Daily fasting for weight loss and metabolic health
Fasting is becoming quite popular for weight loss. Human trials of alternate-day fasting and the 5:2 diet have shown significant decreases in the risk for metabolic diseases such as coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes, including reductions in body weight. Although these methods are effective, recent research shows that people may have a hard time sticking to these habits over the long run.
The 16:8 diet, named for its 16 hours of fasting and eight hours of feasting, is easier for people to maintain as they do not have to stress over calorie counting or eliminating certain foods.
Another type of fasting called time-restricted feeding is an attractive alternative. In this type of fasting, you would fast every day for a 14- to 20-hour period. But the effects of time-restricted feeding on weight loss have not been clear.
Researchers from the University of Illinois investigated the effect of this type of diet in a study that included 23 obese individuals with an average age of 45 years and an average body mass index (BMI) of 35.
The participants were allowed to eat any type of food and in any quantity between 10am and 6pm. But during the reaming 16 hours they were encouraged to drink water or calorie-free beverages such as black tea, coffee and diet soda. The study followed the participants for 12 weeks.
The researchers compared the results of this study with a matched historical control group from a previous weight loss trial on a different type of fasting. They found that participants who followed the time-restricted eating diet consumed 350 fewer calories, lost approximately 3 per cent of their body weight and had improvements in blood pressure — a decrease by about 7 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). All other measures, including fat mass, insulin resistance and cholesterol were similar to the control group.
The results of this study were similar to results seen in other studies on alternate-day fasting, but researchers observed that fewer participants dropped out of this study. The 16:8 diet, named for its 16 hours of fasting and eight hours of feasting, is easier for people to maintain as they do not have to stress over calorie counting or eliminating certain foods.
Source: Nutrition and Healthy Aging
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