Dietary restriction is an effective strategy for weight loss in obese individuals. The most common form of dietary restriction implemented is daily calorie restriction (CR), which involves reducing energy by 15-60% of usual caloric intake every day. Another form of dietary restriction employed is intermittent CR, which involves 24 h of ad libitum food consumption alternated with 24 h of complete or partial food restriction. Although both diets are effective for weight loss, it remains unknown whether one of these interventions produces superior changes in body weight and body composition when compared to the other. Accordingly, this review examines the effects of daily CR versus intermittent CR on weight loss, fat mass loss and lean mass retention in overweight and obese adults. Results reveal similar weight loss and fat mass loss with 3 to 12 weeks' intermittent CR (4-8%, 11-16%, respectively) and daily CR (5-8%, 10-20%, respectively). In contrast, less fat free mass was lost in response to intermittent CR versus daily CR. These findings suggest that these diets are equally as effective in decreasing body weight and fat mass, although intermittent CR may be more effective for the retention of lean mass.
© 2011 The Author. obesity reviews © 2011 International Association for the Study of Obesity.