Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Fasting Alternate Days vs. Reducing Calories Daily

This recently published, randomized control trial, the best kind of scientific study, has answered my questions about intermittent fasting. I have been getting seduced by the idea that fasting is a key to better health and longevity in addition to obtaining ideal weight. There are many ways in which it seems that it would make sense, including making individuals more insulin sensitive and reducing caloric intake over time. Despite the myriad articles and even a recent documentary describing fasting as a holy grail of health, this study demonstrates no signinficant benefit to fasting over a reduced calorie diet. In fact, the fasters were more likely to drop out and seemed to have worse cholesterol levels than the reduced calorie dieters.

Here is my take away from this study and others;

-Sticking to a daily routine seems the easiest way to lose weight. Repetition in dining times and meal composition tends to lead to greater weight loss.

-Reducing calories by any means will lead to short-term weight loss irrespective of the type of diet.

-Fasting does not have inherent, unique, health benefits in respect to cardiac health.


 2017 Jul 1;177(7):930-938. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.0936.

Effect of Alternate-Day Fasting on Weight LossWeight Maintenance, and Cardioprotection Among Metabolically Healthy Obese Adults: A Randomized Clinical Trial.