One of the buzziest diet trends of the past several years has been debunked.

A new study has found that intermittent fasting — a celebrity-favored diet in which eating is limited to about an 8-hour window during the day — does not help people lose weight, and may even result in a loss of muscle mass.

The study by researchers from the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) found that those who intermittently fasted for 12 weeks only lost a half-pound more than a group of people who ate normally. Previous studies of the diet promised a range of benefits, from weight loss to longevity; however, much of the research only studied mice.

The new findings, published in JAMA Internal Medicine following a clinical trial, were shocking to the researchers — one of whom was even on the diet himself for seven years.

“I went into this hoping to demonstrate that this thing I’ve been doing for years works,” lead author and UCSF cardiologist Dr. Ethan Weiss told CNBC. “But as soon as I saw the data, I stopped.”

It upends years of hype, especially among Silicon Valley biohacking types, who touted fasting as a way to stay healthy, be productive and live longer. Among its most loyal devotees were Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. But even average Joes combined it with healthier lifestyle choices to drop pounds. Last year, a version of it was the most-searched diet trend of the year.

In reality, however, it appeared no one on the diet alone loses a statistically significant amount of weight, according to the study, which enlisted 116 overweight or obese participants. It also had little effect on blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

In fact, it even had some adverse effects. Some of the participants on the diet actually experienced lean muscle loss, the study found.

Previous research touting the weight-loss benefits of intermittent fasting came with a caveat that any resultant fat loss may have had more to do with calorie restriction, since fewer hours of eating a day generally meant fewer opportunities to overindulge.

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