Intermittent fasting works for weight loss, health changes – Study

Intermittent fasting can produce clinically significant weight loss as well as improve metabolic health in individuals with obesity, according to a new study review led by University of Illinois Chicago researchers.

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“We noted that intermittent fasting is not better than regular dieting; both produce the same amount of weight loss and similar changes in blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation,” said Krista Varady, KN professor and author of “Cardiometabolic Benefits of Intermittent Fasting.”

According to the analysis published in the Annual Review of Nutrition, all forms of fasting reviewed produced mild to moderate weight loss, 1%-8% from baseline weight, which represents results that are similar to that of more traditional, calorie-restrictive diets. Intermittent fasting regimens may also benefit health by decreasing blood pressure and insulin resistance, and in some cases, cholesterol and triglyceride levels are also lowered. Other health benefits, such as improved appetite regulation and positive changes in the gut microbiome, have also been demonstrated.

The review looked at over 25 research studies involving three types of intermittent fasting: 

  • Alternate day fasting, which typically involves a feast day alternated with a fast day where 500 calories are consumed in one meal. 
  • 5:2 diet, a modified version of alternate day fasting that involves five feast days and two fast days per week. 
  • Time-restricted eating, which confines eating to a specified number of hours per day, usually four to 10 hours, with no calorie restrictions during the eating period. 

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