8 hour diet: fact of fiction?

The 8 hour diet is a book by David Zinczenko and Peter Moore, which claims that, by only eating within a certain 8 hour a day period, the pounds will drop off. However, the claims made in the book have been highly disputed, and the actual reported results of the diet seem to be largely exaggerated by the authors themselves.

How does it work?

The basic premise of the 8 hour diet is that dieter should only eat food within an 8 hour period each day. You can choose any 8 hour period in the day, but you cannot eat outside that period. For example, if you eat breakfast at 9am, you cannot consume any food after 4pm.

Is there any scientific basis for this claim? Well, like any dieting book, the authors claim that this is 'scientifically proven', but provides little evidence or verified studies supporting this claim.

The 'science' behind this method is that, because of our modern lifestyle, we eat (or graze) throughout the whole day, which doesn't give our body enough time to burn off food. By only eating within an 8 hour diet period, we give our bodies a chance to rest and burn off the extra calories.

How much can you lose?

According to the book, you can lose up to 20lbs in six week. This is quite an ambitious claim and, as stated previously, there is no evidence to suggest you can lose 20lbs per week - or even any weight at all.

Does the 8 hour diet work?

The 8 hour diet could work in the same way adding, say, more spinach to your diet will help you lose weight. To put it bluntly, your body won't benefit significantly from simply restricting your food from 12 hours (the average hours we spread out eating habits in a day) by 4 hours.

Your body, for example, burns off less food during the evening. Your body also needs time to process food and absorb calories to make use of them; this can take up to 24 hours in some cases, so your body won't be utilising the food you consume immediately.

By the time you're in bed, your body will probably start burning up those calories you crammed during the 8 hour period - and while you're sleeping, you're not burning much at all. When it comes to the next day, where your body will be moving and finallyburning calories, you'll be in the 8 hour diet period again and eating.

What other methods could I use?

Diets aren't guaranteed to work for everyone. If someone has given a golden review of the 8 hour diet, it might be true that it does work for them - but without any scientific claims or evidence, there's absolutely no guarantee the diet could benefit you at all.

Instead, focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet with fresh fruit and vegetables which provide essential nutrients to aid digestion. Exercise regularly; to effectively lose weight, you must burn more energy than you consume on a daily basis.

There is no miracle cure for weight loss. Changing your eating habits by a few hours won't have much benefit unless you change what you eat; in fact, scientist actually recommended eating small portions throughout the day, rather than three large square meals.

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