Intermittent Fasting: A Review of the Scientific Evidence on Health Benefits and Risks

There is some proof that intermittent fasting—the practice of limiting food intake for set intervals of time—might have some health advantages. The benefits of intermittent fasting on health are not always the greatest choice for everyone, and additional research is necessary to properly grasp them.

Weight loss is one possible advantage of intermittent fasting. According to several research, individuals who engage in intermittent fasting typically consume less calories overall and may experience weight loss as a result (1, 2). Furthermore, intermittent fasting may increase insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin and other hormone levels, which may result in weight loss (3, 4).

Additionally, intermittent fasting may enhance heart health indicators and lower the chance of developing certain chronic conditions. For instance, one study discovered that fasting intermittently was linked to a drop in blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation (5). According to a different study, intermittent fasting may boost cognitive performance and shield against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s (6).

It is crucial to remember that not all research have consistently identified advantages to intermittent fasting. According to several studies, different dietary strategies may not be more efficient for weight loss than intermittent fasting (7, 8). Additionally, not everyone should fast, especially those who are pregnant, nursing, have certain medical issues, or are underweight. Fasting can also be challenging for some people to maintain.

In conclusion, additional research is required to properly understand the impact of intermittent fasting on health, despite some evidence that it may have certain advantages. Before beginning any new nutritional strategy, including intermittent fasting, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional.


  1. Heilbronn LK, et al. Alternate-day fasting in nonobese subjects: effects on body weight, body composition, and energy metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jan;81(1):69-73.
  2. Varady KA, et al. Short-term modified alternate-day fasting: a novel dietary strategy for weight loss and cardioprotection in obese adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Nov;90(5):1138-43.
  3. Varady KA, et al. Alternate day calorie restriction improves clinical findings and reduces markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in overweight adults with moderate asthma. Free Radic Biol Med. 2007 Mar 1;42(5):665-74.
  4. Heilbronn LK, et al. Alternate-day fasting in nonobese subjects: effects on body weight, body composition, and energy metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jan;81(1):69-73.
  5. Hatori M, et al. Time-restricted feeding without reducing caloric intake prevents metabolic diseases in mice fed a high-fat diet. Cell Metab. 2012 Apr 4;15(4):848-60.
  6. Mattson MP, et al. Intermittent fasting and caloric restriction ameliorate age-related behavioral deficits in the triple-transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiol Dis. 2005 Apr;18(1):91-100.
  7. Harvie M, et al. The effect of intermittent energy and carbohydrate restriction v. daily energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic disease risk markers in overweight women. Br J Nutr. 2013 Oct;110(8):1534-47.
  8. Harvie M, et al. Intermittent energy restriction with or without weight loss in overweight and obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2017 Jan;

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