Holistic health experts have long recommended intermittent fasting for healthy weight loss, and now, the first-ever study of its kind confirms these benefits. Researchers from the University of Illinois, Chicago, placed 23 obese individuals on a 16:8 diet—between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. participants could eat any type and quantity of food they desired, but for the remaining 16 hours they could only drink water or calorie-free beverages. After 12 weeks, the researchers found that those who followed the time-restricted eating diet consumed about 350 fewer calories than a matched historical control group from a previous weight-loss trial. Those on the 16:8 plan lost, on average, 3 percent of their body fat, and also saw related improvements in blood pressure.
“The results are similar to what we’ve seen in studies on alternate-day fasting,” said Krista Varady, corresponding author on the study, “but one of the benefits of the 16:8 diet may be that it is easier for people to maintain. The take-home message is that there are options for weight loss that do not include calorie counting or eliminating certain foods.”