“He who eats until he is sick must fast until he is well,” is an English proverb. And Ben Franklin hit the nail on the head with: “To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.” Fasting has been around for millennia, but lately there’s been focus on intermittent fasting — not eating for 12-16 hours daily — as a way to lose weight and upgrade your metabolic profile.
So, is IF effective? The latest study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, says it’s not a help for weight loss. That’s caused a lot of confusion. But this study’s IF participants could eat any unhealthy thing they wanted from noon to 8 p.m. for 12 weeks. And that fasting group didn’t take in any fewer calories than the study’s other group, who were allowed three meals a day and snacks whenever they wanted. When the researchers compared results, they concluded IF doesn’t make you metabolically healthier or help you lose more weight than eating around the clock.
Time-restricted eating, but pigging out the rest of the time on foods that prematurely age you, is never a good idea. Weight loss and metabolic improvements depend on how you fuel your body. You want it to be plant-based, high-fiber, with lean proteins and omega-3-rich fish (don’t reduce your overall protein intake). If you eat that and add IF, you’ll more easily reduce your calorie intake, lose weight, improve metabolic markers such as blood sugar levels, and reduce lousy LDL cholesterol levels. Nothing iffy about that!
Oz is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Roizen chief wellness officer and chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.