This is Krista Varady, associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition. (Credit:UIC/Roberta Dupuis-Devlin)UIC/Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

A recent study has shown that daily fasting can reduce your weight and also lower your blood pressure. The researchers at the University of Illinois, Chicago, conducted the research, which has 

In the study, the effect of time-restricted eating on obese individuals has been shared. It is a form of fasting that involves the consumption of food to selected hours of a day. Since the time-restricted eating reminds us of Ramadan when Muslims go on day fasting across the globe for a month, the study makes it more relevant.

The researchers selected 23 obese volunteers to conduct the study to find out the impact of the daily fasting routine. The average age of the individuals was 45 with an average body mass index (BMI) of 35. They were allowed to consume anything they liked and in whatever quantity they wanted between 10.00 a.m. and 6 p.m. However, in the next 16 hours, they were only allowed to have water or calorie-free beverages. The researchers observed the human samples for 12 weeks.

They concluded that the time-restricted eating method led the participating individuals to consume 350 fewer calories, and lose 3 percent weight. The systolic blood pressure decreased by almost 7mm of mercury, the study revealed. The effect was found much more effective than previous weight loss trials done on different types of fasting.

"The take-home message from this study is that there are options for weight loss that do not include calorie counting or elimination certain foods," corresponding author Krista Varady, who is an associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition in the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences, said.

The author called the diet routine as 16:8 diet where individuals have 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of "feasting." Varady specifically mentioned the benefits of the diet schedule, saying that it is much easier to follow compared to other weight loss measures people opt for. "We observed that fewer participants dropped out of this study when compared to studies on other fasting diets," he added.

The study has been published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging.

Ramadan fasting timings

Even during Ramadan fasting, it can be safe for patients with heart diseases but not for those with diabetes, studies. More than one billion Muslims worldwide abstain from food, drink, and oral medications from dawn to sunset throughout the holy month of Ramadan.

But patients with chronic illnesses are exempt as the fasting period typically lasts 15 to 16 hours daily and two meals are eaten during the night.

"Patients with heart failure frequently ask their doctor if it is safe to fast but until now we didn't have any evidence on which to base our advice," said Dr Rami Abazid, cardiologist, Prince Sultan Cardiac Centre, Qassim, Saudi Arabia recently. "It is important that patients adhere to their medications during fasting and ask their doctors to adjust the doses as needed, especially diuretics," he noted.