Despite Its Buzz, Are Doctors On Board With Intermittent Fasting?

Despite Its Buzz, Are Doctors On Board With Intermittent Fasting?
clock on plate

We're all down with the Intermittent Fasting trend here at Chef V. My husband, Brandon, looks totally chiseled because of it. Several of our Customer Relations Specialists have lost lots of weight following it. And their cravings for sugary snacks have diminished like their waistlines because of following a time-restricted diet plan. And me? Well, I've been doing Intermittent Fasting before it was even recognized as a health trend. I credit it greatly for the reason why I wake up buzzing with energy.

But even though us Chef V peeps have had success with it, I wanted to see what the mainstream medical community thinks about Intermittent Fasting. After all, anybody can have short-term success when they modify how--and when--they eat. But that weight can quickly come back on and then some. And more than that, certain diets can have unintended consequences. Remember when low-fat diets were all the rage? People started eating tons of carbs instead, which has greatly contributed to the obesity and diabetes epidemic.

So, are doctors on board with Intermittent Fasting?

Health Experts See Great Promise In Intermittent Fasting

I don't need a doctor to tell me that Intermittent Fasting works for weight loss. I've seen it with my own eyes. I've even read an incredible story in People about a physician who lost 125 pounds because of time-restricted feeding.

But beyond incredible weight loss success stories, I was really interested in finding out about the effects of time-restricted feeding on heart health. After all, many people who struggle with their weight also have other chronic health problems such as high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes.

I was happy to discover that Monique Tello, a medical doctor, who is a contributing editor with Harvard Health Publishing, is all in favor of Intermittent Fasting. She says, " fasting, when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can be a particularly effective approach ... for people at risk for diabetes."

Dr. Tello was also impressed by a University of Alabama study, which concluded that after five weeks, the Intermittent Fasting group had dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity. The test group also had significantly lower blood pressure. Not only that, the group also had significantly decreased appetite.

Intermittent Fasting: It's Good For Your Heart (And May Prevent Cancer)

Fasting for short periods of time isn't just good for your belly. It's also good for your heart. According to a web article on the highly-regarded academic medical center, Cleveland Clinic, temporary fasting can help lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, control diabetes and reduce weight.

These four health markers constitute the greatest risk for developing heart disease.

Cleveland Clinic even acknowledges that some studies also show that "fasting may help prevent cancer or increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatment."

The good news about Intermittent Fasting keeps rolling in. Consider this article in the New York Times, which says that more studies are showing that eating late at night and snacking during the day is a major culprit of weight gain and metabolic dysfunction. The recipe to break this cycle: time-restricted feeding.

The NYT article references a study of prediabetic men. The men who ate only during a six-hour window had lower insulin, reduced levels of oxidative stress, less nighttime hunger and significantly lower blood pressure.

Doctors Warnings About Intermittent Fasting

Just like everything else in life, there are pros and cons about doing intermittent fasting. From a health perspective, some doctors and researchers are warning people about temporary fasting. The reason? Not eating for, say, 16 hours (which is how long I recommend not having calories), can deplete your cells of electrolytes. Electrolytes are like spark plugs for your cell; they ignite cellular energy.

That's why I recommend having a non-caloric electrolyte drink before you go to bed and when you wake up. A simple way to get electrolytes without breaking the fast is adding a teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt to a glass of water. Or buy some cream of tartar. (Cream of tartar tastes nothing like tartar sauce. In fact, it's often used in baking.)

Another thing you should keep in mind about intermittent fasting is that you shouldn't pig out when you break the fast.

“You don’t want to shock the system,” Dr. Haitham Ahmed tells the Cleveland Clinic. Ahmed recommends breaking the fast by snacking on a few dates or other dried fruit. Then take a break, he says, and then eat fruit and other light foods at first.

I both agree and disagree with Dr. Ahmed. I agree that you shouldn't eat a huge meal when you break your fast. But eating dates and then more fruit after that? I strongly disagree. Just eating a few dates contains 25 grams of sugar. And eating more fruit? That's going to add more sugar to your system. Sure, natural fruit sugar is better than added sugars in junk like soda, but isn't the name of the game when it comes to weight loss and other positive health outcomes curbing sugar intake?

That's why I recommend breaking your fast each morning with 16 oz of Organic Green Drink, which contains 7 leafy green vegetables, and a wee bit of organic apple and apple juice to sweeten things up. Containing only 3 grams of sugar per 8 oz., Green Drink is a great way to start your day and get your daily dose of disease-fighting antioxidants.

After having Green Drink, you can eat a sensible breakfast (example: an egg or two with low-carb/high-fiber bread and a slice of turkey bacon and a serving of fruit).

I'm sure most doctors would get on board with my recommendation to combine Green Drink with Intermittent Fasting.

Chef V