A simple fasting technique called the 16:8 diet is an effective way to lose weight, new research finds.
It involves eating whatever you like between the hours of 10am and 6pm.
Outside these hours, only water and other calorie-free drinks are allowed.
The name comes from the fact that it involves fasting for 16 hours (from 6pm to 10am the next morning) and feasting for 8 hours.
The advantage of this diet is that it is extremely simple to follow, says Dr Krista Varady, study co-author:
“The take-home message from this study is that there are options for weight loss that do not include calorie counting or eliminating certain foods.”
The study involved 23 obese people who followed the diet for 12 weeks.
On average, they lost around 3% of their body weight and their blood pressure also reduced significantly (compared with a control group).
The results are similar to those seen in other studies of intermittent fasting, Dr Varady said:
“The results we saw in this study are similar to the results we’ve seen in other studies on alternate day fasting, another type of diet, but one of the benefits of the 16:8 diet may be that it is easier for people to maintain.
We observed that fewer participants dropped out of this study when compared to studies on other fasting diets.”
The study’s authors write:
“These preliminary data offer promise for the use of time-restricted feeding as a weight loss technique in obese adults, but longer-term, large-scale randomized controlled trials [are required].
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.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging (Gabel et al., 2018).