Daily Fasting Could Help with Weight Loss in Obese People
Research suggests restricting eating to certain times of day could help obese people lose weight without counting calories.
A new study examining the effect of time-restricted eating on weight loss in obese people has shown that daily fasting could be an effective tool to reduce weight without calorie counting, and may also lower blood pressure.
Time-restricted eating is a form of fasting that restricts food consumption during certain hours of each day. This study from the University of Illinois in Chicago was the first to investigate the effects of this type of diet in obese people.
The researchers worked with 23 obese people with an average age of 45 and an average body mass index (BMI) of 35. Participants followed the 16:8 diet, which involved eating whatever and however much they liked between 10am and 6pm each day, but only drinking water and calorie-free drinks for the remaining 16 hours.
After 12 weeks, the researchers compared the participants’ weight loss and other health outcomes with those of a previous weight-loss trial that used a different type of fasting diet called ‘alternate day fasting’.
On average, people on the 16:8 diet lost about 3% of their body weight, and consumed around 300 fewer calories, and had lower blood pressure than those on the previous trial. All other measures, including fat mass, insulin resistance and cholesterol, were similar across the two trials.
New weight-loss option
Results of the study, published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging, suggest that restricting eating to eight hours each day can reduce the amount of calories consumed and lead to weight loss in obese adults, with the possible added benefit of reduced blood pressure.
Krista Varady, study author, said: “The take-home message from this study is that there are options for weight loss that do not include calorie counting or eliminating certain foods. When it comes to weight loss, people need to find what works for them because even small amounts of success can lead to improvements in metabolic health.”
She also pointed out that fewer participants dropped out of this study compared with other studies on fasting diets, indicating that the 16:8 diet may have the advantage of being easier for people to maintain.
Although these preliminary results suggest that time-restricted feeding is a promising weight-loss technique in obese adults, longer-term, large-scale trials are needed before solid conclusions can be reached.
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