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Intermittent Fasting: Fad stop Fad…

No doubt I’m going to get a bunch of hate mail for my take on this style of eating which is the new fad factor in the world of dieting. Those of you who are convinced by the hype and are considering this style of eating, I think it’s important you get the other side of the story.

In this post, I’ll discuss few of the abundant research articles that is ignored and not revealed by I.F proponents.

Intermittent fasting or I.F claims that it enhances several body part functions and hence results into overall good health of a person. Intermittent fasting consists of two phase called fasting phase and non-fasting phase. Fasting phase continues from hours to max a day. Person cannot eat anything during fasting phase but drink water. In non-fasting phase, person can have food as per dietitian suggests or can eat a larger portion than their usual portion size.
What if I say that you don’t have to pay taxes every year as scheduled instead pay it  collectively after 10 years in one go… wouldn’t you call it absurd? Is it OK to eat stupidly large amounts of food in a single sitting after fasting during the day? Dietary dogma has a powerful ability to convince seemingly ‘normal’ people with such absurd beliefs.

Intermittent fasting possesses a higher level risk when practiced often. Here are the possible threats posed by extreme intermittent fasting. I’m just one of these weird folks who think people should have access to the relevant facts, as opposed to dubious hyperbole, before making an important decision. With that said, let’s get down to business.

The most common prescription for I.F is to eat nothing during the day, with the exception of coffee and juices as desired, and then eat a very large meal in the evening. Another common manifestation of I.F is every other day fasting, in which one eats normally for 24 hours, then forgoes food the following day, before repeating the sequence.

1. One totally unsupported claim made for I.F is that it accelerates fat loss and increases muscle growth compared to standard meal regimens.
This is a common claim made by any diet regime! When you starve there will be a greater demand for calorie compensation that’s lost during the phase. How can fasting (not starving) for less than 24 hours will accelerate fat loss and preserve muscle growth at the same time. Don’t we all know by this time that Lean muscle equals to higher metabolic rate!

2. A famous advocacy by I.F believers is that, it will alter your metabolic rate.
It alters metabolic rate of a human which may lead to some serious consequences when a person eats again i.e. when person enters into non fasting phase, the tendency to consume more food increases. Additionally for a metabolic slow down to happen in the human body it will take at least 72 hours of continuous starving for the body to use fat as a fuel. 24 hours of eat stop eat will not take you there.

3. It will influence sufficient amount of water loss from body, enabling more weight loss.
Which can happen when fasting is taken to an extended period; this may lead to serious consequences by starting with symptoms such as dehydration.

4. Improve the body’s use of protein and preserve lean muscle mass.
When you metabolic rate is altered; it will cause body muscles to turn into energy as during fasting phase there is no source of energy that body can consume so body burns fat cells and muscles to generate new source of energy. Where does the question of preserving muscle arise.

5. It will enhance mental focus and aid well when you exercise.
sharper mental performance because eating regular, timed meals will help you to think and process information more effectively, increase your attention span and boost your mood.. It’s very usual for people cramping up with a bloated feeling upon waking up due to dehydration during such practices, mainly because muscle mass is 85% water.

6. Promotes Thermogenesis and increases absorption rates of nutrients.
Thermogenesis, or the production of heat by the body, increases by eating multiple meals daily (four or more). This allows for faster metabolism rates and more efficient processing of nutrients.

7. It can influence your exercise output.
If you are planning to be on an exercise regime to enhance your weight loss, I.F can be detrimental to your progress simply because lack of food (read energy) can hinder your exercise intensity. Yes, food provides energy to the body and depriving food will encourage the body to burn stored fat; does fasting or I.F effectively helps you burn STORED fat which you want to get rid off? Shouldn’t your body feel the urge to refill its stores based on your Total Energy Expenditure (TEE) needs? I have witnessed people experience lethargic feeling before hitting the gym due to the 16 hour fast.

8. Ramadan fasting is also a form of  Intermittent fasting.
During Ramadan month, common health constraint will be gastric acidity, migraine and constipation. This is because during Ramadan intake of fluid including saliva is restricted during the fast. A large dinner is customary, while those who wake early enough are permitted to eat what is usually a small meal. I.F closely replicates health issues similar to the pattern promoted by Ramadan fasting. Fasting during Ramadan is towards Imam and it has an intense spiritual devotion during this period to attain Tawqa and reach the door of Ryyan. You can reach your doctors door if you are going to mimic such divine practices.

With all the drawbacks set aside; I see a major benefit for I.F; you can enjoy the luxuries of reduced prep and cooking time whilst meeting required daily caloric intake in one go. In a mobility and organizing standpoint it can be called laziness.

Intermittent fasting ticks all the right boxes for a successful fad; it is novel, different, and has gimmick appeal.  Alternatively try the 5: 2 diet practices. Restrict calories (not starve) for 2 days and normal balanced eating for the other 5 days.

BeWell,
Vivek

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