Di­et­ing made easy Your new plan of at­tack

Opt for a one-rule eat­ing plan and you in­crease your chances of los­ing weight and keep­ing it off

Diabetic Living - - Contents -

On five days you eat nor­mally and on two days each week you eat far less (around 2100 kilo­joules for women and 2500 kilo­joules for men). Orig­i­nally called the ‘2-day diet’, it was de­vel­oped at the Ge­n­e­sis Breast Cancer Preven­tion Cen­tre, in the UK, to help re­duce breast cancer risk. Since then the 5:2 fast diet and In­ter­mit­tent Fasting (IF), has been cham­pi­oned by health guru, Dr Michael Mosley. “De­spite the name, IF does not in­volve com­plete ab­sti­nence from food,” says Me­lanie McGrice, di­eti­tian and spokesper­son for the Di­eti­tians As­so­ci­a­tion of Australia. “On the ‘fasting’ days you eat plenty of low-starch veg­eta­bles and low-carbs food, along with a lit­tle lean protein.”

While crash di­ets may slow your me­tab­o­lism, part-time fasting keeps your me­tab­o­lism guess­ing. “The fasting days are kept to a short win­dow of time each week or month, so you get all the ben­e­fits with­out any draw­backs of se­vere and con­stant kilo­joule re­stric­tion,” says As­so­ci­ate Pro­fes­sor Amanda Salis, se­nior re­search fel­low from the Univer­sity of Syd­ney’s Bo­den In­sti­tute of Obe­sity, Nutri­tion, Ex­er­cise and Eat­ing Disor­ders. How does IF com­pare to con­ven­tional weight-loss di­ets? “Both strate­gies ap­pear to be equal,” Salis says. “But there are stud­ies show­ing that many peo­ple find the IF ap­proach eas­ier to stick to be­cause food re­stric­tions are only ap­plied sev­eral days a week.”

Tailor­ing this for you

Af­ter med­i­cal ad­vice, you may choose to:

• Go on a low-kilo­joule eat­ing plan across a week on con­sec­u­tive days or split up. On those days, re­duce in­take of carbs and eat non-starchy veg­eta­bles and good qual­ity protein. “Be­fore try­ing this it is im­por­tant to con­sult a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional or di­eti­tian with di­a­betes ex­pe­ri­ence, about how many kilo­joules you should con­sume on ‘fasting days’,” says di­a­betes ed­u­ca­tor and di­eti­tian, Dr Kate Marsh.

Try a range of other ap­proaches if you are type 2. Th­ese in­clude:

• Restrict­ing all eat­ing to a win­dow of 10 hours

(eg 8am to 6pm) each day.

• Eat­ing half as much as usual every sec­ond day.

• Fasting for 24 hours two times a week (ei­ther con­sec­u­tively or al­ter­nately), con­sum­ing drinks like broth, but no solid food.

The up­side

Re­search shows that in­ter­mit­tent fasting:

• Leads peo­ple to adopt health­ier eat­ing on non-fasting days.

• Sta­bilises blood glu­cose lev­els (BGLs) and im­proves in­sulin sen­si­tiv­ity,

en­cour­ag­ing sta­ble BGLs, weight loss and healthy weight main­te­nance.

• Trig­gers the growth of new in­sulin-pro­duc­ing pan­cre­atic cells in mice, shows re­search by the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. As a re­sult, late stage type 1 and type 2 di­a­betes in mice re­versed. In the fu­ture, this may mean part-time fasting could help peo­ple with di­a­betes gain more con­trol over their in­sulin pro­duc­tion and blood glu­cose. Re­search is now un­der­way to see if IF can also help put type 2 di­a­betes into re­mis­sion.

• Re­duces choles­terol: on the ‘fasting’ days the body pulls choles­terol from fat cells to use for en­ergy, shows re­search by In­ter­moun­tain Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

Po­ten­tial pit­falls

When en­gaged in part-time fasting bear in mind that:

• “In­ter­mit­tent fasting isn’t safe for ev­ery­one,” says Dr Marsh. “It may re­quire ad­just­ment to med­i­ca­tions, in­clud­ing many di­a­betes med­i­ca­tions (par­tic­u­larly in­sulin and sulpho­ny­lureas), blood pres­sure med­i­ca­tions and war­farin, so speak to your doc­tor be­fore you con­sider this sort of eat­ing plan.” It could also in­crease risk of hy­pos in some peo­ple with type 1.

• You may have less en­ergy to face the gym or go for a run on days you eat fewer kilo­joules.

• Some peo­ple find cut­ting back on kilo­joules causes an enor­mous spike in their hunger and pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with food, which makes the fasting day feel very long.

• Your alert­ness may drop; if so, sched­ule fasting days when you are not too busy. You give meat a miss on two or more days a week. Still love a juicy steak or chicken dish? No prob­lem. En­joy them on your meat-eat­ing days.

Tailor­ing this for you

Some peo­ple do two con­sec­u­tive vegie days while oth­ers eat veg­e­tar­ian every sec­ond day. Or you could try the ap­proach of Mark Bittman, food writer for The New York Times and au­thor of Ve­gan Be­fore 6 (Sphere, $29.95). Sev­eral years ago, over­weight and head­ing for di­a­betes and a heart at­tack, he turned his health around with his flex­i­tar­ian ap­proach. He now eats fruit, veg, whole grains and no pro­cessed foods dur­ing the day and only eats meat af­ter 6pm.

The up­side

“Flex­i­tar­i­ans of­ten ex­ceed the rec­om­mended daily in­take of five serv­ings of veg­eta­bles on their vegie days,” says McGrice. “They con­sume a wider range of vi­ta­mins and min­er­als and eat less sat­u­rated fat and more fi­bre, which helps pro­tect against dis­eases like cancer and con­di­tions like di­a­betes. Their high in­take of whole grains, nuts and

good oils are also good for healthy choles­terol.” This is a win-win for your waist. “Your weight ben­e­fits from the lower kilo­joule in­take on the days you eat a plant-based diet and over the course of the week, that may bal­ance your over­all kilo­joule in­take enough to help pre­vent weight gain over a year.”

In one study com­par­ing di­ets at the Univer­sity of South Cal­i­for­nia, peo­ple fol­low­ing veg­e­tar­ian di­ets lost more weight. At six months, they were still stick­ing to the diet about 40 per cent of the time and main­tain­ing weight loss or los­ing more, when the meat eaters were not. With­out in­tend­ing to, they had gone flex­i­tar­ian!

There are many health ben­e­fits:

• For every 200-gram in­crease in your daily fruit and veg­etable in­take your risk of dis­ease drops by six per cent, shows re­search from the An­dalu­sian School of Pub­lic Health. • Eat­ing leafy greens can sig­nif­i­cantly lower the risk of de­vel­op­ing type 2 di­a­betes, ac­cord­ing to a Univer­sity of Le­ices­ter study.

• While two days eat­ing a diet high in meat and dairy foods in­creases bad belly bac­te­ria, two days of a veg­e­tar­ian diet boosts the good bac­te­ria again, shows Har­vard Univer­sity re­search.

Po­ten­tial pit­falls

• Con­sum­ing too many high-fat foods. If you drown healthy meals in creamy sauces or cheese you’ll only add kilo­joules to your veg.

• Eat­ing too much fruit or fruit juice. “A fresh fruit juice con­tains far more pieces of fruit in a drink than you would ever sit down and eat,” says McGrice. “But be­cause the fi­bre has been re­moved the juice leaves you less sat­is­fied, even though it has more kilo­joules than just snack­ing on a piece of fruit. As a re­sult, it can quickly raise BGLs.” • Over­do­ing carbs or bread. “If you’re of­ten eat­ing toast with cheese and but­ter or tomato sauce on a bit of pasta, that’s not a healthy veg­e­tar­ian meal,” says McGrice. “So make sure veg­eta­bles are the main fea­ture, not an af­ter­thought.”

While crash di­ets may slow your me­tab­o­lism, part-time

fasting keeps your me­tab­o­lism

guess­ing

Time for a new plan of at­tack. In­stead of stick­ing to a whole lot of rigid eat­ing rules, try one of th­ese part-time di­ets where all you have to fol­low is one golden weight­loss rule... Tired of di­ets that boss you around all day? Telling you to eat fewer carbs, have more protein, slash sugar, cut the take­away – th­ese rules are all ben­e­fi­cial, but stick­ing to them can some­times make you feel over­whelmed and de­prived. End re­sult?

You throw in the towel.

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