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Sorry, intermittent fasting is no better than regular dieting



Photo: MaleWitch (iStock)

Intermittent fasting is the hottest diet trend since the keto. (Bonus points for keto and temporary fasting – you can probably fly now!) The main point is that people try to lose weight by only eating between certain hours, or restricting food on certain days of the week while they are usually eat the rest of the time. This is the "intermittent" part: eat most of the time regularly, limit your food at other times. Then there is a subset of intermittent fasting, called the 5: 2 diet, where people regularly eat five days a week and eat a very limited number of calories on two days.

But these diets have gained popularity There have been few longitudinal studies to see if they actually lead to permanent weight loss. ( US News & World Report provides a breakdown of past research on fasting diets.) Now there is a new credible study that can be added to the mix: This 50-week study of 150 obese and overweight adults was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the 5: 2 fasting diet was "equivalent but not superior" to a traditional diet in terms of weight loss and prevention of metabolic diseases.

To conduct the study, the researchers divided the 150 people into three groups: a control group that was not asked to change their diets; a group that followed the 5: 2 diet; and a group that followed a more conventional diet and continued to cut calorie intake by 20 percent. In the first months of the experiment, a nutritionist oversaw the participants to make sure they were on the diet; Over the next few months, participants watched their own diets.

The results were encouraging for both diet groups as they showed that conventional and fasting diets both result in weight loss. However, the results could be seen as a disappointment for those hoping that fasting diet would be a superior option. It turns out that the simplest advice is still usually right: you need less calories and you lose weight.


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