Obesity is a worldwide epidemic due to the availability of many unhealthy food options and limited physical exercise. Restriction of the daily food intake results in weight loss, which is also associated with better health outcomes including triglycerides, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, insulin, and C-reactive protein. Our aim is to briefly discuss the effects of intermittent fasting on weight and other biochemical markers mentioned previously. The study is designed as a systematic review according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) checklist. To assess the effectiveness of intermittent fasting, related studies were reviewed between 2000 and 2018 and 815 studies were identified. Only four articles met the preset inclusion and exclusion criteria. All four studies have shown a significant decrease in fat mass with P-values <0.01. It was also noted that some biochemical markers were significantly reduced such as the reduction in low-density lipoprotein and triglyceride with P-values < 0.05. Other biochemical markers had inconsistent results. Based on the qualitative analysis, intermittent fasting was found to be efficient in reducing weight, irrespective of the body mass index. Further studies are needed to assess the ability to maintain the lost weight without regaining it and the long-term effects of such dietary changes.
Keywords: exercise; intermittent fasting; weight loss.