Is Intermittent Fasting Better Than Other Diets?

Fasting has become more fashionable than eating. In a New York Time article, Jane E. Brody confessed, “I was skeptical, but it turns out there is something to be said for a daily fast, preferably one lasting at least 16 hours.” The 7-11 version of the fasting diet, for example, recommends something like, Start fasting at 7 PM and consume no calories until 11AM the following morning, and BANG! you will lose weight like there was no tomorrow.

Choosing a diet is like choosing a husband. Is this diet the one? Could you stay together until ‘death do you part’? You find yourself asking, ‘What is the secret recipe to this or that successful marriage?’ and ‘Will this diet work better than others, and if so why?’ In a recently published article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Rafael de Cabo and Mark P Mattson from the National Institute of Aging reviewed the effects of intermittent fasting on health, aging and disease: 

After 10 to 14 hours of fasting, dramatic changes occur in the body. The body switches its source of energy from glucose (stored in the liver in the form of glycogen) to fatty acids (stored in adipose tissues as fat). Simply put, the body starts ‘burning fat.’ The liver then converts fatty acids into ketones which replace glucose as the major source of energy for many tissues including the brain. These ketones aren’t just a form of fuel, they signal to cells and organs that a tectonic shift has occurred. In an attempt to adapt to the changing environment, to fasting, cells and organs produce a new set of proteins and other molecules. Scientists believe that this set of adaptive responses leads to improved regulation of glucose (better response to insulin), to decreased levels of inflammation and enhanced resistance to stress.

Excerpted from the Mining Journal

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