A Victoria University study is investigating the impact of fasting combined with high-intensity interval training on weight loss and heart health.

St Albans-based researchers from the university’s college of health and biomedicine are running a 16-week study to examine whether a specific combination of fasting and exercising is effective at enhancing weight loss and reducing the risk factors associated with heart disease and type II diabetes.

Participants in the study will be assigned to one of three groups and asked to either undergo sprint interval training three times a week for 16 weeks or follow the 5:2 diet – or fast diet – for which five days of the week are normal eating days, while the other two restrict calories to 500-600 per day … or both.

Student investigator and PhD candidate William Deasy said the diet required participants to fast by limiting their calorie intake for two non-consecutive days each week.

On fasting days, women are allowed 500 calories, while men can have 600 calories.

Mr Deasy said six people were currently taking part in the study, but at least 50 more are needed.

“To date, it appears that participants in all groups are losing weight, but that combined protocol gives greater weight loss,” he said.

“These results are preliminary, and we are in need of more participants to verify this trend.”

Participants need to be aged between 18 and 45 and be overweight, but otherwise healthy.

To inquire about taking part in the study, email william.deasy@vu.edu.au