Low Carb Nugget 63
A study out of Australia suggests that breaking up a calorie-restricted diet with periods of increased eating (relative feasts) could produce better results for weight loss. Researchers at the University of Tasmania reported their findings in the International Journal of Obesity.
What exactly were the findings and what might they mean for those of us on a low carb, high fat diet?
“Boost weight loss by taking 2-week dieting breaks, says study.” Honor Whiteman. Medical News Today. September 19. 2017.
“Intermittent energy restriction improves weight loss efficiency in obese men: the MATADOR study.” N.M. Byrne and others. Nature.com. September 19, 2017. (PDF of the original journal article).
Low Carb Nugget 63
“Intermittent feasting for weight loss”
This is Episode 63 of the Low Carb Nugget for Saturday, September 30, 2017. I’m Jim Anderson.
A new study out of Australia suggests that breaking up a calorie-restricted diet with periods of increased eating could produce better results for weight loss. Researchers at the University of Tasmania reported their findings in the International Journal of Obesity.
The study addressed two well-known problems of dieting for weight loss. One is the stall. You lose for a while, and then you just stop losing. The other problem is that of quick weight regain after ending a calorie-restricted diet.
Just about anyone who has ever dieted for weight loss is famililar with both these problems. Both problems are rooted a process called “adaptive thermogenesis.” Basically, your body adjusts to the lower energy input by reducing its resting energy expenditure.
One approach for dealing with these common problems is intermittent fasting, which I’ve discussed before in this podcast — for example, in Episode 21. The idea with intermittent fasting is to just stop eating altogether for 16, 24 or 48 hours. Your body adapts differently to having no caloric input than it does to having limited caloric input. Your metabolism speeds up to allow you to go find food and avoid starvation. So that gets around adaptive thermogenesis.
The current study takes kind of the opposite approach. You could call it either “intermittent feasting” or “intermittent dieting.” I find the former more amusing, and a clearer contrast to “intermittent fasting.”
This was a small clinical study, with 51 subjects, all obese men aged 25 to 54 years. The men were divided into two groups. The control group followed a energy restricted diet for 16 weeks straight. The experimental group followed the same energy restricted diet for two weeks, and then enjoyed two weeks off the diet, eating enough, in theory, to equal their energy expenditure. That’s not really feasting, I guess, except in contrast to a diet with a third fewer calories. Those in the experimental group stayed with that on-again, off-again approach until they also had been on the energy restricted diet for a total of 16 weeks.
The results were that the experimental group (the intermittent feasters) lost more weight than the control group (the continuous dieters) and kept it off better over a six month follow-up. Both groups regained some weight during the follow-up, but the intermittent feasters ended, on average, with an 8.1 kg greater weight loss. That’s almost 18 pounds. The researchers claim that their approach — intermittent feasting, as I’m calling it — is more effective for weight loss than intermittent fasting has been proven to be in similar studies.
Even if we assume this small study of a limited population (obese men in Austrailia aged 25 – 54) is applicable to everybody, everywhere, I’m not sure what it means for those of us eating a low carb, high fat diet. I’m not intentionally restricting my calories, my energy intake, but rather my net carbs, and I’m doing it for two reasons. One is to lose weight, the other is to improve my insulin sensitivity, and thus reduce the threats of the metabolic syndrome. I believe that intermittent fasting, along with a carbohydrate restrict diet, helps in this second area. I don’t know that intermittent feasting does. What we need here is more research.
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