Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Another bit of research into Intermittent Fasting...

Here is another piece of research into intermittent fasting (IF). If you have read the various studies on this that I have already put up here and also considered the experiences of those undertaking occasional short fasts (18-36hours) you will have noted that in addition to the obvious fact that you consume fewer calories through fasting there are also key hormonal mechanisms that are activated by fasting, mechanisms that have a lot of health benefits.

This study follows up on the previous studies that have shown that IF can protect against cancer.

Effect of every-other-day fasting on spontaneous chromosomal damage in rat's bone-marrow cells.

Dietary restriction in experimental rodents, either by calorie restriction (CR) or by every-other-day fasting (EODF), was shown to protect against cancer and increase lifespan. One of the suggested hypotheses to explain the beneficial effects of dietary restriction is that the diet stabilizes the integrity of the genetic information. The effects of EODF on the spontaneous frequency of sister chromatid exchanges (SCE) and chromosomal aberrations (CA) were examined in bone-marrow cells of 3-mo-old Wistar male rats. After 12 wk of EODF diet, significant reduction in the frequency of SCE and total number of CA was observed. Data indicate a protective effect of EODF diet against spontaneous mutations in rats.

Incidentally I will shortly be posting an interview that I've done with Brad Pilon - the author of Eat Stop Eat - the best book I've yet read on IF.


Jordan said...

Every-other-day fasting is a pretty hardcore way to fast. I've heard of the "Alternate Day Diet," which is eating very low-calorie (~600 cal.) every other day. That should be doable for quite a few people, but I wonder how many people could completely fast every other day? Pilon recommends only 1-2 IF's per week, and those fasts aren't even for the entire day.

I did try the ADD a couple of times, but I was overeating so terribly on the off-days that I only lost a few pounds. I also tried doing two IF's per week in January. I only lost half a pound in 20 days (six fasts.) As a 255 pound, 27 year old male, I should be able to lose more weight than that. For me, the problem is practicing moderation the rest of the time. I just eat my way out of the calorie deficit created by the fast or calorie restriction. If one eats 21 meals per week (three meals per day,) skipping two meals twice per week still leaves 17 meals to totally screw it up.

I suspect that IF works better for people who have a more moderate eating problem- say, 10-20 pounds overweight. They could fast and eat moderately the rest of the time. No problem. For someone like me who has a pretty serious eating problem, doing two IF's per week is just another "practice moderation" approach. There's nothing wrong with moderation, of course, but I'm not sure if it's a "strategy" per se. It's like telling an alcoholic to "just drink less." Of course he should drink less, but it's easier said than done.

I'm starting to think that total abstinence from foods that one tends to overeat is a more doable strategy than "practice moderation" for someone with a serious eating problem. But that means we have to give up many of our favorite foods, rather than trying to eat a "moderate" amount of them. Again, easier said than done. I may have to succumb to that sacrifice if I really want to finally get all this weight off.

Chris said...

Jordan - have you read the interview with Brad Pilon that I did yesterday? Interesting stuff there you might appreciate

As for moderation - you might be interested in the no S approach?

Jordan said...

Woah, I really went off on a rant there! LOL. Sorry about that. I guess I needed to get that off my chest.

Yeah, I read that interview. Good stuff. I love Brad's blog. It's such a breath of fresh air. Regardless of what I feel about IF right now (who knows, I might try it again someday,) I love Brad's simple, "non-fear-based" approach to diet. It's very refreshing. There's so much fear and anxiety out there. Whether it's plastics, chemicals, carbs, meat, processed foods, drinking water, or whatever else. I've gotten really tired of all that.

As for the No S Diet, I did the one plate per meal/ three meals/ no snacks part of it. Of course I didn't do the "No Sweets" part. It's been a while, so my memory's not clear. I probably lost a few pounds, but nothing impressive. I'm really good at eating a lot of calories at once, so three plates per day can still be a lot of calories for me. It's basically another "moderation/ portion control" diet. Nothing wrong with that per se, but it is what it is.

I'm really starting to see diet as a moderation vs. abstinence question. I actually did lose quite a bit of weight four or five years ago. I abstained from most of my problem foods, and it worked. But eventually I broke down and started eating them again and gained most of the weight back. Since then I've tried to eat less calories while still eating my favorite foods. IF, NoS (except for sweets,) two meals per day, etc. None of it worked. The one thing I haven't tried that I'm curious about is eating one meal or in one "eating window" per day, a la Warrior Diet/ Fast5. I'm not sure which would be more difficult, one meal/ window or abstinence, they both seem really hard! But those seem to be my only options at this point.

Chris said...


Sorry to be harsh, but maybe you just need to "butch up" a bit and decide not to eat crap.

Abstinence would work best - I get the impression that you would just end up binging on your problem foods in the eating window.

Jordan said...

Don't worry, no offense taken. :-) You're absolutely right. I hope I didn't whine about my problems too much. It was nice to have a sounding board.