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The #1 Eating Habit for Fast Weight Loss, Suggests New Study

This is one eating habit to definitely consider.
FACT CHECKED BY Kristen Warfield

If losing a healthy amount of weight in a short amount of time is an ideal option for you, then there's one eating habit that you should definitely consider.

In a review that was published in Nature Reviews: Endocrinology, researchers took a look at 21 different studies and found that fasting is an effective way to lose weight, "at least in the short term," according to Medscape.

While focusing on trials that lasted around five to 12 weeks each and included anywhere from 10 to 150 primarily American participants, results showed alternate-day fasting, time-restricted eating, and the 5:2 diet "can all produce a mild to moderate 3% to 8% weight loss during 8 to 12 weeks."

intermittent fasting
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"These findings are impressive and I am glad that studies like this are being performed," Trista Best, a Registered Dietitian at Balance One Supplements, Environmental Health Specialist, and Adjunct Nutrition Professor, tells Eat This, Not That!.

Beyond that, Best notes, "The benefits of fasting go far beyond weight loss, but these studies lay a great foundation to encourage would-be fad dieters to take part in a safe and sustainable means of weight loss."

When it comes to what people should do if they want to use fasting to successfully and safely lose weight in a relatively short amount of time, Best explains that "when fasting, it is important to eat balanced meals during your eating window. It may be tempting to go longer without calories or eat fewer calories than you need during an eating window. However, this will result in slowed metabolism, weight loss plateau, and ultimately rebound weight gain."

As for using a fasting method to keep weight off over a longer period of time, Best notes that, indeed, "fasting can be used long-term for weight loss along with many other health benefits. Fasting is a temporary restriction of calories that are replaced in a shorter window.

Therefore, it is unlike fad diets that require long-term, unsustainable calorie restriction, which leads to rebound weight gain."

To find out more about alternate-day fasting, time-restricted eating, and the 5:2 diet, be sure to read 3 Effective Fasting Methods for Weight Loss, Science Says.

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more