MAR 25, 2024 2:18 PM PDT

The Broad Health Outcomes of Intermittent Fasting

WRITTEN BY: Greta Anne

Intermittent Fasting (IF) has gained considerable attention in recent years for its potential health benefits. An umbrella review published in The Lancet was conducted to evaluate the effects of IF on various health outcomes, utilizing data from multiple randomized controlled trials (RCTs.)

The sensitivity analyses revealed that after excluding RCTs with a high risk of bias or small sample sizes, the evidence quality for certain associations was upgraded from moderate to high. For instance, the reduction of BMI and fat mass in adults with overweight or obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and metabolic syndrome compared with non-intervention diet showed high-quality evidence. 

Significant reductions in fasting glucose were observed among participants with obesity compared to those without obesity, suggesting that IF may have different effects based on population characteristics. Additionally, the systematic review identified several key findings regarding the effects of IF on various health parameters. IF was associated with favorable outcomes, including reductions in waist circumference, fat mass, LDL-C, total cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting insulin, and systolic blood pressure, while increasing HDL-C and fat-free mass.  

IF was found to exert its effects through multiple pathways, including caloric intake reduction, improved insulin sensitivity, hormone regulation, and autophagy. These mechanisms contribute to the observed reductions in body weight, fat mass, and metabolic risk factors associated with IF interventions.

This systematic review provides compelling evidence supporting the effectiveness of IF in improving various health outcomes for adults with overweight or obesity, T2DM, and metabolic syndrome compared to conventional energy restriction or non-intervention diets. However, further research is warranted to fully understand the mechanisms underlying the effects of IF and to investigate its long-term effects on health outcomes. 

Personalized approaches to IF interventions may enhance its efficacy in different populations, emphasizing the importance of tailored dietary strategies for optimal health promotion.

Sources: The Lancet 


About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Greta is currently a writer at Labroots and a 3rd year Doctor of Pharmacy student, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology and Neurobiology. Innovation is her passion, especially when it comes to pharma, entrepreneurship, science, and art. She is hoping to pursue a career in pharma while also fostering her creative initiatives.
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