Effect of intermittent vs. daily calorie restriction on changes in weight and patient-reported outcomes in people with multiple sclerosis

Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2018 Jul:23:33-39. doi: 10.1016/j.msard.2018.05.002. Epub 2018 May 5.


An intermittent fasting or calorie restriction diet has favorable effects in the mouse forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and may provide additional anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective advantages beyond benefits obtained from weight loss alone. We conducted a pilot randomized controlled feeding study in 36 people with MS to assess safety and feasibility of different types of calorie restriction (CR) diets and assess their effects on weight and patient reported outcomes in people with MS. Patients were randomized to receive 1 of 3 diets for 8 weeks: daily CR diet (22% daily reduction in energy needs), intermittent CR diet (75% reduction in energy needs, 2 days/week; 0% reduction, 5 days/week), or a weight-stable diet (0% reduction in energy needs, 7 days/week). Of the 36 patients enrolled, 31 (86%) completed the trial; no significant adverse events occurred. Participants randomized to CR diets lost a median 3.4 kg (interquartile range [IQR]: -2.4, -4.0). Changes in weight did not differ significantly by type of CR diet, although participants randomized to daily CR tended to have greater weight loss (daily CR: -3.6 kg [IQR: -3.0, -4.1] vs. intermittent CR: -3.0 kg [IQR: -1.95, -4.1]; P = 0.15). Adherence to study diets differed significantly between intermittent CR vs. daily CR, with lesser adherence observed for intermittent CR (P = 0.002). Randomization to either CR diet was associated with significant improvements in emotional well-being/depression scores relative to control, with an average 8-week increase of 1.69 points (95% CI: 0.72, 2.66). CR diets are a safe/feasible way to achieve weight loss in people with MS and may be associated with improved emotional health.

Keywords: Dietary intervention; Multiple sclerosis; Weight loss intervention.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Caloric Restriction / adverse effects
  • Caloric Restriction / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / blood
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / diet therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / psychology
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Pilot Projects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*


  • Biomarkers