To fast or not to fast? If that is your question, then you ought to know there is no one simple answer. Studies are still being done, results studied. So, as you’re chiefly responsible to your body, you’re on the right track for researching this option thoroughly.
Aside from pound-shedding, you must consider the overall impact of any fasting method. Not to scare you, but there can be long-term consequences. Dive into these tips if you are serious about knowing how fasting can help or harm you.
Check if you’re at risk of long-term side effects
Here’s some cautionary news from a group of scientists that presented in the European Society of Endocrinology in May. Intermittent fasting may reduce weight, but it may also increase the risk of diabetes in healthy people. Your body may also produce more free radicals known to damage cells. Free radicals can speed up aging and raise cancer risk. People who may have insulin resistance, including those overweight and obese, may develop type-2 diabetes in the long run.
Consult with your doctor or dietitian
Finding legitimate sources of information on the web is just the start. You still have to get, and pay for, professional opinion.
Consider this scenario:
You found that scientists like Valter Longo of the University of Southern California (USC) and the researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have different things to say about the time to devote to fasting. Although both came up with positive results. Your doctor or dietitian can help you weigh either method’s pros and cons. He or she may even suggest a better solution for you.
Before making an appointment, list everything you’ve learned about fast-based diets so far. Then ask the expert about it, for good measure.
Become a more efficient fat-burner
Two of the trendiest programs out there are the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting. If you’re an athlete or performs heavy tasks in your job, you might want to check out these options. If you work in sports, your body might recover faster if it learns to prioritize burning fat as fuel.
Introducing the keto diet is the key. Eating low-carb, high-fat meals will train your body to source energy from ketones, instead of sugar, on a regular basis. And complementing keto with a fast will help your system get more accustomed to fat-burning.
The effects on performance may come gradually. For ultra-marathon runner Zach Bitter, it took two years for the program to click. Read more about his experience here.
Discover the “longevity diet”
Do you want to know how to live long and prosper? Valter Longo, the USC biochemist from earlier, studied for decades and then wrote a book about the “longevity diet.” His research has focused on calorie restriction. “Reducing calories without malnutrition can extend healthy lifespans in animal models (read: monkeys),” he says.
The longevity diet thereby espouses a Mediterranean diet in which nuts, legumes, fish, and whole grains are the star. Yet, it’s the “cycles of periodic diets that mimic fasting” that is the secret sauce. Timing is important here. You need 12 hours of feeding and 12 hours of fasting.
If this piqued your interest, go to this page or find the book Longo wrote on the topic.
Fast for 24 hours
Meanwhile, the MIT researchers, also from earlier, found a benefit from fasting for one day. It turns out that intestinal stem cells regenerate twice faster after a short fast. Refraining from eating regular meals during this period will help speed up your metabolism. This somehow correlates to the effects of the 5-2 diet. Here, you eat for five consecutive days and fast for the next two days. In those two days, you will restrict your consumption to 600 calories or less.
Some celebrities who have kept the extra pounds at bay through the 5-2 diet are Jimmy Kimmel and Benedict Cumberbatch. If you have an existing condition related to metabolism, consult your doctor or dietitian first.
See if the 16:8 diet can sustain you
This diet lets you eat freely within an eight-hour window. After that, you have to fast for the next 16 hours. One mom, Janielle Wright, chose to limit her carb intake and increase her diet of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and egg whites. She also complemented healthy eating with exercise. According to Today, she lost 71 pounds in six months! That’s what you get for going at it no matter what.
Like Bitter’s fat-burning regime in an earlier example, the 16:8 fast shows gradual results. At first, Wright also didn’t see the results on the weighing scale. But she started fitting into her clothes and feeling good about herself. She became happier and more energized to play with her kid afterward.
Intermittent fasting has gained popularity because of its apparent impact on some people. However, it may not work for everyone. Again, remember to complement your research with consultation with your doctor or dietitian.
Also, as you may have seen from the examples, consistency is important. Losing weight and even becoming healthier and well are all processes. Once you commit to the change they require, you will go through the ups and downs. You may even be tempted to break the rules from time to time. Or plateau at some point.
So it is better to find a diet that can sustain you over the long haul.
Have you tried any kind of fasting to lose weight or aim for better health before? Share your experience in the comments.