Research results show that fewer meals are more important for weight loss than when a person eats.
As part of a new study, scientists from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine monitored the habits of more than 500 people for six years. It turned out that the change in weight is most affected by the size of the portion and the frequency of meals, and not the interval between them. Thus, scientists have refuted the popular idea of interval fasting as a useful weight loss strategy.
Interval fasting is a dietary strategy in which a person eats only for a short period of time. For example, with the 16:8 method, they fast for 16 hours, and have breakfast, lunch and dinner in eight hours.
550 people participated in the new study. They followed a specific eating pattern, and the scientists simply tracked the time and size of their daily meals and compared them with weight loss patterns over a six-year period.
Each study participant used a smartphone app to record sleep, wake-up and meal times for several weeks. This allowed the researchers to track the time from the first to the last meal for each subject, as well as the time from waking up to the first meal and the time from the last meal to sleep.
There was no connection between the time of a person's daily meal and weight changes over the course of six years. Thus, it does not matter if the participant ate all his meals during a shorter period compared to a longer one. What really mattered for weight was the total number of medium and large meals. The results of the study showed that simply reducing portions and reducing meals ultimately leads to weight loss.