Fasting Diet Improves Cardiovascular Health: University of Surrey Research

Fasting Diet Improves Cardiovascular Health: University of Surrey Research

Fasting diet can improve heart health over long term and also keeps blood pressure under check, as per a new study conducted in the United Kingdom by University of Surrey research team. The intermittent energy restriction diet plan also termed as 5:2 diet can be effective way of clearing out fat from the body. The research team noticed that people following 5:2 diet were able to achieve 5 percent of their long term weight loss goal within two months. The diet became popular in the United Kingdom in 2012 and has steadily gained followers as the results were positive.

The 5:2 fasting diet allows normal food (calorie) intake for 5 days in a week, followed by 2 days of fasting. During the two days of fasting, calorie intake should be limited to 600 calories. Detailed results of the study have been published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

The study involved 27 participants, divided in two groups. First group was asked to follow 5:2 diet and the second group was asked to reduce their calorie consumption by 600 calories. The group following 5:2 diet achieved 5 per cent weight-loss in 59 days while the second group achieved the same results in 73 days. 20 percent of participants in both groups dropped out as they weren’t able to follow the diet or they couldn’t achieve the weight-loss target.

The current study involved small group of study subjects and further research would be required to confirm the impact of 5:2 diet on weight and cardiovascular health. Also, it would be important to see if the weight loss results achieved with 5:2 diet can be maintained over long term. It may not be possible for majority of people to limit their calorie intake to 600 calories for two days every week.

As many people want to keep their weight under check, new diet plans emerge every few years. Many of them work but following the diet plans over a long period can be difficult for majority of individuals. Following a balanced diet and regular exercise schedule can offer better weight control.

Researchers also tracked systolic blood pressure for study participants, finding it was reduced by 9% of following the 5:2. In comparison, there was a small 2% increase among those on the daily diet.

The research paper further informed…

Researchers found that following weight-loss, participants who followed the 5:2 diet cleared the fat (triglyceride) from a meal given to them more efficiently than the participants undertaking the daily diet. Although there were no differences in post meal glucose handling, researchers were surprised to find differences between the diets in c-peptide (a marker of insulin secretion from the pancreas) following the meal, the significance of which will need further investigation.

The study also found a greater reduction in systolic blood pressure (the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats) in participants on the 5:2 diet. Systolic blood pressure was reduced by 9% of following the 5:2, compared to a small 2% increase among those on the daily diet. A reduction in systolic blood pressure reduces pressure on arteries, potentially lessening incidences of heart attacks and strokes.

Dr Rona Antoni, Research Fellow in Nutritional Metabolism at the University of Surrey, said: "As seen in this study, some of our participants struggled to tolerate the 5:2 diet, which suggests that this approach is not suited to everybody; ultimately the key to dieting success is finding an approach you can sustain long term.

"But for those who do well and are able stick to the 5:2 diet, it could potentially have a beneficial impact on some important risk markers for cardiovascular disease, in some cases more so than daily dieting. However, we need further studies to confirm our findings, to understand the underlying mechanisms and to improve the tolerability of the 5:2 diet."

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