Intermittent Fasting (IF) has been touted as a weight loss strategy that can help individuals lose weight quickly and effectively. However, a recent study has revealed that IF may not be all that helpful for weight loss after all. What was once thought to be a miraculous diet, has perhaps been reduced to one no greater than the average fad TikTok diet. Or at least, that’s what research points to. We’ll break everything down in this piece.
Turns Out, Intermittent Fasting Might Not Be That Useful For Weight Loss.
A study that monitored the eating habits of 550 people over the course of six months, from portion sizes to eating hours, found no correlation between the time or window in which the food was consumed and the amount of weight lost. While intermittent fasting certainly has worked for thousands, if not millions of people, it does come with downsides.
Researchers even looked to other factors to enlighten them; from when the subjects woke up and had their first meal, to when they slept and how close to bedtime their last meal was consumed. As expected, no relation between these factors and weight loss was found. The only common link between meals and weight loss was one thing—size. A smaller meal size regardless of when it was consumed, was what led to weight loss.
In fact, this has long been one of the counterarguments against the practice of intermittent fasting. If you’ve ever opened a fitness book or visited a nutritionist, the first thing you’ll be told to ascertain, is your calorie consumption. This, in fact, is the only measure of the success or failure of your weight loss mission. A calorie deficit is scientifically speaking, the only way you can lose weight.
That’s not to say that intermittent fasting doesn’t have its merits. There seem to be a lot of misconceptions about the diet. Most are under the impression that you can eat anything and everything your heart desires, as long as you do that within a window. This is tremendously misinformed, and perhaps not the wisest of choices from the dieter. Calories are calories, whether you consume them in or outside your window.
What many don’t seem to understand is that intermittent fasting and eating in windows itself isn’t going to do anything for you. Instead, that psychological factor and the innate discipline are what the fundamentals of IF are built upon. By restricting the window in which you can eat, it assumes that you can only eat so many calories in the permitted time frame, provided that you do it diligently and don’t consume too many calories in that time.
Put simply, say your maintenance calories are 2700 per day. Eating this isn’t going to help you lose or put on weight, but rather help you maintain your current weight. Eating this across the span of a traditional set-up, i.e. breakfast, lunch, and dinner, is the same as eating in an 8-hour window, because calories are calories no matter when you consume them. However, 2700 is a big number, and perhaps the limited amount of time might only allow you to eat 2400 or 2500 a day. This would then facilitate weight loss.
The bottom line is that intermittent fasting isn’t bad or good. It could be both depending on the various factors surrounding it. It all comes down to how you use it. If you can use it smartly and to your advantage, then by all means, knock yourself out. Otherwise, exploring other diets and styles of eating might be good for you.
Poll : Do you like Intermittent Fasting?