Intermittent Fasting – Just Another Fad?
People are always looking for new ways to lose weight. With roughly 70% of the country either overweight or worse, that’s the good news. The bad news? Despite diet books and programs by the thousands, we’re still looking for answers. It remains elusive. The key that opens the door to the fat locker is still missing.
But there’s always hope. A weight loss phenomenon currently gaining in popularity is intermittent fasting. The name says it all. It’s an umbrella term for any pattern of eating that cycles between eating and fasting (not eating). Cycles can be a matter of hours e.g. extending one’s eight hour sleep for another eight hours. This boils down to skipping breakfast “break fast”, and lunch. Or one can fast for an entire day. Popular patterns include the “The 5:2 Diet” e.g fasting two days a week, and alternate day fasting.
But is it a fad? Let’s define our terms:
So what’s a fad? It’s a behavior in which a group of people enthusiastically, often impulsively adopt a behavior for a limited period of time, regardless of its scientific merits. It differ from a trend, a behavior that usually evolves into a long term or even permanent change. Trends are a bigger deal; more subtle and usually backed by documented benefits.
Fasting? It means just that. No food is allowed other water, coffee, tea or other non-caloric beverages. But some forms of intermittent fasting do allow small amounts of low-calorie foods during the fasting period.
Some skeptics do indeed consider it a fad; just another gimmick to get people to reduce their caloric intake. They feel that at the end of the day or week, the net reduction in calories will be the same as cutting a smaller number of calories every day. And getting people to go without food for 16 hours, or even a whole day? Don’t even think about it! .
No question, for those who belong to the “a calorie is a calorie” school; who believe weight loss is simply a matter of eating less and exercising more, they may have a point.
But if on the other hand…
…one believes obesity for most to be a true disease, there may be more to it. Suppose intermittent fasting did more than just cut calories? Suppose it helped to unlock your fat tank so it became available as a source of energy?
So where are we going with this? Hop in your car for a minute. As you drive, you may see a Toyota Prius. Because it can run on either gasoline or electricity it’s called a “hybrid”. (A hybrid is something having two components that produce the same result).
You may be surprised to learn that your body is also a “hybrid”. It can run on carbohydrate or fat. When your tank is always filled with carbohydrates, the fat tank locks and can’t be used as a fuel for energy. It just sits there, perhaps adding more to its tank every day.
But suppose you could flip the switch to your fat tank. What would happen? You’d start using fat for fuel and see your weight go down.
Bottom line? Intermittent fasting shuts off your supply of carbohydrate for fuel. This forces your body to start using fat for fuel.
Fat burning. Doesn’t that sound good?
That means weight loss…and that’s no fad!