How many times have you heard of the advice to eat five or six small meals a day in order to stay healthy and loose weight? We have all been taught not to miss breakfast ( ever!) as it is the most important meal of the day.
This is old news; and today its nothing but a myth. It was believed that eating small meals throughout the day keeps our metabolism “revved up” and facilitates weight loss. However, there is little evidence to support this way of thinking. In fact, “eating many small meals a day” has negative implications. When people are told to eat many small meals a day, wheat they actually tend to do is “eat something all the time”. It is of no coincidence that this way of “eating” led to skyrocketing rate of obesity in our country and the world overall. The other major misconception that led to increased rate of obesity was the government’s “low-fat” dietary recommendations that led to over consumption of carbohydrates that caused insulin resistance and as a consequence became root cause for majority of inflammatory diseases such as diabetes and hypertension to name a few.
The time has come to explore the opposite idea: regularly allowing greater-than-normal amounts of time to pass between meals, a practice known as “intermittent fasting,” or IF.
The basic essence of IF is to enjoy better health via repeatedly fasting for longer periods than is typical on a daily breakfast-lunch-dinner schedule. There are multiple scenarios on how to accomplish it. Some proponents skip breakfast; others, dinner. Others fast all day every other day, every third day, once per week, or once per month. But what unites all these methods is the following concept: fasting means abstaining from solid food; all sensible IF plans allow hydration with water, tea or other no- or low-calorie beverages.)
What are the benefits of Fasting?
- Fasting increases Insulin and leptin sensitivity thus reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension
- It allows your metabolism to be “fat adapted”- increases your energy by burning stored fat
- It also stimulated production of ghrelin (satiety hormone)- and prevents overeating
- Intermittent Fasting reduces your Triglycerides levels and decreases risk of heart disease
- Reduces body Inflammation
- Helps loose weight and maintain it long term.
- Exercising in a fasting state can help preserve muscle and prevent muscle aging.
Fasting periods also help eliminate toxins left by dead and damaged cells, a process known as autophagy. A failure of autophagy to keep up with accumulated cellular debris is believed by many scientists to be one of the major causes of the chronic diseases associated with aging.
Occasional fasting also seems to boost activity and growth of certain types of cells, especially neurons. This phenomenon explains sharper memory and cognition in people who consider intermittent fasting.
Points to consider when implementing Intermittent Fasting (IF)
- There are many ways to do it. Some people find it easy to consider Every other Day Diet – meaning not eating every other day at all, or consuming about 500 kcal / day on a fasting day. You would eat at libidum on non fasting day. This way of fasting allows full hydration on fasting days ( tea, unsweetened coffee, water)
- More practical way of intermittent fasting is Fasting for 16-18 hours/ day. This may be accomplished by delaying eating after awakening. This type of fasting I practice myself. I recommend to skip breakfast and eat your first meal of the day at lunch/dinner time within six to eight hours window frame and make your last meal of the day 3 hours prior to bed time
- Fasting will help shift your metabolism to fat-burning mode.
- It is best to exercise in the fasting state. However, consider supplementing with whey protein drink as you recovery drink/meal.
- Quality of food you consume is just (if not more) important is the timing of food consumption. It is not recommended to consider intermittent fasting if your diet consists of processed refined foods (fast food). It is PARAMOUNT to exclude refined carbohydrates, sugar/fructose and grains!
- Pay close attention to how you feel and don’t take any changes in the way you feel or your energy levels lightly. You need to consult your health provider if you are diabetic, pregnant or breastfeeding.
I think there is an evidence for the health benefits of IF! Getting hungry now and then is clearly a healthy thing to do as long as overall caloric intake stays high enough to maintain a healthy weight. (Fasting, like every other healthy activity, must be done sensibly and in moderation.) Many people who follow IF regimes report both physical and mental benefits, including improved energy and concentration, better sleep, and an overall feeling of well-being.
Let me know if I can help you create an effective eating plan and schedule.
Best of Health,
Dr. Yuliya Klopouh
© 2015 Yuliya Klopouh, The Orpheus Clinic. All Rights Reserved. Questions regarding your health should be directed to your primary care doctor. *Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.