Background: Intermittent fasting (IF; severe restriction 1 d/week) facilitates weight loss and improves coronary heart disease (CHD) risk indicators. The degree to which weight loss can be enhanced if IF is combined with calorie restriction (CR) and liquid meals, remains unknown.
Objective: This study examined the effects of IF plus CR (with or without a liquid diet) on body weight, body composition, and CHD risk.
Methods: Obese women (n = 54) were randomized to either the IFCR-liquid (IFCR-L) or IFCR-food based (IFCR-F) diet. The trial had two phases: 1) 2-week weight maintenance period, and 2) 8-week weight loss period.
Results: Body weight decreased more (P = 0.04) in the IFCR-L group (3.9 ± 1.4 kg) versus the IFCR-F group (2.5 ± 0.6 kg). Fat mass decreased similarly (P < 0.0001) in the IFCR-L and IFCR-F groups (2.8 ± 1.2 kg and 1.9 ± 0.7 kg, respectively). Visceral fat was reduced (P < 0.001) by IFCR-L (0.7 ± 0.5 kg) and IFCR-F (0.3 ± 0.5 kg) diets. Reductions in total and LDL cholesterol levels were greater (P = 0.04) in the IFCR-L (19 ± 10%; 20 ± 9%, respectively) versus the IFCR-F group (8 ± 3%; 7 ± 4%, respectively). LDL peak particle size increased (P < 0.01), while heart rate, glucose, insulin, and homocysteine decreased (P < 0.05), in the IFCR-L group only.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that IF combined with CR and liquid meals is an effective strategy to help obese women lose weight and lower CHD risk.