From Mark’s Daily Apple, Fasting versus Carb Restriction: Which Works Better for What Scenarios
Carb restriction works well. That’s been well-documented. Sure, the results get a little fuzzy if you use “low-carb” diets with 35-40% of calories from carbs or enforce calorie-matched control diets, but legitimate ad-libitum low-carb diet studies where people are free to eat what they want find that subjects spontaneously reduce calories and lose body fat faster than with other diets.
Intermittent fasting has also been shown to work. In non-obese patients, alternate day fasting increased fat oxidation and weight loss. In obese patients, alternate day fasting was an effective way to lose weight; dietary adherence remained high throughout. In young overweight women, alternate day fasting was just as effective as caloric restriction at causing weight loss, and adherence to the former was easier than to the latter.
Intermittent fasting and carb-restriction are pathways to easy calorie restriction. Fasting removes the possibility of eating entirely. Carb restriction removes the least satiating macronutrient and increases the most satiating macronutrients. Both diets increase fat burning and, provided you eat adequate protein and lift some heavy things, preserve lean mass.
The trick is sustainability: If fasting makes you unfathomably hungry, it’s probably not going to help you lose weight. Anecdotally, I find that basic carb restriction helps the most people and is the best-tolerated.