Recent dietary trends have prompted growing support for a variety of fasting paradigms involving extreme restriction or nil-caloric intake on fasting days. Some studies indicate that fasting may negatively influence factors including cognitive function through inducing fatigue, which may prove problematic in the context of completing a range of cognitively demanding activities required by daily obligations such as work. This randomised within-subjects cross-over trial explored the effects of true fasting (i.e., nil-caloric intake) versus modified fasting, the latter of which involved two sub-conditions: (1) extended distribution (three small meals distributed across the day; 522 kcal total); and (2) bulking (two meals eaten early in the day; 512 kcal total) over a period of 7.5 h on a single day with a 7-day washout period between conditions. Participants were n = 17 females (Body Mass Index (BMI) Mean (M) = 25.80, Standard Deviation (SD) = 2.30) aged 21-49 years. Outcomes included cognitive function, subjective mental fatigue, satiety, food cravings and blood glucose. Results showed that there were no differences in cognitive test performance between conditions;however, both modified fasting sub-conditions had improved blood glucose levels, cravings, hunger and fullness compared to true fasting. Moreover, subjective mental fatigue was significantly reduced in the modified fasting conditions relative to true fasting. Overall, results indicated that the subjective experience of true fasting and modified fasting is different, but that cognition does not appear to be impaired.
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