Intermittent fasting works for weight loss, finds study on the 16:8 diet
Intermittent fasting is the trending diet of the moment, and now a new study published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging, has shown a 16:8 diet is effective in lowering blood pressure and losing weight.
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago, examined 23 obese volunteers who had an average age of 45 and an average body mass index (BMI) of 35. Participants were put on the 16:8 diet, a form of intermittent fasting, whereby they were only allowed to eat during an eight-hour window between 10am and 6pm. They were then only allowed to consume calorie-free drinks, such as water, for the 16 hours in-between.
The scientists measured various factors, including the participants’ blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, and fat mass. The data was then compared to the results from a separate weight loss trial carried out between 2011 and 2015.
After a period of 12 weeks, the results found that the participants consumed approximately 350 fewer calories, which resulted in a three per cent weight loss. Furthermore, their blood pressure dropped by around 7mm Hg.
However, their fat mass, insulin resistance, and cholesterol levels were similar to the control group’s.
“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.
Varady suggests the 16:8 approach may be a more maintainable approach to intermittent fasting, as opposed to other forms of fasting, such as the 5:2 diet – where individuals consume less than 500 calories for two days of the week and consume a normal amount of calories for the other five days.
“The 16:8 diet is another tool for weight loss that we now have preliminary scientific evidence to support,” Varady explained.
“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.”
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, two-thirds of Australian adults are overweight or obese. Moreover, one in five children aged two to four fall into the same category.
In medical terminology, overweight is a condition where a person’s BMI falls between 25 and 30, while a person with a BMI of 30 or more is termed as obese.
The study was the first to examine the effect of intermittent fasting on weight loss in obese individuals.
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