According to a new study from the University of Adelaide, obese women lost more weight and improved their health by fasting intermittently while following a strictly controlled diet.
Daily calorie restriction is the main way overweight women try to lose weight. Unfortunately, studies have shown that long-term adherence to a restricted diet is challenging for people to follow. That’s why this study looked at the impact of intermittent fasting on weight loss.
The findings: Obese women who followed a diet in which they ate 70% of their required calorie intake and fasted intermittently lost the most weight. Other women in the study who either fasted intermittently without reducing their food intake, who reduced their food intake but did not fast, or did not restrict their diet at all, were not as successful in losing weight.
The study also checked the effect of the different diets on the women's health. Women who fasted intermittently as well as restricting their food intake improved their health more than those who only restricted their diet or only fasted intermittently.
How women fasted
Participants who fasted intermittently ate breakfast and then refrained from eating for 24 hours followed by 24 hours of eating. The following day they fasted again.
All participants of the study were women who were overweight or obese with a body mass Index (BMI) in the 25 to 40 range and aged between 35 and 70 years. They ate a typical Australian diet consisting of 35% fat, 15% protein and 50% carbohydrate.
The most successful participants lost approximately 0.5 to 1 kg (1.1 to 2.2 lbs) per week for each week of the study.
This study adds to evidence that intermittent fasting, at least in the short term, may provide better outcomes than daily continuous diet restriction for health and potentially for weight loss.
While the study confirms that intermittent fasting is more effective than continuous diet restriction, the underlying signal for limiting people's appetite, which could hold the key to triggering effective weight loss, requires further research.
Source: Obesity, January 2019.
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