Updated: Jul 8
You know people ask me about all kinds of diets. The Grapefruit Diet, the Atkins Diet, the Palm Beach Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, and the list goes on. These days the questions are about the fast diet currently the diet of the day that is popular in Britain. The diet like many of the country’s exports is growing in popularity here in the United States. I don’t endorse a particular diet, but I do try to give you the skinny on what a particular diet is all about.
The Fast Diet is an eating plan that allows you to eat the foods that you traditionally consume five days a week. On two days though not consecutive days during the week you reduce your food and caloric intake to about 25% of what you typically eat. For men the reduction would bring the daily calorie intake down to a total of 600 and for women it would be 500 calories a day. The diet is also called the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet. According to the diet’s biggest proponent and author of a best-selling book on the subject, British physician Dr. Michael Mosley, this eating regime includes a hefty number of benefits. The basis of this diet is intermittent fasting.
When you don’t eat or when you are fasting, the body reacts by looking to stored sources to provide the fuel and energy needed for your body to function properly. The body will tap into the glucose in the blood for energy. When that glucose is depleted the body will look to stored glucose or glycogen which is produced from carbohydrates and stored in the liver and muscle tissues. When the available glycogen is used up, the body will tap into fat stores for essential energy.
Fasting is not recommended for extended periods of time; with prolonged fasting the body will go into starvation mode, slowing down its metabolism as a result of decreased calorie intake. On the fast diet, the reduction in calorie intake or the “fast” period does not last longer than 24 hours.
Though the research is limited and much of it has not been checked out with studies involving humans, some of the benefits touted with intermittent fasting include reduction of body fat, delayed onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia and improvement of mood.
Studies suggest that when you opt for intermittent fasting you lose almost exclusively fat. While experimenting with the diet, author and physician Mosley reduced his body fat from 28 percent to 20 percent.
Studies of mice that are prone to Alzheimer’s and dementia indicate that fasting can delay the onset of these health issues. In studying the disease-prone mice, they generally develop the disease about the age of one which is middle age in their life span. However, when they are in a fasting state, the disease is delayed until they are about two which is equivalent to the age of 90. These results are encouraging, but research studies with humans are needed. Research with mice indicates intermittent fasting may stimulate production of the protein in the brain that aids in producing brain cells responsible for memory. This same protein has also been shown to suppress anxiety and elevate mood.
Now the jury is still out, research linked to the fast diet has produced some encouraging results in animal studies. Studies with humans are essential before the indicated results can be noted as true benefits of this diet. The fast diet limits calorie intake and suggests meal options that are high in fruits, vegetables and fiber. Each of which will do a body good and are consistent with options recommended for a healthy lifestyle.
This is not an endorsement of the diet of the day; it is simply my overview to keep you informed. A balance of portion control, a variety foods, fruits and vegetables, plenty of water and exercise are my top recommendations for tipping the scale in the right direction for a healthy lifestyle.
Take Away: Diets come and go, and before embarking on any diet, you should check with your doctor. The best diet choices are those that focus on helping folks adopt a healthy lifestyle that they can maintain with relative ease.
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