Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Study: On-Off Fasting May Work For Some

(American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Study Summary)

A small study from the University of Illinois at Chicago suggests that 'alternate day fasting' (ADF) may help some adults lose weight and protect their hearts.

In this very small preliminary study, sixteen obese adults completed a ten week diet trial, split in to three phases. During the 4-week weight loss/ADF phase, the adults consumed 25% of their required calories on one day, and then their normal amount the next.

The researchers found that, on average, the participants' body weight decreased by about ten pounds after 8 weeks of dieting. In addition, their body fat percentage, total cholesterol, LDL ("bad cholesterol") and triacylglycerol concentrations all decreased, but HDL ("good cholesterol") remained unchanged. To cap things, systolic blood pressure also decreased. The researchers believe that alternate day fasting may be "a viable diet option to help obese individuals lose weight and decrease coronary artery disease risk".

Once again, these findings are very preliminary and participants were all obese at the start of the trial. In other cases, results will likely differ and the health effects or potential benefits may not be generalizable.

Adapted from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Nov. 2009).