Diet Tips

The 8-Hour Diet – A Complete Guide

ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
The 8-Hour Diet – A Complete Guide September 27, 2017

If you want to lose weight but crash dieting is not your cup of tea, do try the 8-Hour Diet. This diet plan has helped many people lose about 20-25 pounds in 3 weeks’ time!

How’s that possible? Well, the 8-Hour Diet plan is a simple and effective diet plan where you are allowed to eat and snack on any food within a window of 8 hours. After 8 hours, you will be on a fast for 16 hours.

Sounds insane, but here’s why this intermittent fasting works. The 16-hour gap will help the body rest, repair, and burn calories. Now, just do the math – the more calories you burn, the leaner you become.

Here’s a sneak peek into what you should know before you start the 8-hour diet plan to lose those extra pounds.

The 8-Hour Diet For Weight Loss

  1. The Principles Behind The 8-Hour Diet
  2. How Does The 8-Hour Diet Work?
  3. The 8-Hour Sample Diet Plan
  4. Foods To Eat
  5. Foods To Avoid
  6. The 8-Hour Diet Recipe
  7. Role Of Exercise
  8. Dos & Don’ts
  9. Benefits Of The 8-Hour Diet
  10. Side Effects Of The 8-Hour Diet

1. The Principles Behind The 8-Hour Diet

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The 8-Hour Diet is guided by two scientific principles, even if you follow it for just 3 days in a week. Firstly, it is the manner in which calories are stored by your body, which is in the form of glycogen. The glycogen present in your liver is the source of energy that is most easily accessible. By burning through these stores, your body is forced to start burning fat to gain energy. The 8-Hour Diet teaches you how to trigger the “furnace” in your body that burns fat while you sleep so that the flab can get stripped away right from the moment you wake up!

Secondly, the 8-Hour Diet stimulates the function of the mitochondria, the source of energy that is inside the cells of your body. This maximizes the energy output and reduces the level of intracellular damage caused by poor diet. This slows down aging and minimizes the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s Disease.

So, how do you apply these principles to make the 8-hour diet plan work for you?

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2. How Does The 8-Hour Diet Work For You?

According to David Zinczenko and Peter Moore, the authors of the book ‘The 8-Hour Diet: Watch the Pounds Disappear Without Watching What You Eat!’, those unwanted extra pounds will drop when you eat only within an eight-hour period for three days a week.

This diet gives your body the chance to reset when you only eat food during the eight-hour period. This, in turn, allows your body to process nutrients and effectively eliminate toxins the way it is supposed to. According to the authors, lifestyles in this modern age involve grazing, or eating around the clock, and this does not give your body sufficient time to burn all the calories that it is required to.

This is what it says in an excerpt from the book: ‘In the simplest terms, the 8-Hour Diet is a way of extending the period between your last snack and your ‘breakfast,’ giving your body the chance to burn away your fat stores for the energy it needs. And burn them it does.’

With this diet, the calorie intake is restricted to an eight-hour window while the other 16 hours of the day are spent fasting. In this fasted state, you cannot take in any calories that can be converted into usable energy. You can fast for 16 hours a day anywhere between 3 to 7 days weekly – this entirely depends on your goals. During the eight-hour window where you can eat, you can take any food or beverage you desire in as many meals as you want.

You do not need to restrict the calories, but the authors recommend:

  • Eating a specific combination of certain foods that are rich in nutrients – fruits and vegetables, high-fiber whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein.
  • Taking in an adequate amount of water throughout the day.

When you follow the 8-Hour Diet, you can choose your own non-fasting eight-hour period. It could be from 9 AM to 5 PM or 3 PM to 11 PM. However, it is highly recommended that you break your fast during the later hours of the day to maximize the burning of fat and weight loss.

To make sure the effectiveness of the diet is boosted, some form of exercise just before your first meal is also recommended. The authors provide 8-minute exercise routines that are comprised of resistance training and cardio intervals.

But first, let’s check out the 8-hour diet plan that is easy to follow and gives quick results.

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3. 8-Hour Sample Diet Plan

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MealWhat To Eat
When You Wake UpGreen tea or coffee or any detox drink

(10 am)


  • Wheat flakes and milk
  • Banana smoothie or kale smoothie
  • Scrambled or hard boiled eggs with toast
Pre-Lunch Snack

(11:30 am)


  • Cucumber and watermelon salad
  • 4 almonds

(12:30-1:00 pm)


  • Baked fish and veggies + low-fat yogurt
  • Tortilla wrap+ low-fat yogurt
  • Tuna/vegetable sandwich + fresh fruit juice
Post-Lunch Snack

(2:30 pm)


  • 1 medium-sized dark chocolate brownie
  • 1 orange or apple
Evening Snack

(4:00 pm)


  • A small bowl of potato wafers
  • A small bowl of popcorn
  • A small bowl of nachos with low-fat mayonnaise dip

(6:00 pm)


  • Grilled vegetable/chicken kebab + bread pudding
  • Asian-style chicken soup/Indian lentil soup+ fruit custard
  • Vegetable lasagne + cucumber juice
  • Kidney beans chili + 2-3 chapatis + glass of warm milk
Why This Works

This diet chart contains a blend of savory and sweet, high-calorie and low-calorie foods that will keep you full for longer hours and prevent late night snacking. Green tea or a detox drink will help flush the toxins out. Snacking in between the main meals will prepare you for the 16-hour fasting. For good digestion, have at least one cup of yogurt per day.

Do you have to restrict yourself to eating only these foods? No! Here is a list of foods you can eat in measured portions while you are on the 8-hour diet.

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4. Foods To Eat

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Vegetables & Fruits – Any vegetable or fruit.
Dairy – Any dairy product (unless you are lactose intolerant).
Fats & Oils – Olive oil, rice bran oil, canola oil, butter, ghee, mayonnaise, and margarine (all in limited amounts).
Proteins – Beans, soy, tofu, lentils, eggs, fish, chicken breast, turkey, lean cuts of beef and pork, protein bars (limited amount), and protein shakes.
Dessert – Chocolate pudding, bread pudding, banana muffins, cupcakes, homemade cakes, ice cream, custard, chocolate, etc. (all in limited amounts).
Herbs & Spices – Any herb or spice, unless you are allergic to any of them.
Beverages – Fresh fruit or vegetable juices, tender coconut water, detox drinks, green tea, black tea, and coffee.

You also need to be aware that certain foods/drinks can hamper your weight loss. Here is the list of foods/drinks that you should avoid.

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5. Foods To Avoid

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Fats & Oils – Lard, coconut oil, butter or mayonnaise in excess.
Beverages – Alcohol, aerated and sweetened beverages, packaged fruit juices.

With so many veggies, fruits, spices, and herbs in hand, why not cook something delicious yet low in calories? Check our recommended recipe to re-energize your cells and satisfy your appetite.

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6. The 8-Hour Diet Recipe

Vegetarian Kidney Beans Chilli

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What You Need
  • 1 cup soaked and boiled kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1-inch chopped ginger root
  • 3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon bark
  • 1 cardamom
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran oil
  • A handful of coriander leaves
  • Salt
How To Prepare
  1. Use a mortar and pestle to roughly crush the cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon.
  2. Heat the oil in a pot and throw in the bay leaf first, followed by the roughly ground spices.
  3. When the spices get fried, add the chopped onion and cook until the onion pieces turn golden brown.
  4. Now, add the tomato, cumin powder, coriander powder, chili powder, turmeric powder, and salt.
  5. Toss and turn and mash all the ingredients as you fry them to make a thick paste.
  6. Add a little water and simmer until the oil and the ingredients start to separate.
  7. Add the green bell peppers and cook for about 30 seconds.
  8. Add the kidney beans, mix well and pour about 1-2 inches of water in the pot.
  9. Let it cook on medium flame for about 10 minutes. Then, cook on high flame for 3 more minutes.
  10. Just before you turn off the burner, sprinkle the garam masala.
  11. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Good food can only help you to a certain extent. You also need to mobilize the fat, which can only happen when you exercise. The next section discusses why you should exercise and how it will help you lose weight.

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7. Role Of Exercise

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Exercising regularly is very important. When your body remains inactive, no amount of dieting or weight loss pills will help you lose weight. Exercise will create a need for energy, which will be provided by the stored fat. Continue with your regular workout routine, or start working out while you are on the 8-hour diet. Walking, jogging, running, rope jumping, aerobics, swimming, biking, playing a sport, dancing, staircase running, climbing, yoga, and strength training will help you lose fat and build muscle mass.

Also, make sure you keep moving while you are at school or office. Take the stairs whenever possible, and ditch your automobile and ride a bike.

Doing everything, yet not getting the desired results? You should check out the Dos & Don’ts section to know how if you are doing anything wrong.

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8. Dos & Don’ts

Go to sleep 3 hours after dinner.Do not snack after dinner.
Workout regularly.Do not sit in one place for long.
Eat fattening foods in limited amounts.Don’t eat carb-loaded foods in excess.
Include lots of veggies and fruits in your diet.Don’t snack for at least an hour after a meal.
Drink enough water.Avoid alcohol.

True, there are hundreds of diet plans, but the 8-Hour Diet plan stands out because of the following benefits.

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9. Benefits Of The 8-Hour Diet

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This diet has quite a few benefits, which is why it is popular among fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and people who are looking for a way to lose weight. Although it is considered to be just another “diet fad” by many fitness and health professionals, eating food the way the 8-Hour Diet recommends has been proven to be beneficial for effective weight management as well as overall good health.

Apart from lowering the risk of the health conditions mentioned earlier, the 8-Hour Diet also comes with the following pros:

  • The foods you consume (lean protein, healthy fats, and high-quality carbs) help in filling your stomach, thus controlling your appetite and keeping cravings and overeating at bay. This makes it easier for you to lose weight.
  • The inclusion of daily workouts is another benefit of following this popular diet plan. The 8-minute exercise program helps in promoting muscle maintenance. This, in turn, will help in the preservation of metabolism that is important when you follow any diet.
  • You have the freedom to choose your eight-hour eating period. This means you can create a window that works for you and your schedule. Keep in mind that you should break your fast during the later hours of the day to boost fat-burning and weight loss.

Though it is very helpful and highly recommended, the 8-Hour Diet has a few side effects you should be aware of.

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10. Side Effects Of The 8-Hour Diet

  • Eating or snacking on anything or very high-calorie foods may lead to no weight loss.
  • After dinner, you may feel like snacking.
  • It may not be effective for certain body types and people with a medical reason for obesity.

The 8-Hour Diet could be the answer you are looking for if you want a way to lose weight without having to eat pitiful amounts of food. With this diet, you get to eat delicious and nutritious foods that contain calories. All that is required on your part is to make sure you eat nutrient-dense foods and get a little exercise before you eat your first meal. Once you start the 8-Hour Diet, you will get awesome results in a matter of weeks, and your overall health will greatly improve as well.

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