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  • Limiting intake to 500 calories every other day caused weight loss of 12.3 lbs in 2 months

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Wednesday, October 26, 2016 10:04 am Email this article

    Having obese people limit their calorie intake to 500 calories every other day, which is 25% of their calorie needs, and allowing them to eat as much as they wanted to on the other days, caused them to lose an average of 12.3 lbs in 2 months, reducing their body weight by 5.8%, dropping from an average of 213 lbs to 201 lbs, according to a study by Krista Varady, PhD from the University of Illinois in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

    Nearly all of the weight loss—11.9 lbs of the 12.3 lbs weight loss—was body fat.

    Krista Varady, PhD has noted that their research has found that eating 25% of calories every other day (roughly 500 calories every other day) works BETTER than eating 0% of calories—eating NO calories on the “fasting” day—and better than eating 50% or 75% of calories every other day.

    They have found that compliance with this type of diet—limiting intake to 500 calories per day (25% of your calorie needs)—is MUCH higher than when people are told to eat NO calories on the “fasting” day.

    They have also found that eating 500 calories every other day causes most of the weight loss to be fat, and preserves muscle.

    Fat Loss

    Fat Loss: 11.9 lbs

    Subjects lost an average of 11.9 lbs of body fat, which means that nearly all of the 12.3 lbs of weight loss was body fat.

    Modified Fast

    Every Other Day Modified Fast

    This is called an “every other day modified fast”.

    “[S]ubjects were permitted to consume energy-free beverages, tea, coffee, and sugar- free gum, and were encouraged to drink plenty of water,” the paper notes.


    Subjects: 20 obese people with 16 completing the study

    The study started with 20 obese subjects with a body mass index (BMI) of 30–39.9 who were 35-65 years-old.

    Sixteen of 20 (16 of 20) people completed the study.

    Blood Pressure

    Blood pressure fell from 124 to 116 mm Hg

    Blood pressure fell by an average of 8 points, dropping from an average of 124 mm Hg to 116 mm Hg.

    Total Cholesterol

    Total cholesterol fell from 175 to 138 mg/dL

    Total cholesterol fell by an average of 37 points, dropping from an average of 175 mg/dL to 138 mg/dL, a decrease of 21%.

    LDL Cholesterol

    LDL cholesterol fell from 102 to 72 mg/dL

    LDL cholesterol fell by an average of 30 points, dropping from an average of 102 mg/dL to 72 mg/dL, a decrease of 25%.

    HDL Cholesterol

    HDL cholesterol fell from 48 to 46 mg/dL

    HDL cholesterol fell by an average of 2 points, dropping from an average of 48 mg/dL to 46 mg/dL.


    Triglycerides fell from 128 to 88 mg/dL

    Triglycerides fell by an average of 40 points, dropping from an average of 128 mg/dL to 88 mg/dL, a decrease of 31%.

    This article was originally published on Sept. 23, 2015.


    Varady KA, Bhutani S, Church EC, and Klempel MC. Short-term modified alternate-day fasting: a novel dietary strategy for weight loss and cardioprotection in obese adults. Am J Clin Nutr, 2009 Nov; 90(5): 1138-1143.

    The paper is posted here.

    Author’s Contact Info

    Krista A Varady, PhD
    Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition
    University of Illinois at Chicago
    1919 West Taylor Street, Room 506 F
    Chicago, IL 60612, USA
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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