Intermittent fasting, new study questions its superior effects –

from Laura Copeni

Weight loss and improvement in metabolic parameters were similar to those who could eat 24 hours a day. Erzegovesi (San Rafael): “But the 16-hour fasting diet has no contraindications and can be easily applied”

The “intermittent fasting” diet is very successful. Also in Italy: Two years ago Fiorello spoke enthusiastically about his diet, based on the limitations of the daily clock (We eat from 8 to 16then in an 8-hour period, then leave the food for 16 hours). The main goal is to lose weightbut there may be other benefits, such as resisting cellular aging.

Chinese experience

A new study conducted at Guangzhou University (China) on 139 obese people was followed for a year – and published in New England Journal of Medicine
However, questions about whether intermittent fasting (particularly the 8- to 16-hour restricted diet) offer any particular advantages in terms of weight loss. in the experience Women ate 1,200-1,500 calories per day and men 1,500-1,800. Participants were asked to photograph each dish eaten and to keep a food diary. They were also constantly monitored by a food coach. Half of the volunteers followed the hourly restricted diet, and the other half could eat freely, but without exceeding the total calories allowed.

Weight loss

After a year, both groups lost weight: an average of 8 kilograms each with an hourly restriction, the other an average of 6.3. Statistically significant differences. The improvement of other parameters, such as abdominal circumference, body fat and lean mass, was also similar (in mean values) in the two diet types. The same is true for blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, cholesterol, and blood pressure. In short, the 16:8 diet (16 hours of fasting, 8 hours of feeding) It will not be more beneficial than simply reducing your daily calories. Is it really like this?

Slightly better results

“The study is big and well – explains Stefano Erzgovese, Head of the Center for Eating Disorders at IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital in Milan -. show it Fasting extended to 16 hours It makes no difference to weight loss nor to metabolic parameters, as long as you eat 24 hours a day you are still respecting an important calorie limit. However, looking at the study tables, it can be seen Slightly better goals were achieved in the hourly restriction group (weight loss 8 kg on average instead of 6.3, visceral fat decreased by 26 square cm instead of 21): This leads to the hypothesis that in working with more participants, the differences could be statistically significant, in favor of diet 16 : 8 ».

Is skipping dinner beneficial?

“Basically is the idea that glucose and insulin metabolism It follows our circadian rhythms, so eating in the 8-16 range (when the sun is higher on the horizon) is the best thing – Erzegovesi explains -. If you consume a lot in the afternoon, and especially in the evening, you “crash” with greater insulin resistance (this applies to all people, not just diabetics), and the evening meal close to sleep makes the brain’s clearing mechanisms active. At night “.

Why does the diet work with 16 hours of daily fasting?

“Because it can be easily applied – says Erzgovici – and also has no contraindications, except in the case of growing subjects (children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating women) and, above all, in the case of eating disorders, where it is clearly impractical . Think of a person with bulimia: Once the fast is over, he will throw himself into disorganized fits. Among my patients, half were able to adhere to a 16-hour fast without problems (16 to 8), and the other half instead request a break from a light dinner. These are subjective differences, which should always be listened to and respected. In any case, before starting intermittent fasting, you should always seek advice from your doctor.”

What are the benefits of the “16:8” diet?

“Apart from losing weight and improving insulin resistance, while fasting, there is an increased awareness of one’s internal sensations, with a better ability to perceive true feelings of hunger and satiety. To assess the effectiveness of the type of diet, parameters related to the energy level are measured with the doctor: for example, if one feels less tired, less hungry, and, above all, if mental efficiency (attention and concentration) improves ».

How are meals organized?

“There are three: breakfast, lunch and snacks. For breakfast, I recommend fermented milk (yogurt or kefir) white and without sugar, whole grains of your choice (eg real whole wheat bread), jam, dried fruits (15 grams), fresh fruit (1 serving, equal to 150 grams) Hot liquid (such as tea or coffee). As an alternative to bread/crumbs and jam, you can choose a simple slice of cake or a dry biscuit. Lunch should be complete: first course preferably whole grains, second course (one day based on vegetable proteins, one day based on animal proteins, alternating), double portion of vegetables (one serving is 80g if it is leaf salad, 250g each Of which all other vegetables) are part of the fruit. Those who have problems with flatulence with fruit at the end of the meal can eat it in the middle of the morning or afternoon.”

And in the afternoon?

«The snack should contain whole grains (80 grams: it can be bread, but also pasta or rice), a portion of vegetables and one fresh fruit, as well as dried fruit (15 grams). During the rest of the day, you can have unsweetened or sweetened drinks.”

Are there milder types of fasting such as 16:8?

“Those who want to start intermittent fasting can follow, for at least two months, the 12:12 type (12 hours of food and 12 hours of fasting, for example, finish dinner at 8 pm and eat breakfast at 8), and then in Finally we turn to 16:8, when the body is “trained” and always after consulting the attending physician ».

Apr 21, 2022 (change on Apr 21, 2022 | 19:14)

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