Friday, April 16, 2010

Fasting and balance

The full study is available for this one, not just this abstract (which is below) but this is interesting - the effects of a 12 hour fast on physical abilities, specifically balance.

What is not clear from either is whether the participants abstained from all liquids - even water. Anyway it seems that fasting diminished balance skills, which is a concern.

Fasting is always easier if you are on a low carb diet and running on ketones, so I wonder if that would be an issue - the average person running on sugars needs constant topping up or else blood sugar issues can have effects. I wonder if hypoglycemia affects balance?

In any case it is something to bear in mind if you are experimenting with intermittent fasting.

The effects of dietary fasting on physical balance among healthy young women.

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The study examined the effects of dietary fasting on physical balance among young healthy women.
METHODS: This study undertaken involving 22 young healthy women (age=22+/- 1.5) using a within subject counterbalanced 2-week crossover study design. Participants were asked to refrain from consuming any food or beverage for 12 hours prior to the fasting trial and to maintain their regular diet for the non-fasting trial. Measures included: a background questionnaire, 24-hour dietary recall, and functional reach and timed single-limb stances. RESULTS: Fasting resulted in significant declines in functional reach (p<0.01), and ability to balance in a single limb stance with eyes open, on both the dominant and non-dominant legs (p<0.01 and p<0.01, respectively), and with eyes closed on the dominant leg (p<0.01). CONCLUSIONS: The findings have implications for athletic performance in younger individuals as well as emphasizing the need for health education for young women to avoid skipping meals


AT22 said...

Good questions you pose. I would imagine a lot of young women follow a higher carb, lower fat diet. Just a thought.

Also curious was that with eyes closed, only the dominant leg balance was affected. That seems weird.

Anonymous said...

What effect does liquid consumption have?

Natural Athlete said...

Interesting, I do 14-16 hour fasts most days with 24 hour fasts thrown in here and there. I have no problem doing strength training fasted but I have found my parkour training is very dangerously effected by being in a fasted state balance and precision and focus all suffer.

Scott W said...

It just aggravates me that so many studies treat macronutrient ratios as if they don't matter at all, when they should be carefully spelled out. These poorly-designed studies leave more questions than they answer.

Scott W

Anonymous said...

Anecdotaly... I used to dance and I found that balancing was MUCH better in the fasted state. I was low-carb adapted.

Chris said...

interesting comments. I bet this is something that is not true for those who are low carb adapted

jleeger said...

I'm not sure what the relevance of this study is. What were the women's motivational states to perform? What was their previous experience with the movements? What was their nutritional status prior to the fast?

Wrestlers, who rely heavily on "balance," frequently "fast" prior to matches.

Unclear what this research shows...if anything.

AT22 said...

jleeger - good question. The conclusion was that young women should "avoid skipping meals." What's the agenda?

Rascal2Q said...

I was told a woman's sense of balance changes on what time during the month it is.

Herb Bana said...

I think balance is affected by more than whether you consume food or not. It's all about the inner ear. Did anyone have an ear infection at the time of testing?????

Chris D said...

"For the fasting trial, participants were asked to refrain from consuming food or beverages for a minimum of 12 hours prior to testing. Specifically, all participants were instructed to consume an evening meal before 8 pm prior to the day of testing and to refrain from any food or beverages until the time of testing in the laboratory."

These people aren't exactly adapted to fasting, and were asked to not change their diet to adapt to the fast.

This study simply can't tell us much about the performance of fasting adapted people.

My performance doesn't decline on simple reaction time tests during 14 hour style fasts. Curious to see what other fasters test at.

online reaction time test