We all know that the foods we eat affect our health, but the timing of those foods is also important.
Fasting is a term that has become popular in recent years and is about when people eat. Historically, people have been forced to practice fasting because they lived in times when food was scarce or completely scarce. But with current technology, such as refrigeration, transport, and the use of electric lighting, which has made food more accessible, fasting is not easy. As Dr. Victoria Catenacci, nutrition researcher at the University of Colorado, said, “This has changed our eating patterns, and now people eat on average within 14 hours a day.”
However, this constant food intake can lead to health problems, and researchers have begun to investigate whether fasting has potential benefits for some people.
Different Patterns of Fasting
The main focus of fasting is when you can eat, there are many different patterns of fasting, one pattern is called “intermittent fasting”, which is the practice of fasting with a time limit where you eat every day, but only Eat within a number limited hours. So, you can only eat in 6 to 8 hours a day. For example, you might eat breakfast and lunch, but not dinner.
But in another way, alternate day fasting, where you eat every other day and eat no or less calories on the days in between; and a mode where you restrict calories during the week, but on weekends are not restricted. But scientists know very little about what happens to your body during fasting. Most of the research, carried out in cells and animals in the laboratory, provides early clues about how periods of fasting affect the body.
In some animals, certain fasting patterns appear to protect against diabetes, heart disease and cognitive decline. In some experiments, fasting even slowed the aging process and prevented cancer.
“One of the effects of fasting that we have seen in mice is that Kill damaged cells, then prime stem cells. If damaged cells are not destroyed, they can accelerate aging and lead to cancer. When stem cells are prime, it can new healthy cells replace damaged cells.”
Now, research is also starting to look at what happens in people. Early research has found that certain types of fasting can have positive effects on things like blood sugar control, blood pressure, and inflammation, but fasting can also lead to weight loss. Therefore, researchers are investigating to see if the beneficial changes seen in the body are a “side effect” of losing weight or changes brought about by the fasting process itself.
Fasting for weight loss and blood sugar control
For many people, the main reason for trying fasting is to lose weight. Currently, most people try to lose weight by limiting the amount of calories (calories) they eat each day. But Katnach, a nutrition researcher at the University of Colorado, doesn’t think it’s for everyone, “because it requires a lot of attention, a lot of math and willpower.”
A study by her and a team of other experts published in the journal Obesity in 2016 showed that overweight or obese adults fasted completely every other day or restricted their daily calorie intake over a period of two months. lost about 15 pounds.
She thinks that restricting daily calories may be the best approach for some people; for others, it may be easier to lose weight without having to count calories every day and use an intermittent fasting strategy. The best diet for people is the one they can stick to, and I don’t think weight loss is a one-size-fits-all approach.”
Now, her research team is conducting a similar study, comparing how much weight participants lost over a year of fasting and calorie restriction. They are also testing whether adding a meal on fasting days will make it easier to stick to as a long-term weight loss strategy.
But are the benefits of fasting limited to weight loss? NIH-funded University of Alabama nutrition researcher Courtney Peterson, PhD, conducted a study of men with prediabetes, published in the journal Cell Metabolism in 2018. The purpose of the study was to keep the volunteers from losing weight. These people had a time-restricted fast for the first five weeks, eating only between 8 am and 2 pm, and then fasted for the next 18 hours; for the next five weeks, they ate the same amount of food, but only ate in. period of 12 hours each day, and none of these people lost weight.
However, the results varied during the longer fasting period. “Early time-restricted eating improved their glycemic control,” Peterson said. “And we saw that the blood pressure lowering effect was similar to that seen with antihypertensive drugs.”
This research suggests that even if it doesn’t cause weight loss, prolonged fasting or eating time may be beneficial to some people’s health.
Fasting for 12 hours is safe
Fasting may have health benefits, but we still have many unknown effects, warns USC longevity researcher Dr Valter Longo. For some people, fasting can cause adverse effects. For example, studies have found that people who fast for more than 16 or 18 hours a day face a higher risk of developing gallstones, which makes them more likely to need surgery to remove their gallbladder.
Longo explained that for most people, it is probably safe to eat for 12 hours and then fast for 12 hours. “This eating pattern is very common among people who are living longer than ever, and it seems to be in line with both science and tradition,” he said.
Longo and his team are also studying fasting-mimicking diets, which they hope are safer and easier to follow than complete fasting. In a study published in 2017, they devised a five-day, three-month simulated fasting diet that allowed some food, but very few calories. It found that those who adhered to the dietary pattern lost weight, had changes in triglycerides, total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and C-reactive protein, and had fewer age-related risk factors for disease.
But he and other experts warn against trying fasting methods that are not based on research. People considering fasting specifically should consult their doctor first, and people with certain medical conditions or taking certain medications should not try fasting at all.
In this regard, Peterson, a nutrition researcher at the University of Alabama, explained that even if you want to fast from time to time, you still need to make healthy food choices in general, “When you eat important, but what you eat may be more important.”
7 types of people should be careful when fasting
Fasting can be beneficial to health, but not eating can be dangerous for some people. Discuss with your healthcare practitioner first whether or not to fast These people should be particularly careful before fasting:
• People under 25 years of age
• Pregnant or breastfeeding women
• taking insulin or other medicines to control diabetes
• Those taking any medicine that must be taken with food
• people with epilepsy
• people who work a night shift
• Operating heavy machinery at work
This article was originally published by the National Institutes of Health and reprinted with permission from The Epoch Times For the English report, see:To Fast or Not to Fast.
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