**Intermittent Fasting vs Traditional Calorie Counting: A Comparison Study**
A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that intermittent fasting produces similar weight-loss results as traditional calorie counting. This study challenges the notion that intermittent fasting is a superior diet trend. Let’s dive into the details of the study and explore the concept of intermittent fasting.
**The Study: Intermittent Fasting vs Calorie Restriction**
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Illinois Chicago, involved 90 racially diverse adults with obesity. The participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups:
1. Eight-hour time-restricted eating: Participants could only eat between noon to 8 p.m., without calorie counting.
2. Calorie restriction: Participants reduced 25% of their daily calorie intake.
3. No change in calorie consumption: Participants maintained their regular eating habits, with meals spread across 10 hours or more throughout the day.
Participants in both the time-restricted eating and calorie restriction groups met regularly with a dietician. After one year, the study found that participants in the time-restricted eating group ate 425 fewer calories than the control group and lost roughly 10 more pounds than the control group. However, participants in the calorie-restricted group ate 405 fewer calories per day and lost about 12 more pounds. Both groups showed strong adherence to their respective interventions.
**Intermittent Fasting: What is it and How Does it Work?**
Intermittent fasting, also known as intermittent energy restriction, is an umbrella term for dietary regimens that involve energy restriction for specific periods of time. It simplifies the process of dieting, making it more accessible to individuals who find traditional calorie counting tedious.
There are multiple methods of intermittent fasting. One of the most popular approaches is time-restricted eating, which involves consistent fasting and eating periods within a 24-hour cycle. In this method, food intake is restricted to a specific time window of eight to 10 hours or less per day. Other options include fasting for an entire 24-hour cycle one to three days per week or drastically reducing calorie intake on two or more days per week.
**Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting**
Apart from its weight-loss effects, intermittent fasting has been associated with various health benefits. Research suggests that it may help in warding off diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and dementia. Additionally, intermittent fasting supports improved insulin sensitivity and reduced inflammation, which contribute to these health benefits. Restricting calorie intake during the first six to eight hours of the day has also been shown to help stabilize blood glucose levels.
**Is Intermittent Fasting Suitable for Everyone?**
Despite its potential benefits, intermittent fasting is not suitable for everyone. It is advised against for pregnant or breastfeeding women, individuals on insulin for diabetes, and those with a history of eating disorders. People with a body mass index under 18.5, the elderly, and individuals with eating disorders should also avoid time-restricted eating. However, it’s important to note that intermittent fasting is unlikely to increase the risk of developing an eating disorder in individuals without a history of one. If you are considering intermittent fasting, it is always best to consult with your doctor to ensure it is safe for you.
The study comparing intermittent fasting with traditional calorie counting suggests that both approaches can yield similar weight-loss results. Intermittent fasting offers a simplified alternative to calorie counting and has shown potential health benefits beyond weight loss. However, it is essential to consider individual circumstances and consult with a healthcare professional before embarking on any diet or fasting regimen.