Some guy on Twitter said intermittent fasting causes magical effects and leads to greater weight loss compared to the daily calorie restriction? Bad news — a new study added more evidence that intermittent fasting is no better than the daily calorie restriction [bite me, Twitter zealot].

Liu et al. randomized 139 participants with obesity into one of two groups:

time-restricted eating (eating only between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.) with calorie restriction or daily calorie restriction alone

Both diets were calorie-restricted (a 25% calorie deficit) because, er, well, howthefuckelse can you lose weight? 

Anyway, the participants said to the researchers Yo, Ima need more help from you. And the researchers went fine and instructed the subjects to take daily dietary records, photograph the food they ate, and track meal timing via the fancy-pants mobile app. They also had in-person and phone follow-ups with a health coach.

So what happened?

Time-restricted eating aka intermittent fasting caused no magical benefits with regard to weight loss, body fat, or metabolic risk factors. Both diets led to similar body composition and health changes during the 12-month trial:

Among patients with obesity, a regimen of time-restricted eating was not more beneficial with regard to reduction in body weight, body fat, or metabolic risk factors than daily calorie restriction.

If your reaction is “that’s just one study,” there are many more that I have already written about here, here, and here.

Now, if you happened to thrive on intermittent fasting, don’t be angry at me. I’m not saying intermittent fasting is a big bag of dog farts. All I’m saying is that you don’t have to present it as a cure for everything including that terrible thunderstorm in my head that I woke up with this morning.

Intermittent fasting is a great tool to eat less and spontaneously reduce caloric intake. And that is why some of my clients follow it — because it allows them to lose weight without counting a single calorie.

I will leave you with the quote from exercise and nutrition scientist Menno Henselmans:

“Intermittent fasting is a tool, not magic. If fasting suits your lifestyle, it’s a very convenient way to reduce energy intake. If it doesn’t, that’s fine: you’re not missing out on any health benefits or fat loss.“

So choose whichever approach you prefer and can stick to long-term, my dear reader friends. I’m gonna go die of the headache now.


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Originally published by me on Medium on May 5, 2022

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