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Proponents of intermittent fasting contend that this popular way to lose weight is better than conventional dieting. But this type of diet isn’t necessarily best for everyone, a top expert says.

“Fasting is currently one of the newest diet fads and, while there are studies showing benefits, there are also potential downsides,” Dr. Kent Holtorf tells Newsmax Health.

A recent University of Illinois at Chicago study finds intermittent, or alternate-day fasting, was equal in results to calorie counting when it came to weight loss, along with keeping off the excess pounds.

The study, which followed 100 obese people for a year, found that those who engaged in intermittent fasting lost 6 percent of their body weight, while those who ate a calorie-restricted diet lost 5.3 percent, not a statistically significant difference, the researchers say in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Holtorf is the Los Angeles-based medical director of the Holtorf Medical Group and a founder and director of the nonprofit National Academy of Hypothyroidism. He also has appeared as a medical expert on several TV shows, including “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” and “ABC News.”

Here are excerpts from his recent interview with Newsmax Health.

Q: What exactly is intermittent fasting?

A: The idea is to intermittently significantly reduce calories in a strategic way to reduce overall caloric intake instead of eating less per day. One common method is called the 5:2 diet, which involves significant caloric restriction two non-consecutive days per week while eating normally the other five days.

Q: How did this type of diet catch on?

A:  Several studies were published showing that severe periodic calorie reduction had been shown to have many benefits including changing gene expression and stimulating cell repair, reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, improving cholesterol, lowering the risk of cholesterol levels, reducing heart disease and cancer risk and…

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