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    Fasting every other day causes normal weight people to lose 2.5% in three weeks

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Tuesday, January 11, 2005 11:20 am Email this article
    Fasting every other day causes normal weight people to lose an average of 2.5 percent of their body weight in three weeks and increase the amount of fat they burned by 15 grams (45 calories) per day according to a new study.. Body fat reduced by 4%

    People also lost an average of 4 percent of the body fat.

    For example, if they weighed 150 pounds and had 20 percent body fat, this would mean that initially had 30 pounds of fat (150 lbs X 0.20 = 30 pounds). Four percent of this would be 1.2 pounds of fat (30 lbs of fat X 0.04 = 1.2 pounds of fat).

    “Big eaters” less likely to lose

    People who considered themselves “big eater”—common in men, but not in women—were less likely to lose weight.

    Assuming that most overweight and obese people are “big eaters”, this might suggest that fasting every other day might be of limited success in overweight and obese people.

    Fasting insulin decreased 57%

    Fasting blood sugar levels did not change, but fasting insulin levels fell by an average of 57 percent.

    This is very healthy.

    Reduced insulin levels associated with an increase in lifespan

    “A hallmark of rodent studies of longevity is reduced fasting [blood sugar] and insulin concentrations and increased insulin sensitivity in dietary-restricted animals,” the paper notes. “Reduced fasting insulin has also been associated with increased longevity in humans.”

    Elevated insulin levels are associated with cancers

    Whereas elevated insulin levels are associated with cancers of colon, breast, pancreas, and endometrium, as well as cardiovascular disease.

    Additional 122 fat calories burned per day

    Fasting every other day increased the average amount of fat burned each day by an average of 13.5 grams. This the equivalent of 122 fat calories (13.5 grams X 9 calories per gram = 122 calories).

    Subjects: 8 normal weight men, 8 normal weight women

    The study involved 16 normal weight people, 8 men and 8 women.

    On average, men were 34-years-old, had a body mass index of 25, and 22 percent body fat.

    Women, on average, were 30-years-old, had a BMI of 23, and 25 percent body fat.

    Weight loss in humans not seen in rat studies

    The weight loss seen in this study has not been found in rat studies using fasting every other day. In the rat studies, the rats are able to eat as much in one day as they normally would in two days and therefore do not lose weight, but they still show increases in lifespan.

    Other possibilities: Fast from 7 PM to 7 PM

    Other possibilities that may make this idea of fasting every other day easier for some people to follow, might be fasting for twenty-four hours from 7 PM to 7 PM, for example, the authors suggest.

    Another possibility: Add a small meal on the fasting day. I think this would be a big mistake.

    They also suggest that adding a small meal of only a couple hundred calories on the fasting day might make it easier to follow. I disagree with this second suggestion. I think this would be a big mistake, especially for someone who struggles with their weight.

    I believe eating leads to more eating

    I believe that eating leads to more eating, especially for people who struggle with appetite control. As the Lay’s potato chip commercial used to say, “Bet you can’t eat just one.” I know it’s true for me.

    Dr. Gullo talked about this

    Dr. Stephen Gullo, author of “Thin Tastes Better”, talked about this in his interview. It is under his answer to the question “What is the ‘F-Q Principle’? which is located halfway through the interview.

    Dr. Gullo: “An increase in frequency leads to an increase in quantity”

    Here is what Dr. Gullo said:

    “Stephen Gullo, PhD: An increase in frequency leads to an increase in quantity. This is very important to understand. It took me about ten years to realize this. At first when people told me that they were eating ?just a little? of certain foods I thought this was a success. But then when those same patients came back year after year gaining back the same weight I finally got it. That if someone starts frequently eating ?just a little? of a trigger food it is only a matter of time before ?just a little? isn?t enough and they regain their lost weight. Eating just one cookie a day starts a pattern that leads to craving and food control problems. At first people feel proud that they are eating just one cookie a day. But their success of only eating one encourages them to do it again the next day and the next and the next. Then they start eating more each day. So when people are sliding back first frequency increases then quantity. I used to tell my students at Columbia that every addict can be moderate, they just can?t stay moderate very long.

    Dr. Gullo’s interview is one of my favorites

    By the way, the interview with Dr. Gullo is one of my favorites. I think he understand a lot of things that others do not.


    Heilbronn LK, Smith SR, Martin CK, Anton SD, Ravussin E. Alternate-day fasting in nonobese subjects: effects on body weight, body composition, and energy metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jan, 81(1):69-73.


    Eric Ravussin
    Pennington Biomedical Research Center
    6400 Perkins Road
    Baton Rouge, LA, 70808
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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