didnít eat much for lunch," I commented to my daughter
after I watched her down a small carton of yogurt before she
rushed back to work.
is my fasting day," she replied, reminding me that she
limits herself to just 500 calories on Monday, Wednesday and
right," I said, remembering some recent articles about
this style of eating.
diets are not new. One that has been around for a few years is
the 5/2 diet which allows you to eat normally for five days a
week and fast the other two. Itís called "intermittent
fasting" (IF) or intermittent calorie restriction (ICR)
ó a way to take in fewer calories from week to week.
limit myself to 500 calories on my fasting days," my
daughter said. And on the other days, I try to stay around
1800 calories. So I average about 1200 calories a day. Itís
just a different way of managing my calories."
does work. Any plan that prevents us from consuming fewer
calories than our bodies require for energy will force us to
use energy from within. Bloated fat cells are a great energy
reserve, for example. Like a bank account, when we withdraw
more than we deposit, the fund shrinks and we lose weight.
this approach of severely limiting calories on alternate days
have any advantages over traditional calorie restricted
find that Iím not that hungry after my fast days," my
daughter reported. "And on my non-fasting days ó when I
supposedly can eat what I want ó I enjoy the taste of food
also more aware of how I used to snack unconsciously even when
I wasnít hungry. Now I say ĎOops! I canít do that."
peaked my interest," she said, "was the Alzheimerís
researchÖIím kind of worried about that." (Her
grandfather had dementia from this progressive brain
some research (mostly in animals) has shown that ó in
addition to weight loss ó low calorie diets and fasting on
alternate days may help prolong the health of aging brains and
prevent declines in brain function as we age.
intermittent fasting days also helps me understand real
hunger... makes me more aware of my hunger signals. And itís
not like Iím starving because Iím still getting 500
calories on my fasting days."
she said something that makes me realize she really did pay
attention growing up with a dietitian mother. "I look for
healthy ways to get the most nutrition bang for my calorie
buck. Like I can have a nice piece of fish and a big serving
of broccoli or cauliflowerÖversus three cookies." I
review article in the journal of the Federation of American
Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) found that
intermittent fasting diets ranging from 1 to 4 fasting
days per week were indeed effective for losing weight and not
gaining it back. Reported health benefits include lower blood
pressure and blood sugar levels. And sticking to these diets
may be easier since they allow some flexibility in eating.
Hereís to choosing healthy calories.