- Intermittent fasting, which involves alternating periods of fasting and eating, has been linked to weight loss and other health benefits.
- A recent review compiled the results of clinical trials examining the effect of four combined schedules of intermittent fasting on weight loss and other health benefits.
- The study found that all four intermittent fasting schedules were associated with weight loss and a beneficial effect on blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, glucose and cholesterol levels.
- The review found that Modified alternate-day fasting or the 5:2 diet, which includes restricting caloric intake on fasting days, has been particularly effective in facilitating weight loss and improving cardiac metabolic outcomes.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that includes alternating periods of fasting and eating. In other words, it restricts eating at specific times.
There are several different methods of intermittent fasting. Certain schedules only allow eating during the 8 hours of the day, while others restrict or reduce food intake for certain days of the week.
Furthermore, the researchers conducted meta-analyses to summarize the results of these clinical trials on the health benefits of various forms of intermittent fasting. These meta-analyses have generally focused on the association betweenSpecific methods of intermittent fasting and health outcomes.
The study found that intermittent fasting has associations with weight loss and improvements in metabolism and cardiovascular health.
The researchers also found that some methods of intermittent fasting were more effective for weight loss.
Study co-author Christa Faraday, professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, Chicago, said: Medical news today“This study is primarily a review of review articles. It shows that different forms of intermittent fasting, ie alternating day fasting, the 5:2 diet, and time-restricted feeding, are all effective weight loss interventions for people with obesity.”
This review also shows that intermittent fasting may be an effective way to reduce heart disease risk by lowering blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides. The article also shows that these diets may help prevent type 2 diabetes by lowering insulin resistance and fasting insulin,” added Dr. Faraday.
The study appears in the journal
Intermittent fasting involves fasting for long enough periods to ensure that the body’s sugar stores are depleted, which results in fat burning to meet the body’s energy needs.
The body converts excess carbohydrates consumed during the meal into glucose and then stores it as glycogen in the liver in the presence of insulin. Insulin also promotes the storage of excess glucose as fat.
When insulin levels begin to drop between meals, glycogen is broken down in the liver to maintain blood sugar levels. Long periods of fasting, such as those prescribed for intermittent fasting, deplete the liver’s glycogen stores. As a result, the body resorts to the breakdown of fats to maintain the normal functioning of the body and brain.
Besides losing fat,
Intermittent fasting schedules can vary greatly. Common intermittent fasting regimens followed include alternate day fasting, the 5:2 diet, and time-restricted eating.
There are two types of alternate day fasting: alternate day fasting without calories and modified alternate day fasting.
Alternate day fasting without calories involves fasting alternate days, with no calories being eaten on those fasting days. In contrast, the modified alternate-day fasting regimen allows a limited amount of calories to be eaten on fasting days.
The 5:2 diet involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week, while time-restricted eating involves fasting for at least 12 hours during the day.
The current study reviewed 11 meta-analyses summarizing the results of randomized clinical trials that included intermittent fasting. Specifically, these meta-analyses included results from 130 clinical trials examining the effect of the above four intermittent fasting regimens on metabolic and cardiovascular health.
The researchers also analyzed the effect of bias and ambivalence on the results of these studies. Accordingly, they rated these outcomes as low, medium, or high quality.
Researchers have found that intermittent fasting has associations with weight loss, lower body mass index (BMI), and improved blood sugar levels, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and cholesterol levels.
The Modified Alternative Fasting Diet and the 5:2 diet resulted in more than 5% weight loss in people who were overweight or obese. The calorie-free alternative fasting diet and the time-restricted diet did not have the same effect.
The analysis also showed that most of these studies were likely to be of low quality.
However, researchers found more reliable evidence supporting seven associations between intermittent fasting and health outcomes.
This included high-quality and medium-quality data showing:
- Modified alternate-day fasting was associated with greater decreases in BMI or body weight in healthy, overweight, and obese adults compared to the normal diet.
- Alternate calorie-free day fasting and the 5:2 diet have associations with greater reductions in fat mass and insulin levels during fasting, respectively, in overweight or obese adults than with sustained energy restriction.
The authors acknowledged that there were certain limitations to their analyses.
The randomized clinical trials included in the comprehensive review generally focused on healthy individuals or individuals with obesity and other metabolic disorders, such as diabetes. Furthermore, most of these clinical trials have only evaluated the short-term safety of intermittent fasting.
The authors note that the long-term safety of intermittent fasting still needs to be studied. The safety and effectiveness of intermittent fasting schedules should also be tested in a more diverse group of individuals.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Nathorn Chaiyakunapruk, a professor at the University of Utah, said MNT There has been a lack of evidence for the long-term efficacy and safety of fasting.
“There is still a paucity of evidence demonstrating clear and sustainable clinical benefits and safety of intermittent fasting in the long term. Studies should also investigate the effects of intermittent fasting in a broader range of participants with a broader range of outcomes such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, liver outcomes, diabetes remission, and the gut microbiome.”
Dr. Nathorne Chiakonabrook
Studies that directly compare types of [intermittent fasting] She is lacking. “Therefore, it remains unknown which type is better than the others,” Dr. Chiakonabrook added.
Likewise, said Dr. Varadi believes that next steps in the research should focus on addressing the effects of intermittent fasting in different population groups.
“In particular, more studies are needed for people with type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), and thyroid disorders,” he said. Intermittent fasting can be used as a non-drug therapy to help these individuals manage their conditions.
Benjamin Horn, a cardiovascular and genetic epidemiologist at the Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center in Utah, noted other limitations.
The paper did not examine what happens to people who stop intermittent fasting and whether they can continue to lose weight without continuing the regimen. This is a critical issue that plagues all weight loss diets, especially intensive weight loss diets.” MNT.
Horn also noted that the study suggests that intense intermittent fasting schedules, such as modified alternate-day fasting and the 5:2 diet, gave the best results. However, it can be difficult to maintain these schedules over long periods.
Stressing that these intermittent fasting regimens may be unsustainable in the long term, Dr Horne said:[f]Utility studies need to assess the average person’s ability to adhere to these regulations.”
Although there are valid concerns about the safety of intermittent fasting, some of the concerns may be exaggerated.
“It is important to note that intermittent fasting has been shown to be a safe nutritional treatment for weight loss. There are many concerns about intermittent fasting – for example, people are concerned that these diets slow down metabolism and cause eating disorders. Evidence from recent clinical trials suggests Intermittent fasting does not have a negative effect on metabolic rate and does not cause eating disorders in people without a history of eating disorders.
Kai Liu, a dietitian and doctoral student at the University of Adelaide in Australia, advised individuals to consult a doctor before embarking on an intermittent fasting diet, especially if they have special nutritional needs.
“I think nutritional interventions, including intermittent fasting, should take into account the nutritional needs of the target population,” she said.
For example, [intermittent fasting] Trials that recruited diabetic patients suggested close monitoring by health professionals and active review and dose adjustment of hypoglycemic agents. Also, [older] People tend to have an increased need for certain micronutrients, such as calcium. Therefore, assessing people’s needs first is always critical before giving nutritional advice.
“[A]Always consult with health professionals first,” Liu added.