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Intermittent Fasting - Yes, No, or Intermittently? by Carmel Benson, Ph.D.

Do you remember when milk, cheese and eggs were all considered healthy, by

the general population and by medical and nutritional experts as well? And do you

equally recall when all that changed, and they were no longer considered to be

beneficial, and might even be harmful to our health? And then it shifted amongst the

various angels-turned-culprits to where milk was acceptable, but only in certain

varieties and moderation, eggs needed to grass-fed and organic, etc. Well we’re

starting to experience this same phenomenon with another health craze/trend, which is

intermittent fasting.


Intermittent fasting is really any form of eating which includes longer periods

between meals or snacks than might normally be done. Research has for years shown

that mice and rats fed on low calorie diets and who endured long periods without

eating tended to live longer statistically than mice and rats in the control groups which

ate normally. So this simple process promised a new, easy form of weight loss and

diabetes prevention and/or treatment for humans in an accessible way and quickly

sprouted into smartphone apps to track one’s intermittent fasting, analyze which actual

hours of fasting are best for different age groups and genders, and remind you when to

eat and when to fast.


Recently, lifestyle and health news articles are appearing, highlighting the

dangers intermittent fasting - or fasting of any sort - can have on one’s heart and other

related health issues. So. What is there to do? Are we back to the days of dairy

products being health darlings or demons? Perhaps we can skip ahead to the days

where some milks, cheeses, and/or eggs are acceptable. In that case, choosing to eat

later in the morning than usual, skip lunch, and have an early dinner might be ideal. In

fact, there are many cultures that do this, some reversing the process to barely eat at

all in the morning, enjoy a large lunch, and just nibble on fruit in the evening or skip

dinner altogether.


So while we wait for the next phase in intermittent fasting to evolve or perhaps

unravel or cure all ills, we can predict a pattern of engaging it in moderately -

intermittently.


References:

1. The Health-Promoting Effects and the Mechanism of Intermittent Fasting. Journal

of Diabetes Research (March, 2023). Simin Liu, Weixi Wan, Ming Huang, Xiang

Li, Zixian Xie, Shang Wang, and Yu Cai.


2. 8-Hour Intermittent Fasting Tied to 90% Higher Risk of Cardiovascular Death, Early

Data Hint. American Heart Association (March, 2024)

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