In a recent study, researchers compared the effects of time-restricted eating (intermittent fasting) and traditional calorie counting on weight loss in a diverse group of adults with obesity. The results showed that time-restricted eating produced similar weight loss outcomes to calorie counting.
Moreover, participants who followed an 8-hour eating window experienced improved insulin sensitivity compared to those who consumed their calories over a period of 10 hours or more. The study, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, aimed to determine the most effective approach for managing weight and reducing risks associated with heart and metabolic health.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Illinois Chicago and involved 90 adults with obesity from the Greater Chicago area. The participants were divided into three groups: one group followed an 8-hour eating window without counting calories, another group practiced calorie restriction by reducing their daily calorie intake by 25%, and the third group made no changes to their calorie consumption, eating over a period of 10 hours or more. Both the time-restricted eating and calorie restriction groups received regular guidance from a dietician. The participants were aware of their assigned groups.
The study revealed that those who followed time-restricted eating consumed 425 fewer calories per day and lost approximately 10 pounds more than the control group after one year. The calorie-restricted group consumed 405 fewer calories per day and lost around 12 pounds more after one year. The participants demonstrated strong adherence to both interventions.
In an accompanying editorial from the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center and Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the authors noted that having access to dieticians likely influenced the participants in the restricted eating group to make healthier food choices. They believe that the study results can assist healthcare professionals in making informed clinical decisions that take individual preferences into account, rather than relying solely on the most effective diet. The authors emphasized the significant variation in weight loss outcomes among individuals using these interventions and called for further research to identify who would benefit the most from each approach.