Science says it's not better than other diets

It seems that these days, everyone has a variant of the intermittent fasting diet. From 16: 8 to 5: 2, there are book shelves selling the benefits of refraining from food and water for digestive benefits.

Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Heidelberg University Hospital have conducted the largest survey to date on intermittent fasting called HELENA. The conclusion was that although intermittent fasting can help to lose weight and promote health, it is not superior to conventional calorie restriction diets.

The German Nutrition Society (DGE) warns that intermittent fasting is not suitable for long-term weight regulation. In addition, according to DGE, there is not enough scientific evidence on the long-term effects of this diet method.

"Until now, there are actually only a few smaller studies on intermittent fasting, but they have had remarkably positive effects on metabolic health," says Ruth Schübel of DKFZ. "It made us curious and we wanted to know if these effects could also be proven in a larger group of patients over a prolonged period of time."

In collaboration with a team of researchers and scientists from the DKFZ of the Heidelberg University Hospital, Schübel examined 150 participants in a study of overweight and obesity over a year as part of the study HELENA. At the start of the study, they were randomly categorized into three groups: one-third followed a conventional caloric restriction diet that reduced daily calorie intake by 20%. The second group followed a 5: 2 diet plan which also saved 20% of the caloric intake over the entire week. The control group did not follow any specific diet plan but was advised, like all the other participants, to follow a well-balanced diet, as recommended by the CEO. After the diet phase, the investigators documented the weight and health status of the participants for another 38 weeks.

The result can be as surprising as it is sobering for all the followers of intermittent fasting. HELENA researchers found that improvements in health status were the same with both dietary methods. "In participants of both groups, body weight and, with it, visceral fat, or unhealthy belly fat, were lost and the extra fat contained in the liver was reduced," Schübel reported.

The good news is: a small diet success is already a big gain for health. Those who reduce their weight by only 5% lose about 20% of the dangerous visceral fat and more than a third of the liver fat – regardless of the dietary method used.

While we're on the subject, check out the vegan vegan diet and how this woman lost 50 kg of keto diet without going to the gym.

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