Is Fasting Another Food Fad?

By Patricia Danflous

“Have you thought about intermittent fasting?”

When Elizabeth Russell’s OB/Gyn asked that question, she thought she might have misunderstood.  What about the nutritional guidance her doctor had advised throughout pregnancy?  Fasting couldn’t be healthy, could it?

“It was time to lose the baby weight, but I never considered fasting as an alternative, at least not a healthy one,” she said.  “When my doctor said it was the method she chose to get back to her pre-pregnancy weight, I decided to investigate.”

Six months later, Russell was 30 pounds lighter, felt healthier, energized and her old jeans were looser than before pregnancy.  Hunger was never a problem. 

Russell is one of a growing number of people participating in the alternating cycles of fasting and eating to lose weight and improve health.

Internationally recognized expert on intermittent fasting and author of “The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss,” Dr. Jason Fung focuses on the role insulin plays in storing and burning energy.  Researching effective ways to address obesity in connection with diabetes, Fung implemented intermittent fasting as a treatment option—with great results.  Many of his patients saw a reverse in diabetes, eliminating the need for medication, losing weight and alleviating fatigue. 

“A recent study suggests that 75 percent of the weight-loss response in obesity is predicted by insulin levels.  Not willpower.   Not caloric intake.  Not peer support or peer pressure.  Not exercise.  Just insulin,” Fung reports in his book. 

The science of intermittent fasting is basic.  Insulin goes up when you eat and take in calories.  Elevated levels of insulin signal the body to store energy.  The body
releases energy when insulin falls. 
If insulin levels are high over a long period of time, insulin resistance develops and the body is in a continual fat-storing condition.  Fasting safely lowers insulin. 

A good way to incorporate intermittent fasting into your lifestyle is the 16/8 method.  Fast for 14 to 16 hours a day, allowing an eating window for two or three meals.  If you eat a normal dinner and skip breakfast, you should be able to incorporate the 16/8 method with little inconvenience. 

You could also consider the 5:2 method.  Fast two days per week, eating only 500 or 600 calories.  Eat regularly the other days.  Water, tea, coffee, zero-calories beverages and calorie-free supplements are allowed during the fasting period.

Do your homework before you begin intermittent fasting.  “The Obesity Code and The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day and Extended Fasting” by Jimmy Moore and Dr.  Jason Fung provide factual and practical guidelines.

A recent study suggests that 75 percent of the weight-loss response in obesity is predicted by insulin levels.  

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