Intermittent Fasting Lowers Triglycerides More Than Regular Diet
A small, new study on intermittent fasting, as in the 5:2 diet, showed that this approach reduced triglyceride levels by 40% after meals, compared with a conventional, daily calorie-restricted diet in healthy but overweight/obese individuals.
Presenting her work here at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference (DUPC) 2019, Rona Antoni, PhD, from the University of Surrey, United Kingdom, who is also a practicing dietitian, said: “Following a 5% weight loss, the intermittent fasting [5:2] diet, but not continuous energy restriction, led to significant improvements in postprandial triglyceride responses.”
“If you do this repeatedly, then this could potentially be beneficial in people with raised triglycerides,” she explained, highlighting that this is the first time such an effect has been observed in humans.
“The obvious question here is why did metabolic responses [in the intermittent fasting group] differ to the continuous energy restriction group? This is still under investigation, but it is perhaps unsurprising that a dietary approach that involves frequent periods of fasting may make the body more efficient at metabolizing/clearing fat from a meal,” she remarked.
The key finding from the study was that metabolic differences between weight loss via these two diets only became apparent in the postprandial period (right after eating a meal), she stressed,
A 5% weight-loss via the intermittent (5:2) diet led to a significant reduction in postprandial triglycerides, but this was not seen in the other group.
“The frequent bouts of fasting may offer very distinct metabolic advantages when compared to continuous dieting approaches,” Antoni said.
“This shows that the intermittent diet is better at reducing postprandial triglycerides and highlights potential applications, especially in people who already possess elevated fasting (or nonfasting) triglycerides.”
And from a dieter’s perspective, “The main appeal of this type of intermittent energy restriction…is that they need not ‘energy restrict’ every day,” she concluded.
Asked to comment for Medscape Medical News, session comoderator Ian Davies, PhD, a nutritional scientist from Liverpool John Moores University with a particular research interest in cardiovascular disease, said: “I would speculate from the data shown that lowering the triglycerides, postprandially, will [in turn] show beneficial effects on the LDL.”
This is likely to be via an impact on the size of LDL particles, leading to “larger, more buoyant particles, which…are less atherogenic than the small, dense,” ones, he explained to Medscape.
Diabetes UK Professional Conference (DUPC) 2019: Talk entitled Intermittent fasting: weight loss and beyond. Presented March 7, 2019.