Every few years, another diet comes along promising to revolutionize the waistline, the latest being fasting. This diet involves restricting calories on certain days or time periods. Previous research, while promising, has been limited to mice models. A new study, published in the Journal of American Medical Association, sheds some light on the effectiveness of the diet for humans.
Traditional Versus Fasting Diet
Researchers followed a group of 100 metabolically healthy obese people for one year. They established three groups, according to their diet. One for alternate-day fasting, another for traditional dieting, and a no variance or control group.
The traditional diet involved restricted calorie intake, consuming 75% of their energy need in a day. For the alternate-day fasting diet, the group followed a plan similar to one in a book written by Krista Varady. She is the study’s co-author, and also a kinesiology and nutrition professor. Participants restricted their calories by 25% on fast days. They then ate up to 125% of their daily calories on alternating feast days.
The study team hypothesized that the participants on the fasting diet would adhere better to their plan. They could also improve their cardiovascular health and lose more weight. However, the difference in weight loss between the diets wasn’t statistically significant. The fasting group lost 6.0% of their weight by the end of the year, while the traditional diet group lost 5.3%, and the control group lost 0% of their weight.
However, the difference in weight loss between the diets wasn’t statistically significant. The fasting group lost 6.0% of their weight by the end of the year. Still, the traditional diet group lost 5.3%, and the control group did not lose weight.
Additionally, there was little difference in the improvement of risk indicators, such as blood pressure, for cardiovascular diseases. Perhaps the most surprising element, the fasting group had the highest rate of dropouts within the study. Over a third or 38% of the group participants quit. This was compared to the 29% rate of the calorie restricting group and 26% in the control group.
Initially, this study may seem to disapprove of the fasting diet as a method to lose more weight. However, dieting practices can vary between individuals. Some might find it easier to intermittently fast than continuously restrict calories. As such, they can rejoice in the fact that their chosen diet seems to be equally as effective as the traditional diet.
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