Meal pattern alterations associated with intermittent fasting for weight loss are normalized after high-fat diet re-feeding

Physiol Behav. 2017 May 15:174:49-56. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.02.046. Epub 2017 Mar 3.


Alternate day, intermittent fasting (IMF) can be an effective weight loss strategy. However, the effects of IMF on eating behaviors are not well characterized. We investigated the acute and residual effects of IMF for weight loss on meal patterns in adult obese male C57BL/6 mice. After 8weeks of ad libitum high-fat diet to induce diet-induced obesity (DIO), mice were either continued on ad libitum high-fat diet (HFD) or placed on one of 5 diet strategies for weight loss: IMF of high-fat diet (IMF-HFD), pair-fed to IMF-HFD group (PF-HFD), ad libitum low-fat diet (LFD), IMF of low-fat diet (IMF-LFD), or pair-fed to IMF-LFD group (PF-LFD). After the 4-week diet period, all groups were refed the high-fat diet for 6weeks. By the end of the diet period, all 5 groups had lost weight compared with HFD group, but after 6weeks of HFD re-feeding all groups had similar body weights. On (Day 2) of the diet period, IMF-HFD had greater first meal size and faster eating rate compared with HFD. Also, first meal duration was greater in LFD and IMF-LFD compared with HFD. At the end of the diet period (Day 28), the intermittent fasting groups (IMF-HFD and IMF-LFD) had greater first meal sizes and faster first meal eating rate compared with their respective ad libitum fed groups on similar diets (HFD and LFD). Also, average meal duration was longer on Day 28 in the low-fat diet groups (LFD and IMF-LFD) compared with high-fat diet groups (HFD and IMF-HFD). After 6weeks of HFD re-feeding (Day 70), there were no differences in meal patterns in groups that had previously experienced intermittent fasting compared with ad libitum fed groups. These findings suggest that meal patterns are only transiently altered during alternate day intermittent fasting for weight loss in obese male mice.

Keywords: Body fat; Caloric restriction; Dieting; Feeding; Glucose homeostasis; Intermittent fasting; Meal patterns.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Composition
  • Diet, High-Fat / methods*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Energy Intake / physiology
  • Fasting / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Insulin
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / rehabilitation*
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Loss / physiology*


  • Insulin