Intermittent Fasting May Be an Effective Way to Eat Fewer Calories Without Needing to Count Them


Restricting meals to a small window is as effective as counting calories for weight loss, according to a recent study.

Proponents of intermittent fasting, specifically time-restricted eating, just got another boost.

A study published last month, which was covered by NPR, showed that intermittent fasting was as effective as counting calories for weight loss, based on a yearlong clinical trial of a population of 90 people with obesity.

These 90 people were split into three groups: one was given a 12pm-8pm feeding window with no calorie counting, another was given a caloric restriction (CR), and a control group eating over a period of 10 hours or more per day.

At six months, the intermittent fasting group got 2 hours added to their eating window, and the caloric restriction group was given a smaller caloric restriction, meant to reflect the weight loss “plateau” that dieters usually hit after half a year.

The findings? “Time-restricted eating is more effective in producing weight loss when compared with control but not more effective than CR in a racially diverse population.” That weight loss was roughly 5% of the person’s body weight, with no statistically significant difference between the two groups.

“The key take-away is that you can basically achieve the same amount of energy restriction by counting time instead of counting calories,” said Krista Varady, one of the trial’s researchers and professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois Chicago, told NPR.

Both weight loss groups were given access to dieticians who provided education on healthy eating, as well as “cognitive behavior strategies” to prevent regaining weight, as NPR noted. (They point to another trial where intermittent fasting did not lead to meaningful weight loss when people did not have this resource.)

The issue with any diet or lifestyle change is how realistic it is to sustain. The study is encouraging for those who’d rather count the hours of their eating window than the calories on their plate, which can be annoying and problematic.

One thing that puts this development into context? In an ever-evolving space of health and nutrition: an “overweight” Body Mass Index (BMI) might not be an accurate predictor of overall mortality risk, a previously accepted notion, according to a new study published earlier thi

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Intermittent Fasting May Be an Effective Way to Eat Fewer Calories Without Needing to Count Them

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