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Want to shed that extra flab?

If you have tried everything to lose weight but haven't been able to, here is a research that might be of some help. Alternate-day fasting can be the right way to lose weight, say experts.

health and fitness Updated: Nov 07, 2009 20:04 IST

Weight lossAlternate-day fasting can be the right way to lose weight and boost cardio-vascular health, experts from University of Illinois at Chicago have suggested.

The conclusion was reached after observing 16 obese people-12 women and four men- who ordained to a 10-week trial of not eating any food every alternate day. The age group of the studied people was between 35-65, while their weight was more than 210 pounds each. Also, they had kept their weight stable for the previous three months, and had body mass indexes of between 30 and 39.9.

Attention was given that none was diabetic, had a history of cardiovascular disease, was taking weight-loss or lipid- or glucose-lowering medications, or smoked. The study was divided into three different phases. The first two weeks, participants ate and exercised normally. While, between weeks three and six, participants ate normal meals one day then would fast the next.

On fast days, participants ate the equivalent of a three-course lunch prepared by UIC's Human Nutritional Research Center. The meal provided between 20 and 25 per cent of daily energy needs. However, in the final four weeks, participants chose on their own what to eat, based on what they had learned about meal sizes and food choices.

Krista Varady, assistant professor of kinesiology and nutrition, who led the UIC research team, said: "We wanted to see if they could actually do it by themselves -- because what's the point of studying this diet if you have to feed people meals prepared at metabolic kitchens all the time?"

Researchers noted that weight loss ranged from 10 to 30 pounds; the researchers expected an average loss of only five pounds. To add to it, blood pressure and heart rate were lowered, along with total cholesterol and circulating fat levels.

Varady added: "Why are some able to do it but others not? It takes about two weeks to adjust to the diet, after which people don't feel hungry on the fast day. We need to find out how long they can stay on this diet - and if they go off it, do they automatically regain the weight?"