Thursday, January 24, 2013

Diet? No. Fast? Yes!


Very few people decide to diet because they enjoy feeling hungry. In most cases, people diet to lose weight and feel better. The problem with most diets is that you are hungry all the time. But there is a new point of view that says that you don’t need to diet every day. Instead, just fast occasionally, and you will accomplish these same goals.


Fasting is a term that means that you are not eating. Pretty simple, right? You just don’t eat. Clearly this isn’t a long-term solution, and no sane person would think otherwise.

Intermittent fasting means that you eat most of the time, but sometimes you fast. This kind of fasting can mean skipping a meal or two, up to “nothing by mouth” for an entire day. The results of this kind of on-again, off-again fasting can be impressive.

Scientific interest in the positive aspects of fasting has been long and strong. Back in 1945 it was observed that rats lived longer and had a lower incidence of cancer when the only ate on alternating days. Decades later, the research continues to pile up that shows that intermittent fasting can extend lifespan and avoid many age-related issues such as diabetes, obesity, dementia, stroke and cancer.

A key benefit of intermittent fasting is maintaining the body’s sensitivity to insulin. With aging, the body can become somewhat insulin resistant. This can lead to obesity, heart disease and type II diabetes.  There is also some research that points to a related increase in a protein that nurtures damaged brain cells. This could be the mechanism for intermittent fasting decreasing dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Intermittent fasting might be right for you. Especially in situations where a daily reduction in calories just isn’t working, choosing a day or two a week to fast might just be the answer.

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