A form of intermittent fasting known as the 16:8 diet helps obese individuals to lose weight and lower their blood pressure, according to a new study.
More and more people now turn to intermittent fasting as a fast and effective way to lose weight. There are different forms of this diet, depending on the time intervals of “fasting” and “feasting.” The so-called 5:2 diet, for instance, consists of eating normally for 5 days every week and fasting for 2 days. In the fasting days, the dieter restricts their calorie intake to 500 or 600 per day. In the daily fasting, or the 16:8 diet, people eat whatever they like for 8 hours and fast for the remaining 16.
A new study evaluates the benefits of this 16:8 pattern for obese individuals and finds that not only does the diet work, but also that it helps to lower blood pressure.
As many as 93.3 million adults have obesity in the United States, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s almost 40% of the country’s entire population.
This research was led by corresponding author Krista Varady, an associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the findings were published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging.
Varady and colleagues recruited 23 obese study participants who were aged 45 years, on average, with the average body mass index (BMI) of 35. Between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., the participants could eat whatever and however much they liked, but they were only allowed to drink water and calorie-free drinks for the remaining 16 hours.
All the study participants were followed for a period of 12 weeks, and their dieting outcomes were compared with those of a previous weight loss trial of another type of intermittent fasting called “alternate day fasting.” In alternate day fasting, they can eat whatever they like for one day and fast for the following day.
On average, when compared with the control trial, those on the 16:8 diet consumed 350 fewer calories, lost 3% of the weight, and had lower blood pressure.
As Varady and her colleagues conclude, “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].”
I have been experimenting with alternate fasting diets for the past few months. Please review my blog “Could Fasting Every Other Day Help You Lose Weight?” posted on May 10, 2017. Personally, I have found the 16:8 diet to be much easier to follow, especially with my hypoglycemic slant.
Alternate fasting is a good way to “jump-start” a stalled weight loss program as it will stimulate your metabolism. You don’t have to stay on it for 3 months, like the study, unless you find it effective and enjoyable. Rather, try 16:8 for a couple of days, then return to your normal eating habits. If you feel you can comply with this diet, try it for a week or so. There are no hard, fast rules. Delaying breakfast until 10 AM is not too difficult, but not eating after 6 PM can be a challenge.
The Bottom Line:
Alternate fasting mimics a more primitive lifestyle when food wasn’t always readily available. It fits our metabolic history and is a more “natural” approach to daily eating.
Source: June 27, 2018 National Institutes of Health