Dieting, is alternate day fasting better than calorie restriction?
Alternate day fasting is exactly what it sounds like. Every other day is spent fasting while the opposite days the dieter is able to consume anything they want. This can appeal to those who find it hard to stick to a consistent healthy diet. Many forms of alternate day fasting do not require "fasting" completely, but instead consume only 500 calories on fasting days. It's benefits aren't yet proven and may not be the safest way to lose weight as fasting can be dangerous in many people. Some of the current literature, mostly consisting of short-term studies, have reported improvements in regards to insulin sensitivity, lipid profiles, blood pressure, and well as weight loss.
As with many quick fix diets, dieters look for a quicker "easier" way to lose weight, but does the alternate fast diet produce results superior to a calorie-restrictive diet? According to a recent study the answer is no, the diet is not superior to a calorie restrictive diet for weight loss, weight maintenance, or cardio protection, according to trial results.
The study found no significant differences in mean weight loss between the alternate-day fasting group versus the calorie restriction group after 6 months of intervention. The finding remained consistent in groups followed through for a year after the 6-month maintenance phase. During the year-long, randomized clinical trial, the two intervention groups experienced no significant differences among secondary endpoints, which included blood pressure, heart rates, triglycerides, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, insulin resistance, C-reactive protein, and homocysteine concentrations. Although total cholesterol levels did not significantly differ between groups, in relation to the control, mean levels of HDL cholesterol were significantly higher among the alternate-day fasting group compared with the calorie restrictive group after 6 months of the weight loss phase, however; there was no significant difference found between groups after a one-year period.
For many people finding a safe and effective diet that works for them can be difficult. Crash diets are unhealthy and rarely yield permanent results, fasting can be very dangerous in some individuals, and calorie-restriction can be difficult to maintain and see results quickly.
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