Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fasting for Weight Loss

In Michael Masterson' recent RFA newsletter, he mentioned that Dr. Sear's regularly uses fasting for weight loss. As shocking as that might seem, more and more nutrition experts are starting to use fasting in their weight loss programs.

When most people first hear about this practice, they have a lot of questions, and don't believe it would be possible to make it through a day without food.

However, researchers from the US Army recently tested 2 days of near fasting on cognitive function.

Reference
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 88, No. 3, 667-676, September 2008 A double-blind, placebo-controlled test of 2 d of calorie deprivation: effects on cognition, activity, sleep, and interstitial glucose concentrations1,2,3,4

Twenty-seven healthy young subjects were studied for 48 hours, and tested on reaction time, learning, and other mental skills. On one occasion, subjects received only 313 calories over 48 hours, while on another occasion they ate 2300 calories.

Not surprisingly, subjects reported more hunger on the near-fasted trial, but there were no effects of calorie restriction on mental performance, mood, or sleep.

Fasting for weight loss experts, such as Brad Pilon, author of Eat Stop Eat, recommend fasting 1-2 times per week, and eating normally on the remaining days, as an easy way to fast for weight loss.

For example, I've used his program to fast on the weekend, finishing dinner at 8pm on Friday, and fasting through to 8pm on Saturday evening. During the day, I consumed only water and Green Tea.

Do this once per week if you only have a small amount of weight to lose.

Not only will this help you cut calories from your diet, but you'll also be amazed at how much you can get done when you aren't preparing for or cleaning up from 6 meals per day, as is suggested on most weight loss plans.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

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