Alternate-Day Intermittent Fasting Safe?

How do I fast for weight loss?

Researchers designed a study to compare the sustainability of weight loss at three different speeds: six days of fasting versus three weeks of a very-low-calorie diet of 600 calories a day or six weeks of a low-calorie diet of 1,200 daily calories. One year later, at least some of the fast-induced weight losses were maintained by the great majority, about 90 percent. But, over time, that number dropped to fewer than 1 in 10. By then, almost everyone had regained the weight they had initially fasted away. 

The small minority for whom fasting led to sustainable weight loss “all admit to a radical change in previous eating habits.” It appears fasting may only work long-term if it can act as a jumpstart to a more healthful diet.

For more information on fasting and weight loss, check out this video:

To learn even more about weight loss, visit our topic page, which covers a broad range of the latest evidence-based research.

Our fasting for weight loss infographic compares the advantages and disadvantages of different types of fasting.


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

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