Intermittent fasting (IF) is a bit of a buzz word among those interested in the wisest way to eat to optimize health and performance. IF seems to allow gentle calorie restriction without its usual problems of metabolic downregulation and hormone imbalance. A bit of calorie restriction without those problems can help with weight normalizing and might contribute to increased performance and longevity.
A researcher reports that she went from applying calorie restriction in mice to using it with humans, with great results. She put people on alternate day eating schedules: one day 500 calories (grim!) and alternate days unrestricted. Rather than making up the 1500 calories they missed, they only ate a couple hundred extra calories and felt satisfied, even felt indulgent!, and stuck with the diet.
Dr. Varaday started her work at UC Berkeley, and has now authored a popular diet book on the subject and will be influencing future National Institute of Health research.
Two principles from her work I find to be very important in any sustainable weight loss plan. First, it is crucial that the participants NOT feel deprived, that they like the way of eating and can imagine doing it long term. Secondly, it is important not to restrict fat calories. She found, as others have before her, that people do not just fall face first into the butter, but find a satisfying level, and that the people who eat a higher percentage of their calories from fat tend to lose weight more than those eating a lower percentage.