Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wisdom Wednesday: Could Fasting Every Other Day Help You Lose More Weight?

After one year, researchers found that weight loss was about the same – 6% for those on the alternate-day fasting diet and a little over 5% for those on the daily restricted-calorie diet.

“We thought that alternate-day fasting group would do better. It allows people to have a break from dieting every other day, so we thought their adherence would be better,” explained lead author Krista Varady.

“But it turns out people in both diets lost the same amount of weight,” said Varady. She’s an associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“People in the alternate-day fasting group were eating more than the 500 calories prescribed on the fast day, but a lot less than the calories prescribed on the feast day. That’s why they lost the same amount of weight,” she explained. However, “people who stuck to the [alternate-day fasting] diet lost 20 to 50 pounds in a year,” Varady added. “It does work for some people.”

In the study, Varady’s team randomly assigned 100 obese people to an alternate-day fasting diet, a conventional diet (25% reduction in calories every day), or no diet at all (the “control” group).

People on the conventional diet were able to stick to their calorie goals better than the alternate-day fasting group, the researchers found. The dropout rates were 38% or the alternate-day fasting group and 29% for the conventional group.

The fasting diet appeared to be safe, Varady noted. On fasting days, people were encouraged to eat a lot of protein because protein makes you feel full, she said.

The report was published online May 1 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

My Take:
I have been experimenting with “The Fasting Diet” myself. Two days a week, I restrict my caloric intake to 600 calories. The remaining days I eat normally. Personally, I find the diet pretty easy to follow. You pick the days to “fast” and it allows you to go out to dinner on occasion and not worry about caloric intact.

I thought that low blood sugar might be an issue as I am hypoglycemic, but the high protein intake seems to negate any adverse effects on blood glucose. In fact, modified fasting has been used successfully to bring uncontrolled diabetics back to good glycemic control, often allowing them to eliminate insulin injections and return to oral medication.

I have yet to recommend alternate-fasting to any of my patients, but I am now looking for a few good candidates in my practice. Typically, I like to try any new regime myself (if possible) prior to recommending it to a patient.

The Bottom Line:
The Fasting Diet is not for everyone. However, if you would like to use a few pounds and the concept of variety in dieting appeals to you, give it a try. I suggest you limit the modified fast to two days a week, rather than every other day. Don’t do two days in a row. This gives you options to work around your lifestyle. Please don’t fast on the day when you do your long workout. I’ve been “fasting” on work days, so I’m not so tempted to go to the kitchen and my exercise routine is less strenuous.

Source: May 1, 2017 National Institutes of Health

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