Intermittent fasting (IF) has recently gained much public interest as a weight loss approach. It’s a unique dietary strategy defined as periods of eating alternated with periods of not eating (fasting).
This dietary strategy focuses on when food is consumed and total quantity consumed and it works through an altered liver metabolism, referred to as the metabolic switch, where the body periodically switches from liver-derived glucose to adipose cell-derived ketones during fasting periods.
When we fast a cascade of cellular responses happen, the glucose regulation improves, inflammation decreases, and there is an upregulation of autophagy of where damaged molecules are removed to defend from metabolic and oxidative stress.
New Study Results
A recently published study in the journal JAMA Network Open reviewed 11 meta-analyses of randomized clinical trials describing 104 outcomes associated with intermittent fasting on obesity-related health outcomes and found 6 statistically significant associations of intermittent fasting supported by moderate to high quality of evidence.
The research found that 4 intermittent fasting schedules had associations with weight loss and beneficial impact on blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, blood glucose, and cholesterol levels.
They found that the modified alternate-day fasting or 5:2 diet, that uses a restricted calorie intake on fasting days, were especially effective in facilitating weight loss and improving cardiovascular and metabolic outcomes.
The results showed that intermittent fasting may be an effective way of lowering cardiovascular risk by decreasing blood pressure, LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), and triglycerides. They also showed that IF may prevent type 2 diabetes by lowering insulin resistance.
The authors noted that the long-term effects of IF are still unknown and more studies are needed in order to evaluate the safety of this dietary strategy.
Patikorn C, Roubal K, Veettil SK, et al. Intermittent Fasting and Obesity-Related Health Outcomes: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses of Randomized Clinical Trials. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(12):e2139558. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.39558
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