Health & Fit­ness

In a 24/7 food cul­ture, fast­ing gains fol­low­ers

Orlando Sentinel - - HEALTH & FITNESS -

some than for oth­ers, says Dr. Fa­tima Stan­ford, a Har­vard Med­i­cal School obe­sity spe­cial­ist. “There’s no one size fits all,” she said.

Obe­sity ex­perts have be­come in­ter­ested in in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing, but stud­ies on the diet are still emerg­ing. For now, lim­ited re­search sug­gests it may not be any bet­ter for weight loss than con­ven­tional calo­rie-cut­ting over the long term.

“Un­for­tu­nately, in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing gets a lit­tle hyped,” said Court­ney Peter­son, who stud­ies the diet at the Univer­sity of Alabama at Birm­ing­ham.

Still, some fast­ing ap­proaches may be more ef­fec­tive than oth­ers. And Peter­son notes the dif­fi­culty of de­sign­ing stud­ies that defini­tively cap­ture a diet’s ef­fects. That’s in part be­cause so many other vari­ables could be at play.

For in­stance, re­searchers are look­ing at whether any ben­e­fits of in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing might be tied to when the eat­ing pe­riod falls and fluc­tu­a­tions in how well our bodies process food through­out the day.

Some health ex­perts say in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing might be too dif­fi­cult for many peo­ple. They point to a study of 100 peo­ple where those placed in the al­ter­nate-day fast­ing group lost around the same amount of weight as those on con­ven­tional calo­rie-re­stric­tion di­ets over time. But the fast­ing group had a dropout rate of 38%, com­pared with 29% for the con­ven­tional diet group.

But in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing may be eas­ier than other di­ets for peo­ple who al­ready skip meals when they’re too busy, said UIC’s Varady.

To make weight loss stick, she said peo­ple should pick di­ets that re­sem­ble how they al­ready eat.

GER­ALD HER­BERT/AP

Melissa Breaux Bankston, a Cross­fit in­struc­tor in New Orleans, tried in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing as a way to curb her snack­ing. “I wanted to limit the amount of time that I was eat­ing,” she said.

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