Research: Intermittent fasting may be superior for weight loss

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Intermittent fasting obtained more weight loss than Paleo or Mediterranean diets.

Which Diet?
Woman scratching her head.

Intermittent fasting and Paleolithic diets are all the rage today. If you walk out of the grocery store, you will find multiple magazines pushing these diets and the recipes as a means to produce weight loss. The problem is that there are few head-to-head research studies to support the belief that these diets as a superior method for research. In fact, in controlled trials, but minimal evidence exists regarding long-term efficacy under free-living conditions without strong dietetic support.

A new research study looked at Intermittent Fasting, Medetaranian, and Paleolithic diets as a means to promote weight loss [1] . This exploratory and observational analysis examined the adherence, dietary intake, weight loss, and metabolic outcomes in overweight adults.  They choose to follow the above diets combined with regular exercise or high-intensity interval training programs. The diets were a part of a 12-month randomized controlled trial investigating how different monitoring strategies influenced weight loss.

The researchers enrolled a total of 250 overweight healthy adults who attended a thirty-minute individualized dietary education session relevant to their self-selected diet. Dietary intake, weight, body composition, blood pressure, physical activity, and blood indexes were assessed. At 12 mo, weight loss was −4.0 kg or 8.8 pounds with the intermittent fasting diet. The subjects who participated in the Mededtaraean diet experienced -2.8 kg or 6 pounds of weight loss. The Paleo subjects successfully acquired −1.8 kg or 4 pounds of weight loss. Intermittent fasting also showed a superior reduction in blood pressure.

Not all was superior on the intermittent fasting diet. It suffered a rather significant loss of subjects due to attrition. That is likely due to the harshness of the diet. Also, the Mediterranean reduced glycated hemoglobin or insulin resistance more.

The bottom line: Intermittent fasting is superior for weight loss but is harder to maintain and has a higher drop out rate. Small differences in metabolic outcomes were seen in markers such as blood pressure and glucose levels. The results should be interpreted with caution given the exploratory nature of analyses. I would like to more studies on this topic.

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  1. [1]
    M. R. Jospe et al., “Intermittent fasting, Paleolithic, or Mediterranean diets in the real world: exploratory secondary analyses of a weight-loss trial that included choice of diet and exercise,” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, pp. 503–514, Dec. 2019, doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqz330. [Online]. Available:
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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