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Sports 2019, 7(1), 22;

Intermittent Dieting: Theoretical Considerations for the Athlete

The University of Western Australia (UWA), The School of Human Sciences, Crawley Campus, WA 6009, USA
Biolayne LLC, 19401 Jacobs River Run, Lutz, FL 33559, USA
Auckland University of Technology, Sports Performance Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ) at AUT Millennium, Auckland 0632, New Zealand
California State University, Biochemistry and Molecular Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Centre for Sport Performance, Fullerton, CA 92831, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 December 2018 / Revised: 5 January 2019 / Accepted: 11 January 2019 / Published: 16 January 2019
PDF [1244 KB, uploaded 16 January 2019]


Athletes utilise numerous strategies to reduce body weight or body fat prior to competition. The traditional approach requires continuous energy restriction (CER) for the entire weight loss phase (typically days to weeks). However, there is some suggestion that intermittent energy restriction (IER), which involves alternating periods of energy restriction with periods of greater energy intake (referred to as ‘refeeds’ or ‘diet breaks’) may result in superior weight loss outcomes than CER. This may be due to refeed periods causing transitory restoration of energy balance. Some studies indicate that intermittent periods of energy balance during energy restriction attenuate some of the adaptive responses that resist the continuation of weight and fat loss. While IER—like CER—is known to effectively reduce body fat in non-athletes, evidence for effectiveness of IER in athletic populations is lacking. This review provides theoretical considerations for successful body composition adjustment using IER, with discussion of how the limited existing evidence can be cautiously applied in athlete practice. View Full-Text
Keywords: intermittent energy restriction; diet—reducing; weight loss; caloric restriction; adaptive thermogenesis; composition—body; body weight maintenance intermittent energy restriction; diet—reducing; weight loss; caloric restriction; adaptive thermogenesis; composition—body; body weight maintenance

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Peos, J.J.; Norton, L.E.; Helms, E.R.; Galpin, A.J.; Fournier, P. Intermittent Dieting: Theoretical Considerations for the Athlete. Sports 2019, 7, 22.

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