Document Preview
  • Full Text
  • Trade Journal

Intermittent Fasting: A Faster Way to a Longer Life?

Full text preview

Intermittent fasting, which once was strictly in the purview of religion and health fads, has undergone a rapid increase in scientific interest. Studies now demonstrate the positive impact that various methods of intermittent fasting can have on overall health. These changes in health are not limited to weight loss, which is probably the most common reason people become interested in fasting, but include increased cell survival, change in body composition (fat loss), improved cognition, and improved lipid and glucose metabolism. Intermittent fasting also is an easily deployable method that doctors can teach their patients to aid them in becoming healthier. Finally, intermittent fasting is one of the few health “techniques” that bridge the often-arbitrary divides placed between eating, sleeping, and exercising, all of which are critical components to overall health.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

There has been a dramatic increase in the scientific interest in intermittent fasting over the past several years, culminating in a New England Journal of Medicine review article in December 2019. 1 Initially, intermittent fasting typically was thought of only as a religious practice or as a new health fad, but recent scientific studies have demonstrated its impact on multiple health parameters. Furthermore, its attractiveness is its ease of implementation. Intermittent fasting is arguably the least “restrictive” of any weight loss plan, since it does not mandate the elimination of large groups of foods like the vegan or ketogenic programs. Thus, it may be easier to maintain long term. In a study of intermittent fasting vs. daily caloric restriction, intermittent fasting was well tolerated. Of 142 obese women who were screened for enrollment, only 12% could not tolerate the two-day trial period. 2 At the end of the trial, at four months, only 2.7% of the intermittent fasting group withdrew as a result of problems adhering to...