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Intermittent Fasting–hurt or help?

By admin on February 4, 2018 in Gynecology, Nutrition

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”
“Skipping breakfast will slow your metabolism by one third for the entire day”

Chances are you’ve been told at least one of these statements—usually with some finger wagging. Both are myths. Fasting, abstaining from food and/or drink for a specific period, has been around for centuries. Recently scientific studies have shown intermittent fasting can have health benefits.

Short fasts, 20 to 36 hours, can:
• reduce risks for heart disease and diabetes
• improve sensitivity of cells to insulin so less insulin is needed to control blood sugar
• increase HDL (good cholesterol)
• decrease weight– when people skip a meal or two, they eat more at the next meal but not enough to make up for the missed calories.

Consider these guidelines:
• Short works. Some studies show, skipping one meal every other day is enough to produce modest weight loss
• Stay hydrated. If you are not fasting for religious reasons (this usually has specific prescriptions) drink plenty of water during your fast
• Hold vigorous exercise. A walk is fine but skip the cardio kick boxing workout or strenuous hike on a fasting day
• No heavy machinery. Don’t operate any heavy machinery—including cars–until you know how feel while fasting
• Eat well. Fasting cannot make up for a poor diet
• Keep healthy limits. Fasting too often or too long can lead to nutritional deficiencies and poor health.

Consult your physician before fasting if you are:
• pregnant
• diabetic
• severely underweight
• recuperating from surgery
• have or have had an eating disorder
• have a serious medical condition.





Aksungar FB1, Eren A, Ure S, Teskin O, Ates G. Effects of intermittent fasting on serum lipid levels, coagulation status and plasma homocysteine levelsAnn Nutr Metab. 2005 Mar-Apr;49(2):77-82. Epub 2005 Mar 29.

Bronwen Martin, Mark P. Mattson, and Stuart Maudsley. Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting: Two potential diets for successful brain agingAgeing Res Rev. 2006 Aug; 5(3): 332–353.

Duan W1, Mattson MP.Dietary restriction and 2-deoxyglucose administration improve behavioral outcome and reduce degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in models of Parkinson’s disease. J Neurosci Res. 1999 Jul 15;57(2):195-206

Halagappa VK1, Guo Z, Pearson M, Matsuoka Y, Cutler RG, Laferla FM, Mattson MP. Intermittent fasting and caloric restriction ameliorate age-related behavioral deficits in the triple-transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiol Dis. 2007 Apr;26(1):212-20. Epub 2007 Jan 13.

Johnson JB1, Summer W, Cutler RG, Martin B, Hyun DH, Dixit VD, Pearson M, Nassar M, Telljohann R, Maudsley S, Carlson O, John S, Laub DR, Mattson MP. Alternate day calorie restriction improves clinical findings and reduces markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in overweight adults with moderate asthmaFree Radic Biol Med. 2007 Mar 1;42(5):665-74. Epub 2006 Dec 14.

Nils HalbergMorten HenriksenNathalie SöderhamnBente StallknechtThorkil PlougPeter Schjerling, and Flemming Dela Effect of intermittent fasting and refeeding on insulin action in healthy men. Journal of Applied Physiology 2005 99:62128-2136

1999 Jul 15;57(2):195-206.
Mattson, M.P. RuiqianWan Beneficial effects of intermittent fasting and caloric restriction on the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.  Volume 16, Issue 3, March 2005, Pages 129-137


(A version of this post was previously published on 3TV Good Morning Arizona blog)


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