Intermittent fasting may provide health benefits, Texas State study finds

Study: Some benefits include improved cardiometabolic health, improved blood chemistry, reduced risk for diabetes

Health Headlines (KSAT)

SAN MARCOS, Texas – New research that was conducted in part at Texas State University indicates that intermittent fasting may provide significant health benefits.

Some of the health benefits include improved cardiometabolic health, improved blood chemistry and reduced risk for diabetes, according to the study.

“What we are doing is time-restricted feeding. It is a way to use fasting each day to promote various aspects of cardiometabolic health,” said Matthew McAllister, assistant professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance.

Time-restricted feeding has been shown to improve body composition and blood lipids, as well as reduce markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, the university’s release said. Those results, however, originated from rodent models and studies with small human samples.

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In the Texas State University study, 22 men were divided into two groups to complete a 28-day study. Subjects ate daily during one eight-hour period -- for example, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or between noon and 8 p.m. For 16 hours of the day, they did not eat or drink anything other than water, according to the university’s release.

While both groups underwent time-restricted feeding, one group’s caloric intake was controlled during meal periods to ensure they ate the same amount as before the study. The university’s release said members of the other group were allowed to eat as much as they wanted.

“My initial thought was that if you are going to restrict the time, you would eat fewer calories. And the reduction of daily calories would cause weight loss and other health benefits,” McAllister said. "But these benefits are found with no change in caloric intake -- things like loss in body fat, reduced blood pressure, reduced inflammation.”

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The university’s release said: “Fasting blood samples were analyzed for glucose and lipids, as well as adiponectin, human growth hormone, insulin, cortisol, c-reactive protein, superoxide dismutase, total nitrate/nitrite and glutathione. Results showed that both groups experienced significant reductions in body fat, blood pressure and significant increases in adiponectin and HDL-c. No change in caloric intake was detected among members of either group.”

McAllister co-authored the study with Liliana Renteria, a graduate research assistant in the Department of Health and Human Performance, along with Brandon Pigg and Hunter Waldman, of the Department of Kinesiology at Mississippi State University.