Nita Wong ’21
As obesity rates in the United States continue to increase, research regarding various types of diets has likewise intensified. The latest study, conducted by scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago and published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging, points to daily fasting as an effective means by which to reduce weight and lower blood pressure.
Time-restricted eating confines an individual’s food intake to certain hours within each day. To study the efficacy of the 16:8 diet, researchers selected 23 volunteers, the average age and body mass index (BMI) of whom were 45 and 35, respectively. (An individual with a BMI over 25 is considered overweight, while an individual with one over 30 is considered obese.) From 10 AM to 6 PM, these individuals were permitted to consume food freely with no regard to type or quantity. For the remaining 16 hours of each day, however, they were restricted to water and other calorie-free beverages. After 12 weeks, the participants were reevaluated and their progress compared to a control group who had participated in a different type of fasting. The researchers found that the individuals who had undergone experimental treatment consumed an average of 350 fewer calories than those in the control; moreover, their body weights decreased by an average of 3 percent and their systolic blood pressure by about 7 mmHg.
From their analysis, the researchers concluded that limiting calorie consumption and prohibiting certain foods may not be the only routes to successful weight loss. They emphasized that this form of dieting is easier for participants to stick to due to its eight hours of feasting every 16 hours of fasting. While this was the first study conducted on the 16:8 diet, the preliminary results have certainly shown promise.
- K. Gabel, et. al., Effects of 8-hour time restricted feeding on body weight and metabolic disease risk factors in obese adults: A pilot study. Nutrition and Health Aging 4, 345-353 (2018). doi: 10.3233/NHA-170036.
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