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What’s the Deal with Intermittent Fasting

Another hot diet topic: Intermittent Fasting.  These days, everyone is asking me about Keto Diet and Intermittent Fasting.   So…is it healthy not to eat for a long period of time? Here, I will share my views on this eating style and if it is worth the hype.

First, lets simplify the definitions of intermittent fasting.

  • 16/18 Method (Leangains Protocol): Eat within an 8-10 hour window and fast everyday for 14-16 hours.  For most people, this means no snacking after an early dinner and skipping breakfast.
  • The 5:2 program: Eat normally five days of the week and restrict calories to 500-600 calories (a modified fast) for the other two days.
  • Eat Stop Eat: Do a 24 hour fast once or twice a week.
  • The Warrior Diet: Fast during the day and eat one large meal every night.
  • Alternate Day Fasting: Fast every other day.

Let’s start with the POSITIVE.  It’s hard to clump all these types of fasting plans together but I will do my best to summarize my thoughts.

  1. Initially, many people have seen weight loss results.   Some studies have shown that it helps with weight loss, heart disease, blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.   I need to note that these are NOT long-term studies.
  2. If you have an all or nothing personality, you may thrive on this erratic yet structured eating schedule.
  3. If you are always hungry, you may be able to help train your appetite by incorporating scheduled fasts.

As for the NEGATIVE, I have a lot to say!

  1. Is it sustainable?  The answer is NO for most people.  Wake up…this is another fad diet.  Yes, you may see results when adding fasts to your diet but I can promise you that they are not long-term results.  I can also promise you that you will damage your metabolism during this process.
  2. Intermittent Fasting has nothing to do with what you eat.  It is an eating schedule, not a nutrition plan.  What kind of weight loss program focuses on your fasting schedule over what you put into your body?  Crazy!
  3. Your metabolism craves a steady blood sugar.  This means it needs consistent fuel by eating breakfast and small frequent meals through the day.   Intermittent fasting promotes the opposite which slows down the metabolism in the long run.  I listen to my clients and when they skip meals, their energy is inconsistent and they always fade in the afternoon.  Also, skipping meals usually triggers cravings for sweets, carbs or alcohol.
  4. Just like most extreme diets (Keto, Paleo, Very Low Calorie, etc), Intermittent Fasting will stress out your adrenal glands.  Your body will be confused and stressed when you are fasting which will yield more cortisol output.  The longer you continue with these fad diets, the end result will be weight gain around the mid-section due to prolonged high cortisol.
  5. If you have significant medical conditions and/or are on medications, I would be scared to experiment with intermittent fasting due to the insulin/adrenal imbalance from fasting for long periods.

 

 

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