Daily fasting works for weight loss

A 2018 study by Krista Varady, PhD, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago, sought to examine the efficacy of intermittent fasting in a 16:8 diet, which includes a fasting period of 16 hours and an eating period of eight hours.

In the study, published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Ageing, 23 obese men and women were directed to eat only between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., with no foods off limits. During the other 16 hours, they consumed only calorie-free beverages like water, tea, coffee and diet soda.

During the 12-week study period, the 16:8 fasting participants consumed about 340 calories less than a control group that didn’t change their eating habits. The fasting group lost about 3 percent of their weight and lowered their blood pressure as well.  On average, participants consumed about 350 fewer calories, lost about 3 percent of their body weight and saw their systolic blood pressure decreased by about 7 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), the standard measure of blood pressure. 

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Krista Varady

“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,” said Krista Varady, associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition in the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences and corresponding author on the study.

“The results we saw in this study are similar to the results we’ve seen in other studies on alternate day fasting, another type of diet,” Varady said, “but one of the benefits of the 16:8 diet may be that it is easier for people to maintain. We observed that fewer participants dropped out of this study when compared to studies on other fasting diets.”

Other types of intermittent fasting diets have also been studied, including alternate-day fasting, in which individuals limit their intake to 500 calories one day and then eat whatever they like the next day. In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, participants who abided by the alternate-day fasting diet demonstrated a 6 percent weight loss over a year.

“I thought people would overeat on the fasting days, but that wasn’t the case,” says Varady. “In fact, our research showed that people only eat about 10 percent more on their Feast Days than they did before they started the program. We think fasting helps people become more in touch with their appetite and recognize when they’re full.”

(Original post by Jacqueline Carey, UIC Today, 18 June 2018)



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