Weight loss is one of the most popular reasons people try intermittent fasting, particularly at the start of the year when many people prioritize their health.
However, a recent study indicates that some people may be able to lose weight without limiting their meals to specific times of the day.
According to researchers, intermittent fasting does not seem to be as effective as calorie restriction for weight loss. In a six-year study, researchers discovered that persons who consumed more large or medium-sized meals throughout the day were more likely to put on weight.
Smaller meal sizes, on the other hand, increased the likelihood of weight loss during this time. The delay between the first and last meals of the day, however, had no effect on the weight of the population.
This shows that the size and frequency of meals and the total number of calories consumed each day have a greater influence on weight change than meal timing, according to researchers.
Timing and size of meals affect weight
Researchers enrolled roughly 550 participants from three health centers for the study, which was released on January 18 in the Journal of the American Heart Association Reliable Source.
From computerized health data, they were able to measure each person’s height and weight. Using this, the body mass index (BMI), a screening tool for overweight and obesity, was computed for the subjects. Participants recorded data over six months using a smartphone app.
The findings demonstrated a relationship between growing weight throughout a six-year follow-up and large meals (estimated at more than 1,000 calories) and medium meals (estimated at 500–1,000 calories).
Small meals, on the other hand, were linked to weight loss (about 500 calories or less). However, throughout the follow-up phase, there was no connection between meal timing and weight change. This covered the period from the morning meal to the evening supper.
Time-restricted eating, a sort of intermittent fasting, entails keeping mealtimes to a specific window of the day, such as from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Other forms of fasting include going without food one day a week or skipping the midday meal every day. The researchers did not examine these additional fasting habits.
A large meal may lead to an excess of calories
Molly Rapozo, a senior nutrition and health educator and registered dietitian nutritionist at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute in Santa Monica, California, advised against going too far with this. She added that people must still ensure they are consuming the recommended amounts of nutrients including protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
She stated, “I really push them to eat three times a day because I find that patients who eat two or fewer times a day have a very hard time reaching their nutritional demands. But it needn’t be a whole dinner, she said. It is possible to have a balanced snack.
Meal frequency and total calorie intake, as measured by meal size, were connected to weight change, but because this was an observational study, cause and effect could not be established. The fact that participants were required to estimate the amount of their lunch is another drawback of the study, according to Dietz.
He said, “I would also have trouble with that, and [fat research] is my expertise.”
Do not go on extreme diets
Allison Chase, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, and eating disorder specialist with the Eating Recovery Center, advises against taking things too far in order to achieve one’s weight loss objectives. Extreme [eating] measures, she warned, “may lead to disordered eating practices, especially for those with predisposing biological or behavioral variables, such as genetics, elevated anxiety or depression.”
She advises people to seek expert assistance to assist them in achieving their health goals while taking into account their unique situations, including their physical and Mental Health.