Wellness Wednesday: Is Fasting Fabulous Or Just Another Diet Fad?

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(Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

I don’t know what it is about January but almost everyone is back at the gym or on a new diet. Last year’s hottest diets were “meaty” (eat like a caveman); restrictive (like the gluten-free trend); or just raw, uncooked, and natural. This year’s diet is a lot easier. There are no special gadgets, ingredients, or philosophy. 2014’s hot diet is fasting, or temporary calorie restriction.

A new book called The Fast Diet: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy and Live Longer, by Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer, promotes fasting as a powerful way to reduce your weight, improve your blood profile, and increase your energy. Instead of relying on daily calorie restrictions, this diet requires that you fast or abstain from eating two days a week. You don’t even have to fast for the whole day — just restrict your caloric intake to about 25% of what you’d normally eat on those two days. On the other five days of the week, you can eat anything you want.

That’s it! Strictly reduce your calories for two, non-consecutive days a week and eat normally the other days.

Now this diet isn’t right for women who are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant, people with diabetes, children, or the elderly. However, fans of the program say it’s a lot easier to follow than just cutting back your calories. And they say that, over time, it makes you feel better and think more clearly.

What’s more, some researchers think fasting could be the fountain of youth. Studies on fasting with rodents indicate that periods of fasting can lead to better brain and cellular health. In humans, that might help prevent not only obesity, but also diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Of course, check with your doctor before you decide to embrace this or any other diet. But if you get the green light, you might find that intermittent fasting is the weight management tool you’ve been looking for.

-Sara Vavra

Sara Vavra is a health and wellness educator, yoga teacher and massage therapist in Charlotte NC. Contact her at sara@everybodyva.com.

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