Intermittent Fasting Isn’t All It’s Hyped to Be

Depending on your objectives, intermittent fasting, which limits your daytime snacks and meals, may have some advantages. But if losing weight is your objective, a new study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine contends that this strategy isn’t any more efficient than cutting back on your daily calorie intake and eating at random times.

In fact, according to the study’s principal investigator James Betts, Ph.D., co-director of the Center for Nutrition, Exercise, and Metabolism at the University of Bath in the U.K., intermittent fasting may even be harmful to muscle mass.

  • When it comes to losing weight (if that’s your goal), intermittent fasting may not be any more effective than simply reducing total daily calories, new research shows.
  • However, it’s important to eat in a way that works best for you and lines up with your own nutrition and training goals—consulting with a sports dietitian or other medical expert is the best way to personalize your diet for best results

36 volunteers were gathered by the researchers, and each was divided into three groups for three weeks. The first group just cut their daily calorie intake by 25% rather than engaging in any intermittent fasting. The other two groups alternated days of fasting, with one group eating 50% more than usual the day after and the other group eating 100% more.

Also Read ABout Your Guide to the 5:2 Fasting Diet

Betts told Runner’s World that the first group and the 50% group both dropped roughly the same amount of weight but with different results at the study’s conclusion three weeks later. The last group, however, showed no weight loss.

In comparison to the non-fasting group, those who fasted and subsequently ate 50% more lost a lot more muscle mass.

As a result, he added, “Anyone who wishes to practise intermittent fasting needs to be aware that they might need to increase their physical activity level in order to preserve muscle mass.”

Also Read ABout Your Guide to the 5:2 Fasting Diet

According to Kristin Gillespie, M.S., R.D., a dietitian and certified nutrition support coach, quality of meals should also be taken into account in this situation.

“If you’re ingesting less calories just because you’re lowering the amount of hours that you’re eating,” she added, “you may help drive weight reduction.” However, if you eat calorie-dense items throughout your eating window, it is definitely possible to make up for this calorie deficit.

The idea behind intermittent fasting is that you should consume nutrient-dense, healthful foods in levels that are considered to be appropriate within the eating window, she continued. It’s unlikely that going without food for 12 hours or longer can help you when you veer off course and binge on junk food.

The study did include males and women, but did not distinguish between the outcomes of each group. It would be fascinating to see a study that only included female participants because, according to Gillespie, women typically don’t do as well with this method because they are more accustomed to fasting intervals and energy saving.

The study’s size—36 individuals is regarded as a tiny sample—and the fact that each participant had a body mass index in the low 20s technically qualify as drawbacks. The results, according to Betts, shouldn’t deter anyone from attempting the strategy, especially if they’re prepared to experiment with it.

He stated, “I do believe that various fasting regimens may have various outcomes. Examples include how to refeed, how long to fast, and whether to modify fasting times each day.

The final word? Eat in a way that is most comfortable for you and supports your individual dietary needs and fitness objectives. As usual, the best method to customise your diet for the best outcomes is to speak with a sports nutritionist or other medical professional.

Also Read ABout Your Guide to the 5:2 Fasting Diet