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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Intermittent fasting combined with calorie restriction is effective for weight loss and cardio-protection in obese women

Monica C Klempel, Cynthia M Kroeger, Surabhi Bhutani, John F Trepanowski and Krista A Varady*

Author affiliations

Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1919 West Taylor Street, Room 506F, Chicago, IL, 60612, USA

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Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:98  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-98

Published: 21 November 2012

Abstract

Background

Intermittent fasting (IF; severe restriction 1 d/week) facilitates weight loss and improves coronary heart disease (CHD) risk indicators. The degree to which weight loss can be enhanced if IF is combined with calorie restriction (CR) and liquid meals, remains unknown.

Objective

This study examined the effects of IF plus CR (with or without a liquid diet) on body weight, body composition, and CHD risk.

Methods

Obese women (n = 54) were randomized to either the IFCR-liquid (IFCR-L) or IFCR-food based (IFCR-F) diet. The trial had two phases: 1) 2-week weight maintenance period, and 2) 8-week weight loss period.

Results

Body weight decreased more (P = 0.04) in the IFCR-L group (3.9 ± 1.4 kg) versus the IFCR-F group (2.5 ± 0.6 kg). Fat mass decreased similarly (P < 0.0001) in the IFCR-L and IFCR-F groups (2.8 ± 1.2 kg and 1.9 ± 0.7 kg, respectively). Visceral fat was reduced (P < 0.001) by IFCR-L (0.7 ± 0.5 kg) and IFCR-F (0.3 ± 0.5 kg) diets. Reductions in total and LDL cholesterol levels were greater (P = 0.04) in the IFCR-L (19 ± 10%; 20 ± 9%, respectively) versus the IFCR-F group (8 ± 3%; 7 ± 4%, respectively). LDL peak particle size increased (P < 0.01), while heart rate, glucose, insulin, and homocysteine decreased (P < 0.05), in the IFCR-L group only.

Conclusion

These findings suggest that IF combined with CR and liquid meals is an effective strategy to help obese women lose weight and lower CHD risk.

Keywords:
Intermittent fasting; Calorie restriction; Liquid diet; Body weight; Visceral fat; Cholesterol; Coronary heart disease; Obese women