Fasting Fallacy

Fasting is all the rage, touted as a great way to lose weight by some big time celebrities and authors. However, new research shows it doesn’t work any better than simply cutting down your calories.

Researchers at the University of Bath Center for Nutrition tracked the effects of 36 lean people, breaking them into 3 groups. One group of 12 simply ate 25% fewer calories each day. Another group fasted for 1 day, then ate 150% more calories the next. The third group fasted every other day, but ate 200% of their calories every other day. After 3 weeks, the people in the first group, which simply ate fewer calories, lost the most weight – about 3.5 pounds. People in the second group also lost weight – about 1.5 pounds. But those in the third group didn’t lose any weight. In addition, the “fasters” didn’t have lower cholesterol or blood sugar. Scientists think the fasters weren’t as active before they stopped eating, which might have kept them from losing weight.

Doctors think if you do fast, you need to stay active to burn calories. Otherwise, you may slow your metabolism, which prevents you from losing weight. And remember, rigorous exercise without eating may leave you exhausted and low in key vitamins and minerals. It’s also possible extreme fatigue may keep you from exercising in the first place.

Bottom line? Fasting may not be the magic bullet for losing weight. It might work for some people, however counting calories seems more likely to help you win the battle of the bulge.

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