“The goal is to really have sustained weight loss, and for some, this (intermittent fasting) might be a difficult long-term pattern of eating, which is what one really needs to do for maintaining weight,” Gabbay says.
Fung hopes to conduct a longer-term, large-scale study, but he isn’t sure when his team would receive approval. “We’ve had to fight to get even this published,” he says.
Fung argues that institutional medicine considers fasting harmful despite its regular use in medicine (prior to colonoscopies, for example) and its use in certain religions, such as during Ramadan in Islam. But that may be different in the future.
“Public interest in fasting has sort of exploded,” Fung says, “and I’m hoping that starts to change these entrenched attitudes that fasting is intrinsically harmful to us.”