The paper being reviewed this week is right up our street – given our interest in diet, health and weight. It was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on 1st May 2017 and is available here. The title is “Effect of Alternate-Day Fasting on Weight Loss, Weight Maintenance, and Cardioprotection Among Metabolically Healthy Obese Adults: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” The last named author on a paper is usually the overall supervisor – often the most senior person. On this paper, the last named author was Dr Krista Varady, who was interviewed by Dr Michael Mosley for his 2012 BBC programme on intermittent fasting. Varady noted in the declarations for the JAMA article that she is the author of the book “The every other-day diet: The diet that lets you eat all you want (half the time) and keep the weight off.” You’ve got to respect Varady’s research integrity because the conclusion of the study was “Alternate-day fasting did not produce superior adherence, weight loss, weight maintenance, or cardioprotection vs daily calorie restriction.” Let’s take a look at the weight loss and weight maintenance aspects of the study, what the researchers did, how the conclusion was reached and what this study really showed us.
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