Posted on 7 October 2020
Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.
Why is this research important: The adoption of time-restricted feeding, or intermittent fasting, as a strategy for weight loss has become more and more popular over recent years. With celebrities such as the famous actor and comedian, Terry Crews, attributing his impressive physique to the method, it is easy to see why it caught on. But is intermittent fasting as effective a strategy for weight loss as we may be lead to believe?
What did the researchers do: A team of researchers based at the University of California, San Francisco Clinical Research Center in the US, recruited 116 participants, aged 18 to 64 years, with a BMI of between 17 to 43, into a 12 week randomised clinical trial to observe the impact of a 16:8 intermittent fasting regime. The test group were instructed to eat ad libitum (i.e they could eat whatever they pleased) for 8 hours, from 12:00pm until 8:00pm over the 12 week period, but outside of those hours these were not allowed to intake any calories. The control group were instructed to eat three meals across each day.
Key takeaway(s) from this research: The study found that although there was a slight decrease in weight (1.17%) in the test group, when comparing the test group to the control group, the amount of weight lost was insignificant. This means that the intermittent fasting regime did not result in tangible weight loss. However, the 16:8 intermittent fasting intervention and ad libitum feeding allowance in this study did come under criticism as some argued that the 16:8 feeding ratio was not an extreme enough method to see weight loss, suggesting that using 20:4 may yield greater results.