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Is Fasting Better for Weight Loss?

Although you may dislike the everyday restrictions of a conventional diet, a new study suggests that fasting one day and eating anything you want the next may not be better for weight loss.

Fasting

Fasting every other day may not be better for weight loss, study. Photo by Daily Burn

At the end of one year, researchers discovered that weight loss on either type of diet was about the same. There was a 6 percent weight loss on the alternate-day fasting diet and a little over 5 percent for the ones on a daily restricted diet.

“We thought the alternate-day fasting group would do better. It allows people to have a break from dieting every other day, so we thought their adherence would be better,” explained lead author Krista Varady.

“But it turns out people in both diets lost the same amount of weight,” said Varady. She’s an associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“People in the alternate-day fasting group were eating more than the 500 calories prescribed on the fast day, but a lot less than the calories prescribed on the feast day. That’s why they lost the same amount of weight,” she explained.

However, “people who stuck to the [alternate-day fasting] diet lost 20 to 50 pounds in a year,” Varady added. “It does work for some people.”

In the study, 100 obese people were randomly assigned to an alternate-day fasting diet, a conventional diet, or no diet at all.

People assigned to the conventional diet managed to stick to their diet goals better than the alternate-day fasting group, says researchers.

The dropout rates said it all: nearly 40 percent of the alternate-day fasting group gave up, while only 30 percent of the conventional diet group and 26 percent of control group quit.

Sticking to just 500 calories a day is very difficult but reducing your calories by 25 percent is much easier so a conventional diet would be a better choice for many.

The fasting diet appeared to be safe, she added. On fast days, people were encouraged to eat a lot of protein, because protein makes you feel full, she said. Whole grains are also a good choice because they can suppress your appetite as well.

In terms of weight loss, all calories are the same, but not all calories are healthy ones, Varady said. On days people could eat anything, some ate bags of chips and still lost weight, she noted. Snacks are not a good choice if you are trying to receive better health benefits even if you still lose weight.

“If you are reducing your food intake, you are going to lose weight, but in terms of health benefits, people should try to eat less processed foods and more fruits and vegetables,” Varady said.

Even though some have been fasting for years and love this lifestyle, this is not for everyone. You must find a diet that works for you and stick to it long term for successful weight loss.

Source: Krista Varady, Ph.D., associate professor, kinesiology and nutrition, University of Illinois, Chicago; Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D., senior clinical nutritionist, New York University Medical Center, New York City; May 1, 2017, JAMA Internal Medicine, online

Leeman Taylor
Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice
Real Estate Investor & Internet Marketer

Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig Top Diet Plans for Weight Loss

Individuals seeking long-term weight loss should think about trying Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, as a review of clinical trials ranks them top diet plans in a study (Ann. Intern. Med., 2015). Weight loss is a $2.5 billion growing industry with more than a third of adults obese in the United States. That is why commercial weight loss programs have become so popular but doctors still haven’t had much information to recommended specific programs.

Jennifer Hudson Weight Watchers - Weight Loss

Jennifer Hudson after her amazing weight loss with Weight Watchers. Glamaholic Photo

In the trial that lasted one year, Weight Watcher participants had at least a 2.6 percent greater weight loss than those who received only education. People who used Jenny Craig lost 4.9 percent more weight at 1 year compared to those who underwent education and counseling. Other weight-loss programs such as Nutrisystem resulted in a 3.8 percent greater fat loss, while Atkins had a 0.1% to 2.9% fat loss at 12 months.

I believe that weight loss programs that help individuals restrict calories with a strategic approach to making healthier diet choices is key to long-term weight loss. Other fat loss programs that focus strictly on supplements or prepackaged meals are not successful as Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. Gudzune and researchers highlighted that “structure and intensity of contact” are highly correlated with program success.

Although diet and exercise are the key factors to weight loss, it seems that frequent coaching and making smart diet choices is what effects long-term weight loss the most. Clinicians may now consider referring obese or overweight patients to Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers as they are reviewed as top diet plans. Programs such as Nutrisystem, demonstrate promising fat-loss results; however, further research analyzing long-term weight loss outcomes are required.

Leeman Taylor
Senior Criminal Justice Major at Florida A&M University
Real Estate Investor & Internet Marketer

Source: Gudzune KA, Doshi RS, Mehta AK, Chaudhry ZW, Jacobs DK, Vakil RM, et al. “Efficacy of Commercial Weight-Loss Programs: An Updated Systematic Review” Annals of Internal Medicine 2015