Does intermittent fasting really work?

WION New Delhi, India Oct 13, 2020, 09.56 PM(IST) Edited By: Gravitas desk

Italy's staple food finds its origin in Ancient Greece Photograph:( Others )

Story highlights

What makes intermittent fasting a hit is the fact that in the 8 hours of eating, you are allowed to eat anything.

Intermittent fasting is quite a fad these days. From celebrities to silicon valley CEOs -  everyone is trying their luck with intermittent fasting.

What does it mean?

You fast for anything between 12 to 18 hours a day, and eat only in the remaining window. Intermittent fasting is being pitted as the elixir for a long lifespan.

A new study has found that intermittent fasting does not even help you lose weight to begin with.

From Instagram influencers to actors Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Aniston, everyone is a fan. As the name suggests intermittent fasting is about eating in intervals. For example, you eat for 8 hours a day and fast for the remaining 16.

In return, you are promised weight loss, a healthy heart, lower insulin resistance, reduction of inflammation, and a longer lifespan.

What makes intermittent fasting a hit is the fact that in the 8 hours of eating, you are allowed to eat anything.

A lot of people are taking up this challenge. There are apps helping people monitor their fast. In 2019, intermittent fasting was the top-trending diet search on Google.

However, a study has found that intermittent fasting does not help you lose weight. Led by a cardiologist from the University of California, San Francisco, he and his team recruited 116 people who were either overweight or obese, and divided them into 2 groups.

One ate at random times within a strict 8-hour window, and the other group ate at normal meal times. The group that was intermittent fasting lost an average of 2 pounds over 12 weeks. The group that was not intermittent fasting lost 1.5 pounds.

Researchers said this difference was not statistically significant.

To top that, some of the people who were fasting lost more muscle mass. A 2018 study found no significant difference between intermittent fasting for 50 weeks and following traditional diet with restricted calories.

A cardiologist who studied intermittent fasting experimented with it for 7 years.

But there are others who have lost weight. The list includes Chris Pratt, Kourtney Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens and Scarlett Johansson.

People began adapting intermittent fasting after several studies showed results on mice. If mice lost weight, could humans be far behind? 

Read in App