Intermittent fasting is currently being used by possibly millions of people in the world – fuelled by news media, social media, and a so called certain Dr (background in psychology and journalism!) who has released a book and probably making millions of dollars….
Lets look at the actual health benefits.
It is claimed that intermittent fasting can improve things like:
- Weight loss
- Reduced cancer
- Improved diabetes
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduced cholesterol
- Lowered risk of cardiovascular disease
by using mechanisms that work with circadian rhythm, gut flora, and metabolic hormones and molecules.
When we look at the research – a lot of the benefits have occurred in animal or rat studies, however not so in human trials.
In a review of the literature by Paterson and colleagues,
- Intermittent fasting can have weight loss results – however no superior than traditional calorie restriction diets – as previously discussed (click here)
- No concrete evidence to suggest that fasting has any improvement on insulin, cholesterol, or inflammatory markers (markers of cardiovascular disease and cancers)
- No evidence that links fasting to diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular or other diseases
On a good note – the review highlighted that there are no negative effects of intermittent fasting on health, therefore it is safe to complete.
In my opinion – there is probably more research that needs to be done – with greater studies to finally determine if fasting has any benefits.
However – perhaps we as humans are searching for the quick fix, like we do with most health changes, and the answer to improved health and weight management – is the long trialled and tested lifestyle changes of eating well, regular physical activity and exercise.
Perhaps if we put as much effort into doing all these crazy fad diets into normal healthy eating and exercise – we wouldn’t need the quick fix!