The study was conducted by Krista Varady and colleagues, at the University of California.
As a part of the research, the team studied the effects of alternate-day fasting on 24 male mice for four weeks to assess the effects of Alternate-Day Fasting (ADF).
ADF is a diet method in which people consume energy-free beverages, tea, coffee, and sugar-free gum and they drink as much water as they need.
In their study, the scientists followed five groups of mice: one which didn't follow an ADF diet, one that followed the diet only partially, one which consumed 50 percent of their regular diet every other day (ADF-50pct), and one which consumed 75 percent of their regular diet every other day (ADF-25pct), and one which followed it completely (ADF-100pct)
The researchers found that mice that followed the complete ADF diet (ADF-100pct) lost weight.
They also noted that the fat cells of both the ADF-100pc and ADF-50pc groups shrunk by more than half and by 35 percent, respectively. Also, in these two groups of mice, fat under the skin - but not abdominal fat - was broken down more than in mice that did not follow the diet.
These results suggest that complete and modified ADF regimens seem to protect against obesity and type 2 diabetes but do not result in fat or weight loss.
However, the researchers insist that more studies are needed to confirm whether the long-term effects of ADF regimens are beneficial for health and reduce disease risk.
"Effects of modified alternate-day fasting regimens on adipocyte size, triglyceride metabolism and plasma adiponectin levels in mice," appears in the October 2007 issue of the Journal of Lipid Research.