Misc.

Remember This Number If You Want To Lose Weight

Remember This Number To Lose Weight

STEPHANIE ECKELKAMP

Trying to drop those pesky five pounds that somehow crept on this month? Lucky for you, a new study in Cell Metabolism has identified a new, effective, and totally painless way to lose weight that doesn’t even require changing what you eat: Simply confine everything you eat to a 10- to 12-hour window—in other words, if you eat breakfast around 8 a.m., stop eating between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., and you should lose.

In the study, researchers first examined participants’ daily eating habits and found that most of them ate almost constantly over the course of 15 hours—pretty much all of their waking hours. But when people started limiting their food consumption to 10 to 12 hours daily for 16 weeks, with no other changes to their diet, they lost an average of seven pounds, had more energy, and slept better. Best part: The effects persisted for a year.

This also isn’t the first study to show these perks. Previous research has also found that this type of intermittent fasting—a term for any diet that cycles between periods of fasting and non-fasting—helps people to burn more fat (and less muscle) for fuel, better control blood sugar, and reduce their risk of diabetes.

But how could you possibly reap major perks only by slightly limiting when you eat by 3 to 5 hours? The simplest explanation, says study co-author Satchin Panda, is that people end up consuming less food when they stop eating sooner. For example, if you normally have a few cookies to power you through late-night Netflix sessions, then avoiding food after 8 p.m. eliminates those empty calories, along with the overnight spikes and dips in blood sugar the treats would have caused.

Another potential reason for the positive effects: Extending the amount of time we fast overnight positively affects circadian rhythms, which improves sleep and affects the function of genes that involve metabolism.

So go ahead, give it a whirl. After all, it can’t hurt, and it’s way cheaper than a juice cleanse.

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