The 16:8 Diet is receiving a lot of attention due to claims you can eat with reckless abandon as long as you do it during an 8-Hour eating window. A recent feature on the Today Show reports, “When obese people structured their schedule so that they fasted for 16 hours a day, but were free to eat whatever they wanted in the other eight hours — known as the 16:8 diet, or time-restricted feeding — they modestly lost weight” But what does it mean? Does it really work? And most importantly will it work for you?
The concept of intermittent fasting is starting to catch on. The idea is if you only have a limited window for eating you will eat less and thus lose weight. Intermittent can mean anywhere from 16 hours to 24 hours to 2 days. You can see how, if you are only allowed to eat between, say, 10am and 6pm 3 or 4 days a week you might lose weight. You might also lose friends, but SCREW THEM! They are always bringing me down anyway! “She’s on another crazy diet,” They say. “Wonder what we have to do to accommodate this one?” They say. I haven’t eaten for 36 hours AND I’VE NEVER BEEN HAPPIER! I NEED A WHOLE COW! NOW!
But before you jump right in, here are some things you should consider:
- The study cited in the Today Show feature is kind of, how do you say, lame. It involved 23 people. Yes, 23. Not 2300, or 23,000. 23. By way of example that is 6.57428571428E-8 of the U.S. Population. I didn’t even know you could have letters in a number. However I feel like it translates to “A totally insignificant number of people.” I bet $6.57428571428E-8 there are 23 people, somewhere in the U.S., losing weight and lowering their cholesterol while actively eating a chili cheese dog well outside their fasting window. So does it work, probably. Does this study prove anything. No.
- The study only lasted 12 weeks. Law of Fitness #1: Everything works and everything stops working. Every diet works for 12 weeks. And then every diet stops working. If I created the CardBoard Pizza Diet where people had to eat pizza made entirely of cardboard for 2 meals a day and then a “sensible” dinner, people would lose weight. For about 12 weeks. You body adjusts to what you are doing so you must also adjust. Or the people around you get so tired of your crazed attitude they “help” you adjust. Either way, 12 weeks is a pretty short study.
- There is no indication at what weight the participants started or at what weight they finished. The article states the participants are obese. But that really does not tell us much. I am pretty sure if the average number where they started was significantly different it would appear somewhere in the article. Like, in the headline. “Hoards of People Lose an Average of 8 Pounds in 12 Weeks!” Gets viewers to tune in. “23 People lose a modest amount of weight.” Does not.
So look, I fast 2 times a week pretty religiously. It has helped with a lot of things. I have lost some weight, I have more energy and I generally feel better. But it is just one (Law 5) part of my regime. Have you tried fasting? Did you get results? Comment below and please forward this to someone who might find it interesting.