In her PhD thesis, Tine Mejlbo Sundfør has looked at how intermittent energy restriction and replacing saturated with polyunsatured fatty acids affect cardiometabolic health.


  1. Intermittent calorie restriction did not impact cardiovascular risk factors more than a standard low-calorie diet.

  2. Eating less saturated fats had less effect on LDL-cholesterol levels in obese persons.


Thesis: Diets for weight loss and cardiovascular health in obesity
Candidate: Tine Mejlbo Sundfør
Time: March 12, 2020 at 13:15
Place: Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet B: Blått auditorium
Link to university website


(1/2) In men and women with high cardiovascular risk, intermittent and continuous energy-restriction for one year give similar weight loss and reduction in cardiovascular risk factors. All 112 participants were obese and had at least one additional established risk factor for cardiovascular diesease at baseline. They were randomly assigned to one of two energy-restricted diets: either continuous restriction or two days a week with more extreme restrictions.

Both groups reduced their body weight by 8-9 kilograms over a year, and also reduced waist circumference, blood pressure and triglycerides similarly. Levels of HDL-cholesterol increased in both groups. However, participants in the intermittent energy restriction group reported being more hungry than the continuous low-energy group. The continuous group also improved the nutritional composition more, with a higher intake of fibers, fruits, berries and vegetables, and a lower sugar consumption.

(3) Replacing saturated fatty acids with polyunsaturated fatty acids reduces LDL-cholesterol levels. The effect is more pronounced in normal weight than obese persons, according to Sundfør’s research.

The study includes 83 men and women with high LDL-cholesterol levels at baseline. They were randomized to a diet enriched with either oil-based margarine (polyunsaturated fatty acids) or butter (saturated fatty acids) for six weeks.


(1) Sundfør, T. M., Svendsen, M., & Tonstad, S. (2018). Effect of intermittent versus continuous energy restriction on weight loss, maintenance and cardiometabolic risk: a randomized 1-year trial. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases28(7), 698-706.

(2) Sundfør, T. M., Tonstad, S., & Svendsen, M. (2019). Effects of intermittent versus continuous energy restriction for weight loss on diet quality and eating behavior. A randomized trialEuropean journal of clinical nutrition73(7), 1006-1014.

(3) Sundfør, T. M., Svendsen, M., Heggen, E., Dushanov, S., Klemsdal, T. O., & Tonstad, S. (2019). BMI modifies the effect of dietary fat on atherogenic lipids: a randomized clinical trialThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition110(4), 832-841.

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