Is This New Fasting Trend Beneficial for Weight Loss?
A new, small study out of the University of Illinois at Chicago examines the effect of time-restricted eating on weight loss in obese individuals.
Obesity Rates in the U.S.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than one-third of adults in the U.S. have obesity, which greatly increases the risk of metabolic diseases such as coronary heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
The Study on Fasting
Researchers worked with 23 obese volunteers who had an average age of 45 and average body mass index, or BMI, of 35. Between the hours of 10am and 6pm, the dieters could eat any type and quantity of food they desired, but for the remaining 16 hours they could only drink water or calorie-free beverages. The study followed the participants for 12 weeks.
When compared to a control group (data used from a previous fasting, weight loss trial), the researchers found that those who followed the time-restricted eating diet consumed fewer calories, lost weight and had improvements in blood pressure. On average, participants consumed about 350 fewer calories, lost about 3% of their body weight and saw their systolic blood pressure decrease by about 7mm Hg.
Krista Varady, associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition in the UIC Collage of Applied Health Sciences and corresponding author on the study reported, “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.”
Varady says that while the research indicates daily fasting works for weight loss, there have not yet been studies to determine if it works better than other diets. “These preliminary data offer promise for the use of time-restricted feeding as a weight loss technique in obese adults, but longer-term, large-scale randomized controlled trials [are required],” Varady and her colleagues write.