Intermittent fasting or calorie counting: Which diet is better for you?

Science and Health

Many of us become interested in short- and long-term diets in the summer. Some of us will choose from popular diets like keto or intermittent fasting, also known as the 16:8 diet. Others will try the more traditional method of counting calories.

But according to a recent study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, both intermittent fasting and calorie counting produce similar results in the end.

Limiting your meals to just a single eight-hour window can improve insulin sensitivity, which makes it more efficient at removing sugar from the bloodstream. Studies have also shown that intermittent fasting improves glucose metabolism. 

This diet has already caught the attention of several celebrities, such as Jennifer Aniston, Kourtney Kardashian, and Scarlett Johansson – all of whom abstain from food at certain points in line with intermittent fasting.

Unlike calorie counting, which is a lot more complicated, intermittent fasting has gained popularity in part due to its simplicity. But its long-term effectiveness in losing weight is still unclear. 

Empty plate with utensils (illustrative) (credit: INGIMAGE)

Life has changed, and so have eating times

Modern life is in many ways characterized by a constant presence of food. 

This, along with disruptions in natural day-night rhythms from poor sleep quality and exposure to artificial light from screens, can be harmful to your health.

These factors all contribute to metabolic disorders, which tend to manifest when one is middle-aged when unhealthy lifestyles play more significant roles.

A team of researchers from the US studied 90 adults suffering from obesity. The participants were randomly divided into one of three groups: Eating from noon to 8:00 p.m., reducing calorie intake by 25%, or normal eating patterns for 10 hours a day or more. The first two groups also regularly met with a dietician. 

Participants who practiced intermittent fasting ended up cutting their calorie consumption down by 425 calories compared to the control group and ended up losing 10 kilograms after a year. The calorie-restricted group ate 405 fewer calories than the control group and lost 12 kilos after a year. 

The researchers said that the results of their study could help inform clinical decisions by taking into account individual preferences rather than just recommending one diet over the other. 

Weight loss significantly varied between participants. This, the researchers said, indicates that more studies are needed to better identify who could benefit best from a given weight loss method.