Assessment of the Metabolic Effects of Isocaloric 2:1 Intermittent Fasting in Mice

J Vis Exp. 2019 Nov 27;(153). doi: 10.3791/60174.


Intermittent fasting (IF), a dietary intervention involving periodic energy restriction, has been considered to provide numerous benefits and counteract metabolic abnormalities. So far, different types of IF models with varying durations of fasting and feeding periods have been documented. However, interpreting the outcomes is challenging, as many of these models involve multifactorial contributions from both time- and calorie-restriction strategies. For example, the alternate day fasting model, often used as a rodent IF regimen, can result in underfeeding, suggesting that health benefits from this intervention are likely mediated via both caloric restriction and fasting-refeeding cycles. Recently, it has been successfully demonstrated that 2:1 IF, comprising 1 day of fasting followed by 2 days of feeding, can provide protection against diet-induced obesity and metabolic improvements without a reduction in overall caloric intake. Presented here is a protocol of this isocaloric 2:1 IF intervention in mice. Also described is a pair-feeding (PF) protocol required to examine a mouse model with altered eating behaviors, such as hyperphagia. Using the 2:1 IF regimen, it is demonstrated that isocaloric IF leads to reduced body weight gain, improved glucose homeostasis, and elevated energy expenditure. Thus, this regimen may be useful to investigate the health impacts of IF on various disease conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caloric Restriction / methods*
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Fasting / metabolism*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / metabolism*