Intermittent Fasting: the Research is In

An Empty Plate

I blogged back in March and August of this year about the diet trend called
Intermittent Fasting. This is was touted as an effective way to lose weight; it involves eating only during certain hours of the day–usually for 8 out of the 24. Early research seemed promising and there was anecdotal evidence as well.

The latest research, though, tells another story. An article on http://www.cnbc.com discusses the lastest findings: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/28/intermittent-fasting-doesnt-help-weight-loss-ucsf-study.html.

Dr. Ethan Weiss conducted a study of 116 overweight individuals beginning in 2018; some were put on an intermittent fasting regimen, the others on a “placebo” diet. The fact that human subjects were used was a big deal since previous studies had been conducted with mice. The study found no statistical difference between the two groups. In other words, intermittent fasting is no more effective than other kinds of dieting.

So does that mean you have nothing to lose by giving it a try to see if it works for you? Not so fast, says Dr. Weiss. First, it is not clear that intermittent fasting is good for older adults. Second, and most importantly, subjects in the intermittent fasting group experienced loss of muscle mass. This means that the weight lost may not have been fat, but muscle!

These findings are important, and I’m sure there will be more studies. In the meantime, it seems that intermittent fasting probably isn’t your best approach to weight loss. It also bears repeating, as the article points out, that weight is not the only indicator of good health and fitness. Consult a medical professional and/or fitness specialist to find out how to be the most fit and healthy you!

Interestingly, the article was published on Yom Kippur–the holiest day on the Jewish calendar marked by a 25-hour fast. Coincidence? I think not….

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