Dr Melyssa Roy

Melyssa is a medical doctor by training and is currently a PhD candidate in the Departments of Medicine and Nutrition, at the University of Otago. She has an interest in novel aspects in nutrition and exercise, such as whole-food approaches to diet, intermittent fasting, and high intensity interval training. Melyssa also has an interest in educating medical students, and has been involved in teaching at Otago Medical School for several years. Outside of work, Melyssa has a family of three children, likes to go for coffee, run, cook, ride horses, watch movies, grow vegetables and read.

PRESENTATION: The SWIFT Study: Fasting, Paleo and Sprinting in the Real World

The SWIFT study was a one year study in which 250 overweight adults chose to try different nutrition and exercise approaches in an unsupervised environment.  The aim of this study was to examine whether those people opting to try intermittent fasting, ‘Paleo’ or whole-foods diets, as well as high intensity interval training (HIIT) would benefit more than those who chose conventional diet and exercise guidelines. We present the ‘real-world’ outcomes from one year of this trial and discuss the most successful interventions in terms of health benefits and long-term adherence.  We also present some preliminary observations indicating who may benefit the most from these interventions.

The SWIFT study is the first trial in the world to examine over the longer term if this way of eating and exercising does actually work in the real world, and if so, who is most likely to benefit.


  • To discuss the existing evidence that alternative approaches such as paleo, IF and HIIT are effective
  • To compare the real-world outcomes resulting from recommending IF, paleo, and HIIT to overweight individuals
  • To describe possible contributing factors to long-term adherence and successful outcomes from these approaches