The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Alternate-day fasting as a diet strategy

    Alternate-day fasting as a diet strategy

    Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago examined the effects of alternate-day fasting under controlled conditions on body weight and coronary artery disease risk in obese adults.

    First, the details.

    • 16 obese people completed 10 weeks of a treatment, which consisted of 3 phases.
      • 2-week control phase
      • 4-week weight loss/alternate-day fast controlled food intake phase
      • 4-week weight loss/alternate-day fast self-selected food intake phase
    • The baseline energy requirement was determined for each participant.
    • Participants consumed 25% of their baseline energy needs on the “fast” day and then consumed food ad libitum (at one’s pleasure) on each alternate “feed” day.
    • During this controlled food intake phase, they were provided with a calorie-restricted meal on each fast day, and consumed food ad libitum at home on the alternate day.
    • On the ad libitum food intake day, they were instructed to limit fat intake to 30% of energy needs by choosing low-fat meat and dairy options.

    And, the results.

    • The rate of weight loss was about the same during controlled food intake (0.67 kg/week) and self-selected food intake phases (0.68 kg/week).
    • Body weight decreased significantly (5.8%) after 8 weeks of diet.
    • Percentage body fat decreased significantly from 45% to 42%.
    • Total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglyceride concentrations were lowered significantly by 21%, 25%, and 32%, respectively, after 8 weeks of alternate day fast; whereas HDL (good) cholesterol was unchanged.
    • Systolic blood pressure decreased significantly from 124 to 116 mm Hg.

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “These findings suggest that alternate-day fasting is a viable diet option to help obese individuals lose weight and decrease coronary artery disease risk.”

    There’s no free lunch. Remember, even on the alternate (non-fasting) day, the participants had to follow a diet protocol.

    12/24/10 21:18 JR

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