New study on intermittent fasting

Well this study is very applicable to my health as I have been following intermittent fasting for over 5 years now. In this well designed randomized trial obese patients lost more weight doing daily 16 hours intermittent fasting. However, the weight loss was small (2 lbs on average) and significant proportion (65%) of this loss was lean muscle mass and not fat. This is rather is surprising and concerning findings. The study was short raising questions if longer study would demonstrate different results. It is also not exactly clear as to what foods study participants ate but presumably randomization removed this variant. One possible explanation noted in discussion is that patients in intermittent fasting group moved less, in fact all patients moved rather little (under 5000 steps/day). Despite that muscle loss is concerning. In prior studies patients in intermittent fasting group gained muscle mass so additional studies will needed to be accomplished. The way I will be interpreting this study for my patients is that 1) just doing intermittent fasting without actually improving quality of meals is not a good idea 2)some core strengthening and increased amount of movement and exercise is possibly critical factor. Fortunately for me I have been engaging in long term calisthenics program and periodic muscle mass assessment via body composition shows that I’m maintaining if not increasing my muscle mass.

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Dr. Misha Kogan

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