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Intermittent dieting can help weight loss

Taking a break during a diet may improve losing fat.

In recent findings published by researchers from the University of Tasmania breaks during dieting can help with weight loss and even keep the kilos off.

The study, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, probed the body’s famine response in men suffering from obesity.

Two groups of men participated in the 16-week diet which cut calorie intake by one third. One group maintained the diet for a total of 16 weeks while the other group maintained the diet for a period of two weeks before taking a break for two weeks. The second group repeated this cycle for 30 weeks to ensure 16 weeks of dieting. The second group lost more weight and gained less weight after the trial finished.

“When we reduce our energy (food) intake during dieting, resting metabolism decreases to a greater extent than expected; a phenomenon termed ‘adaptive thermogenesis’ — making weight loss harder to achieve,” University of Tasmania Professor Nuala Byrne, who was involved in the research, said.

“This ‘famine reaction’, a survival mechanism which helped humans to survive as a species when food supply was inconsistent in millennia past, is now contributing to our growing waistlines when the food supply is readily available.” A two-week intermittent diet proved to be a more successful means of weight loss compared with continuous dieting protocols.

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