People who are obese or overweight often look out for different ways to shed some extra fat stored in their body, which includes various types of diets and exercises. Alternate day fasting can be a good choice for them, a study stated.

The study, published in the medical journal Cell Metabolism on Tuesday, focussed on the health benefits of fasting every other day. According to it, fasting every other day can play a vital role in improving the physiological and molecular markers of aging in a healthy person.

The research, led by Frank Madeo from the University of Graz in Austria, also stated that 36 hours of continuous fasting thrice a week can help a person loss nearly eight pounds or 3.5 kilograms within seven days.

For the study, the research team observed a total of 60 healthy and non-obese people for a period of four weeks. The participants in the study were divided into two groups – the first group was asked to follow their usual diet and the second group was asked to focus on alternate day fasting.

The participants who were asked to fast every other day were allowed to have anything for 12 hours, which was followed by 36 hours of fasting. These participants were also asked to fill in a food diary with details about their fasting days.

The research team even asked the participants to wear continuous glucose monitors to make sure they were not consuming any food on restricted days. The blood glucose levels of these participants spiked up when they had a snack on restricted days, the study noted.

At the end of the study, the research team found out that people who followed alternate day fasting lost 3.5 kilograms or 7.7 pounds in a week and reduced 37 percent of calories on average. But the participants who followed their usual diet lost only 0.2 kilograms or 0.44 pounds and 8.2 percent of calories in a week.

The research team also found out that those who did not have food every other day had an improved heart health, lower cholesterol levels, less body fat and lean muscle.

However, the study has its own limitations because the research team did not look into the diet plan followed by the participants. They are also not very sure about the long-term side effects of this eating habit, like brittle bones and malnutrition.

“We do not recommend this as a general nutrition scheme for everybody, because this is a harsh intervention of which we do not know the long-term effects. We feel that it is a good regime for some months for obese people to cut weight,” Madeo told Reuters.

Weight loss
Alternate day fasting may lead to successful weight loss. Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay