Does intermittent fasting work? New research reveals the one factor that trumps meal timing

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Calorie reduction is still better for weight loss compared to intermittent fasting, says new study.
Calorie reduction is still better for weight loss compared to intermittent fasting, says new study.
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  • A new study has found that calorie reduction may be more effective for weight loss than intermittent fasting. 
  • The research was conducted by a team at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • In their findings, researchers didn't "detect" an association between meal timing and weight change in a population with a wide range of body weights.




According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, reducing calories may be more effective for weight loss than intermittent fasting. 

Intermittent fasting has risen in popularity in recent years, but according to researchers from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, the number of calories consumed may be more important than the time of eating.

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What is intermittent fasting?

Instead of focusing on what you should eat, intermittent fasting is a technique that focuses on when you should eat. It involves a period of fasting, followed by an "eating window" in which you're allowed to consume food. The most popular is the 16/8 technique, which involves fasting for 16 hours, followed by an eating window of eight hours.

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The findings

Following a study of nearly 550 adults, the team at John Hopkins reported that meal timing was not associated with weight change during the six-year follow-up period.

"This includes the interval from first to last meal, from waking up to eating a first meal, from eating the last meal to going to sleep and total sleep duration," explained Dr Wendy L. Bennett, who formed part of the research team.

"Total daily number of large meals (estimated at more than 1 000 calories) and medium meals (estimated at 500 to 1 000 calories) were each associated with increased weight over the six-year follow up, while fewer small meals (estimated at less than 500 calories) was associated with decreasing weight," she continued.

In addition, the researchers didn't "detect" an association between meal timing and weight change in a population with a wide range of body weights. In future, the team hopes to apply their findings to a more diverse population.


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