ELKINS - Does intermittent fasting help to burn more calories or does it slow the metabolic rate? That’s a question a Davis & Elkins College professor and two biology students hope to answer through a two-year study funded by a $25,961 grant from the West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE).
Dr. Shawn Stover, professor of biology, will lead the study with assistance from rising seniors Alyssa Edwards of Fairmont, W.Va., and Kirsten Gateless of Flatwoods, W.Va. The grant monies were used to purchase a cardiopulmonary exercise testing system the trio will use to monitor results.
Stover says the study will involve two primary groups of participants. One group will maintain a standard diet with meals taken throughout the day. The other group will practice intermittent fasting, taking all meals within an eight-hour period, followed by a 16-hour fast.
“Some diets actually slow the body’s metabolic rate, resulting in fewer calories burned,” Stover said. “We want to determine if intermittent fasting has an impact, positive or negative, on resting metabolic rate.”
As Stover and his students check the effects on metabolism, they will also monitor markers of inflammation and oxidative stress.
“Preliminary data suggests that intermittent fasting may decrease both inflammation and oxidative stress,” Stover said.
The assessment of inflammation and oxidative stress is a continuation of another of Stover’s research projects that began last fall.
Funding for WV-INBRE is provided by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
The Davis & Elkins College biology program is designed to develop an understanding of the process of scientific inquiry as well as an appreciation of the unity and diversity of life. To serve the needs of students with differing career interests, two degree options are offered. The Bachelor of Science in Biology major is intended for preparing for professional or graduate schools, or employment in more technical careers in biology. The Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Environmental Science major is for those who want expertise in biological and environmental issues for less technical careers.
Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.
Photo Caption: Davis & Elkins College junior Mason Fox, left, and Professor of Biology Dr. Shawn Stover conduct a test run on the cardiopulmonary exercise testing system that will be used for a study on metabolic rate. Beginning this fall, test groups who volunteer to participate in the study will follow different diet plans. Volunteers will visit Stover’s lab monthly and be fitted with an inflatable helmet and breathing apparatus to obtain respiratory gas samples used to measure their metabolic rate. Fox, a physical education major and member of the men’s lacrosse team, said he decided to volunteer because learning more about diet plans and how the body uses energy will be helpful to him on personal and academic levels.