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Could 2019 be the Year of Intermittent Fasting?

Tags: , , , , , | Comments: 1 | February 4th, 2019

Medical News Today noted in its recent 2018 roundup, one of the site’s most popular topics was intermittent fasting diets. For those who are unfamiliar, an intermittent fasting diet is a diet that includes a regular fasting protocol, where the dieter abstains from all but fluids during a set period of time. And dieters are using this method to gain health benefits that go beyond just fat loss.  

Fasting Origins

Fasting displayed graphically

Fasting is an age-old practice, used historically by ascetic religious traditions to discipline one’s self-control with regard to appetite and other physical desires. The intermittent fasting that is now being practiced by many Americans differs is in two ways. First, the fasting is strictly for physical health purposes. And second, the fasting called for is continuous, occurring either daily or monthly in regular cycles. 

For instance, one commonly used method for intermittent fasting is referred to as 16/8. In this fasting protocol, one can eat whatever one wants for 8 hours a day, as long as one fasts the remaining 16. This is a popular form of the practice because it fits the typical American schedule. As Healthlinepoints out, the diet “is easy to follow and can provide real results with minimal effort.”

Fasting and Health

There are a number of intermittent fasting protocols that have entered the public fray in recent years. Some protocols call for fasting every-other-day, while some require only one per week. Dr. Valter Longo’s now-popular “Longevity Diet” calls for quarterly fasting of up to 5 days, but offers a “fasting mimicking” program which includes just enough food during those days to allow for the benefits of fasting, while reducing hunger pangs. The diet has big things to say about its effects on reversing the affects of aging and boosting the immune system.

In addition to weight loss, recent studies have connected such intermittent fasting with a reduction in blood pressure. But proponents of the method go further. The Harvard School of Public Health explains that “proponents of the diet believe that the stress of intermittent fasting causes an immune response that repairs cells and produces positive metabolic changes (reduction in triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, fat mass, blood glucose).” The article goes on to caution that research is still in a preliminary phase, and so is still limited. 

As 2018 comes to a close, “New Year, New You” is upon us. Based on Medical News Today’s web traffic, it appears that many are considering saying “no” to food after their New Year’s parties. 

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