An Ultimate Guide on 12 Hour Intermittent Fasting Method

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Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aman Priya Khanna
Written by Sangeeta Sharma, last updated on 15 November 2023| min read
An Ultimate Guide on 12 Hour Intermittent Fasting Method

Quick Summary

Intermittent fasting 12 hours is a simple and beginner-friendly way to lose weight and improve your health. It involves fasting for 12 hours and eating for 12 hours. There are many benefits to intermittent fasting, including weight loss, reduced inflammation, and improved blood sugar control. To get started with 12-12 intermittent fasting, simply choose a 12-hour period each day to fast. This could be from 8 pm to 8 am, or from 12 pm to 12 am. During your fasting period, you can drink water, unsweetened tea, and black coffee.

Intermittent fasting has become a buzzword in the health and wellness community. Intermittent fasting 12 hours is one of the most simple and beginner-friendly strategies.

You can make 12-12 intermittent fasting a rewarding part of your lifestyle with commitment and patience. Read to know more about the 12-hour intermittent fasting method, its benefits, and how to get started!

Understanding 12-Hour Intermittent Fasting Method

Is 12 hours considered intermittent fasting? Indeed, it is; you abstain from eating for 12 hours and then have a 12-hour meal window.

This strategy is also known as the 12/12 fasting plan, which leads to the state of ketosis. It is a metabolic state where your body primarily burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. It is suitable for those who want to reap 12-hour intermittent fasting benefits.

Here's how it usually goes:

  1. Fasting Period: You do not consume any calories during the fasting period. You may, however, consume water, herbal tea, or black coffee. These should be taken without sugar, cream, or high-calorie ingredients.
  2. Eating Window: Following the 12-hour fast, you have a 12-hour window to eat your meals and snacks. Your last meal or snack should be consumed within the eating window.
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Losing Weight With 12-Hour Intermittent Fasting

The weight loss you can achieve with 12-hour intermittent fasting depends on various factors such as activity level and individual metabolism. Practising intermittent fasting consistently over several weeks can lead to gradual weight loss. 

You may start to notice 12-hour intermittent fasting results within a few weeks. The amount of weight you can lose will vary from person to person. A safe and reasonable expectation might be around 0.45 to 0.9 kgs per week.

Benefits of 12-Hour Intermittent Fasting Method

The 12/12 intermittent fasting offers several health benefits for those who incorporate it into their lifestyle. While it may not involve extended periods of fasting like some other intermittent fasting methods, it still provides valuable advantages. The major 12-hour intermittent fasting benefits are:

  1. Weight Control: One of the main reasons individuals turn to intermittent fasting 12 hours is to lose weight. The 12-hour fasting window naturally reduces the amount of hours available for eating. It decreases daily calorie intake. This calorie restriction may help people lose or maintain a healthy weight over time.
  2. Better Digestion: Giving your digestive system a 12-hour gap from eating will help it digest better. It allows your body to thoroughly process and absorb nutrients from the previous day's meals. This may reduce digestive discomfort and concerns such as bloating.
  3. Blood Sugar Levels: The 12-hour fasting window can aid with blood sugar regulation. Limiting your intake of carbohydrates and sweets reduces the frequency of insulin spikes and crashes. This can be especially advantageous for people who have diabetes or are at risk of developing diabetes.
  4. Enhanced Metabolism: Intermittent fasting 12 hours can raise metabolism and fat burning. This metabolic boost can help with weight loss and overall wellness.
  5. Time-Efficient: This method is best for people with hectic schedules. The 12-hour fasting window is an efficient strategy to improve health. It can be done without requiring extra time for food consumption.
  6. Improved Sleep: People sleep better when they finish their dinner earlier in the evening. This can result in more restful sleep and better overall health.
  7. Increased Body Awareness: Fasting for 12 hours can help you become more aware of your body's hunger and fullness cues. This enhanced awareness may result in better eating habits and portion control during your meal window.
  8. Psychological Benefits: Intermittent fasting can create a sense of discipline and control over eating patterns. This can be empowering for many people. It may also aid in breaking the cycle of mindless eating or continual nibbling.

12-Hour Intermittent Fasting Method

Doing 12-hour intermittent fasting requires consistency and commitment towards your diet goals. Here are the steps one can follow:

  1. Step 1: Choose your fasting time - Decide on a 12-hour window during which you won't consume any calories. For example, you could fast from 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM.
  2. Step 2: Stay hydrated - During the fasting period, it's important to drink plenty of water, herbal tea, or black coffee to stay hydrated and curb hunger.
  3. Step 3: Plan your meals - Use the remaining 12 hours for your meals. Make sure to include a balanced diet with nutrient-rich foods to support your overall health and weight management.
  4. Step 4: Listen to your body - Pay attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues. Adjust your fasting schedule or consult a healthcare professional for guidance if you feel overly hungry or unwell.

Foods to Include and Avoid

Make informed decisions regarding the food you eat throughout your eating window. This strategy allows you to be flexible with your food choices. However, focusing on nutrient-dense foods will help you reap the most 12-hour fasting benefits from intermittent fasting. Here is a list of things to eat and avoid:

Food Category

Foods to Include

Foods to Avoid

Proteins

Lean meats (e.g., chicken, turkey, fish)

Fatty cuts of meat (e.g., mutton, pork)

Legumes (e.g., lentils, chickpeas)

Fried and breaded items

Paneer (Indian cottage cheese)

Processed meats (e.g., sausages, salami)

Grains and Carbs

Whole grains (e.g., brown rice, quinoa)

Refined grains (e.g., white rice, white bread)

Millets (e.g., foxtail millet, pearl millet)

Sugary cereals and snacks

Rolled oats

Sugary beverages (e.g., colas, fruit juices)

Fruits

Berries (e.g., blueberries, strawberries)

High-sugar fruits (e.g., mangoes, grapes)

Apples, pears, oranges

Fruit juices and canned fruits

Avocado


Vegetables

Leafy greens (e.g., spinach, kale)

Starchy vegetables (e.g., potatoes, corn)

Cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower)


Bell peppers, cucumbers


Fats

Nuts and seeds (e.g., almonds, walnuts)

Deep-fried snacks and foods

Olive oil, coconut oil

Trans fats (e.g., margarine, hydrogenated oils)

Dairy

Greek yogurt

Full-fat dairy products (e.g., whole milk)

Low-fat milk or milk alternatives (e.g., almond milk)

Sweetened yoghurt and flavoured milk

Beverages

Water

Sugary beverages (e.g., soda, sweetened tea)

Herbal tea (unsweetened)

Alcohol

Black coffee (without sugar or cream)


12-Hour Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan

Making a healthy 12-hour intermittent fasting diet plan will help you maximise your eating window. It will also increase general health and well-being. To get you started, here's a sample diet plan.

Note: Adjust portion sizes and meal options to meet your specific needs, preferences, and dietary restrictions.

Time of Day

Food

Description

Morning (Fasting Period)

Water

Start your day with a glass of plain water.

Herbal Tea/Coffee

Sip on unsweetened herbal tea or black coffee.

Green Tea

Green tea without added sugar or honey is an option.

Late Morning

Nuts

A small handful of unsalted almonds or walnuts.

Coconut Water

Fresh coconut water (no sugar added) is hydrating.

Lunch

Grilled Chicken Salad

A salad with grilled chicken, greens, and veggies.

Brown Rice

A small portion of brown rice or millet.

Lentil Soup

A bowl of lentil soup for protein and fibre.

Snack

Greek Yoghurt

Greek yoghurt with a drizzle of honey (optional).

Cucumber Slices

Fresh cucumber slices with a pinch of salt.

Eggs/Turkey

Boiled eggs or turkey slices

Evening

Green Smoothie

A homemade smoothie with spinach, banana, and almond milk.

Boiled Eggs

A couple of boiled eggs for protein.

Berries

A small bowl of mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries).

Dinner

Grilled Fish

Grilled fish (salmon or cod) with lemon and herbs.

Steamed Broccoli

Steamed broccoli or cauliflower for fibre.

Late Evening (Eating Window)

Herbal Tea

Wind down with a calming herbal tea.

Chia Pudding

Chia pudding made with almond milk and berries.

The foods in this diet are well-balanced and contain a variety of protein, healthy fats, and fibre. However, listen to your body and adjust. 

Consider modifying your fasting window if you feel excessively hungry or ill throughout the fasting period. It is also advisable to seek personalised advice from a healthcare practitioner or qualified dietician.

Tips for Success

Many ask, “does 12 hour intermittent fasting work?” Successfully implementing the 12/12 intermittent fasting method involves more than just setting a timer for your fasting and eating windows. It requires planning, discipline, and a mindful approach to your eating habits. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your 12/12 intermittent fasting journey:

  1. Visit a Healthcare Professional: Before beginning any fasting programme, it is best to visit a healthcare provider. This is especially advisable if you have any underlying health disorders or concerns.
  2. Plan Your Meals: Prepare your meals beforehand. This is to avoid the temptation of unhealthy snacks or fast food during your eating window, 
  3. Maintain Consistency: With intermittent fasting, consistency is essential. Every day, try to adhere to your fasting and eating times.
  4. Monitor Your Progress: Keep a record of your weight, energy levels, and any other health indicators that are relevant to you. This can assist you in determining the success of your fasting routine.
  5. Combine Intermittent Fasting with a Healthy Lifestyle: Intermittent fasting works best with a healthy diet and frequent physical activity.
  6. Breaking an Intermittent Fast: When ending your fasting period, start with a small meal to ease your digestive system back into action. Opt for something light and balanced, like a salad, a piece of fruit, or a smoothie.
  7. Sustaining Long-term Weight Loss: To maintain weight loss achieved through intermittent fasting, continue making healthy food choices. Maintain a regular exercise routine. 

Is 12-Hour Intermittent Fasting Safe for Everyone?

Wondering can you do 12-hour intermittent fasting? In general, 12-hour intermittent fasting is considered safe for most healthy adults. However, it may not be suitable for everyone.  This includes people with medical conditions like diabetes, pregnant or breastfeeding, and growing adolescents. 

Before starting any fasting regimen, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, particularly if you have underlying health concerns or unique dietary needs.

Limitations of 12-Hour Intermittent Fasting

The intermittent fasting 12-hours method is regarded as one of the simpler routes to intermittent fasting. However, it still provides significant hurdles that individuals must overcome. Here are some common challenges to consider when practising 12-hour intermittent fasting:

  1. Hunger: It's normal to feel hungry when you first start intermittent fasting. It may take some time for your body to adjust to the new dietary pattern. Start with a shorter fasting window and gradually increase it.
  2. Headaches: Some people may get headaches, especially if they are sensitive to changes in meal timing. Staying hydrated can help mitigate this problem.
  3. Mood Change: Fasting can affect energy levels and mood in certain people. You may feel tired or angry. This can happen if you lack enough nutrition or your blood sugar levels vary. Ensure you eat nutrient-dense foods during your eating window to maintain energy levels.
  4. Dehydration: Failure to consume enough water during the fasting period can result in dehydration. This can induce headaches and lethargy.
  5. Sleep Issues: Changing your dietary habits might cause sleep disruption. This can happen if you consume caffeine or heavy meals close to the night. Opt for a lighter dinner and maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
  6. Malnutrition: It can occur if you do not arrange your meals correctly throughout the eating window. Malnutrition is also possible if you do not obtain enough necessary nutrients from your food.
  7. Digestive Discomfort: Some people may experience digestive discomfort, such as bloating or indigestion. This occurs if they eat too quickly or eat large meals in a short period.

Takeaway

The 12-hour intermittent fasting approach is a simple and efficient strategy to improve your health and lose weight. Keep in mind that intermittent fasting is not a one-size-fits-all solution. This means what works for one person may not work for another. 

Finding a fasting regimen that meets your specific needs and preferences while prioritising your health and well-being is important. Contact HexaHealth for additional information on medical concerns. It is India's largest patient care and service platform for surgery. Get in touch!

Suggested Reads

Intermittent Fasting 14/10: Meal Plan, Benefits & Results
15:9 Intermittent Fasting: How-to, Meal Plan and Results
7 Days Indian Diet Plan for Intermittent Fasting
Right Way to Break Intermittent Fasting - Expert's Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

The 12-hour intermittent fasting approach has a duration of fasting for 12 hours. For example, if you finish dinner at 8 p.m., you will not eat until 8 a.m. the following day.

The 12 hour fasting health benefits are:

  1. Weight management
  2. Improved insulin sensitivity
  3. Potential for better digestion
  4. Enhanced fat metabolism

Results from a 12-hour intermittent fasting regimen can be shown after at least ten weeks. The typical weight reduction during this time ranges from 3-4 kgs. The exact weight reduction may vary from person to person.

Intermittent fasting is a healthy weight-loss approach, not an instant solution. The outcome can be seen after at least ten weeks of consistency.

Intermittent fasting for 12 hours can be useful for weight management. It reduces the duration of the eating window, lowering overall calorie consumption. However, its effect varies from person to person.

Even though combining a 12-hour intermittent fasting keto diet may increase their respective benefits, it's not necessary to do so. You can prefer one over the other depending on your health objectives.

Yes, a 12-hour window for intermittent fasting is typically appropriate for beginners. It's an easy, sustainable strategy that may promote health without being overly restrictive.

Some people may benefit from a 12-hour fast since it can enhance digestion and metabolism. Additionally, it might aid in weight control. However, the effectiveness can differ from person to person.

The 12-12 intermittent fasting method involves a 12-hour fasting period followed by a 12-hour eating window each day. Compared to other fasting methods, it's relatively simple and can be easier to follow.

Here’s what you can eat during a 12-hour intermittent fast:

  1. Plain, unsweetened yoghurt in moderation
  2. Raw salads like cucumber and celery
  3. Small portions of lean protein consisting of chicken and fish
  4. Nuts and seeds (in moderation)

Risks associated with 12-hour intermittent fasting are:

  • Nutrient deficiencies

  • Overeating during the eating window

  • Disrupted sleep

References

All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.


  1. Six ways to do intermittent fasting: The best methods [Internet]. www.medicalnewstoday.com. 2020. link
  2. Leonard J. 7 ways to do intermittent fasting: Best methods and quick tips [Internet]. Medical News Today. 2020.link
  3. Kubala J. 9 Potential Intermittent Fasting Side Effects [Internet]. Healthline. 2021. link
  4. Intermittent Fasting for Real People: Practical Tips to Eat on Schedule [Internet]. Healthline. 2021. link
  5. Intermittent Fasting and Keto: Should You Combine the Two? [Internet]. Healthline. 2018 [cited 2023 Oct 27]. link

Updated on : 15 November 2023

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational and learning purposes only. It doesn't cover every medical condition and might not be relevant to your personal situation. This information isn't medical advice, isn't meant for diagnosing any condition, and shouldn't replace talking to a certified medical or healthcare professional.

Reviewer

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More

Author

Sangeeta Sharma

Sangeeta Sharma

BSc. Biochemistry I MSc. Biochemistry (Oxford College Bangalore)

6 Years Experience

She has extensive experience in content and regulatory writing with reputed organisations like Sun Pharmaceuticals and Innodata. Skilled in SEO and passionate about creating informative and engaging medical conten...View More

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