Traditional calorie-counting diets can feel tedious, and many are turning instead to the strategy of intermittent fasting for maintaining a healthy weight. A new study shows that the move can work just as well.
A 12-month controlled study held at Chicago’s University of Illinois measuring 77 adults who suffer from obesity, the results of which were published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that the increasingly popular trend of intermittent fasting is just as effective as the rigorous calorie counting when it comes to losing weight. At the end of the one-year trial, both methods reduced weight by as much as 5 percent in study subjects.
“We found that people can just count time instead of counting calories and achieve the same reduction in calories and the same weight loss,” Dr. Krista Varady, a professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, reported to Everyday Health.
“For some people, it’s just much easier, and hopefully in the long term, they may be able to stick to that plan better than tedious daily calorie counting,” continued Dr. Varady, who specializes in the efficacy of intermittent fasting to reduce weight and metabolic disease in obese adults.
To determine their results, Dr. Varady and her colleagues profiled 90 racially diverse participants, 77 of whom completed the study. 80 percent of those who finished the trial were female, with an average age of 44.
Participants were assigned to one of three groups. One group ate normally throughout the day, over a period of 10 or more hours; one group counted calories while cutting back their calorie intake by 25 percent; and one group ate as desired, but only from noon until 8 p.m. each day.
At the end of the study, similar results were shared by both the intermittent fasting group and the group which restricted their calories. Those who fasted without calorie tracking eliminated 425 calories per day and lost up to 10 pounds on average. Members of the calorie-restricted group averaged a loss of 405 daily calories and nearly 12 pounds.
It’s promising information for those who wish to tone up without sacrificing the pleasures of a good meal. If you’re curious about more ways in which you can efficiently yet safely improve your health, check out our essential tips for dropping weight and burning fat.