How Many Calories Should I Eat During Intermittent Fasting


How many calories should i eat during intermittent fasting? — If you are trying to lose weight while eating during intermittent fasting, you are probably wondering how many calories should i eat during intermittent fasting. When we eat following a period of fasting, it is called post-absorptive phase and the body uses calories from the food we consume to begin the digestion process. We normally consider the number of calories that are actually absorbed to be more relevant for weight loss.


The 16/8 intermittent fasting is one of the most popular style of fasting. People often state that this is one of the more convenient, easiest and good for beginner style of fasting. To practice 16/8 intermittent fasting, all you have to do is reduce your intake of food and caloric drinks to within an 8 hour window. This means that you are eating for 8 hours of the day and then fasting for the rest of the 16 hours. 

While you are fasting, you are not allowed to eat any food or drink anything that contains calories. Instead, you are free to drink water and drinks with no calories such as black coffee or plain tea. In fact, I personally love to drink plain green tea while I am fasting as there are some little benefits to it!


So, with all things considered, how many calories should you eat during your eating period in your 16/8 intermittent fast if you are trying to lose weight?

It really depends on the individual as it depends on a variety of factors such as your age, sex, height and activity level. But on average, if you cut 500 calories a day while you are intermittent fasting, you should lose around 1 pound in a week. This is because 500 calories in 7 days adds up to 3,500 calories, this accounts to around 1 pound in your body.

When who are between the ages of 19 to 30 generally need 2,000 to 2,400 calories a day to maintain their weight. This means that you should be eating around 1,500 to 1,900 calories a day if you plan on losing 1 pound a week. For those of you who are older, you tend to expend less calories. Women between 31 to 59 years old would usually require 1,800 to 2,200 to maintain their weight. 

Men generally need more calories than women to maintain their weight. Men between the ages of 19 to 30 should generally eat 2,400 to 3,000 calories to maintain their weight. Those of you who are over 31 would need around 2,200 to 3,000 calories.

What you should remember is that these are just general number of calories you need. The number of calories you might need to eat to lose weight depends on your height, weight, how active you are and even your health status. 


The idea of the 16/8 intermittent fasting is that you will naturally reduce your calorie intake because you have less time to eat throughout the day. By eating one less meal, it should lead you to a caloric reduction and therefore leading to weight loss.

In addition to helping you to lower your caloric intake, fasting can also help change your hormone levels leading to weight loss. When you fast, your insulin levels lower and your fat burning hormone increases. 

With the changes in your hormones, studies have shown that fasting might actually increase your metabolic rate by at least 3.6%. The fat burning effects typically start at around 12 hours into your fast and really goes up when you fast between 16 to 24 hours.

Green and Red Sliced Vegetables in White Ceramic Bowl

What To Eat During 16:8 Intermittent Fasting To Lose Weight

The best way to eat during your feeding period is intuitively and in line with your lifestyle and intrinsic needs. A balanced diet looks totally different for different people—if you’re extremely active, you should avoid restricting calories during your feeding window. Eat food that feels right, and try not to overindulge just because the clock is ticking down.

In any case, you should spend your day consuming feel-good meals composed of whole foods. If you prefer to count calories, you can use a meal-planning app like Chronometer or MyFitnessPal to configure all of your favorite ingredients for each meal within your daily goals.

Our advice is to focus on eating hearty, wholesome, and sustaining meals, food that won’t leave you starving midway through your fast later. You should also make a deliberate point of staying adequately hydrated through both your fasting period and your eating window. 

What’s on the menu? Some of our favorite ingredients include

  • Complex carbs like brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal
  • Healthy fats like olive oil and coconut oil
  • Lean proteins like grilled chicken, seafood, and perhaps the occasional steak
  • Tons of healthy produce—greens, fruits, crucifers, and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, and corn
  • Lighter sources of protein, like eggs, yogurt, and cottage cheese
  • Any nuts and seeds that you enjoy, as well as other healthy snacks like dried fruit

As far as foods to avoid go, it’ll be the same as with any healthy lifestyle. Candy, sugary beverages, fast food, fried food, convenience food, and other processed junk should all be left off of the table if you’re serious about weight loss. 

Keep in mind the timing advantages behind the 16:8 rationale that allows it to work for weight loss. High sugars play havoc with your insulin levels and really muck up your normal appetite suppression mechanisms. Leptin, which blocks the drive to eat, is regulated by insulin, and high sugar can cause insulin to peak unnaturally. The idea behind the 16:8 design is to work with your circadian rhythm, not against it, and poor food choices can defeat its purpose. 

Similarly, high-fat diets overcome the typical fat-induced satiety signals. That is, a reasonable amount of fat in your diet allows you to be satisfied, but this mechanism breaks if you take in too much. 

While diets like the 16:8 diet don’t necessarily call for calorie restriction, you could gain weight if you consistently choose meals and snacks that cause your calorie intake to balloon. You’ll likely end up feeling like crap, too.

Is 16:8 Intermittent Fasting Good For You?

A daily fasting period may be able to help you induce any of several weight-loss-friendly processes within the body—lipolysis, autophagy, and even ketosis may all end up being a part of your weight loss plan by consequence. Intermittent fasting is also anti-inflammatory and reduces oxidative stress in pretty much every part of your body. Talk about a diet plan with benefits.

The benefits of intermittent fasting go far beyond weight loss, though. Aside from  being great for heart health, insulin resistance, low blood pressure, and low blood sugar, planning your diet plan under these terms can also prevent neurodegenerative disease and dysfunction and might even be able to prevent malignant tumors from forming.

Fasting in any capacity is extraordinarily beneficial for weight loss, as well. Intermittent fasting, in particular, has an extremely positive effect on the shift in body composition that time-restricted fasting confers. 

This means that the weight you lose is more likely to be fat stored; your body can burn fat more effectively while maintaining fat-free mass elsewhere. If you’re an athlete, intermittent fasting works with you, ensuring that your eating plan does not impose upon your athletic performance later on in the gym.

Is it difficult to get used to? Your first few days might be a drag, but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. Rules get easier to follow as times go on. Keep yourself busy and focus on how you feel—you might not be able to fight off a saber-tooth tiger-like your ancestors, but you might be inspired to pick up a meditation practice with all of your newfound energy.

How to begin intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is not a diet — it is a timed approach to eating. Unlike many other dietary plans, intermittent fasting does not specify which foods to eat or avoid. Intermittent fasting may be beneficial for health and weight management but is not suitable for everyone.

Intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of eating and periods of fasting. At first, people may find it difficult to eat during a short window of time each day or to alternate between days of eating and not eating.

This article offers tips on the best way to begin fasting, including identifying personal goals, planning meals, and establishing calorie needs.

Intermittent fasting is a popular method that people use to:

  • simplify their life
  • lose weight
  • improve their overall health and well-being, such as by minimizing the effects of aging

Though fasting is generally safe for most healthy, well-nourished people, it may not be appropriate for individuals who have any medical conditions. For those who may be able to safely fast according to their doctor, the following tips aim to help make the experience as easy and successful as possible.

1. Identify personal goals

Typically, a person who starts intermittent fasting has a goal in mind. It may be to lose weight, improve overall health, or improve metabolic health. A person’s ultimate goal will help them determine the most suitable fasting method and work out how many calories and nutrients they need to consume.

2. Pick the method

A person may try multiple potential methods when fasting for health reasons. They should pick a plan that suits their preferences and that they think they can stick to.

A few of the more popular fasting plans are:

  • periodic fasting
  • time-restricted eating
  • alternate-day fasting

Typically, a person should stick with one fasting method for a month or longer to see whether it works for them before trying a different method. Anyone who has a medical condition should consult a healthcare professional before beginning any fasting method. Fasting is not a safe option for some people.

When deciding on a method, a person should remember that they do not need to eat a certain amount or type of food or avoid certain foods altogether. A person can eat what they want when following an intermittent fasting plan.

However, to reach health and weight management goals, it is a good idea to follow a balanced, high protein, high fiber, vegetable-rich diet during the eating periods.

Eating only foods that lack beneficial nutrients during eating periods can hinder health progress. It is also extremely important to drink lots of water or other no-calorie beverages throughout fasting periods.

Periodic fasting

This structure involves fasting within specific time periods, such as twice per week, as with the Eat Stop Eat plan and the 5:2 method.

Eat Stop Eat

Brad Pilon developed Eat Stop Eat, a fasting method that involves eating nothing for 24 hours twice a week. It does not matter on which days a person fasts or even when they begin. The only restriction is that fasting must last for 24 hours and occur on nonconsecutive days.

People who do not eat for 24 hours will likely become very hungry. Eat Stop Eat may not be the best method for people who are unfamiliar with fasting. A person should consult a doctor or registered dietitian before starting a fasting plan like this one.

5:2 method

A person on the 5:2 method eats 500–600 calories 2 days each week, on either consecutive or nonconsecutive days, depending on the specific plan.

Time-restricted eating

Plans such as the Warrior Diet and the 16/8 or 14/10 method are considered time-restricted eating, in which a person consumes calories only within specific periods of time throughout the day.

Warrior Diet

Ori Hofmekler is the creator of the Warrior Diet, which entails eating very little for 20 hours each day. A person fasting in this way consumes all their typical food intake in the remaining 4 hours.

Eating a whole day’s worth of food in such a short time can make a person’s stomach quite uncomfortable. This is a more extreme fasting method. As with Eat Stop Eat, a person new to fasting may not want to start with this method and should consult a doctor before trying it.


Martin Berkhan created Leangains for weightlifters, but it has become popular among other people who are interested in fasting as well. Unlike Eat Stop Eat and the Warrior Diet, fasting for Leangains involves much shorter periods.

For example, males who choose the Leangains method fast for 16 hours and then eat what they want for the remaining 8 hours of the day. Females fast for 14 hours and eat what they want for the remaining 10 hours of the day.

During the fast, a person must avoid eating any food but can drink as many no-calorie beverages as they like.

16:8 method of intermittent fasting

16:8 intermittent fasting allows for a fast lasting 16 hours per day, with all foods eaten during the remaining 8 hours. The following time frames for eating are popular with this fasting plan, with nighttime hours included in the fasting time:

  • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • noon to 8 p.m.

Alternate-day fasting

Some people fast on alternate days to help improve blood sugar or cholesterol levels or to help manage their weight.

Some alternate-day fasting regimens add a third day of fasting each week. For the rest of the week, a person eats only the number of calories they burn during the day. Over time, this creates a calorie deficit that allows the person to lose weight if that is their goal.

3. Figure out calorie needs

There are no inherent dietary restrictions when intermittent fasting, but this does not mean that calories do not count.

People who are working with a doctor or dietitian to manage their weight need to create a calorie deficit, which means consuming fewer calories than they use. People who are looking to gain weight need to consume more calories than they use.

Many tools are available to help a person work out their calorie needs and determine how many calories they should consume each day to gain, lose, or maintain weight.

A person could also consult a healthcare professional or dietitian for guidance on how many calories they need. A professional can help a person determine the best foods for them and find an overall healthy way to lose weight.

4. Figure out a meal plan

A person interested in losing or gaining weight may find it helpful to plan what they are going to eat during the day or week.

Meal planning does not need to be overly restrictive. It considers calorie intake and incorporating proper nutrients into the diet. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source recommends the MyPlatePlan, which focuses on showing a person food group targets for each day.

Meal planning offers many benefits, such as helping a person stick to their calorie count and ensuring they have the necessary ingredients on hand for recipes, quick meals, and snacks. As a potential bonus, meal planning could save money if it helps people waste less food.

5. Make the calories count

Not all calories are the same. Although these fasting methods do not limit the number of calories a person consumes during eating periods, it is essential to consider the nutritional value of the food.

In general, a person should aim to consume nutrient-dense foods, or foods with a high number of nutrients per calorie. They may not have to abandon less nutritious food entirely, but they should still practice moderation and focus on more nutritious options to gain the most benefits.


If you are not trying to lose weight while doing the 16/8 intermittent fasting, then there is no need for you to reduce your calories. This means you can eat your typical amount of calories to maintain your weight. If you are trying to gain weight, then I would suggest you eat more calories!

This applies to those who are fasting for other health benefits. There has been many studies that suggest that there are many powerful benefits to intermittent fasting. Some of these include improving your insulin resistance, extending your lifespan, reducing body inflammation and improve your heart health.

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