This mother has been very vocal to her friends about her desire to lose weight. Most recommendation we got is intermittent fasting (IF). A lot of the people we know are now into IF. Even a number of Hollywood A-listers like Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, and Hugh Jackman have attributed their slimmer figures to IF.
Though there are abundant information readily available on the internet, I still prefer a medical authority to attest the safety and sustainability of IF. Good thing Philippine top hospital Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed) sheds some light about this weight-loss trend. Through its Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, MakatiMed guides us on how to jump-start our dream to get leaner and hopefully healthier in 2020.
Not an eating pattern by definition
Intermittent fasting is alternating eating and abstaining from food. “It focuses more on WHEN than on WHAT you eat,” explains Maricar M. Esculto, RND, MD. This then explains that IF is far from being an eating pattern which is defined as taking a combination of different foods or food groups.
From the group of friends we asked, a number of them fast for 16 hours and eat within eight hours. For example, they eat from 1 pm to 9 pm then abstain from eating from 10 pm to 1 pm.
The science—and sense—behind IF
One important thing I learned from Dr. Esculto is the fact that IF is still about eating sensibly. This means we still need to avoid high-calorie food and practice portion control. Binge-eating after we fast only sabotages our weight-loss goals. This clearly opposes the usual notion that we can eat all we want during IF’s eating phase.
Other benefits of IF
Intermittent fasting promises reduction of inflammation, decreases bad cholesterol and triglyceride, and lowering the risk of cancer and heart disease aside from its weight loss benefit. As Dr. Esculto points out, “IF has been credited for triggering the increase of the brain hormone BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and protecting individuals against Alzheimer’s disease.” Such study, though, was observed among animal models so far.
Not so fast
IF isn’t for everyone—particularly women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive. Individuals with diabetes, low blood pressure, a heart condition, a history of eating disorders, and other pre-existing conditions may also find IF not an ideal weight loss program for them. It is still best to consult with their physician before trying IF. Because without proper orientation from their doctor, IF may do more harm than good to them. Likewise, many of those who try IF for the first time report feeling stressed all the more because of food deprivation. They also feel weak and not mentally sharp for skipping meals or depriving themselves of their favorite food.
While intermittent fasting has been used as a safe way to initiate weight loss, doctors do not recommend it be practiced long-term. “I would rather people develop a healthy attitude towards food and eating,” says Dr. Esculto. “Eat fresh fruits and vegetables and high-quality protein. Eliminate processed and junk foods. Exercise regularly.”
As for this mother, she would love to try IF and should she feels something off, she can always go back to small, frequent meals. A doctor once told her that practicing small, frequent meals in one’s daily eating pattern can aid in a more efficient metabolism as compared to a slower metabolism when skipping meals.
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