Limiting food to a narrow window of time each day may help people shed some extra pounds, a small study finds. And restricting your eating to six hours may work as well as a stricter four-hour time frame, researchers found. In an eight-week trial, researchers found that either of two “time-restricted” diets helped obese people drop some pounds — about 3% of their starting body weight, on average. But while the diets have become trendy of late, they seemed to work the old-fashioned way: by cutting dieters’ daily calories.
Time-restricted eating is considered a form of intermittent fasting, explained Krista Varady, one of the researchers on the study. The principle is simple: People limit themselves to eating between certain hours of the day, and then fast — with the exception of water and calorie-free drinks — for the remaining time.
The weight-loss tactic has become popular — largely because it’s easy to follow, said Varady, a professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago. There’s no calorie-counting, she explained, and people can eat what they want.
Excerpted from U.S. News