Does Intermittent Fasting Work and Is It Safe?
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In 2016, World Health Organization (WHO) reported that more than 1.9 billion people in the world were overweight and over 650 million people were obese which has tripled in number since 1975. Also, obesity is a known risk factor for many metabolic disorders like coronary heart disease, malignancies, osteoarthritis and respiratory disorders. A systematic review of the four studies discussed showed that intermittent fasting was effective for short-term weight loss. However, there was increased variability in our included studies, ranging from 16 to 334 participants with a follow-up period ranging from three weeks to 104 weeks ( Galani C, Schneider H., 2007). Baseline characteristics of the study population were also different in terms of body mass index which included normal weight subjects, overweight and obese subjects. Mode of interventions was also different for each individual study. A systematic review by Davis et al. found that dietary plans had significant weight loss in intermittent fasting groups. Seimon et al. in his systematic review found that intermittent fasting diet was as effective as daily restriction of calories both for short and long-term interventions. Most common issues with continuous calorie restriction diet are that restriction of food continuously is a trigger for higher hunger and additional eating. In these situations, ADF is a better solution which might be an optimal solution so that people can eat in their usual ways on non-fast days. This also depends on the type of the ADF used which minimizes the fatigue associated with continuous calorie restriction.
For example, patients are required to fast for 8–12 hours before blood draws to achieve steady-state fasting levels for many metabolic substrates. Therefore the important clinical and scientific question is whether adoption of a regular intermittent fasting regimen is a feasible and sustainable population-based strategy for promoting metabolic health. In addition, research is needed to test whether these regimens can complement or replace energy restriction and if so, whether they support long-term weight management.
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Alternate day fasting for weight loss in normal weight and overweight subjects: a randomized controlled trial. Varady KA, Bhutani S, Klempel MC, et al. Nutr J. 2013;12:146.
Alternate day fasting and endurance exercise combine to reduce body weight and favorably alter plasma lipids in obese humans. Bhutani S, Klempel MC, Kroeger CM, Trepanowski JF, Varady KA. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2013