The rules of 16/8 intermittent fasting are pretty strict, and you will have to understand what you can and cannot eat if you want to succeed.

This method breaks your feeding and fasting time into eight and 16 hours, respectively. And since you have only eight hours of your daily 24 to eat, you have to be very careful about what you consume and how you do it. Otherwise, all the sacrifice you did for the 16 hours will be useless.

During the eight-hour feeding window, you do not have the liberty to stuff your face with anything you want and binge on whatever food you get hands on. You will be eating, of course, but you will have to focus your attention on foods that will support your diet and not derail it. Here are some examples of what you can and cannot consume while on a 16/8 intermittent fasting diet program.

What You Can Eat In IF

During your feeding window, the smart thing to do is to load up on high-fiber and high-protein foods. These include beans, nuts, vegetables and fruit. You may also include tofu, lean meats and fish. Some people combine intermittent fasting with other types of high-protein and low-carb diet programs, such as Paleo or Keto, which they apply during the eating window.

Those who have tried it say that such types of meal programs will help maximize the potential benefits of IF. For one, it can help you get into that state of ketosis faster, thus leading you closer to your weight loss goal much sooner.

Stay away from sugar and sugary drinks and opt for water instead. If you must have your coffee, take it black, without any creams or sweeteners.

According to the The MIND Diet author Maggie Moon, MS, RDN, women on intermittent fasting need at least nine cups of water daily, while men should drink 12 cups. However, if you don’t each much while on IF, you will need to drink more (at least 11 cups for women and 15 cups for men) because the body will be getting most of its hydration of plain water.

What You Cannot Eat In IF

When on IF, you must avoid anything with crystal light or artificial sweeteners at all cost. You should also steer clear of coconut oil, butter, milk or cream.

Technically, there are no restrictions to your diet while on IF. However, what’s crucial is that you manage your food and drink intake. The goal is to to give your body the nourishment it needs while staving off hunger. Do not overwork your digestive system. Generally, you can have a small meal that contains about 400 calories, plus some easy protein snacks and fruits. Don’t forget to include a fat source (such as whole eggs, olive oil or nuts), because you might feel hungry again fast if you keep fat too low.

16/8 intermittent fasting, or any other IF strategy for that matter, requires a conscious effort on your part because you really have to watch not just the time but also what you consume. When you count your calorie intake as you make this diet happen, the better it is for you in achieving your fitness goals. With these basic rules about what you can and cannot eat while on intermittent fasting.

Fruit Juices
The rules of 16/8 intermittent fasting are pretty strict and you will have to understand what you can and cannot eat if you want to succeed. Pictured: Fruit and vegetables which make a beverage called 'The Rejuvenator' Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images/AFP