If you follow a time-restricted eating plan, aka intermittent fasting, it’s not just weight loss you may experience, as per a new study.
Intermittent fasting is amongst the most popular ways to stay fit and manage those unnecessary kilos. Now, researchers found that it may be more than just pounds we lose.
Here is what you need to know.
It’s All About the Muscles
According to the new study, researchers who followed an intermittent fasting plan actually shed fewer pounds than those who chose a regular diet. The participants consumed the same number of total calories.
However, researchers had also found something that is quite not right.
A bold team of researchers from the University of Bath’s Centre for Nutrition, Exercise, and Metabolism, came up with a pretty intriguing method of examining intermittent fasting.
The researchers made three groups as follows:
- First group: the participants fasted on other days and consumed up to 50 % more food than usual on the day after the fast;
- Second group: people who reduced the number of total calories they consumed by 25 % across meals with no fasting;
- Third group: the participants fasted daily but consumed 100 % more food than usual on the next day of their fast day.
Moreover, all the participants ate between 2,000 and 2,500 calories at the start of the three-week study period.
Also, the first and second groups reduced their total calories to 1,500-2,000 calories/ day, while the third group didn’t reduce the overall calorie intake.
Researchers discovered that people in the second group lost just over 4 pounds, on average, in the 3-week period, and all was fat loss. The first group shed slightly 3.5 pounds on average, half muscle mass, half fat.
As for the third group, the total weight loss was somehow not significant.
James Betts, Ph.D., is the study’s lead author and director of the Center for Nutrition, Exercise & Metabolism. He explained:
“Intermittent fasting is no magic bullet and the findings of our experiment suggest that there is nothing special about fasting when compared with more traditional, standard diets people might follow.”
Choosing to follow an intermittent fasting plan might help you lose a few pounds, but it may come at a cost.
The loss of muscle mass experienced by some participants in the study, it’s just not worth it, especially if you want to stay physically active.