WEIGHT loss and improved blood pressure can result from periods of daily fasting, according to a study by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois, USA. The results indicate that time-restricted eating is an effective strategy for weight loss in obese people, thereby reducing the chances of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease developing.
In the study, 23 obese volunteers participated in the so-called 16:8 diet, in which they could eat any quantity or type of food between the hours of 10.00 am and 6.00 pm but were only allowed to drink water or calorie-free beverages for the other 16 hours of the day. The average age of the participants was 45 years and they had an average BMI of 35.
Weight Loss and Reduced Blood Pressure
The researchers discovered that this diet led to significant benefits compared to a historical control group who participated in a different form of fasting during a previous weight loss trial; on average the time-restricted eating participants consumed around 350 fewer calories than the control and also lost about 3% of their body weight. Additionally, their systolic blood pressure decreased by roughly 7 mmHg. Other measures, such as fat mass, insulin resistance, and cholesterol, were similar between the two groups.
Another Weight Loss Option
“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,” commented corresponding author Dr Krista Varady, University of Illinois at Chicago.
Easier to Maintain
The findings suggest that the 16:8 fasting diet may be a more suitable approach than other fasting diets that have been studied. “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,” added Dr Varady. “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.”
The team did acknowledge, however, that large-scale randomised trials are needed to confirm the findings and also to better compare the effectiveness of this time-restricted eating strategy to other diets.
James Coker, Reporter
For the source and further information about the study, click here.