Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Think Fast: The Deal on Intermittent Fasting

            There has been a lot of celebrity attention and support in favor of intermittent fasting, but before you jump on the bandwagon, it may be best to know what this wagon ride is like. Intermittent fasting involves fasting for a variable amount of time, then feeding during preselected times. The kick is that the fast can be for hours, or even days. One common practice is to “fast” during the work week, and then feed during the weekend, while others may chose to fast for 16 hours and feed during the 8 hour eating window. For example, 8 PM to 12 PM exists as a fasted window and 12 PM to 8 PM is the allotted time to eat. During a fast, some choose to drink water only, while other may eat, but only 500 calories or so.

            It sounds a bit outlandish, but intermittent fasting may have some benefits such as decreasing LDL cholesterol and inflammation, and increasing insulin sensitivity. As Valter Longo, PhD, explains, during the fasting periods many cells die, and stem cells are “turned on” and give way to the production of new, young, and better functioning cells.

            One issue that arises with intermittent fasting is that individual’s focus primarily on the calories they consume rather than to quality of food being consumed. This is often because low calorie foods such as egg whites and black coffee or tea can be consumed during fasting periods, while during the eating window it’s a reason to splurge on oodles of calories and less desirable foods. The hunger that one may experience before the eating window may also cause a large binge on the less desirable foods. Fasting for long periods may also impact mood and functioning - especially if not acquainted to this eating pattern. 

            So, yes, intermittent fasting can be beneficial for some folks and even produce weight loss, but it’s important to recognize that this may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Warning: Before considering intermittent fasting it is important to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider!

No comments:

Post a Comment