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A randomized pilot study comparing zero-calorie alternate-day fasting to daily caloric restriction in adults with obesity.


Journal: Obesity

Publication Date: 09/2016

Summary: To evaluate the safety and tolerability of alternate-day fasting (ADF) and to compare changes in weight, body composition, lipids, and insulin sensitivity index (Si) with those produced by a standard weight loss diet, moderate daily caloric restriction (CR). Adults with obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m(2) , age 18-55) were randomized to either zero-calorie ADF (n = 14) or CR (-400 kcal/day, n = 12) for 8 weeks. Outcomes were measured at the end of the 8-week intervention and after 24 weeks of unsupervised follow-up. No adverse effects were attributed to ADF, and 93% completed the 8-week ADF protocol. At 8 weeks, ADF achieved a 376 kcal/day greater energy deficit; however, there were no significant between-group differences in change in weight (mean ± SE; ADF -8.2 ± 0.9 kg, CR -7.1 ± 1.0 kg), body composition, lipids, or Si. After 24 weeks of unsupervised follow-up, there were no significant differences in weight regain; however, changes from baseline in % fat mass and lean mass were more favorable in ADF. ADF is a safe and tolerable approach to weight loss. ADF produced similar changes in weight, body composition, lipids, and Si at 8 weeks and did not appear to increase risk for weight regain 24 weeks after completing the intervention.

Effects of eight weeks of time-restricted feeding (16/8) on basal metabolism, maximal strength, body composition, inflammation, and cardiovascular risk factors in resistance-trained males.



Journal: Journal of Translational Medicine


Publication Date: 10/2016


Summary: Intermittent fasting (IF) is an increasingly popular dietary approach used for weight loss and overall health. While there is an increasing body of evidence demonstrating beneficial effects of IF on blood lipids and other health outcomes in the overweight and obese, limited data are available about the effect of IF in athletes.


Thus, the present study sought to investigate the effects of a modified IF protocol (i.e. time-restricted feeding) during resistance training in healthy resistance-trained males. Thirty-four resistance-trained males were randomly assigned to time-restricted feeding (TRF) or normal diet group (ND).


TRF subjects consumed 100 % of their energy needs in an 8-h period of time each day, with their caloric intake divided into three meals consumed at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., and 8 p.m. The remaining 16 h per 24-h period made up the fasting period.


Subjects in the ND group consumed 100 % of their energy needs divided into three meals consumed at 8 a.m., 1 p.m., and 8 p.m. Groups were matched for kilocalories consumed and macronutrient distribution (TRF 2826 ± 412.3 kcal/day, carbohydrates 53.2 ± 1.4 %, fat 24.7 ± 3.1 %, protein 22.1 ± 2.6 %, ND 3007 ± 444.7 kcal/day, carbohydrates 54.7 ± 2.2 %, fat 23.9 ± 3.5 %, protein 21.4 ± 1.8). Subjects were tested before and after 8 weeks of the assigned diet and standardized resistance training program.


Fat mass and fat-free mass were assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and muscle area of the thigh and arm were measured using an anthropometric system. Total and free testosterone, insulin-like growth factor 1, blood glucose, insulin, adiponectin, leptin, triiodothyronine, thyroid stimulating hormone, interleukin-6, interleukin-1β, tumor necrosis factor α, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides were measured.


Bench press and leg press maximal strength, resting energy expenditure, and respiratory ratio were also tested. After 8 weeks, the 2 Way ANOVA (Time * Diet interaction) showed a decrease in fat mass in TRF compared to ND (p = 0.0448), while fat-free mass, muscle area of the arm and thigh, and maximal strength were maintained in both groups.


Testosterone and insulin-like growth factor 1 decreased significantly in TRF, with no changes in ND (p = 0.0476; p = 0.0397). Adiponectin increased (p = 0.0000) in TRF while total leptin decreased (p = 0.0001), although not when adjusted for fat mass.


Triiodothyronine decreased in TRF, but no significant changes were detected in thyroid-stimulating hormone, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein, or triglycerides. Resting energy expenditure was unchanged, but a significant decrease in respiratory ratio was observed in the TRF group.


Our results suggest that an intermittent fasting program in which all calories are consumed in an 8-h window each day, in conjunction with resistance training, could improve some health-related biomarkers, decrease fat mass, and maintain muscle mass in resistance-trained males.

Early Time-Restricted Feeding Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Blood Pressure, and Oxidative Stress Even without Weight Loss in Men with Prediabetes


Journal: Cell Metabolism

Publication Date: 06/2018

Summary: Intermittent fasting (IF) improves cardiometabolic health; however, it is unknown whether these effects are due solely to weight loss. We conducted the first supervised controlled feeding trial to test whether IF has benefits independent of weight loss by feeding participants enough food to maintain their weight. Our proof-of-concept study also constitutes the first trial of early time-restricted feeding (eTRF), a form of IF that involves eating early in the day to be in alignment with circadian rhythms in metabolism. Men with prediabetes were randomized to eTRF (6-hr feeding period, with dinner before 3 p.m.) or a control schedule (12-hr feeding period) for 5 weeks and later crossed over to the other schedule. eTRF improved insulin sensitivity, β cell responsiveness, blood pressure, oxidative stress, and appetite. We demonstrate for the first time in humans that eTRF improves some aspects of cardiometabolic health and that IF’s effects are not solely due to weight loss. Sutton et al. conduct the first supervised controlled feeding trial to test whether intermittent fasting has benefits in humans in the absence of weight loss. Prediabetic men following a form of intermittent fasting called early time-restricted feeding improved their insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, and oxidative stress levels without losing weight.

The Effectiveness of Intermittent Fasting to Reduce Body Mass Index and Glucose Metabolism: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis


Journal: Journal of Clinical Medicine

Publication Date: 10/2019

Summary: The effects of an intermittent fasting diet (IFD) in the general population are still controversial. In this study, we aimed to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of an IFD to reduce body mass index and glucose metabolism in the general population without diabetes mellitus. Cochrane, PubMed, and Embase databases were searched to identify randomized controlled trials and controlled clinical trials that compared an IFD with a regular diet or a continuous calorie restriction diet. The effectiveness of an IFD was estimated by the weighted mean difference (WMD) for several variables associated with glucometabolic parameters including body mass index (BMI) and fasting glucose. The pooled mean differences of outcomes were calculated using a random effects model. From 2814 studies identified through a literature search, we finally selected 12 articles (545 participants). Compared with a control diet, an IFD was associated with a significant decline in BMI (WMD, −0.75 kg/m2; 95% CI, −1.44 to −0.06), fasting glucose level (WMD, −4.16 mg/dL; 95% CI, −6.92 to −1.40), and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (WMD, −0.54; 95% CI, −1.05 to −0.03). Fat mass (WMD, −0.98 kg; 95% CI, −2.32 to 0.36) tended to decrease in the IFD group with a significant increase in adiponectin (WMD, 1008.9 ng/mL; 95% CI, 140.5 to 1877.3) and a decrease in leptin (WMD, −0.51 ng/mL; 95% CI, −0.77 to −0.24) levels. An IFD may provide a significant metabolic benefit by improving glycemic control, insulin resistance, and adipokine concentration with a reduction of BMI in adults.

Intermittent fasting from dawn to sunset for 30 consecutive days is associated with anticancer proteomic signature and upregulates key regulatory proteins of glucose and lipid metabolism, circadian clock, DNA repair, cytoskeleton remodeling, immune system and cognitive function in healthy subjects


Journal: Journal of Proteomics

Date of Publication: 04/2020

Summary: Murine studies showed that disruption of circadian clock rhythmicity could lead to cancer and metabolic syndrome. Time-restricted feeding can reset the disrupted clock rhythm, protect against cancer and metabolic syndrome. Based on these observations, we hypothesized that intermittent fasting for several consecutive days without calorie restriction in humans would induce an anticarcinogenic proteome and the key regulatory proteins of glucose and lipid metabolism. Fourteen healthy subjects fasted from dawn to sunset for over 14 h daily. Fasting duration was 30 consecutive days. Serum samples were collected before 30-day intermittent fasting, at the end of 4th week during 30-day intermittent fasting, and one week after 30-day intermittent fasting. An untargeted serum proteomic profiling was performed using ultra high-performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry. Our results showed that 30-day intermittent fasting was associated with an anticancer serum proteomic signature, upregulated key regulatory proteins of glucose and lipid metabolism, circadian clock, DNA repair, cytoskeleton remodeling, immune system, and cognitive function, and resulted in a serum proteome protective against cancer, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, Alzheimer’s disease, and several neuropsychiatric disorders. These findings suggest that fasting from dawn to sunset for 30 consecutive days can be preventive and adjunct therapy in cancer, metabolic syndrome, and several cognitive and neuropsychiatric diseases.

Alternate Day Fasting Improves Physiological and Molecular Markers of Aging in Healthy, Non-obese Humans


Journal: Cell Metabolism

Publication Date: 09/2019

Summary: Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting are known to prolong life- and healthspan in model organisms, while their effects on humans are less well studied. In a randomized controlled trial study ( identifier: NCT02673515), we show that 4 weeks of strict alternate day fasting (ADF) improved markers of general health in healthy, middle-aged humans while causing a 37% calorie reduction on average. No adverse effects occurred even after >6 months. ADF improved cardiovascular markers, reduced fat mass (particularly the trunk fat), improving the fat-to-lean ratio, and increased β-hydroxybutyrate, even on non-fasting days. On fasting days, the pro-aging amino-acid methionine, among others, was periodically depleted, while polyunsaturated fatty acids were elevated. We found reduced levels sICAM-1 (an age-associated inflammatory marker), low-density lipoprotein, and the metabolic regulator triiodothyronine after long-term ADF. These results shed light on the physiological impact of ADF and supports its safety. ADF could eventually become a clinically relevant intervention.

Time-restricted feeding and risk of metabolic disease: a review of human and animal studies


Journal: Nutrition Reviews

Publication Date: 05/2014

Summary: Time-restricted feeding (TRF), a key component of intermittent fasting regimens, has gained considerable attention in recent years. TRF allows ad libitum energy intake within controlled time frames, generally a 3–12 hour range each day. The impact of various TRF regimens on indicators of metabolic disease risk has yet to be investigated. Accordingly, the objective of this review was to summarize the current literature on the effects of TRF on body weight and markers of metabolic disease risk (i.e., lipid, glucoregulatory, and inflammatory factors) in animals and humans. Results from animal studies show TRF to be associated with reductions in body weight, total cholesterol, and concentrations of triglycerides, glucose, insulin, interleukin 6, and tumor necrosis factor-α as well as with improvements in insulin sensitivity. Human data support the findings of animal studies and demonstrate decreased body weight (though not consistently), lower concentrations of triglycerides, glucose, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and increased concentrations of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. These preliminary findings show promise for the use of TRF in modulating a variety of metabolic disease risk factors.

Flipping the Metabolic Switch: Understanding and Applying the Health Benefits of Fasting


Journal: Obesity

Publication Date: 02/2018

Summary: Emerging findings suggest that the metabolic switch from glucose to fatty acid-derived ketones represents an evolutionarily conserved trigger point that shifts metabolism from lipid/cholesterol synthesis and fat storage to mobilization of fat through fatty acid oxidation and fatty acid-derived ketones, which serve to preserve muscle mass and function. Thus, IF regimens that induce the metabolic switch have the potential to improve body composition in overweight individuals. Moreover, IF regimens also induce the coordinated activation of signaling pathways that optimize physiological function, enhance performance, and slow aging and disease processes. Future randomized controlled IF trials should use biomarkers of the metabolic switch (e.g., plasma ketone levels) as a measure of compliance and of the magnitude of negative energy balance during the fasting period.


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