Soo Liang Ooi1 and Sok Cheon Pak
Intermittent fasting, in which individuals fast periodically, is an increasingly popular weight loss regimen. To understand the short-term effects of such a regimen, we present a case of intermittent fasting with data collection that mimics the single-case design.
A healthy but slightly overweight adult male underwent complete fast for two full days and resumed with normal eating for five days, and repeated the cycle three times. Data were collected from three periods: baseline (one week); fasting (three weeks); post-fasting (one week). Measurements taken daily include weight, body fat ratio, temperature, blood pressure, blood glucose, as well as waist and hip circumferences. Blood tests were conducted weekly for safety screening and to obtain observations on lipid profile, high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP), hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), and uric acid.
The participant lost 1.3 kilograms (kg) in body weight (W̅b = 65.9kg vs W̅p = 64.6kg). Body fat ratio did not differ much (F̅Rb = 19.1% vs F̅Rp = 18.8%). Fasting caused an acute drop in the blood glucose level, which was restored upon resuming normal eating. Total cholesterol dropped drastically immediately after the first fasting cycle but rebounded 15% higher than baseline before dropping down. Fasting also temporarily raised uric acid levels, blood pressure, and body temperature. HbA1c and waist and hip circumferences were not affected by fasting. Improvement in inflammatory marker (hsCRP) was observed (2.0 to 0.3 milligrams per liter, mg/L).
This case demonstrates that intermittent fasting can induce short-term weight loss and reduce acute inflammatory marker in a healthy adult, but not body fat ratio and lipid profile. Similar single-case study design can be applied across a practice-based network for inter-case replication.