Fasting Boosts Fat Burning, Study Finds

By Sharon Moore on February 14, 2017

There are many ways to burn body fats. You can try working out and of course, reducing your calorie intake. But the latter can be tougher for many people. Well, here’s what scientists found: you can actually burn more fats even if you have the same calorie consumption - by eating between 8 am to 2 pm only. 

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that among the study participants, those who consumed the same amount of calories between 8am and 2pm burned 6 per cent more fats than those who did between 8am and 8pm.  

“It kind of makes sense,” says lead author Courtney Peterson from the Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama. “Your body’s fat-burning ability peaks after you’ve been fasting for 12 to 14 hours.” 

Prof Peterson explained that for up to 12 hours after the start of a fast, the body is still burning glycogen, a molecule that stores glucose (or sugar). After 12 hours, the body begins burning fat stores. 

In addition to the increase in the amount of body fats burned, the researchers also found that hunger levels were more stable for participants who ate their daily calories within the 6-hour window versus the 12-hour window.

However, she warned that burning 6 per cent more fats did not correspond to a ‘significant’ difference between the two groups. This might be because the study was too small to establish meaningful differences between the results. Peterson said a larger study is needed to confirm their findings. 

But this is not the first time that the weight loss benefit of fasting was highlighted in the field of scientific research.  Fasting was also found to provide other health benefits, including lower risk of illness and longevity. 

For people hoping to try fasting, Peterson recommended starting with a 9-hour window of food consumption and gradually working that down to 8, 7 and finally 6 hours. But this type of fasting is not recommended for children and pregnant women, she warned. She also emphasised that anyone who is suffering from a chronic illness should talk first to their GP before attempting to do fasting. 

The study was presented at the Obesity Society Annual Meeting in late 2016. 

Source of this article: 

Small Study Shows Fasting Can Help You Burn More Fat

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