Big Review Confirms Power of Fasting Diets for Weight Loss – MedicineNet
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By Denise Mann HealthDay Reporter
TUESDAY, Dec. 21, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Intermittent fasting is all the rage due to its potential health benefits, and now a new review shows this style of eating really does produce weight loss and may even improve certain markers of heart health.
Intermittent fasting is an umbrella term for several diets that alternate between feasts and fasts. The 5:2 diet involves eating normally five days of the week and restricting your calories on the other two days. Alternate-day fasting calls for a fast day-feast day-fast day pattern. In contrast, time-restricted eating refers to eating only during specific time windows each day.
“The new study demonstrates that the different forms of intermittent fasting, i.e., alternate-day fasting, the 5:2 diet and time-restricted feeding, are all effective weight loss interventions for people with obesity,” said study author Krista Varady, director of the Human Nutrition Research Unit at the University of Illinois, in Chicago.
“Intermittent fasting may be an effective means of lowering heart disease risk by decreasing blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein [LDL] or ‘bad’ cholesterol, and triglycerides,” she said. What’s more, these diets may help prevent type 2 diabetes by lowering insulin resistance and fasting insulin levels.
Most of these benefits likely stem from weight loss.
“All of these regimens induce a calorie restriction of 15% to 30% daily, which results in weight loss,” Varady said. “When an obese person loses weight, they almost always see reductions in LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and insulin resistance.”
For the review, the researchers analyzed 11 studies that comprised 130 trials of various intermittent fasting regimens. When the investigators looked at all of the studies as a whole, intermittent fasting did produce weight loss and improvements in risk factors for heart health. However, only alternate-day fasting and the 5:2 diet resulted in a clinically significant weight loss of more than 5%, the study showed.
The findings were published online Dec. 17 in JAMA Network Open.
So, should you or shouldn’t you jump on the intermittent fasting bandwagon, and if you do, which method is right for you?
Two experts who were not involved with the study agreed that it’s too early to make any blanket recommendations.
“The study provides strong evidence that some, but not all, of the regimens result in weight loss and related decreases in body mass metrics and improvements in cardiometabolic risk factors, such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure and measures of insulin resistance,” said Benjamin Horne. He is the director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at the Intermountain Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The methods in …….