Time-restricted eating is a form of intermittent fasting that focuses not on what you eat, but when you eat.
By limiting your eating to a specific window of time each day, you allow your body to enter a fasted state, where it burns fat for energy. And unlike other diets, it’s not about cutting out certain foods or counting calories, it’s about timing.
How long you restrict your eating can vary, but obviously, longer fasting periods may produce more pronounced benefits.
A good starting point for many is the 16/8 method, but if you’re ready to take it up a notch, consider the 17/7 intermittent fasting schedule. This approach extends the fast by an hour, potentially amplifying the health benefits.
Here’s what you need to know about the 17/7 approach to time-restricted eating.
What Is The Most Effective Intermittent Fasting Schedule?
It is thought that you need to fast for at least 12 hours to reap the benefits of intermittent fasting, but going beyond that may bring greater health rewards.
According to recent studies, longer daily fasts (up to 20 hours) might offer more significant weight loss and metabolic adaptations than shorter ones. The most effective way of doing this is by using a time-restricted eating schedule such as:
16/8: fasting for 16 hours, eating within an 8-hour window
17/7: fasting for 17 hours, eating within a 7-hour window.
18/6: fasting for 18 hours, eating within a 6-hour window
20/4: fasting for 20 hours, eating within a 4-hour window.
One Meal a Day (OMAD): fasting for 23 hours, eating within a 1-hour window.
Numbers aside, consistency is a huge factor in the effectiveness of intermittent fasting.
Sure, you can fast for 20 hours one day and then return to your normal eating habits the next, but that might not bring about lasting results.
To see real benefits from intermittent fasting, you need to make it a regular part of your routine.
With that in mind, the best intermittent fasting schedule is the one that works for you and your lifestyle.
You may find that a 17/7 approach fits better with your daily schedule than a 16/8 or 18/6, or perhaps you would prefer to do One Meal a Day (OMAD) on certain days while doing a shorter fast on others.
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What Happens If You Fast for 17 Hours Everyday?
Fasting for 17 hours each day might have numerous health benefits, including:
1. Your Body Enters Ketosis
When you fast for 17 hours daily, your body enters a metabolic state known as ketosis. During this stage, your body runs out of its preferred energy source, glucose, and begins to burn stored fat for energy (8).
This happens as a result of your glycogen reserves being depleted during the fasting window. The process of burning stored fat can contribute to weight loss, which is why the 17/7 intermittent fasting weight loss method is popular among beginners and experienced fasters alike.
3. Your Insulin Sensitivity May Increase
One of the potential benefits of 17/7 intermittent fasting for beginners is an improvement in insulin sensitivity. When you fast, your insulin levels drop (6).
This encourages your body to become more efficient at utilizing glucose in your bloodstream. Over time, this can contribute to a lower risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, as well as the potential for improved weight management.
4. You Might Experience Cellular Repair
During a 17-hour fast every day your cells may enter a state of increased autophagy. Autophagy is a process wherein your cells clean out damaged components, aiding in cellular repair and renewal. This process is theorized to potentially lower your risk of several diseases, including cancer, and it may even promote longevity (1).
5. Your Inflammation Levels May Decrease
Inflammation in the body can be the root cause of many diseases. 17/7 intermittent fasting for women and men alike is thought to decrease levels of inflammation (3). Fasting may trigger the release of anti-inflammatory compounds in the body, which might theoretically lead to long-term health benefits like a decrease in the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and arthritis.
6. You’ll See Changes in Your Body Composition
When you adopt the 17-hour fast weight loss approach, not only will you potentially lose weight, but the composition of your body can change as well. Fasting may promote the loss of body fat while preserving muscle mass. This is a significant win for your body composition, as it can improve your overall physique and provide long-term health benefits, like a lower risk of obesity-related diseases (4).
7. Your Gut Health May Improve
Research shows that fasting may have positive effects on gut health. Short-term diet changes and fasting may affect the composition of bacteria in the gut (10). This balance is essential for overall digestive health and may even have an impact on your mood and immune system.
8. Your Blood Pressure May Decrease
Fasting for 17 hours each day could have a beneficial impact on your blood pressure. Losing weight as a result of intermittent fasting can lead to a decrease in blood pressure. Over time, maintaining a lower blood pressure can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death worldwide (11).
9. You’ll Experience Enhanced Metabolic Flexibility
With 17/7 intermittent fasting, you’ll find that your body becomes metabolically more flexible. Metabolic flexibility is the ability of your body to switch between carbohydrates and fats as its primary source of energy, depending on availability. When you fast for extended periods, your body is thought to become more efficient at tapping into fat stores for energy, a process known as lipolysis (2).
This increased metabolic flexibility might lead to improved energy levels throughout the day, more efficient fat loss, and potentially even improved athletic performance. Over time, metabolic flexibility may also contribute to a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes (7).
How Long Does It Take for 17/7 Intermittent Fasting to Work?
You may start feeling the benefits of 17/7 intermittent fasting within a few weeks, usually 3-4 weeks.
At first you’ll likely feel hungry, tired, and irritable during your fasting window, but these side effects usually subside after a week or two as your body adjusts to the new eating pattern. You may start noticing changes in your body composition, energy levels, mood, and overall health after a month of consistent practice.
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Will 17 Calories Break a Fast?
The science on how many calories break a fast isn’t definitive, but most experts agree that consuming less than 50 calories won’t interrupt your fast significantly. Therefore, consuming 17 calories is unlikely to break your fast in a meaningful way.
Bear in mind that the goal of fasting is to consume zero calories, so it’s best to stick to non-caloric beverages like water, black coffee, or plain tea during your fasting hours.
What Is the Best Intermittent Fasting Window to Lose Belly Fat?
Research indicates that time-restricted feeding, a form of intermittent fasting where you eat all your meals within a specific window of time, can be effective at reducing belly fat. A popular method is the 16/8 method where you fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8-hour window.Our fasting windows blog has more on how to use your fasting and eating windows effectively.
This method is backed by a 2016 study in the Journal of Translational Medicine, which found that people who followed this pattern had significant decreases in fat mass while maintaining muscle mass (5).
However, remember that the quality and quantity of foods you consume during your eating window also play a crucial role in belly fat loss. You’ll still need to create an overall calorie deficit to lose body fat with intermittent fasting. Our 16/8 intermittent fasting for seniors blog shows how seniors can also benefit from the method.
Can I Lose 20 Pounds in 2 Months with Intermittent Fasting?
It might be possible to lose approximately 20 pounds in 2 months with intermittent fasting, but it largely depends on factors like your current weight, diet, and activity level.
A study published in 2016 in the Journal of Translational Medicine found that intermittent fasting can help reduce body weight and body fat (5).
That said, we encourage you to approach weight loss in a healthy and sustainable way. Rapid weight loss can often lead to muscle loss, nutrient deficiencies, and other health problems.
It’s always recommended to combine intermittent fasting with a balanced, nutrient-dense diet, and regular physical activity for safe and healthy weight loss.
The Bottom Line
Intermittent fasting is not only about weight loss; it’s about improving your overall health and well-being. The 17/7 fasting schedule is just one of the many intermittent fasting approaches out there, each with its unique benefits and challenges.
If you’re considering trying it out, make sure to consult your doctor first, especially if you have any underlying health conditions. 17/7 intermittent fasting can be an effective tool for weight loss and improving various aspects of your health, but it may not be suitable for everyone.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
Autophagy and intermittent fasting: the connection for cancer therapy? (2018,nih.gov)
Biochemistry, Lipolysis (2023,nih.gov)
Effect of intermittent fasting on circulating inflammatory markers in obesity: A review of human trials (2023,frontiersin.org)
Effects of intermittent fasting on body composition and clinical health markers in humans (2015,nih.gov)
Effects of eight weeks of time-restricted feeding (16/8) on basal metabolism, maximal strength, body composition, inflammation, and cardiovascular risk factors in resistance-trained males (2016,translational-medicine.biomedcentral.com)
Intermittent Fasting During Ramadan Improves Insulin Sensitivity and Anthropometric Parameters in Healthy Young Muslim Men (2021,nih.gov)
Intermittent Fasting and Metabolic Health (2022,nih.gov)
Ketone production by ketogenic diet and by intermittent fasting has different effects on the gut microbiota and disease progression in an Alzheimer’s disease rat model (2020,nih.gov)
The Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Brain and Cognitive Function (2021,nih.gov)
The Effect of Intermittent Fasting on the Gut Microbiome (2023,news-medical.net)
The effect of intermittent fasting on blood pressure variability in patients with newly diagnosed hypertension or prehypertension (2018,nih.gov)