On-off fasting helps obese adults lose weight
Fasting every other day can help obese people lose weight.
People typically try to lose weight by cutting their calorie intake every day. A much rarer approach is to have people alternate feed days with fast days. Researchers in America studied 16 obese adults (12 women and 4 men) to examine the effects of alternate day fasting to facilitate weight loss and lower heart disease risk in obese individuals. The participants began by eating normally for a two-week control period. Then, for eight weeks, they ate just 25 percent of the calories they needed to maintain their weight, between noon and 2 p.m., every other day.
For the first four weeks, the researchers provided study participants with their fasting day meal, while for the next four, the participants met with a dietitian every week and prepared the meal themselves.
It was found that the participants lost 6 kg weight after eight weeks even though they ate whatever they wanted on their non-fasting days. Also, their total and 'bad' LDL cholesterol levels dropped, and their blood pressure fell. Study participants lost about 0.7 kilograms (1.5 pounds) every week. At the end of the eight-week diet, their total cholesterol had dropped by 21 percent, on average, while their LDL cholesterol had dropped 25 percent. Moreover, their systolic blood pressure (the upper number in a blood pressure reading) had fallen by an average of five points.
On non-fasting days people typically ate between 100 percent or 125 percent of their calorie needs.
The researchers concluded that alternate day fasting is a viable diet option to help obese individuals lose weight and decrease coronary artery disease (CAD) risk.
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