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Losing weight with the 12-hour diet: top or flop? That's what experts say about it

Some call it the 12-hour diet, others 12:12 intermittent fasting. What is meant is the same: the body is given a twelve-hour break from eating. During this fasting phase, he should lose extra pounds by the way. But how successful is the method?

What is the 12 Hour Diet?

The 12-hour diet allows for twelve hours to be eaten. The other twelve hours are fasted. Example: If you have breakfast at eight in the morning, you shouldn't eat anything after eight in the evening. Proponents of the 12-hour diet see many benefits:

  • The body does not go into famine.
  • Pounds drop without the yo-yo effect.
  • There is no need to count calories.
  • You can eat what you are hungry for. There are no "bad" foods.

The 12-hour diet is not a miracle diet

Sounds tempting. But what is it? Graduate oecotrophologist Silke Restemeyer from the German Nutrition Society (DGE) dampens expectations of the supposed figure miracle "12-hour diet": "Individual studies show positive effects on the loss of body weight and positive effects on the cardiovascular system. System. However, according to the first meta-analyzes, overall intermittent fasting shows no advantages over continuous energy reduction - but neither does it have any disadvantages. "

This is also confirmed by nutritionist Brigitte Neumann: "Current studies show that losing weight is not more successful with intermittent fasting than with other weight loss methods. The 'principle' is always the same: If the calorie intake is lower than the calorie consumption, the pounds drop longer fasts can be done just as well as fewer calories per meal without a longer fast. "

Snacking less with the 12-hour diet

However, the 12-hour diet scores with one decisive advantage: it offers fixed rules. Eat twelve hours, eat nothing for twelve hours. These clear guidelines offer orientation and also help to save some snack calories. Because in the fixed fasting phase, there are no additional calories. To stay with our example: After 8 p.m., nothing is eaten anymore - and therefore cookies and chips are avoided when watching TV, as is alcohol and cheese when reading books in the evening. The 12-hour diet can help to save exactly those extra "snacking calories" or "not-hungry-but-bored-calories". "Intermittent fasting always helps you lose weight when you eat less," explains Brigitte Neumann. "Especially in the evening, a lot of people snack and lose track of the calories they have consumed."

How do you eat during the eating phases?

But if you eat too much in the "eating phases", you will quickly have taken up the calories saved during the fasting phase - and store the energy plus in the fat deposits. A few simple tips prevent: "Avoid snacks between meals and excessive gluttony and eat normal portions with plenty of vegetables, fruit and whole grain products," advises Silke Restemeyer. "A lower energy density makes it possible to eat filling amounts with a comparatively low energy intake." Two apples (250 grams), six carrots (450 grams) or 300 grams of low-fat yogurt contain as many calories as half a croissant (30 grams), namely 150 kilocalories.

12-hour diet: malnutrition is unlikely

One benefit of the 12-hour diet is that no foods are banned or "bad". This significantly expands the menu compared to other diets. Those who eat a balanced and varied diet during the twelve hours do not have to fear that their body will become deficient or even threaten the yo-yo effect. Regardless of which type of diet you choose: "It's not about losing pounds as quickly as possible, but losing weight in a healthy and long-term way," says graduate oecotrophologist Brigitte Neumann.

For the nutritionist it is clear: "Intermittent fasting can support weight loss and at the same time integrate a long-term change in diet. That is a great advantage. Most of the classic diets only last for a short time - and 98 percent of all diets lead to more after five years Body weight as indicated by the scales before the diet. "

The fasting phase of the 12-hour diet: what to watch out for?

During the fasting phase, people not only avoid food, but also calorie-containing drinks such as alcohol, lemonades, juices and milk. Water and unsweetened herbal teas are allowed. "Drink plenty. It stabilizes the circulation and stimulates the metabolism," recommends nutrition expert Restemeyer. In addition, a large glass of water helps to satisfy the small hunger in between.

12-hour diet: who is it for and who is it not?

Intermittent fasting is in principle suitable for every healthy person and can be easily integrated into everyday life. Pregnant women, breastfeeding women, children and adolescents should not fast as the risk of nutrient deficiency is too great. This also applies to people with eating disorders or who are severely underweight. "Fasting should be discussed with the doctor in advance when taking medication and with chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus and previous illnesses," advises Restemeyer.

In addition, not everyone can take the long breaks between meals. Some react with circulatory problems, headaches, difficulty concentrating and fatigue. Anyone who notices that the body cannot cope with the 12-hour diet should stop and eat something. It is also possible to adapt the fasting intervals to the needs of your own body: Some people may get along better with 14 hours of eating and ten hours of fasting.

Develop your own diet

Neumann advises listening to your own body. In addition to the 98 percent who have more kilos than before five years after a diet, there are also the two percent who manage to maintain their weight permanently. If the nutrition expert speaks to precisely these people, it becomes clear: "The knowledge is as simple as it is plausible. These people have found out for themselves how it is possible to lose pounds. They have practically developed their own diet, individually adapted it and successfully implemented it . "

Here you can experiment: Some get along well with longer meal breaks, others with the renouncement of snacks and sweets. Still others enjoy exercising and burn extra calories in the process. Food preferences should also be taken into account. If you like to eat carbohydrates, you can save on fat. If you don't want to miss out on the lemonade for lunch, you can leave out the dessert.

Important NOTE: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online cannot and must not be used to independently make diagnoses or start treatments.