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Intermittent Fasting shows No Benefit over Regular Dieting


Recent press as well as a small study or two has hinted that intermittent fasting is metabolically superior to standard dieting and subsequently intermittent fasting has taken off as the current “diet du jour.”

In this study by Shubel et al, a randomized controlled trial was performed to test whether intermittent fasting (IF) in a 5:2 pattern (5 days without energy restriction with 2 non-subsequent days with a 75% energy deficit) has stronger effects on adipose gene expression, anthropometric and body composition measures as well as circulating biomarkers than regular dieting (RD) (daily energy deficit of 20%) and a control group.

150 nonsmokers with overweight and obesity aged 35-65 were randomly assigned to one of the 3 groups for 12 weeks of the intervention, 12 weeks of maintenance and 26 weeks of follow-up.

At the end of the intervention period of 12 weeks:

  • The IF group lost        7.1%±0.7%
  • The RD group lost      5.2%±0.6%
  • Control group lost      3.3% ±0.6%
  • There was no significant difference in weight loss seen between the groups

Additionally studied were 82 preselected genes found in adipose tissue pathways linked to chronic diseases, visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue volumes, circulating biomarkers (of glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism, and inflammation as well as adipokines and steroid hormones. All of this additional testing found no difference between IF and SD in any marker or test.

Am J Clin Nutr 2018:108:933-945

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