How good is the trend diet intermittent fasting?

Alternating between eating and fasting - many consider this the best way to lose weight. Studies show: it is an alternative, but not a magic cure

Practice doing without two-thirds of the day: Intermittent fasting should be divided in such a way that it is manageable in everyday life

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Nutrition expert Dr. Tilman Kühn: Eating by the clock must also be practical

© W & B / Bernhard Kahrmann

So-called intermittent fasting is currently enjoying the greatest attention of all weight-loss diets.

This is how it works: You don't eat any food for a longer time than usual, interrupted by shorter eating phases. There are different options, for example eating normally one day and nothing at all the next. Or eat five days, fast two days. Or change weekly.

Fasting 16 hours, eating eight hours

The idea behind it sounds obvious: if you don't eat anything, you keep your insulin level low. This allows the body to break down fat undisturbed. But is intermittent fasting for weight loss and health more effective than a regular, reduced-calorie diet?

Probably not, one believes the previous studies. "It is probably no better and no worse than traditional calorie restriction," says Dr. Tilman Kühn, nutrition epidemiologist at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg.

Some experts consider another variant to be more promising: fasting for 16 hours a day, eating eight hours. For many, that would mean skipping breakfast or dinner. "That could be a workable form that people get used to more easily," says Kühn. But meaningful studies on the benefits are still lacking.