Washington D.C. [USA], Jan 5 (ANI): Keeping away from any food intake for a minimum of 16 hours to a maximum of 18 hours regularly can help one treat various health conditions. But to do so, one must be trained to bear the hunger pangs.
Past human and animal studies published in The New England Journal of Medicine came up with the idea that intermittent fasting can help control blood pressure, live longer and boost weight loss.
A recent review of the study has convinced many physicians to recommend and at times prescribe fasting to prevent and even treat obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and cancer.
Mark Mattson, author of the study and also a neuroscience professor at John Hopkins University, elaborates on the two types of fasting -- one being a regular restricted feeding schedule where one is allowed to eat only for 6 to 8 hours a day and is supposed to fast for the rest.
The other method can be of intermittent fasting of 5:2 ratio where the person has to fast for two consecutive days every week thus capping 500 calories of each day of fasting.
However, Americans are habituated with consuming three meals a day along with snacks. So, the consecutive fasting diet is not desirable for such people. And as an obvious result, physicians despite knowing about the benefits avoid suggesting the solution of fasting.
Pros of fasting
1. Live longer with improved cognition and lesser proneness to heart diseases.
2. Fasting contributes to keeping obesity under control. The prime example would be the locals of Okinawa who live long by surviving on nutrient-rich low-calorie diet components.
3. Also, a smaller study contradicted an earlier belief of diabetes is incurable by finding out that the method can be considered to stabilize blood sugar levels by improving insulin resistance. Three males with adult-onset diabetes, also known as type-2 diabetes, could stop taking insulin after they lost weight due to intermittent fasting.
4. Also, a previous study had pointed out that fasting has an influence over mental health as well. People were more stress-resistant as their brain function got optimized after they took up fasting techniques.
5. Physical abilities also improved for a number of patients who were able to fast in either of the two methods.
But, there is still no data available on the long term effects of intermittent fasting as the studies that have been carried out till date are limited and narrow. The trials for various studies were mostly on overweight adults ranging somewhere between 18 and 45. Thus for people from other age groups or bodyweight patterns, there is no distinct safety measure.
Apart from this, it is not an easy task to stick to such diet patterns for longer-term, especially in the first world countries. People whose food culture is three meals a day will definitely not want to participate in such diets and even if they do so, their concentration level and patience will stoop down for sure.
Dr Frank Hu, Chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health shared in Harvard Health publishing that over 40 per cent people assigned to a fasting diet failed to continue during the 2017 JAMA study.
"It's human nature to want to reward themselves after doing very hard work, such as exercise or fasting for a long period of time," he opined. But, this scenario can be overcome.
The patients' morale can be kept up, he concludes by saying, "Advising the patients that hunger and irritation are common initially and will disappear after two weeks to a month as the body and brain become accustomed to the new habit." (ANI)