Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Fasting Tuesday...

It's week 3 of my one-day-a-week fasting experiment and my girls are concerned that I'm STARVING myself and succumbing to an eating disorder. In an effort to put their minds at ease I shared an article from Prevention that summarizes the research nicely. Here are some highlights:
  • University of Florida researchers put 19 people on an alternate-day fasting program for 3 weeks, drawing blood before and after the diet. The postdiet sample revealed that the participants' cells had begun making more copies of a longevity gene—known as SIRT3—that both helps protect against damaging free radical molecules and improves cells' ability to repair themselves. (LIVE LONGER!)
  • In animal studies, scientists at the National Institute on Aging it was learned that the diet boosts proteins that strengthen neurons crucial for learning and memory. (IMPROVE MEMORY). 
  • The same study also suggests the diet produces some of the same positive changes in the cardiovascular system as long-term exercise. (HEART HEALTH++)
  • Fasting is particularly helpful at burning fat. Glucose stores are typically depleted after 10 hours; and once depleted in the liver your body is forced to use fat as fuel. This diet burns nearly 15% more fat than a typical calorie restricted diet. The body hangs onto muscle and doesn't contribute to the diet related plunge in metabolism.
  • Eight clinical trials of more than 600 obese patients, led by Krista Varady, a nutritional scientist at the University of Illinois, found reliable 2-3 lb/week weight loss over a 3 month period.
  • In a trial funded by the NIH, intermittent fasting was found to be much more effective than everyday dieting at maintaining weight loss (MY NEMESIS). AND, the approach is sustainable.
I'm not a "in moderation" kind of woman so this approach seems a better fit than weighing and measuring and limiting different foods or calories. I would rather be told NO EATING ! than "You can eat a little bit..." Having one day with no food is much easier for me to accept especially since it falls the day before my weekly weigh in; when my motivation to restrict (and/or trepidation) is high. The research validates my choice, strengthens my resolve and gives me hope for the maintenance part that will follow. This is not a diet; but rather a life-style habit. Once the decision is made there is no more thought necessary... Tuesday is FAST DAY... Done.

I know I'm not following the intermittent; alternate day fasting; or  alternate low cal (500 calories/day) as some protocols offer. The reason is that I can make it through a day without eating, where some patients in the trials could not - which is why minimal food (500 cals) was added... They wanted these people to be able to stay on program; the only reason for the added food.

I'm going to keep following this plan through the Spring and see where it leads me. I hope I will continue to have positive results! Weigh in tomorrow!


fitteratfortyish said...

Great research! I've tried some fasting myself and read A LOT about it, since it's so so so insanely popular, at least in my online food groups. I think if you have a history of an eating disorder, though, fasting is very high-risk. But, you've never mentioned that, so 1-day fasts (really, 36-hours) should not be a risk for you.

Another thing that concerns me with fasting is loss of lean body mass - it's easy to lose, but hard to gain. I've heard Dr Steve Phinney (my low-carb guru - he's a scientist that's been studying low-carb for almost 40 years) say that, 24-48 fasts are fine, but longer than that and you're losing lean mass. Period, undebatable. Lean mass is way, way too precious to lose, to me. Also it's a "false loss" in that it looks like weight loss on the scale but really what you're after is losing FAT, not muscle or other vital body structure.

Finally, I also think doing fasting long-term is risky. ALL fasting studies are short-term; there are no long-term studies. When people talk about religious fasting being thousands of years old, this is not chronic fasting, it's done maybe once or a couple times a year. I think any more than that becomes risky, just as a chronic stress on the body and gain potential loss of lean mass. SO, I think your plan to do it til Spring sounds safe and like a good thing to try. But doing it longer-term than that, I might have a hard time being a great cheerleader on...

I think it's great that it works for you! Go with it for now, see where it takes you.

Enz said...

I'm glad you found something that is working for you. It will be interesting to see the results in the Spring!