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.”