INTERMITTENT fasting has become a new trend for many individuals who want to reach their personal healthy lifestyle goals.

 Many researchers have noted that intermittent fasting has a positive effect on one’s metabolic health, resulting in weight loss or even an extended lifespan.

Jane Brody, the New York Times’ personal health columnist, said “popular regimens range from ingesting few if any calories all day every other day or several times a week to fasting for 16 hours or more every day.”

She added, “A man I know in his early 50s said he had lost 12 pounds in about two months on what he calls the 7-11 diet: He eats nothing from 7 p.m. until 11 a.m. the next morning, every day.”

Brody said she was skeptical, “but it turns out there is something to be said for practicing a rather prolonged diurnal fast, preferably one lasting at least 16 hours. Mark P. Mattson, neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, explained that the liver stores glucose, which the body uses preferentially for energy before it turns to burning body fat.”

According to Dr. Mattson, “It takes 10 to 12 hours to use up the calories in the liver before a metabolic shift occurs to using stored fat.”

 After meals, he told Brody, glucose is used for energy and fat is stored in fat tissue, but during fasts, once glucose is depleted, fat is broken down and used for energy.

“Most people trying to lose weight should strive for 16 calorie-free hours, he said, adding that ‘the easiest way to do this is to stop eating by 8 p.m., skip breakfast the next morning and then eat again at noon the next day.’ (Caffeine-dependent people can have sugar- free black coffee or tea before lunch.) But don’t expect to see results immediately; it can take up to four weeks to notice an effect, he said.”

On its website, John Hopkins Medicine reminds us that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people.

Moreover, “going too long without eating might actually encourage your body to start storing more fat in response to starvation.”

So it is important to check with your doctor before starting intermittent fasting.

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