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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Fasting can help increase longevity

fasting1Nixing meals and decreasing caloric intake may seem easy, but make sure you check the facts before you dive into an intermittent fast. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. Johns Hopkins Medicine neuroscientist Mark Mattson, Ph.D., who has studied the health impact of intermittent fasting for 25 years, and adopted it himself about 20 years ago, said in The New England Journal of Medicine that “intermittent fasting could be part of a healthy lifestyle.” He claims research supports that reducing your “eating window” can help decrease your risk of chronic diseases and increase your longevity. Think you’re ready to embark on an intermittent fast? Spacing out meals and snacks may sound simple enough, but you can easily sabotage your fast by making three these mistakes.

You don’t ease into it

Skip breakfast. Skip lunch. And by 3 p.m. you are willing to eat your arm. “If you normally eat every 3–4 hours and then suddenly shrink you’re eating period to an 8-hour window, you’ll likely feel hungry all the time and discouraged,” according to Libby Mills, RD, a dietitian at Villanova University’s College of Nursing.

“Deciding to limit your eating hours may be motivated by weight loss. However, this represents an opportunity to reacquaint yourself with what your body is really feeling. We often are eating every 3-4 hours and not always because we are hungry.” Plus, you do not have to fast all week. In fact, people who follow the 5:2 diet eat regular amounts of healthy food for 5 days, then flip the switch on the other 2 days, by reducing caloric intake. A study involving 107 overweight or obese women found that women who restricted calories twice weekly lost the same amount as those who continuously cut calories.

You are consuming too many calories

You are not alone, according to Mills. “It can be easy to overeat when a fast break, either because you’re feeling ravenous or you justify to yourself that you’re making up for lost calories.” She advises to use a scale of 0-10 where 0 is famished and 10 is stuffed. You should feel hungry before eating and you should stop eating when you’re full, not just to clean your plate. She also recommends slowing down while eating so your brain has time to signal when you are getting full. “It may take 15-20 minutes after you start eating,” Mills notes.

You are not eating the right foods when you break your fast

Mills says eating adequate lean protein (such as meat, poultry, fish, and plant-based proteins like legumes), nuts and seeds with each of your meals will help keep you full longer. “Protein helps us feel full. Plus, if you are losing a few pounds, protein will help maintain your metabolically active lean body mass. “According to Mills, another perk is that fiber from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes will slow the digestion and absorption of the carbs you eat, so you stay full and energized longer between meals. “Plus, choosing foods that provide protein and fiber will provide you with the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you will need as you re-portion your calorie intake.”

Note: This article was published on the Eating Well magazine www.eatingwell.com  

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