Intermittent fasting was once hailed as a powerful weight loss strategy, but the latest scientific research shows that it’s not exactly a silver bullet after all.
First: Intermittent fasting is the process of scheduling all of your meals for the day within a narrow window of time, typically 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Other types of intermittent fasting include the “5:2” method, in which a person eats normally for five hours. days a week and fasting the other two. The idea is that by limiting eating to designated times, it will decrease calorie intake, which will ultimately lead to weight loss.
It’s understandable that so many people believe that intermittent fasting could be the key to weight loss. After all, a 2017 statement from the American Heart Association vouched for the practice, explaining that “intentional eating with careful attention to the timing and frequency of eating occasions could lead to a healthier lifestyle and management of cardiometabolic risk factors.” Celebrities such as Hugh Jackman, Gisele Bündchen and Terry Crews have sung the practice’s praises. But it turns out the science just isn’t there to back that up.
A new year-long study from the New England Journal of Medicine found that when patients were split into two groups (one with calorie restriction and time restriction, the other with just calorie restriction), the results showed no benefit to eating in a narrow window. Those who adhered to intermittent fasting saw no significant improvements in waist circumference, BMI, body fat, blood pressure, or metabolic risk factors compared to the control group.
To be mentioned: the control group and the variant group in this study did losing weight. And that’s because the key to successful weight loss is, and continues to be, calorie intake. It does not matter when you eat, as much as you eat. So breathe a sigh of relief, midnight nibblers, go ahead and have that midnight chow. Just consider making carrots and hummus instead of chips and cookies.