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Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Nov;90(5):1138-43. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28380. Epub 2009 Sep 30.

Short-term modified alternate-day fasting: a novel dietary strategy for weight loss and cardioprotection in obese adults.

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  • 1Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.



The ability of modified alternate-day fasting (ADF; ie, consuming 25% of energy needs on the fast day and ad libitum food intake on the following day) to facilitate weight loss and lower vascular disease risk in obese individuals remains unknown.


This study examined the effects of ADF that is administered under controlled compared with self-implemented conditions on body weight and coronary artery disease (CAD) risk indicators in obese adults.


Sixteen obese subjects (12 women, 4 men) completed a 10-wk trial, which consisted of 3 phases: 1) a 2-wk control phase, 2) a 4-wk weight loss/ADF controlled food intake phase, and 3) a 4-wk weight loss/ADF self-selected food intake phase.


Dietary adherence remained high throughout the controlled food intake phase (days adherent: 86%) and the self-selected food intake phase (days adherent: 89%). The rate of weight loss remained constant during controlled food intake (0.67 +/- 0.1 kg/wk) and self-selected food intake phases (0.68 +/- 0.1 kg/wk). Body weight decreased (P < 0.001) by 5.6 +/- 1.0 kg (5.8 +/- 1.1%) after 8 wk of diet. Percentage body fat decreased (P < 0.01) from 45 +/- 2% to 42 +/- 2%. Total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triacylglycerol concentrations decreased (P < 0.01) by 21 +/- 4%, 25 +/- 10%, and 32 +/- 6%, respectively, after 8 wk of ADF, whereas HDL cholesterol remained unchanged. Systolic blood pressure decreased (P < 0.05) from 124 +/- 5 to 116 +/- 3 mm Hg.


These findings suggest that ADF is a viable diet option to help obese individuals lose weight and decrease CAD risk. This trial was registered at as UIC-004-2009.

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