Counting calories IS king when it comes to losing weight – NOT fasting, study finds
- Counting calories is the only thing that matters when losing weight, a study says
- Researchers found that time between meals did little to affect weight loss
- Intermittent fasting has risen in popularity in recent years
Put all the eating schedules away – the best way to lose weight is by flatly reducing calories, a new study suggests.
A Johns Hopkins University research team found that the timing of meals is irrelevant to the amount of weight a person loses over time. Instead, eating smaller meals with fewer calories is the key to shedding pounds.
Intermittent fasting, when a person will only eat within windows of eight or ten hours throughout the day, has been a growing trend in recent years – with the likes of Elon Musk and Halle Berry singing its praises.
While it can help a person control food cravings and reduce calorie consumption, just basic calorie counting is just as effective.
Researchers found that calorie counting is a key to weight loss, no matter the timing between meals – going against claims made by intermittent fasting proponents (file photo)
Researchers who published their findings Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association gathered data from 550 adults in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Using an application called Daily24, participants logged their sleeping and eating activities each day for one week each month.
After six months of data was gathered, researchers looked at how many calories a person ate each day and how much time they took between each meal. Participants also regularly reported their weight.
Researchers found that calorie counting was the only factor that mattered when it came to weight loss.
Even when a person would wait a long period between meals or not eat for a few hours before sleeping, there was no effect on their weight loss beyond caloric intake.
It has long been agreed upon that weight loss is determined by caloric intake, with a person who burns more calories than they eat losing weight.
The body burns calories as energy throughout the day. It is believed that every pound on a person’s body makes up around 3,500 calories of energy.
When a person has a calorie surplus, the extra energy is stored as either fat or muscle – leading to weight gain.
A calorie deficit leads to weight loss, as a person will shed fat and muscle from their body.
Weight is not the only factor determining how healthy a person is. Someone who eats little calories – but makes poor food choices – may find themselves skinny yet still unhealthy.
Many credit intermittent fasting with the ability to change a person’s metabolism in a way that makes weight loss more likely.
The body naturally burns calories throughout the day. A person who burns more calories while performing everyday activities is more likely to drop weight – and keep it off.
Proponents of intermittent fasting say it can adjust a person’s metabolism to burn more calories each day – helping shed pounds.
The Johns Hopkins study finds otherwise, with zero correlation between meal timing and weight loss found by researchers.
Intermittent fasting may not entirely be bunk, though. Proponents also say the timed diet helps reduce calories by cutting out snacking and changing a person’s relationship with food.