Is intermittent fasting better than counting calories? Probably not, but you can keep at it

As for weight-loss plans, it’s easy to see the appeal of intermittent fasting: Eat whatever you want, but only during certain time periods — often just eight hours a day.

Instead of counting calories or measuring portions, dieters should simply pay attention to the clock, said Courtney Peterson, a nutrition researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“It’s a very simple rule for you: Eat or don’t eat,” Peterson said.

The popularity of this technique has grown enormously in recent years, Top trending topics On social media.

But does time-restricted eating, which is a form of intermittent fasting, actually help people lose weight and boost health?

Here’s what you need to know about this exercise:

What is intermittent fasting?

Peterson said intermittent fasting is an eating strategy in which people switch between fasting and eating on a regular schedule, defined as going at least 14 hours without food. This could mean changes such as eating every other day, eating five days a week and then fasting for two days, or restricting daily eating to a few hours.

Time-restricted eating, in which people limit all their eating to a daily period of 10 hours or less, is the most popular form of intermittent fasting. People on the diet will delay breakfast until 10 a.m. or noon and then eat dinner until 6 p.m. or 8 p.m., abstaining from food for the rest of the time.

How will this help?

The theory behind time-restricted eating is that it supports circadian rhythms, or the body’s internal clock. For example, scientists say that spending more time in a fasted state may boost the body’s processes that regulate blood sugar and fat metabolism.

Initial studies on rats in 2012 showed that time-restricted eating offered health benefits. Smaller studies on obese people showed that the practice could help them lose weight and improve other health indicators.

Is time-restricted eating effective for weight loss?

Research has shown that people on time-restricted eating plans eat fewer calories, which may be one reason for weight loss.

The results of the combined studies showed that obese adults who restricted their eating hours, regardless of calories, naturally reduced their energy expenditure. 200 to 550 calories per day, There is a loss of 3% to 5% of their baseline body weight.

But a large study of people over a long period of time found that time restrictions alone don’t make a difference.

A study published in 2022 New England Journal of Medicine 139 people with obesity were tracked for a year. Participants either followed a calorie-restricted diet during a certain time period or ate the same number of calories throughout the day. Both groups lost an average of 14 to 18 pounds — but there was no significant difference between the strategies.

“Our data show that eating within a time limit is no better or worse than restricting calories,” Peterson said, adding that the technique doesn’t help you burn more calories.

Still, Peterson said the simplicity of a time-restriction regimen may be easier to maintain than a normal diet.

“Almost nobody likes counting calories,” he said.

Is intermittent fasting safe?

Initial clinical trials with a six- to 10-hour eating window found that time-restricted eating was “generally safe,” the researchers report. Journal Obesity,

But Headline-making research A study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions this year found that people who followed an 8-hour time-restricted diet had a much higher risk of death from heart disease than those who ate for 12 to 16 hours.

Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez of the Mayo Clinic pointed out that this research has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

But he said there was a need to be cautious. Long-standing evidence shows that skipping breakfast can be harmful to health. Linked to Heart Disease and death. People should check with their healthcare providers before eating a restricted diet, especially if the fast lasts until the afternoon.

“One should pause for a bit before recommending any specific diet,” Lopez-Jimenez said.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.


Disclaimer : The content in this article is for educational and informational purposes only.

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