A clinical study revealed that time-restricted eating, known as intermittent fasting, is better for weight loss, but not necessarily fat loss.
This practice, which was characterized by eating for 10 hours or less followed by fasting, also had better results for blood pressure and mood, compared to a feeding program of 12 hours or more.
However, experts are divided about the true benefits of this type of diet.
Work on 90 obese people between the ages of 25 and 75, developed at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, USA, showed that patients who fasted lost 2.3 kg more weight than the control group.
However, no significant overall fat loss was identified, although in a secondary analysis, the data indicated a partial reduction in abdominal fat.
The clinical study does not explain how the weight loss occurred, as there was no change in body fat. According to experts, weight loss may be a reflection of variables such as hydration or hormonal changes. According to the research, there was also no significant loss of lean mass, although previous studies suggest that this may be a limitation of the diet.
There is no scientific consensus on the role of time-restricted food in weight loss, says endocrinologist Patricia Corradi at Mater Dei Hospital in Belo Horizonte. According to her, the various available studies, conducted using different criteria, generate different results.
“There is no mention of fasting as a weight loss strategy in the main recommendations. What we do have are some metabolic benefits, such as insulin resistance,” he says.
However, for an endocrinologist, it is worth betting on this type of food program if the patient adapts well to the practice. “It’s a way to create a calorie deficit by restricting the number of meals, and the number of these meals must necessarily be controlled.”
All participants in the research, which was published in early August in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, were instructed to be physically active and eat a low-calorie diet, with 500 calories below resting metabolic rate.
The study was conducted at week 14 and 80% of the patients were women. The consumption period of the intermittent fasting group was between 7 am and 3 pm. This means that before or after this time, participants were unable to eat.
“Another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine had roughly the same suggestion, but for one year. This benefit has not been shown in relation to weight loss,” Corradi says. “This is a sign that this strategy can be used over a certain period of time,” says the endocrinologist, explaining that seasons fasting can be adopted, interrupting the practice before the body gets used to it and the strategy becomes less effective.
The University of Alabama study also showed an improvement in diastolic blood pressure in the fasting group. Mood, which was measured through a questionnaire given to patients, was also measured, which manifested in decreased fatigue and increased vitality.
Dietitian Gisele Magalhães, a co-author of Janela da Escuta, an extension and research program at the UFMG (Federal University of Minas Gerais) Medical School, advocates healthy eating with little to no artificial products, no pesticides, physical exercise and water, and a good night’s sleep, being better. Habits for the health of the day.
“When we go into fasting, oftentimes we can’t go without food for much longer, but when it’s time to eat, we can lose control, which is unhealthy. The result is that the good old fashioned way of healthy habits with stones is the best. There isn’t even Now a magic formula.”
The nutrition expert warns that intermittent fasting can lead to eating disorders, in addition to causing hypoglycemia, low blood pressure and loss of muscle and water, among other problems. Magalhães also emphasizes that this type of diet should not be followed by children and adolescents, who need regular consumption of food to ensure cognitive development.
“The risk is greater than the benefit. It is one thing for us to do a survey with the people under control. Another thing is to be in your daily life, to fast, and suddenly, at 40 degrees, faint because you are drinking alone water. I think the risks are greater than the benefits” , he says.
According to her, respecting hunger when choosing meal times and following the guidelines in the Dietary Guide for the Brazilian population, a document of the Ministry of Health that compiles guidelines for adequate nutrition, are practical and effective measures for a healthy life and for slimming. “Generally, when we respect our hunger, we also have an improvement in responding to losing or not gaining weight.”
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