In a new study, researchers found two daily fasting diets, also known as time-restricted feeding diets, are effective for weight loss.
This is the first human clinical trial to compare the effects of two popular forms of time-restricted feeding on body weight and heart and metabolic risk factors.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
In the study, the team compared a 4-hour time-restricted feeding diet and a 6-hour time-restricted feeding diet to a control group.
People in the 4-hour time-restricted feeding diet group were asked to eat only between the hours of 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
People in the 6-hour time-restricted feeding diet group were asked to eat only between the hours of 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
In both the study groups, people were allowed to eat whatever they wanted during the 4-hour or 6-hour eating period.
During the fasting hours, participants were directed to only drink water or calorie-free beverages.
In the control group, participants were directed to maintain their weight and not change their diet or physical activity levels.
The participants were followed for 10 weeks as weight, insulin resistance, oxidative stress, blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and inflammatory markers were tracked.
The team found that participants in both daily fasting groups reduced calorie intake by about 550 calories each day simply by adhering to the schedule and lost about 3% of their body weight.
They also found that insulin resistance and oxidative stress levels were reduced among participants in the study groups when compared with the control group.
There was no effect on blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, or triglycerides.
There also was no difference in weight loss or heart and metabolic risk factors between the 4-hour and 6-hour diet groups.
The findings suggest fasting diets are a viable option for people who want to lose weight, especially for people who do not want to count calories or find other diets to be fatiguing.
It’s also telling that there was no added weight loss benefit for people who sustained a longer fast.
These results show that 6-hour fast might make sense for most people who want to pursue a daily fasting diet.
One author of the study is Krista Varady, a professor of nutrition.
The study is published in Cell Metabolism.
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