also about the quality of those calories. Focus on whole, nutritious foods. Fill your plate with vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Avoid empty-calorie foods, like sugary snacks and processed meals. Remember, it's about nourishing your body during the time you eat.

  • Calculating your calorie needs

To determine how many calories you need, start by figuring out your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). TDEE is the number of calories your body burns throughout a 24-hour period. These calories come from the work your body does to keep you alive, including your brain functions, breathing, digestion, and so on, as well as all of your physical activity. There are many online tools and calculators that can help you calculate your TDEE. Once you have that number, you can adjust it based on your weight goals.

Tips for Success

Successfully implementing intermittent fasting, especially the 16/8 method, requires more than just counting calories. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your fasting journey.

  1. Listening to your Hunger and Fullness Sign

Your body is smart. It tells you when it's hungry and when it's had enough. Pay attention to these signals. When you're hungry, eat. When you're starting to feel full stop. Over time, you'll get better at understanding what your body needs.

  1. Breaking your fast gradually

When your fasting period ends, it's tempting to eat a lot quickly. However, it's better to break your fast with something small and nutritious, like a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit. Then, after about 20 minutes, have a bigger meal. This approach helps your digestive system adjust and can prevent overeating.

  1. Staying hydrated

Water is very important, especially when fasting. Drink plenty throughout the day. Sometimes, our bodies confuse thirst with hunger. So, if you feel hungry, try drinking a glass of water first. It might just be what you need.

  1. Avoiding processed foods and sugary drinks

Processed foods often contain hidden sugars and unhealthy fats. They can make you feel tired and slow down your weight loss. Similarly, sugary drinks can add unnecessary calories without giving you any nutritional benefit. Stick to water, herbal teas, and other unsweetened beverages during your eating period.


Intermittent fasting, especially the 16/8 method, can be a beneficial way to manage your calorie intake and promote weight loss. But like any approach, it requires understanding, dedication, and mindfulness. Remember, it's not just about when you eat, but what and how you eat. Listen to your body, make nutritious choices, and find a pattern that works for you.

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