Intermittent severe energy restriction is popular for weight management. To investigate whether intermittent moderate energy restriction may improve this approach by enhancing weight loss efficiency, we conducted a study in mice, where energy intake can be controlled.
Male C57/Bl6 mice that had been rendered obese by an ad libitum diet high in fat and sugar for 22 weeks were then fed one of two energy-restricted normal chow diets for a 12-week weight loss phase. The continuous diet (CD) provided 82% of the energy intake of age-matched ad libitum chow-fed controls. The intermittent diet (ID) provided cycles of 82% of control intake for 5-6 consecutive days, and ad libitum intake for 1-3 days. Weight loss efficiency during this phase was calculated as (total weight change) divided by [(total energy intake of mice on CD or ID)-(total average energy intake of controls)]. Subsets of mice then underwent a 3-week weight regain phase involving ad libitum re-feeding.
Mice on the ID showed transient hyperphagia relative to controls during each 1-3-day ad libitum feeding period, and overall ate significantly more than CD mice (91.1 +/- 1.0 versus 82.2 +/- 0.5% of control intake respectively, n = 10, P
Intermittent moderate energy restriction may offer an advantage over continuous moderate energy restriction, because it induces significantly greater weight loss relative to energy deficit in mice.