The new study also found that the now popular way to lose weight is not much more effective compared to the usual three meals a day. Scientists shared their findings in a paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Intermittent fasting is a diet in which you can eat anything you want, but only for a few hours a day. The duration of this “window” can vary, the “ban” on food intake is valid for at least 12 hours a day. This diet has attracted attention primarily as a quick and relatively effective weight loss aid. It is assumed that it can contribute to the improvement of metabolism and the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. However, the beneficial effects that are expected from its use are often insufficiently studied in public.
Studies in overweight people show that intermittent fasting can reduce calorie intake, contribute to normalization of metabolism, and help to lose weight, in particular, excess fat mass. However, there were relatively few participants in these scientific papers, which may have affected their accuracy.
For the new research scientists divided 116 overweight and obese people into two groups. Participants in the first group had to adhere to the most popular intermittent fasting regime – 16: 8: they could eat only from 12 noon to 8 pm, the rest of the time they could only consume non-nutritive drinks. In the second group, people had to eat without such restrictions, they were recommended the usual three meals a day.
The study lasted almost three months (12 weeks). During this time, people who followed intermittent fasting lost an average of almost one kilogram of weight (940 grams). People who normally ate lost an average of 680 grams during this time. Scientists consider this difference in weight loss to be negligible, and in the study’s findings they indicated that intermittent fasting did not show any benefit.
It turned out that people who lost weight through intermittent fasting lost more weight through muscle than participants in the control group. It is believed that a small loss of muscle mass during weight loss is the norm. However, scientists point out that the participants in the fasting group lost more of it than expected.
The amount of retained muscle mass is an important indicator. It is known to be associated with a decrease in probability of death and with a reduced risk of disability and falls in old age. Also, the state of metabolism and how quickly excess weight returns after losing weight depends on its amount.
Scientists suggest that the amount of muscle mass during intermittent fasting becomes less, because people consume less protein.
A number of experts believe that the study was not long enough, reports The New York Times… Perhaps if the weight was measured later than 12 weeks later, the intermittent fasting group would have performed better. Besides, there is datathat this diet works best if people are allowed to eat in the morning rather than the afternoon, as in this study.