In recent years, intermittent fasting has been gaining social prominence in Spain, given its various metabolic and general health benefits. However, despite the fact that some studies suggest that this nutritional tool can help you lose weight, it is not a panacea.
This is suggested by a new study recently published in Science Translational Medicine, which would disdain the popular belief that diets based on intermittent fasting, over all alternate fasting such as 5: 2, would be a more effective way to lose weight in the short term than traditional diets.
While it is true that intermittent fasting has shown some metabolic benefits, its weight loss potential appears to have been exaggerated. Evidence to date on intermittent fasting, compared to other traditional calorie-restriction-based diets, would indicate that this tool it would not be better or superior to these “old known” diets.
At least that’s what the physiologists at the University of Bath, responsible for the new work, would affirm: there would be “nothing special” about fasting. To reach such a conclusion, the team from the Center for Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism at the University of Bath (CNEM) carried out a randomized clinical trial, dividing 36 participants with a normal BMI (20-25) into three groups:
– The group 1 He fasted every other day, with his fasting day followed by one day eating 50% more than his usual intake.
– The group 2 He reduced his calories each day by 25%.
– The Group number 3 he fasted every other day, but followed his fasting day with one day eating 100% more than usual.
Participants in all groups consumed a typical diet of 2000-2500 kcal per day. The two groups that reduced calories (group 1 and 2) dropped to 1500-2000 kcal on average.
According to the results of the study, the group 2 (no fasting, but calorie restriction) lost 1.9 kg in just three weeks, and DEXA body scans revealed that almost all of the weight loss was from body fat.
On the other side of the coin, the group 1, who experienced similar caloric restriction on average (helping alternate days and increasing caloric intake by 50% on non-fasting days) lost a similar amount of body weight, with a 1.6 kg average. However, only half of this weight loss was in the form of fat, while the rest was in the form of muscle mass.
Finally, the Group number 3, who fasted every other day but increased his intake by 100% on non-fasting days, did not lose weight or losses were negligible.
According to James Betts, director of the CNEM and director of the present study, these results would indicate that the fasting is not an especially effective way to lose weight, at least compared to traditional diets with typical calorie restriction. And they could even hurt in the long run.
Finally, Betts himself comments that the Prolonged fasting periods may even make it difficult to maintain muscle mass and levels of physical activity, both essential factors for long-term health.