A Comparison of Dietary and Caloric Restriction Models on Body Composition, Physical Performance, and Metabolic Health in Young Mice

Nutrients. 2019 Feb 7;11(2):350. doi: 10.3390/nu11020350.


Time-restricted feeding (TRF), alternate day fasting (ADF), and the dietary restriction model known as the Daniel Fast (DF; a vegan/non-processed food diet plan) have garnered attention recently as nutritional interventions to combat obesity. We compared the effects of various dietary models on body composition, physical performance, and metabolic health in C57BL/6 mice. Sixty young C57BL/6 male mice were assigned a diet of TRF, ADF, DF, caloric restriction (CR), a high-fat Western diet (HF) fed ad libitum, or standard rodent chow for eight weeks. Their body composition, run time to exhaustion, fasting glucose, insulin, and glucose tolerance test area under the glucose curve (AUC) were determined. Compared to the HF group, all groups displayed significantly less weight and fat mass gain, as well as non-significant changes in fat-free mass. Additionally, although not statistically significant, all groups displayed greater run time to exhaustion relative to the HF group. Compared to the HF group, all groups demonstrated significantly lower fasting glucose, insulin, and Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR), as well as improved glucose tolerance, and the ADF group displayed the best fasting glucose and glucose tolerance results, with DF having the best HOMA-IR. All investigated fasting protocols may improve body composition, measures of insulin sensitivity, and physical performance compared to a high-fat Western diet. The DF and ADF protocols are most favorable with regards to insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. Since our selected dietary protocols have also been investigated in humans with success, it is plausible to consider that these dietary models could prove beneficial to men and women seeking improved body composition and metabolic health.

Keywords: body composition; diet; exercise; fasting; insulin.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Caloric Restriction / adverse effects*
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Fasting / physiology*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Physical Functional Performance*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin