Intermittent Fasting May Be No Better Than Other Diets — And Might Even Reduce Muscle Mass

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Intermittent fasting may be no more effective than traditional forms of dieting and may even reduce lean muscle mass, according to a randomized clinical trial published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

With various forms of alternative diets sweeping nations everywhere, intermittent fasting has quickly risen to the foreground of diets that supposedly affect your metabolism. There are many variations, but all include periods of fasting followed by allocated time to indulge in food of your choice. Some use the diet as a tool to make them more aware of when they are hungry, while others claim it boosts their body’s ability to react to calorie intake.

As of 2020, intermittent fasting has become one of the most-followed diet plans in the USA, according to the International Food Information Council (IFIC). However, hard evidence of exactly how successful the diet is and the full mechanisms behind it has been lacking. So researchers from the University of California San Francisco attempted to find out.

The team assembled a clinical trial consisting of 116 adults with a body mass index (BMI) between 27 and 43 and randomly assigned them to either three meals a day or an intermittent fasting routine. The intermittent fasting group could eat to their heart’s content between 12:00pm and 8:00pm, but not outside that time frame. On the flip side, the other group had a structured diet of three meals a day. This group was recommended the time at which to eat, but not what to eat – both groups consumed approximately the same calories daily.

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