A study released by the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois in Chicago, which studied the effects of modified alternate day fasting (ADF) to facilitate weight loss and lower cardiovascular risk in obese individuals, found that alternate day fasting can be a viable option for obese patients currently working toward a healthier body weight.
This study examined the effects of alternate day fasting compared between controlled and self-implemented conditions. Beyond the benefits it may offer to weight loss the study also investigated the effects of alternate day fasting on coronary artery disease risks (CAD) indicators in obese adults.
The study examined 16 obese adults (12 women and 4 men) who completed a 10 week trial period which consisted of 3 phases. The phases included a 2 week control phase, a 4 week weight loss alternate day fasting/controlled eating phase and a 4 week weight loss alternate day fasting/self selected feeding phase.
Criteria for inclusion for patients in the study were:
- Individuals between the ages of 35 and 65
- BMI between 30 and 39.9
- Non diabetic
- No history of cardiovascular disease
- Lightly active for 3 months prior to the study (less than 3 hrs a week of light intensity exercise)
- Non smoker
- Not currently taking weight loss, lipid or glucose lowering drugs
This study found over the 10 week trial period that dietary adherence remained high throughout the controlled intake phase with an average success rate of 86% for all subjects involved while the self selected food intake phase enjoyed a success rate of 89%. The rate of weight loss also remained constant during the controlled food intake phases and the self selected food intake phases, averaging nearly 1 pound per week during each phase for each individual. Body fat percentage also decreased by an average of 2% over the final 8 week period.
Although the weight loss and body fat percentage decrease is encouraging, the most encouraging conclusion from this study is the decrease in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations, but beneficial HDL remained unchanged. Fasting reduced blood pressure for every participant.
The conclusion of the study suggests “ADF is a viable diet option to help obese individuals lose weight and decrease CAD risk”.
Alternate day fasting is good idea. The key is it lowers the cholesterol. However, Every program doesn’t suit to every one. It differs from individual to individual. One must surely try this and experiment that whether this is right for particular individual.
Fasting works good for me. I work it in with my carb cycling program. down 65 lbs ni six month..
I’ve often been a proponent of simply eating less to lose weight. Seems pretty simple and this study supports the idea. The topic of metabolic rate always seems to come up and going into “starvation mode”. Then there’s the Law of Conservation of Mass. While continuing your normal lifestyle / activity level, if you eat less (and there are no other significant changes happening at the same time), then you have to lose weight.
Good study and that confirms that normal healthy people should have a break without eating for some time.
An interesting study. I generally suppport a short sharp burst of fasting such as a juice diet for detox and weight loss.
The ADF approach seems quite sustainable and perhaps the body gets into a rhythm and is happy with alternative days of fasting.
Thanks for sharing this information.
This is a very interesting study… I agree with Micky Corbett, this alternate day fasting may be able to avoid the body’s natural need to slow down it’s metabolism in the face of a long term famine. It might not have time to catch on lol…
I followed a diet very similar to this last year and I lost 50 pounds,it was easy to follow.
It seems like those trying this kind of diet would be more likely to binge eat. I can barely miss one meal and not over eat at the next one.
This confirms for me the sort of diet I’ve been following for the past 3 months. I’ve been on the Warrior Diet (just do a quick google search) with a “fasting” or “undereating” cycle followed at night with a “overeating” cycle. It’s definitely worked for me. I’ve lost 17 lbs in 3 months, and could’ve lost more if I weren’t on so many holidays surrounded by so much delicious food! I started in August of this year (2010) weighing 286lbs, and am now 269lbs – I’ve never been fit in my life, and have always been porky. I’m looking forward to more encouraging results in the months to come!
I’ve been fasting on alternate days for about three weeks and have lost six pounds. On the “fasting” days I still eat – I just limit my calorie intake to 800 calories or less. Once I reach my weight loss goal (eight pounds to go) I will continue to “fast” two or three days a week – I think this has to be a permanent life style change as does any method of permanently losing weight. Luckily, it isn’t too hard after the first week.
You are so right David. You have to do what works for you this is a process.
This is something that I’ve seen done with people doing low carb diets, but I’m with a lot of the other commenters – I just don’t know about the long term effects. Interesting topic to share though – thank you!
On average it takes 10 days for your body to adjust to a major change.
This 24 on again off again cycle would not allow your body to make that adjustment.
I have in the past done many fasts and have always benefitd greatly from them.
now due to adrenal problems long term fasting is not a viable option for me, I will however attempt this alternate fasting to acheive similiar benefit.
I do wish there were more information about this and adrenal exhaustiong and heart attacks. Oh well you gotta go some time lol
The length of the fasting period can be easily modulated. Just extending the overnight fast to 14 or 15 hours would improve insulin sensitivity, gh levels and BDNF in most individuals.
Eating one day; and fasting the next day can be mentally challenging.
We are programed to eat everyday. Even eating smaller portion seems more feasible than going without food for 24 hours.
It’s interesting how even with a full day’s fast that there is weight loss. The idea that effectively you starve yourself for one day every other day yet your body doesn’t register that you are starving your self, in the metabolic sense, is intriguing.
I can understand that these subjects would lose weight and that there would be a improvement in their overall health. However, what would the longer term effect be. The fasting routine could affect their metabolism and slow it down resulting in more rapid weight gain when they resume normal eating.
Interesting study. Yes, decrease in cholesterol is giving bigger encouragement.