In almost all workplace lunchrooms someone is busy munching on a few celery sticks. Chances are today is a fasting day. The theory is that several, alternate fasting days during the week (eating less than 500 kcal) will make it easier and quicker to lose weight.
The scientific evidence suggests otherwise. Fifty dieters were asked to follow a “fasting” diet strategy restricting energy on ever second day and then allowing normal eating habits on the alternate day. A second group of 50 were given a long, slow and gradual dieting plan that restricted calorie intake every day.
After 12 months, most people were able to lose weight. On average, people lost between five and six percent of their starting weight. But there were no differences in weight lost between fasting dieting and conventional dieting.
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Professor David Cameron-Smith is a regular Fit Planet contributor. A transplanted Australian living in New Zealand, he obtained a PhD in nutritional biochemistry from Deakin University, and undertook postdoctoral training at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney. His research interests include the importance of nutrition in the maintenance of optimal health in an ageing population, and the impact of nutrition in regulating the function of muscles.