OK, so you watched a TV program where yet another diet is touted as the cure all for those of us who struggle with our weight. In the past week I’ve had two requests for diet books of this ilk come across my desk. My gut (no pun intended) inevitably tells me that the idea behind these books is nothing but a new fad and that the only ones who will truly benefit from these books are the authors and their publishers, but…. it is my job to be as impartial as possible so I’ve done my due diligence.
As of today no studies have been published with results based on systematic clinical trials with humans.
The best information regarding efficacy and safety can be found on the National Library of Medicine website in their “Behind the Headlines” article Does the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet work?
Despite being one of the most discussed of all health topics, evidence on the optimal diet is limited and dietary advice evolves slowly over time.
The gold standards of evidence-based medicine – the randomised control trial – are difficult to use to assess which type of diet is best. This is due to ‘compliance’ issues. You can ‘control’ whether a person is given a dummy pill or an active medication. You cannot control what and how much they eat in the same way. So it is not surprising that the evidence base for intermittent fasting is limited.
Due to the absence of evidence (though, not necessarily, evidence of absence of an effect) it is unlikely that the current recommendation guidelines on diet and disease prevention are going to be changed anytime soon. Current healthy living advice includes:
- eating a healthy balanced diet with at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- taking regular exercise
- quitting smoking if you smoke
- drinking alcohol in moderation
posted by – Susan, Health Reference