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Macdonald Campus, McGill University

Mythbuster Monday #6: Intermittent Fasting

November 12, 2018

 

Timing, timing, timing. That is the basis of intermittent fasting, the new weight loss fad. Unlike other “diets”, this general term is used to define diets that cycle between a period of fasting and non fasting for a period of time. It mimics circadian rhythm and has results that are similar to those of short term fasting.

 

The results are similar to those of short calorie restriction which makes is easier, and more sustainable. While it might be safer, for many, it can be difficult to fast. However intermittent fasting allows for the body to utilize the energy ,in the form of glucose, that was consumed. When excess is consumed, the sugar get stored in lipid droplets thanks to insulin. When there is a short fast, the body produces glucagon to maintain blood glucose levels by converting lipids in adipose to glucose which can be used and thus promote weight loss. All in all, the idea of Intermittent fasting is that if insulin is to keep insulin down to utilize stored energy.

 

While this seems all fantastic, the potential health benefits has not been well determined yet. Most studies seem to be on rats, which can be a difficult to transfer over to human trials. Another aspect is that socially, it might be difficult to start intermittent fasting due to time restrictions as many social events surround food.

 

Intermittent Fasting Takeaways:

  1. Avoid refined sugars

  2. Let your body burn fat between meals and be active

  3. Consider Limiting the hours that you eat

  4. Avoid eating before bed

References:

 

Monique Tello (June 29, 2018). Intermittent fasting: Surprising update. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/intermittent-fasting-surprising-update-2018062914156

 

Sutton E., Beyl B., Early K., Cefalu W.T., Ravussin E, Peterson C. (2018) Cell Metabolism: Early Time-Restricted Feeding Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Blood Pressure, and Oxidative Stress Even without Weight Loss in Men with Prediabetes. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413118302535


Intermittent fasting interventions for treatment of overweight and obesity in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports, February 2018

 

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