Intermittent fasting is yet another dieting trend being utilised by a range of people for weight loss.
A common example is the 5:2 diet, where 2 days of the week are highly restricted in energy intake. This restriction is to only about 75% recommended daily calorie consumption also known as “fasting days”.
These types of diet offer an alternative to regular continuous energy restrictive diets, where portions sizes and frequency of food intake are reduced over a period of time.
But which of these two dieting methods is superior?
A review and analysis of the current literature on these diets found NO significant differences between intermittent fasting and continuous energy restriction diets. In both groups, weight loss was reported, at similar rates. In terms of cardio metabolic (heart) function, there was no significant differences in blood pressure or cholesterol levels when comparing intermittent fasting to continuous energy restriction.
Despite this study focusing on weight loss and cardio-metabolic factors, there needs to be more research conducted on the other proposed benefits of intermittent fasting, such as impacts of lipid/fat metabolism, lipo-protein metabolism and changes in gut bacteria.
This study helps confirm the basic weight loss equation, where if energy intake is less than energy output, weight loss will occur. Importantly, diets should be tailored to the body composition and goals of each individual, so consult your GP, and get in touch with a nutritionist or dietitian to help establish the best course of dieting for you.
In occurrence with this, ALL individuals should always aim to consume a healthy balanced diet, and exercise consistently focusing on both strength training and cardiovascular training.
By Will Ryan, Physiotherapist
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Intermittent versus continuous energy restriction on weight loss and cardiometabolic outcomes
This systematic review and meta-analysis summarized the most recent evidence on the efficacy of intermittent energy restriction (IER) versus continuous energy restriction on weight-loss, body composition, blood pressure and other cardiometabolic risk factors.