Hardly any other eating trend this year is as popular as Intervallfast. At a certain pace, there are times when nothing is eaten, with times in which it is allowed to beat.
In a recent study, Austrian scientists now conclude that interval fasting helps to lose weight and also has a positive effect on health, such as cholesterol and blood pressure.
"Simple but extremely effective"
Researchers have argued that it actually reduces weight and whether it is a healthy form of weight loss. So far, there are almost no scientific studies.
Graz University scientists are now coming to this conclusion: "Intermittent fasting is a very simple but extremely effective dietary principle," said Graz professor Harald Sourij, co-author of the current study, which now appears in the journal "Cell Metabolism."
In their study, scientists around Graz professor Frank Madeo explored how alternating fasting affects the body.
Fast 36 hours, eat 12 hours
Half of the participants had to keep a rigid pace for a month: they did not eat for 36 hours, then they were allowed to eat as much as they wanted for twelve hours.
The other half of the volunteers were allowed to eat normally and did not have to diet. All participants had normal weight.
After four weeks, the researchers analyzed the health values of both groups. Result: During the interval post, study participants lost significantly on their stomach. Her weight dropped an average of 3.5 pounds during the month. They consumed on average about 37 percent fewer calories than before.
The other half of the subjects also lost weight without dieting, but on average only about 200 grams. This group reduced its calorie count by an average of 8.2 percent.
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Researchers have also found that interval fasting improves the essential values that are important for healthy cardiovascular health.
Fasting cholesterol levels thus reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In addition, after four weeks, a small amount of certain proteins were found to be suspected of accelerating the aging process.
Furthermore, the fasting cohort showed a decrease in specific levels of amino acids, cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, abdominal fat, or inflammatory parameters – all effects associated with positive health effects
says Professor Frank Madeo.
He was amazed that four weeks was enough to prove the positive health effects: to dissolve the abdomen and improve heart function even in healthy and normal people.
That interval fasting can actually be an effective diet is something that other nutritionists consider similar.
Weakness in study validity?
However, they are critical of the study design – that the control group did not have to undergo a different diet, but ate normally and at their discretion.
They see a weakness in the informational value of the study: To say that positive effects are created solely by interstate fasting, "would require a control group that achieves a similar level of energy reduction with another form of fasting," said Vienna nutritionist Jürgen König "ORF".
For example, it cannot be clearly inferred from the study that the positive side effects alone are the result of interval fasting – and they do not apply to other forms of calorie reduction.