Monday, January 14, 2013

The NHS blogs on Intermittent Fasting

Interesting to see the NHS Choices blog  - which helpfully examines those science stories that hit the headlines in the light of the science - look at intermittent fasting.

It is pretty sceptical about some of the purported health benefits.


Anonymous said...

"It should be stressed that our assessment of the evidence was confined to entering a number of keywords into Google Scholar and then looking at a small number of studies which we felt would be useful to explore further.

We did not carry out a systematic review (though arguably, it would be useful for researchers to do so)."


Unknown said...

I'd be interested whether 24h fast once a week can create solid deficit compared to twice a week...Brad Pilon says he fasts every 3 to 5 days.

It'd be also interesting to find if 2x24 approximately equals daily 16/8 or 1x24 equals 2-3x 16/8.

Unknown said...

Once a week could mean less stress and less overcompensation. It's also much easier to plan as with two days it's better to spread them out (2 fed days in between) and if you want 24h period after training and the training itself in the fed state, it doesn't give you that many options.

Henry said...

I'm not a huge proponent of IF, but I'd like to point out that the article isn't discussing true fasting. A 500 calorie day isn't a fast - you're still putting food in your body!

Anonymous said...

Since Jan 2011 I have been low carb. During that time I have refined it to higher fat less protein. All of this saw me lose 45 pounds. Then about 7 months ago I was stalled at 205 down from 250. Started eating once a day at dinner and the last ten pounds dropped off. I started IF thinking that I would lose the weight then start start eating normally again. But it is so easy that I now IF five days a week and on the weekends I eat normally. I haven't had any blood work done in about 2 years and probably need to go and have it done for giggles.

Unknown said...

You don't mean 5 straight days of fast, do you?

Anonymous said...

Yes I eat one meal a day 5 days a isn't really that hard if you eat a high fat diet, moderate protein low carb diet.

DFoltz said...

>NHS choices had a lousy, skeptical, writeup.

NHSC, while perhaps the best of the "mainstream media" (if you can call it that) always has a lousy report. They tend to examine a study in isolation, as if no other studies on the subject existed, and are dismissive of anything with a sample size of less than a couple thousand, regardless of the p-value.
By their standards, this is a pretty positive review.

I'm actually surprised how much evidence they pulled together for this one!

> 500 calories isn't a fast
Well, no, but there's evidence suggesting that even alternate-day restriction is quite helpful.

Of course, I personally find compliance more difficult than with complete abstention... and that's with smart food choices. If anyone actually tries to do IF with a bowl of cornflakes in the morning, they will in fact be miserable all day, as NHSC warns.

Anonymous said...

One who pays heed to the wind will never sow And one who watches the clouds will never reap In the morning so your seed and at night do not let your hands be idle For you do not know which of the two will be successful or weather both alike will turn out well

Unknown said...

I think it possibly does more good than bad, but it's far from what they say!