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How a 16-8 Fasting Diet Works

By Sandy Schroeder

If you want to lose weight, but would not mind skipping the major effort, calorie counting, and ongoing hunger that goes with most diets, a new 16-8 hour fasting diet may work for you, according to

How It Works

You fast for 16 hours, but are free to eat whatever you wish in the other eight hours.  A new University of Illinois study in Nutrition and Healthy Aging found obese people who used this fasting approach lost moderate amounts of weight and lowered their blood pressure after 12 weeks.

Group participants ate 350 fewer calories per day than the control group. Their eight-hour eating window ran from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. From 6 p.m. to 10 a.m., they could only drink water, black tea or coffee, or diet sodas.

The intermittent fasting diet has proven to be effective in reducing weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and body fat. Since 40 percent of Americans are now considered obese, the medical community is looking for weight loss plans that are more likely to succeed.

Eat Whatever You Wish

This one lets the individual eat whatever they wish, which often gets rid of cravings. If the 8-hour window works for the individual, this may be a comfortable way to lose weight and then keep it off.

Researchers said this approach often helps the individual get in touch with their feelings about food and really know when they are hungry or full. Many people in the test group ate less overall than they normally did.

If  you compare this approach to the way many of eat all of the time, it is quite a departure. If you think about it, many of us snack through the day and on through the evening. In contrast, fasting creates a definite break, helping people really think about how they eat.

Weighing the Benefits

Within the group there were 23 obese men and women.  Most lost about 3 percent of their weight and lowered their blood pressure, while eating whatever they wanted. This might have quite a bit of appeal to dieters faced with rigid calorie amounts and food choices in other diets.

On the other hand, it could be a fairly major challenge to people like me who love to raid the fridge at midnight. But the payoff might be worth the effort.

Perhaps we should all look for more studies exploring the results of 16-8 diets, and adaptations that use a different breakout of hours. I could see doing a 12 off and 12 on approach, which might not be as hard to maintain. Think about your normal eating routines and consider what you might comfortably do. If you are considering trying the 16-8 diet, be sure to check with your doctor before you start.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Maple Grove, Minn.  

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