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Are you obese and worried about your excess weight? Take heart. New research suggests that with irregular fasting and a strictly controlled diet, you can lose more weight and improve your health too.
The study showed that women who fasted intermittently as well as restricted their food improved their health more than those who only restricted their diet or only fasted intermittently.
Obese women who followed a diet in which they ate 70 per cent of their required energy intake and fasted intermittently lost the most weight.
"Continuously restricting their diet is the main way that obese women try to tackle their weight," said lead author Amy Hutchison, from the University of Adelaide in Australia.
"This study is adding to evidence that intermittent fasting, at least in the short term, may provide better outcomes than daily continuous diet restriction for health and potentially for weight loss," added Leonie Heilbronn, Associate Professor at the varsity.
By adhering to a strict pattern of intermittent fasting and dieting, obese women have achieved significant weight loss and improvements in their health such as decreased markers for heart disease, said the paper, published in the journal Obesity.
For the study, the researchers involved nearly 100 women aged between 35 and 70 who were overweight or obese.
They followed a typical Australian diet consisting of 35 per cent fat, 15 per cent protein and 50 per cent carbohydrate over 10 weeks.
Participants who fasted intermittently ate breakfast and then refrained from eating for 24 hours followed by 24 hours of eating. The following day they fasted again.
"While the study confirms that intermittent fasting is more effective than continuous diet restriction, the underlying signal for limiting people's appetite, which could hold the key to triggering effective weight loss, requires further research," Heilbronn noted.