Move over, 5:2
While spending 16 hours a day without food sounds like utter torture, a new study is trying to prove that you can lower your body weight by restricting your eating to just eight hours a day.
Joining the ranks of popular diets such as the 5:2, the military diet and the keto diet, the 16:8 diet involves restricting your eating to an eight-hour time frame and fasting for the other 16 hours of the day. For example, eating breakfast at 10am, lunch at 1pm and dinner at 6pm, then going food-free after that until 10am the next morning.
The idea is that a longer fasting time between eating gives the body time to process food and burn away extra fat stores. According to the new study, daily fasting is an effective tool to reduce weight and lower blood pressure.
Published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging, the study compares the results of 23 obese men and women who are following the 16:8 diet, against a control group who ate normally. Between 10am and 6pm, the dieters were allowed to eat any type and quantity of food, but for the remaining 16 hours they could only consume water, black tea, coffee or diet soft drinks.
The 12-week study found that over three months, the 16:8 group lost on average three per cent body fat and saw their cholesterol decrease. On average, the 16:8 group were also found to consume fewer calories a day than the control group.
"The take-home message from this study is that there are options for weight loss that do not include calorie counting or eliminating certain foods," said Krista Varady, Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago, in a statement.
While we’re not 100 per cent convinced by the practicality of the 16:8 diet (hello, dinner parties and late-night cheese dates), there could be something said for cutting out that late night binge session!
However, it’s important to be really careful when starting any new diet (especially fasting) and we recommend seeing a health care professional before changing your game plan. It’s also important to keep in mind that while the 16:8 diet could help with weight loss, there is definitely more research required to solidify its effectiveness.
Looking to shake up your exercise routine? Check out six of the biggest fitness trends you need to try ASAP.
What do you think of the 16:8? Have you tried any similar diets? Let us know in the comment section below.
Main image credit: Getty
Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.