Counting calories, the best method to lose weight | Sunday Observer

Counting calories, the best method to lose weight

22 January, 2023

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 - who published their findings Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association - gathered data from 550 adults in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Participants were about 51 years old on average, had a college education or higher, and were mostly female.

About 240 participants were obese, while 169 were overweight and 138 were a healthy weight.

Researchers used an application called Daily24, where participants logged their sleeping and eating activities each day for one week each month.

Participants were regularly sent emails, texts and notifications by the app to remind them to fill it in.

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.

Participants in all three weight groups had about 11 hours and 30 minutes a day between their first and last meals.

All participants ate about three meals a day, consisting of one small meal — less than 500 calories — and two medium meals — from 500 to 1,000 calories. They would also have one or two large meals — more than 1,000 calories — a week.

Broken down by week, people in the healthy group had about eight small meals, eight medium meals and one large meal a week.

- Daily