Alternative Approach to Fasting May Aid in Weight Loss

A new diet that includes periods of restricted eating that mimic fasting (a combination of abstaining from food and/or drinks) has been linked with weight loss, lower inflammation, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. In a new study, which was published in the journal Cell Metabolism, researchers instructed 19 men and women to follow a specially developed fasting mimicking diet (FMD) for five days each month and then to eat normally for the rest of the month. The FMD provided between 34% and 54% of normal caloric intake and was composed of at least 9% to 10% proteins; 34% to 47% carbohydrates; and 44% to 56% fats. Typical FMD foods included vegetable soup, kale crackers, and chamomile tea. After about three months (or three diet cycles), here is what the researchers found:

  • Participants following the FMD lost 3% of their body weight. Abdominal fat decreased while lean body mass increased, indicating that the weight lost was mostly fat.
  • C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation and risk factor for cardiovascular disease, was returned to the normal range in seven of the eight FMD participants who had moderate or high CRP levels. In the remaining eleven participants, whose CRP levels were already within normal ranges, no changes were observed.

While this study was small and relatively short and more research is needed to confirm the results, it does indicate that the FMD has the potential to aid in weight loss and decrease inflammation, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In addition, researchers consider the diet to be a safer alternative to strict fasting—which can be risky for some people.

Source: Washington Post

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