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Obese individuals who are trying to lose weight may benefit from adopting a diet that limits their food consumption to selected hours each day.
This is according to a new study from the University of Illinois at Chicago, which has indicated that daily fasting could be an effective tool to reduce weight and lower blood pressure, and may offer an alternative to counting calories or avoiding certain foods.
For this research, the team worked with 23 obese volunteers who had an average age of 45 and an average body mass index of 35. Between the hours of 10am and 6pm, participants were able to eat any type and quantity of food they wanted, but were restricted to only drinking water or calorie-free beverages during the remaining 16 hours of the day.
This regime, known as the 16:8 diet, was shown to help the subjects consume fewer calories, lose weight and improve their blood pressure levels, while also proving easier to maintain than other types of fasting, such as intermittent or alternate-day fasting.
Fewer participants dropped out of this study when compared to studies on other fasting diets, although further research may be needed to ascertain if the weight loss benefits of this method compare to those offered by other techniques.
Nevertheless, the researchers concluded that this daily fasting method could be a potentially valuable tool in the ongoing fight against obesity.
Krista Varady, associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition at the university's College of Applied Health Sciences, said: "The 16:8 diet is another tool for weight loss that we now have preliminary scientific evidence to support. When it comes to weight loss, people need to find what works for them, because even small amounts of success can lead to improvements in metabolic health."
Written by Martin Lambert
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