Researchers split 100 obese research volunteers (mostly African-American women, without other major medical problems ) into three classes:
One team followed an alternate fasting plan, which meant on the fasting day they would eat just 25 percent of their caloric requirements and about the non-fasting day they would eat a little bit more (125% of the caloric needs per day)
a second group ate 75 percent of their caloric needs every day, every day
a third group ate the way they typically did, for six months.
Both diet groups received counselling as well as all foods provided. This”weight loss” interval was followed by another six months of”weight maintenance” and observations.
Both diet groups lost about 5.5percent of the body weight (12 pounds) per month six, and both regained about 1.8percent (four pounds) by month 12, and had significant improvements in blood pressure, blood sugar, insulin, and inflammatory proteins when compared to people who ate their normal diets.
LDL is known as a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes, so that’s bad.
And how would this alternate-day fasting operate in real life?
This was a really small study to start with, and, more importantly, there was a fairly significant dropout rate. Only 69 percent of subjects stayed to the end, which decreases the power of their findings. By comparison, 10 individuals stop the daily calorie restriction group, and none mentioned dissatisfaction with diet, just personal reasons and scheduling conflicts (eight stop the management group for the same reasons).
It is not surprising that people disliked alternate-day fasting. Past studies have reported that individuals felt uncomfortably hungry and irritable on fasting days, and that they did not get accustomed to these distress. In this study, over time people in the fasting group ate more on fasting days and less on feasting days.
The control group didn’t get food, counselling, or the same attention from the analysis personnel, potential factors that could affect their results, besides how they ate. And this research can’t inform us about the potential benefits for people who have hypertension, high cholesterol, or diabetes because the research did not include individuals with these conditions
Usually at this stage we say something like”more research of the approach are required,” but I won’t. There is already plenty of evidence supporting a common-sense lifestyle approach to weight loss: ample intake of fruits and veggies, healthy fats, lean proteins, and a great deal of exercise. From apples to zucchini, there are more than a hundred”real” foods you can eat endlessly, enjoy, and yes, still drop weight.
I’d advise against spending any more money on fad diet books. Or processed carbs, for that matter. Rather, hit the frozen or fresh produce aisle, or farmer’s market, and go crazy. Then go exercise. Do that, say, for the rest of your life, and you’ll be fine. No one got fat eating broccoli, people. (That said, if you are inclined to overeat or stress-eat sugary or starchy foods, and you feel as if you can’t control your habit, talk with your doctor, because that is a separate problem to be addressed)