Men – should you try intermittent fasting?

Men -- should you try intermittent fasting?

I investigated the hype around eating for only 8 hours a day and fasting the rest… Does it really help with weight loss?

—-Important Message—-

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Men – should you try intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting has been one of the most popular health trends of the last few years.

The general idea is that you restrict food during certain time periods – longer than the usual between meal periods.

A common method is to allow food for only eight hours per day… that is known as the 16:8 diet.

Another common type of intermittent fasting is to limit food intake for two days per week… And that is known as the 5:2 diet.

Some people claim that these diets result in much greater weight loss than conventional dieting.

High-quality scientific research on this topic has been lacking up to this point.

But a recent study shows that intermittent fasting may be no better than traditional dieting.

Effects of intermittent and continuous calorie restriction on body weight and metabolism over 50 wk: a randomized controlled trial

Researchers carried out this human trial at the Heidelberg University Hospital in Germany. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results.

The term “dieting” usually just means restricting the number of calories eaten over the course of the day.

You could do this by eating smaller portions at each meal or by eating less frequently.

In recent years, some people have claimed that going for longer periods between eating is more beneficial for weight loss. 

(Even when the person consumes the same total number of calories over the course of a week…)

“Preliminary evidence suggests that intermittent calorie restriction exerts stronger effects on metabolic parameters, which may link obesity and major chronic diseases, compared with continuous calorie restriction.”

But there is a lack of high-quality science looking at the differences between traditional dieting and intermittent fasting.

“There is a lack of well-powered intervention studies.”

These researchers designed an experiment to look at the differences between the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet and standard dieting.

“We examined whether intermittent fasting has stronger effects on body composition and circulating metabolic biomarkers than standard dieting.”

The researchers recruited 150 overweight and obese individuals.

Half of the participants were men. Everyone in the study was between 35 and 65 years old.

They put 50 participants on the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet:

  • For five days a week, they ate what they normally did. 
  • For the other two days, they ate 75% fewer calories.

They put another 50 people on a standard diet:

  • They decreased their calorie intake by 20% every day.

Over the course of a week (and the entire study) both of these groups restricted calories by the same amount on average (20%).

In this way, the researchers could determine whether intermittent fasting was superior to traditional dieting when the overall calorie restriction was identical.

“Participants were randomly assigned to 5 days without energy restriction and 2 days with 75% energy deficit or daily energy deficit ∼20%.”

They didn’t give the remaining 50 participants any dietary advice because they wanted to compare them against the other two diet groups.

They gave the participants in the diet groups dietary advice for 12 weeks and assessed them at the end of those 12 weeks.

The researchers encouraged the participants to continue whichever diet they were on for another 12 weeks – but there was no dietary advice during that period. 

At the end of that 12 weeks, they assessed the participants again.

And then they reassessed all of the participants for the final time 26 weeks later… The entire study lasted for almost one year.

The intermittent fasting regimen performed slightly better over the first 12 weeks. 

But by the end of the study, the differences were insignificant.

“At the final follow-up assessment (week 50), weight loss was −5.2% with intermittent fasting and −4.9% with standard dieting.”

The study found that the results of intermittent fasting are almost identical to those of standard dieting.

“The 5:2 diet may be equivalent but not superior to standard dieting for weight reduction and prevention of metabolic diseases.”

Intermittent fasting is not a breakthrough in weight loss treatment

When it works, it works because of caloric restriction – just like standard dieting.

You should always consult a healthcare practitioner about treating and diagnosing health-related problems.

—-Important Message—-

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Matt Cook is editor-in-chief of Daily Medical Discoveries. Matt has been a full time health researcher for 26 years. ABC News interviewed Matt on sexual health issues not long ago. Matt is widely quoted on over 1,000,000 websites. He has over 300,000 daily newsletter readers. Daily Medical Discoveries finds hidden, buried or ignored medical studies through the lens of 100 years of proven science. Matt heads up the editorial team of scientists and health researchers. Each discovery is based upon primary studies from peer reviewed science sources following the Daily Medical Discoveries 7 Step Process to ensure accuracy.
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