Combined results from a total of 130 Clinical trials show that occasional fasting can help reduce weight, Body mass index (BMI), body fat, “bad” cholesterol, post blood sugar, i blood pressure, among other obesity-related risk factors.
Two specific types of occasional fasting have been linked to significant weight loss and other health benefits. One, called a modified alternating fast, involves alternating one day’s meals as usual with consuming no more than 600 the next day.
The second, called the 5: 2 diet, is similar, but includes 2 days a week of zero or very low-calorie diets and 5 days of normal diets.
Less useful were time-limited diets, which included fasting for 12-24 hours a day, and “calorie-free fasting alternated day,” where food is not consumed every other day.
“Our results support the role of occasional starvation, especially modified alternating starvation, in overweight adults or obesity as an approach to weight loss with other health benefits. But individuals must first consult their doctors, ”says lead author Chanthawat Patikorn of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.
And there’s a big trap: most studies only lasted about 3 months.
Among those who lasted longer, weight loss seemed to equalize in about 6 months, either because the body adjusted to the diet pattern or because participants could not adhere to diet.
“We still lack data to see if they can work in the long run. We see weight loss and improved metabolic profiles, but we still don’t know if intermittent fasting can lead to reduced death or cardiovascular events, ”says Patikorn.
On the other hand, “I would say that if a patient is interested in occasional fasting, there is no evidence that it is a bad thing.”
However, he warned that patterns in which you do not consume anything for a long time can pose a danger to people with diabetes who use insulin or are otherwise prone to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).