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Chris Woolmams / Catherine Woollams
Intermittent fasting is basically a waste of time

Research shows that there is little or no benefit from the new diet ‘trend’ of ´Intermittent Fasting´, where people extend their overnight fast for a few more hours before and after sleep. 

In a recent study(1), researchers from the Dept. of Nutrition University of Illinois, the Salk Institute at La Jolla, and the School of Public Health, Indiana University monitored a group of obese adults who had 8 hours of free feeding each day between 10.00 and 18.00, but then a water-only fast from 18.00 until 10.00 the following morning. This programme lasted for 12 weeks.

Results were compared with those of a matched control group who were not restricted.

On the positive side, the use of a 16 hour water fast each day did reduce people’s calorie intake but only by about 53 k cals per day – less than in a small glass of white wine. Weight decreased by approximately 2.6% as a result. Systolic blood pressure decreased by about 7 points.

But people have joined the Intermittent Fasting bandwagon because health ‘experts’ in the USA have been telling them it’s good for their overall health on a number of levels.

This just doesn’t seem to be true. There was absolutely no change for the research group in terms of fat mass, lean mass, visceral fat mass, diastolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, HOMA-IR, and homocysteine during or at the end of the 12 weeks.

Chris Woollams, former Oxford University Biochemist and a founder of CANCERactive said, “Why am I not surprised at these findings? At CANCERactive, we have never recommended Intermittent Fasting. There has never been research to support it – it’s an unproven theory - little more than a fad.

When we started covering research on both calorie restriction and fasting, we stressed the point that the benefits started coming when the body produced hormones called ‘sirtuins’ – this starts happening after about 24 hours without food. We talked about Ayurvedic Medicine which has used fasting for thousands of years – three to five day fasts. We talked of Dr. Valter Longo, Professor of the USC School of Gerontology and his work with both animals and humans at UCLA. He researched and used 3-5 days fasts in both.

In fact, over the years we have covered a good number of research studies. For example, 3-5 day fasts stop cancer progression, reduce blood sugar, triglyceride and insulin levels to near zero, blood growth hormone (IGF-1) levels reduce significantly, and they bring about immune system regeneration. Fasting also improves the performance of chemotherapy while reducing side-effects greatly.

Go to: Fasting boosts immune system; improves cancer treatment

Longo is often quoted by health ‘experts’ in the USA (or perhaps I should say mis-quoted). He has just launched a book on Longevity and with it the ‘ProLon 5-Day Fasting Mimicking Diet’ that uses a calorie restricted basically plant diet to achieve the same goals as a water fast.   It increases autophagy and weakens cancer cells, while strengthening stem cell and immune system regeneration. This Rainbow Diet style programme controls sugar and animal protein, both proven to drive cancer. Indeed he like me, hates the term ´Intermittent Fasting’. When, Dr. Haseem Malhotra brought out his Pioppi Diet, I said then that there is good research showing that his suggestion of skipping breakfast is actually damaging to the body. You can read the research benefits of the real Mediterranean diet here.

You can also find our in depth article on using three to five day fasts to improve your health, fight cancer and get you through chemotherapy using the link below.´

Go to: Fasting to cure cancer

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