One of the hot new trends in the diet and exercise world is known as IF – intermittent fasting. Tyler Graham explains in Men’s Journal, The Magazine:
IF is not what most people typically think of as fasting – going without food or sustenance for days. Instead, IFers believe you can reap all the benefits (and more) of chronic calorie restriction after as few as 12 hours without food. Which means that simply skipping breakfast and waiting until lunch to eat any food (most say it’s OK to put a splash of cream in your coffee) counts as IF. It seems counterintuitive, but skipping meals helps you feel more energized, recover better from exercise, blast fat, and retain lean muscle mass, and even protects your body from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and cognitive decline – which is why NASA is interested in looking at fasting to improve the cognitive functioning of pilots and unmanned-aerial-vehicle operators.
But many doctor’s warn against using a fast for weight-loss. A WebMD article argues:
“Fasting is not a weight loss tool. Fasting slows your metabolic rate down so your diet from before the fast is even more fattening after you fast,’ says Joel Fuhrman MD, author of Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Plan for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss and Fasting and Eating for Health. Fasting for weight loss carries other health risks as well. While fasting for a day or two is rarely a problem if you are healthy, “it can be quite dangerous if you are not already eating a healthy diet, or if you’ve got liver or kidney problems, any kind of compromised immune system functioning, or are on medication – even Tylenol,” says Fuhrman, a family physician in Flemington, N.J.
But the time to fast I’m speaking of isn’t about health or weight loss. The spiritual tradition of fasting is that there is a time to abstain from food in order to focus on God in prayer. [Read more…]