Most obese adults have a harder time losing weight than thinner people, and we don’t understand why.
New research, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, is one of the first to look at how long-term fasting contributes to weight loss in obese people. It suggests that it helps, but that it also offers a way to slow down weight loss. In the study, the average weight loss for obese participants was 3.5 pounds per week, which researchers say is comparable to traditional weight loss treatments such as caloric restriction, though fasting wasn’t recommended.
Participants in the study said they felt less hungry when they were on the fasting diet. Two days per week, they got a strictly vegan diet, which included leafy greens and fruit, and a third day was a period of periodic fasting. At other times, participants had full access to the diet but had to do nothing more than engage in various physical activities.
The participants lost on average 11.3 pounds and kept that weight off for two years. The researchers believe that eating the vegetables on a daily diet slowed down digestion, which made the study participants feel more full but less hungry.
Although some proponents of fasting on a regular basis feel that such a regimen could cure people with diseases like cancer, the research on this suggests that it doesn’t work without other drugs or lifestyle changes.