Research: Fasting works for weight loss

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Restricting feeding through daily fasting works for weight loss.  

Glass of Water

Fasting has become quite the rage around the globe.  I have heard quite a few outlandish claims of health improvement and weight loss tied to fasting but prior to recent history, there has been limited research to back up the use of fasting for weight loss.  New research appears to show that fasting may be an effective tool to reduce your weight.  

The study was performed at the University of Illinois at Chicago and published in the Journal of Nutrition and healthy Aging.  The study specifically looked at restricting calorie consumption to 8 hours during the wake cycle and avoiding them for the remaining 16 hours.  This 8:16 ratio was specifically a period of consumption from 10 am to 6 pm followed by a 6 pm to 10 am period of fasting.  Subjects were allowed water so this would be a water fast (water is allowed through out the fasting period).  The subjects were a group of 23 obese volunteers with an average BMI of 35.  The intervention lasted 12 weeks and the data was compared to historical data.  The researchers found the subjects had a loss in body weight and fat mass when compared to their historical counterparts.   

Is it safe?  Experts tout the benefits and other warn about he risk of fasting, but fasting is that it is research and history proven to be safe.  Historically, we have used fasting for religious and cultural purposes for thousands of years when done properly with adequate hydration, it causes very little adverse effects.  In research on fasting, there are multiple studies to show it is also safe.  The key is short duration (days to a week) if a complete fast and  a few months in duration for a partial fast (Hours per day).  

The bottom line: Restrcting caloric intake causes weight loss (DUH!).  Specifically, this study showed that fasting can help with weight loss.  It is safe in short doses as proven in the past.   The study doe shave limitations because it was not randomized and was relatively short in duration, but with prior studies, it is just one more brick in the wall to show fasting has a place in helping people lose weight.  Personally, I prefer portion control, but fasting may work with you.  


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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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