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