Intermittent fasting is all the rage due to its potential health benefits.
In a new study from the University of Illinois, researchers found this style of eating really does produce weight loss and may even improve certain markers of heart health.
Intermittent fasting is an umbrella term for several diets that alternate between feasts and fasts.
The 5:2 diet involves eating normally five days of the week and restricting your calories on the other two days.
Alternate-day fasting calls for a fast day-feast day-fast day pattern. In contrast, time-restricted eating refers to eating only during specific time windows each day.
The new study showed that the different forms of intermittent fasting, i.e., alternate-day fasting, the 5:2 diet and time-restricted feeding, are all effective weight loss interventions for people with obesity.
Intermittent fasting may be an effective means of lowering heart disease risk by decreasing blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein [LDL] or ‘bad’ cholesterol, and triglycerides.
What’s more, these diets may help prevent type 2 diabetes by lowering insulin resistance and fasting insulin levels. Most of these benefits likely stem from weight loss.
In the study, the researchers analyzed 11 studies that comprised 130 trials of various intermittent fasting regimens.
When the investigators looked at all of the studies as a whole, intermittent fasting did produce weight loss and improvements in risk factors for heart health.
However, only alternate-day fasting and the 5:2 diet resulted in a clinically significant weight loss of more than 5%.
The study provides strong evidence that some, but not all, of the regimens, result in weight loss and related decreases in body mass metrics and improvements in heart risk factors.
Future studies need to evaluate the ability of the average person to adhere to these regimens because it is unclear that they are sustainable over the long term.
If you care about heart health, please read studies about drug combo that may reduce your risks of heart attack and stroke, and findings of diet that could prevent or even reverse heart failure.
For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about big cause of heart failure, and results showing that common oral health problem may increase risk of heart disease.
The study is published in JAMA Network Open. One author of the study is Krista Varady.
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