A recent study investigated the effects of alternate day fasting, finding that participants had reduced total caloric intake and improved markers of cardiovascular health.
A recent clinical trial demonstrated that alternate day fasting for a period of four weeks was able to improve markers of overall health, including markers of cardiovascular health, reduced fat mass, and improved the ‘fat-to-lean’ ratio. Total calorie intake was also reduced during the study period.
Interestingly the researchers found that during fasting periods, specific proteins were decreased. In particular, the pro-aging molecule methionine was decreased during periods of fasting. In contrast, levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids – so-called, good fats – were increased.
Although these results are promising, the researchers are not recommending dietary changes to include long-term alternate day fasting. “We feel that it is a good regime for some months for obese people to cut weight, or it might even be a useful clinical intervention in diseases driven by inflammation,” says lead researcher, Frank Madeo. “However, further research is needed before it can be applied in daily practice. Additionally, we advise people not to fast if they have a viral infection because the immune system probably requires immediate energy to fight viruses. Hence, it is important to consult a doctor before any harsh dietary regime is undertaken.”
Nonetheless, the results are interesting and may provide a simple plan for short term interventions. “The elegant thing about strict ADF is that it doesn’t require participants to count their meals and calories: they just don’t eat anything for one day”, says Thomas Pieber, head of endocrinology at the Medical University of Graz.
Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD
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Slaven Stekovic, Sebastian J. Hofer, Norbert Tripolt, Miguel A. Aon, Philipp Royer, Lukas Pein, Julia T. Stadler, Tobias Pendl, Barbara Prietl, Jasmin Url, Sabrina Schroeder, Jelena Tadic, Tobias Eisenberg, Christoph Magnes, Michael Stumpe, Elmar Zuegner, Natalie Bordag, Regina Riedl, Albrecht Schmidt, Ewald Kolesnik, Nicolas Verheyen, Anna Springer, Tobias Madl, Frank Sinner, Rafael de Cabo, Guido Kroemer, Barbara Obermayer-Pietsch, Jöm Dengjel, Harald Sourij, Thomas R. Pieber, Frank Madeo. Alternate Day Fasting Improves Physiological and Molecular Markers of Aging in Healthy, Non-obese Humans. Cell Metabolism, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2019.07.016
Science daily: Clinical trial shows alternate-day fasting a safe alternative to caloric restriction. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190827111051.htm
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