Purpose: Fasting has been promoted as a method of preventing disease and aging for thousands of years. With heart disease being a leading cause of death in the U.S., researchers have explored the effects of fasting on variables that influence cardiovascular disease (CVD), like LDL cholesterol. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess the effects of weekly water-only fasting on LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) in men and women with metabolic risk factors for CVD. Methods: This study was a randomized control trial in adult men and women. Participants were randomized to fasting (treatment) or normal diet (control). The fasting protocol consisted of four weeks of two 24-hour water-only fasts, followed by 22 weeks of once-weekly water-only 24-hour fasts. Measurements such as height, weight, waist circumference and LDL-C were assessed at baseline, 4 weeks, 13 weeks, and 26 weeks. Results: Intermittent fasting (n = 50) and control (n = 53) participants were 49.3 ± 12.0 and 47.0 ± 9.8 years, respectively, predominantly females (66.0% and 67.9%), overweight (103 ± 24 and 100 ± 21 kg), and with mild LDL-C elevation (124 ± 19 and 128 ± 20 mg/dL). Change in weight was −1.70 ± 4.69 (kg) in the fasting group and 0.20 ± 3.45 (kg) in the control group and not different between conditions (p = 0.06). There was no condition-by-period interaction for LDL-C (p = 0.06). Similarly, the change in LDL-C from baseline to follow-up was not different between conditions (t = −0.538, p = 0.59; Cohens D = 0.12) Conclusions: A once-per-week intermittent fasting regimen did not reduce weight or LDL-C. Further research of such fasting regimens is needed to evaluate their potential impact on cardiometabolic health.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





intermittent fasting, LDL cholesterol, coronary heart disease, fasting



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Life Sciences Commons