Should you hop on a fast wagon?


The advice of the scientific community and the media was quite straightforward. Eat three meals a day. Cut down on snacks and always have a big breakfast.

While this may be conventional wisdom, many scientists break the lines by claiming that the evidence does not appear to prescribe fixed eating habits. The vast majority of people seem to eat when culture says they should. It has nothing to do with the optimal solution to their biology.




Why do scientists think fasting is good for you?

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Should you hop on a fast wagon?

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Fasting is the latest in a series of diet tips. Fasting cannot be written off as a benefit of zero. If you put the animals in a fasting state, they will live longer, prevent disease and look younger. It's kind of a miracle.

The question, of course, is whether this means a transfer to humans. Humans differ enormously from animals in many ways. And while it may seem like something is working in the lab, it does not guarantee that the same will apply outside.

That being said, skipping meals is becoming more common. People try to sleep hungry or wake up and eat breakfast late (or never). The idea is to put the body in a semi-stressed state, trigger the defense genes, and strengthen the cell's defense capabilities. In the long run, this should mean less aging and longer life expectancy.

What's exciting about fasting is just how well it works in rats. You can extend a rat's life by 50 percent simply by providing him with food every other day. The rat's body seems to go into repair mode during the fasting cycle, getting rid of cell debris and cleaners. Probably the same applies to humans, but we are not rats in the cage. We are free-living people who can eat what we want when we want it. No one has ever run a lifelong experiment where a group of people are being fed every other day to see if it will work.

And here's the big problem with fasting. It's not that it doesn't work: it probably does. Humans are free and lab animals are not. You could go a day without food, but think about being hungry the next day. You have the ability to please whatever you can put your hands on: pizza, cake, chocolate – all the bad stuff.

Who would benefit from fasting?

Fasting is something only a few personality types can handle. Not only is fasting for 24 hours or more unpleasant, it also requires you to constantly exceed your instincts. After fasting, you may want to eat a bunch of high calorie foods, especially if you keep it up for a long time. So you have to resist eating junk and stick to healthy alternatives. If you do not do this, you will undermine much of your hard work and return your body to an unhealthy state.

Most people would do infinitely better, not bother with fasting at all, opt for a healthier diet and take a pill to reduce fat absorption. Eating healthy is extremely easy. All you have to do is choose healthy foods – things that have not been processed anywhere in the factory. Whole foods such as beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables are the backbone of any successful weight loss program. Many of these foods cause the same changes in the cell machine as on an empty stomach, giving you the benefits of starvation.

You can also add fasting to your regime without ever having to eat or be hungry. It's easy to do. Eat your dinner before 6pm and then save your breakfast until 9am the next day. In math, it comes out in fifteen hours without food, which is enough for the many beneficial effects of fasting.

Does your metabolism slow down when you fast?

It depends. If most people spend less than 72 hours without food, your metabolic rate will remain the same. The body only reduces its energy consumption when it thinks it is starving.

However, the training industry often says that in order to achieve the desired results, people should eat six small meals a day. Again, research does not seem to support this claim. And like fasting, most people have the discomfort of eating it regularly and preparing six meals. It's just an extra thing people don't want to do.

So, should you jump on a fast wagon? Yes you should, but only in a way that is simple and suits your lifestyle. Everyone can fast for fifteen hours overnight and this can bring significant benefits.

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