Intermittent fasting ‘no magic bullet for weight loss’ says new study

New analysis revealed this week challenges a preferred perception that intermittent fasting diets resembling alternate day fasting or the ‘5:2’ are the simplest methods to reduce weight.

Over current years, diets which see folks quick on a number of days every week have elevated in reputation, strengthened by photos of individuals’s miraculous weight transformations, and backed by superstar endorsements.

However, proof thus far in regards to the effectiveness of fasting in contrast with extra conventional diets which purpose to cut back calorie consumption over the course of a full week has been restricted.

Published within the prestigious journal Science Translational Medicine, the brand new examine from a group of physiologists on the University of Bath builds this proof and signifies that there’s ‘nothing particular’ about fasting.

Participants of their randomised management trial misplaced much less weight when fasting as compared with these following a conventional food plan – even when their calorie consumption was the identical general.

The trial, organised by a group from the University’s Centre for Nutrition, Exercise & Metabolism (CNEM), noticed contributors allotted into certainly one of three teams:

  • Group 1 which fasted on alternate days with their quick day adopted by a day of consuming 50% greater than common.
  • Group 2 which lowered energy throughout all meals on a regular basis by 25%.
  • Group 3 which fasted on alternate days (in the identical approach as Group 1) however adopted their quick day with at some point consuming 100% greater than common.

Participants throughout all three teams have been consuming a typical food plan of round 2000-2500 kcal per day on common initially of the examine. Over the course of the three-week monitoring interval, the 2 vitality restricted teams lowered this to be between 1500-2000 kcal on common.
Whereas teams 1 and a pair of lowered their calorie consumption by the identical quantity in numerous methods, group 3’s food plan noticed them quick with out lowering general energy.

Their outcomes discovered that the non-fasting weight-reduction plan group (Group 2) misplaced 1.9 kg in simply three weeks, and DEXA physique scans revealed this weight reduction was nearly completely because of a discount in physique fats content material.

By distinction, the primary fasting group (Group 1) who skilled the identical lowered calorie consumption by fasting on alternate days and consuming 50% extra on non-fasting days, misplaced nearly as a lot physique weight (1.6 kg) however solely half this weight reduction was from lowered physique fats with the rest from muscle mass.

Group 3, who fasted however elevated their vitality consumption by 100% on non-fasting days, didn’t want to attract on their physique’s fats shops for vitality and subsequently weight reduction was negligible.

Professor James Betts, Director of the Centre for Nutrition, Exercise & Metabolism on the University of Bath who led the analysis explains: “Many folks consider that diets based mostly on fasting are particularly efficient for weight reduction or that these diets have specific metabolic well being advantages even when you do not reduce weight.

“But intermittent fasting isn’t any magic bullet and the findings of our experiment counsel that there’s nothing particular about fasting in comparison with extra conventional, normal diets folks would possibly observe.

“Most considerably, if you’re following a fasting food plan it’s price fascinated with whether or not extended fasting intervals is definitely making it more durable to take care of muscle mass and bodily exercise ranges, that are recognized to be crucial elements for long-term well being.”

These outcomes centered on contributors who have been outlined as ‘lean’ (i.e. physique mass index 20-25 kg/m2). 36 folks participated within the examine which was carried out between 2018 – 2020 and funded by the University of Bath.


The full examine ‘A randomized managed trial to isolate the consequences of fasting and vitality restriction on weight reduction and metabolic well being in lean adults’ is revealed in Science Translational Medicine on Wednesday 16 June 1400 US Eastern Time; 1900 BST 10.1126/scitranslmed.abd8034.

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