Does Intermittent Fasting Really Lead to Weight Loss?

In health care settings across the country, people with diabetes and providers have been asking if intermittent fasting is effective at helping with weight loss. Finally, a randomized outpatient study provides some answers so we can accurately respond to this frequently asked question.

According to a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, “a regimen of time-restricted eating was not more beneficial with regard to reduction in body weight, body fat, or metabolic risk factors than daily calorie restriction.”

In this study, 139 participants were randomized into two groups. Both groups were placed on a limited calorie diet. Men in the study were limited to a 1500 to 1800 kcal per day diet while women were limited to a 1200 to 1500 kcal per day diet.

The main difference, was the eating time frame.

The intermittent fasting group ate their calorie-restricted diet between the limited hours of 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Which is a fasting period of 16 hours and an eating window of 8 hours.

The control group also followed the calorie restrictions but could eat their assigned calories at whatever time.

Results After One Year
After a 12-month period of following these diets, each group was evaluated for changes in body weight, body fat, waist circumference, body-mass index (BMI), and metabolic risk factors. 85% of participants completed the trial.

The participants in the time-restricted group had a mean weight loss from baseline of -8.0 kg while the calorie restriction only group had a 6.3 kg mean weight loss from baseline. While the time-restricted group had a higher weight loss, it wasn’t enough to reach statistical significance.

Additionally, there were no statistically significant changes in waist circumference, body fat, body lean mass, BMI, blood pressure, and other metabolic risk factors between the two groups.

The conclusion is that time-restricted eating was not significantly beneficial in weight loss in comparison to following a calorie-restricted diet.

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