Seriously though, cut the sugar

I’m addicted to sugar and odds are you are, too. One reason is that nutrition labels make it really difficult to determine  how much we’re getting. As a nutrition student 3 classes in, it would be irresponsible for me to advise you on your specific needs, so I’ll just tell you what I’ve been reading in general terms.

  • You should probably be consuming less added sugar than you do now. Way less!
  • There is no recommended amount of added sugar on food labels because there is no recommended amount. You don’t need any! You get the sugar you need from natural sources like milk, blueberries, and tomatoes.
  • On that note, don’t worry about the sugar you get from natural sources.
  • When you consume sugar, the reward center of your brain lights up. We like sugar. Once we get it, we want more of it. It works just the same as alcohol, gambling, or heroin addiction. Getting more dulls our sensitivity to it, so it takes more and more and more to get the same reaction.

A couple years ago, my doctor had me eliminate added sugar from my diet for 6 weeks. I distinctly remember the first day of my no-sugar diet. I had a headache and was grouchy. I laid on the couch watching the Katy Perry documentary and felt sorry for myself. I promise you, it gets better after Day 1.

After just a few days without added sugar, I started noticing the natural sweetness in the foods I was consuming. Bananas were suddenly like candy. My favorite treat was a smoothie of coconut milk, banana, and a handful of cashews. Try it!

Our bodies crave sweetness, but when we dull our senses with excessive sugar, we don’t notice that banana’s sweetness. Instead we crave Lucky Charms, Frappuccinos, and sweet cocktails. Cutting sugar isn’t about weight loss or vanity. Sugar consumption is a serious health epidemic. On an individual basis, it leads to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and so many more bad things no one wants to go through. So what can you do?

Step one is to cut out sugar sweetened beverages, such as lemonade, soda, fruit juice, iced tea, energy drinks, all of it! Your body even processes calorie-free diet drinks the same way. You can’t fool it with a Diet Coke.

After that, look at other places to cut down on added sugar. Did you know that 30% of many cereals are sugar? When I buy cereal, I get the plain corn flakes (literally, the only ingredient is corn) from a natural market and shake on some cinnamon. You could switch to oatmeal— again, I recommend buying plain oats rather than the flavored packets. I keep a big bag of blueberries in the freezer and put a handful on my oatmeal. Those little guys defrost fast. Then I grab a spoonful of non-sweetened almond butter to stir in. Breakfast is on the table within 5 minutes.

Next, swap out sugary snacks for fruit and nuts. This has been a total game-changer for me. My sugar-dense snacks used to leave me feeling nauseous and hungry again soon. A handful of nuts keeps me satiated through my afternoon.

Finally, pay attention to what you’re eating for meals. We all expect a sugar hit when we eat a creamy tiramisu, but not when we eat Pad Thai or spaghetti and meatballs, right? Well, those sauces contain a boatload of sugar. So does commercial salad dressing, fruity-on-the-bottom yogurt cups, and more. Look for sugar where you don’t expect it. When you find it, consider workaround. Maybe instead of that bottle of Kraft dressing, you could drizzle some olive oil and balsamic on your salad. Or next time make your own Pad Thai sauce sans sugar (or with just a bit.)

It’s still a work in progress for me. Here are a few principles that help me.

  1. I try to only have dessert items a few times a week, and make it count. That means I don’t eat mass-produced doughnuts with a long shelf life that come in a box. If it’s a doughnut I crave, I go to a good bakery and get the best one I can find. A good rule is if it doesn’t rot that’s because bacteria doesn’t want to eat it — and you shouldn’t either.
  2. I aim to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. With that baseline, I know I have less room for empty calories.
  3. I try not to keep sweets in the house — or just pick one thing at a time. That way if I want a cupcake, I have to put on my shoes, walk out of the house, lock the door behind me, and go down the street to the store to get it. That makes me question if it’s worth it. (And sometimes it totally is!)

My main downfall right now is that my desk is right next to the table where people leave snacks to share at work. It’s hard to look past that plate of scones or package of cookies. Sometimes I indulge and I often regret it when I feel sluggish 30 minutes later.

Believe me, I know cutting down on sugar is hard (I remember every time I hear a Katy Perry song), but little changes do add up. I beg you to start now because it won’t get easier next year. And tell me how it’s going and if you have any advice for me.

For more science-backed advice, I recommend talking to your doctor about your specific needs and reading Daily Intake of Sugar — How Much Sugar Should You Eat Per Day?

REFERENCES

  1. DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH, Wilson WL. Sugar addiction: is it real? A narrative review Br J Sports Med 2018;52:910-913.
  2. Bremer, Andrew A.,M.D., PhD., Lustig RH, M.D. Effects of sugar-sweetened beverages on children. Pediatr Ann. 2012;41(1):26-30. https://une.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.une.idm.oclc.org/docview/914325607?accountid=12756. doi: http://dx.doi.org.une.idm.oclc.org/10.3928/00904481-20111209-09.
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Throw that scorecard away

IMG_1813“Everyone you meet always asks if you have a career, are married, or own a house as if life was some kind of grocery list. But no one ever asks you if you are happy” – Heath Ledger

I came across this quote today and gave a “yeah buddy” to the late Heath Ledger.

He’s absolutely right. The movies, society, our grandparents all want us to do things in some “right” order as we were told to do.

Plenty of people who have checked those boxes uncheck them and then check them again. Some check a few and leave others unchecked. Some are desperate to check them, but it’s not happening for them.

Regardless, life isn’t a score card. You don’t get to yell bingo and collect your prize basket. You don’t win happiness for checking anything off the list. Plenty of people check their boxes and wake up the next day absolutely miserable, wishing they could get out from under this giant mortgage and away from these whiney children.

Many of us don’t even slow down long enough to ask ourselves if we even want to check those boxes.

On this Pride Day, I think it’s important to give a high-five to everyone out there being themselves or taking baby steps toward living their best life.

At the very least, slow down for a minute and ask yourself what you want to be doing.

Me? Thanks for asking. I am happy. I thought long and hard about my checklist. I want to:

  • Go to my storage unit to get my turquoise chair, so I can set it up at home.
  • Finish reading a book.
  • Use the new Aveda lotion I got this morning.
  • Have a glass of white wine.
  • Make fajitas for dinner with Nick.

What’ve you got?

A lump you can’t ignore

If you don’t want to read about my boobs, I suggest checking out This Old House instead. They have some good stuff there. https://www.thisoldhouse.com/

 

The rest of you might remember from my post 5 years ago when my doctor felt a “tumor” in my breast during a routine check up and sent me to a radiology clinic for imaging. For a week or so until my appointment I was freaking out because as I said, my doctor told me she felt a “tumor.”

Turns out “tumor” is a catchall term meaning mass of some sort that isn’t usually there. Obviously I got a new doctor after that experience. One who doesn’t casually drop the word tumor.

This time I felt the lump first. My primary care doctor — who I love  — was calm and told me it’s probably a cyst. But get it checked out anyway. I did get it checked out and it is a cyst.

Great story, right?

Stick with me. There’s a reason I’m telling it to you. The doctor at the breast clinic told me

  1. I’m not doing anything to cause these things
  2. It’s really important not to get complacent after a couple “it’s just a cyst” diagnoses because next time it might not be just a cyst, so if I feel a lump, I have to get it checked out.

I’m passing along that information to all of you. There are plenty of non-scary reasons why a lump might form. None of them is a good reason to ignore it. Even the mammogram experience isn’t so bad. I heard horror stories of boobs getting smooshed in devices that look like they should be used for pressing paninis. So here are 3 reasons to get your mammo:

  1. The new 3-D machines are not exactly fun, but they’re not at all painful either.
  2. Your health plan probably pays for a preventive mammogram in full, if it’s done for preventive reasons. If you’re getting it because you found a lump already, it’s diagnostic and subject to copay and deductible, but still covered.
  3. It could save your life!

A show about women

I hate, hate, hate shows that feature 3 men and one woman. Why is that the accepted ratio? So I’m always happy to find a show led by ladies! I came home from work today, changed into my yoga pants and snuggled up on the couch with my cat to finish season 1 of The Bold Type, a show about three millennial women who started together at a Cosmopolitan-inspired magazine as assistants.

I just found out about the show yesterday, when I was clicking around Hulu. I love magazines and Chick Lit, so it seemed like a fun show to get lost in while I recovered from a Saturday of cooking and morning of back day at the gym.

Was I ever surprised that the show isn’t some dumb show with clueless, stereotypical characters moping after their loser boyfriends and comedically messing up their lives at every turn. The show actually has strong, female-empowering writing. Here are a few things I loved about it.

  1. The editor-in-chief character Jacqueline who raises her young staffers up. She challenges them to be the best version of themselves possible and supports them when they mess up. Shouldn’t we all be so lucky to have a boss like this?
  2. The three main characters are not jealous, back-stabby mean girls. They are legitimately happy for one another as one by one they get promoted or have steamy hot shower sex.
  3. The show takes on powerful topics such as BRCA testing (for the breast cancer-causing gene mutation), Muslim immigration, and the #metoo movement.
  4. Obviously, the show celebrates strong, female characters, which the world needs more of.

I have some critiques, too. First, Sutton and Jane’s apartment is not the apartment of young Manhattan magazine staffers. No, I know what that salary is and it doesn’t afford you an apartment like that.

Second, Sutton is having that aforementioned steamy hot sex with the company attorney. For the love of Pete, this doesn’t happen in real life. Why must it happen on every TV show?

OK season 2 starts tomorrow, so get binging.

The strongest woman I know

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Everything I want to be when I’m 80

Before my grandma’s funeral, I struggled to write a eulogy. I had a Word doc open on my computer. It had words and thoughts jumbled together, but it just wasn’t working. There was no flow. No story.

My grandma was the strongest woman I know. When I was setting up a 401k, the advisor asked me how long I expect to live. To gague, he about my family history.

“My grandma is going to live forever and it’s going to make her so mad,” I told him, “I want to be like her, so let’s plan for the longest option.”

Until the day I got the call that Grandma had died, I really believed it was possible she’d live past the century mark. She was the strongest woman I know. She was a woman of unwavering faith. She did all the work she needed to do here on Earth and while I’ll miss her terribly, I’m so happy she’s getting her rest.

Grandma left her small town and moved to Minneapolis after her high school graduation, which I always found incredibly brave. She wanted to go to college to study English, but she didn’t know she had to apply and make financial arrangements with the university, so she got a job at Woolworth’s instead. She made it work. She always made it work.

That job at Woolworth’s reunited her with Grandpa. Together, they had 16 kids. And raised them all to be good human beings. They had 30+ grandchildren and showed up for all of us, too.

She’d bring a handful of kids out to her house on the lake for a long weekend or a week at a time. There, she had a shed full of outdoor toys like inner tubes and water guns. Inside were puzzles, books, and cookies.

Grandma loved playing Crapette, a French card game. There were always a couple of decks on her dining table. Also, a couple bowls of pennies. Grandma and Grandpa each had a bowl and they’d put a penny in the other’s bowl when they lost.

When I was younger, Grandma would give me hints or remind me to “look around” when we played Crapette, but two years ago, she told me, “you’re too old for me to let you win now.”

After that, she got competitive. The last time I played her, she creamed me, then had me count the cards left in my hand, saying she was curious. I suspect she wanted to know exactly how big her victory was.

I also learned that Grandma had a whole life outside of being my Grandma. It was often difficult to call her. When she’d call me back hours or days later, she’d say, “I missed your call. I was out running around.”

Of course she was!

Last summer, she had a heart attack. I was worried about her until my parents sent me a picture of her hours later out picking up sticks in her backyard.

Of course she was!

She asked my cousin and me to make sure there was tuna casserole at her funeral. She was sick of her friends dying and eating the same meals over and over. She wanted something different. When Jessica showed up with potato chips and cans of tuna, explaining that Grandma requested this, the church ladies responded, “of course your Grandma did.”

Grandma has been one of my tour guides through life. I don’t know what it’s going to be like not to be able to call her for reassurance or when I need my ego checked in a Crappette crushing.

I’m glad she’s back with Grandpa and I’m grateful for the time I had with her. I also know that we’ll all be OK because she gave us one another.

Here’s the obit. I’ll count “During the winter, she could be found zooming down the hill on her red sled” among the most effective sentences I’ve ever written.

Follow your yay!

Bella5
There’s some serious YAY happening here. Bubbles!

I started college as a psychology major. Like everyone else calling themselves a psychology major, I wanted to help people. But the summer after my freshman year, I started to feel anxious about psychology. I wasn’t sure I liked it as much as I thought I would. I struggled through my third psychology class and lacked motivation to try harder.

I entered sophomore year with a goal to try some journalism classes along with my psychology classes. Immediately, I liked journalism. It was challenging, but I was motivated to the do the work. I loved creating something every week. You could say I felt the yay.

“The yay” is what I call the feeling that makes me want to tell everyone I know about the exciting thing I’m doing. It’s the thing that makes me want to get it just right – even if it means spending long hours on it because those long hours don’t feel like work.

In recent years, I’ve learned that I need to follow the yay. If something leaves me feeling energized, I need to find a way to get more of that into my life. For example, my New York apartment had easy access to Central Park, and Hudson River Park. I found myself struggling with each step through the park. But running by water made the steps feel lighter, so I stopped turning right when I stepped off my stoop and went left to the river instead.

Earlier this year, my work team embarked on a long-term project. The first two months were all logistics. I’m a content strategist, and I love the content part. I love crafting a piece. I love putting fingers to keys and watching the words come together. I don’t even hate revising it after a stakeholder or colleague takes a crap all over my original. In my experience, two brains almost always make a piece stronger. (Four or more brains ALWAYS makes it worse. Much worse.) I love measuring the success of my work and revising it if I can make it perform better.

I don’t love the strategy part of my job. This is things like deciding the best order to put the pages in, putting together the flow for a user to reset their password or seemingly endless debates about why it should say “sign in” vs. “log in.” (There’s no right or wrong answer. Just make a decision and let’s move on!)

I like my usual mix of content writing and strategizing. But with a big project like this, we had months of all detailed logistics, planning and ugh! I was miserable at my job those months. I wasn’t doing any of the writing that makes me excited to go to work. The hours at work were dragging on.

Then we reached the part of the project when I got to start writing. Not completely, but when it shifted that direction, and I immediately felt the yay again. I remembered why I like my job. I started seeing my co-workers as people who are a joy to be around, which means I was a more pleasant colleague. I stopped coming home and searching for a different job. Even though the writing is a lot of work, it doesn’t feel like a struggle the way the planning did. I could knock out pages of content in an afternoon.

This is important information for me when making life decisions. Follow the yay. It’ll lead me where I need to be.

How’s YOUR social life?

Kel,Can
Best friends take selfies

“How’s your social life?” my naturopath asked me at my annual exam.

This is one of the reasons I love seeing a naturopath. She asks me about everything. My diet, my social life, my work, everything. It’s no secret that all these things play into a person’s health.

I had just told her that I’m in grad school and therefore more stressed and strapped for time than usual. I admitted to her that I’ve declined invitations more than I’d like lately.

“It’s really important to maintain friendships,” she said. “And usually they’re the first thing we cast aside when we’re busy. It’s especially important to keep that bond with our girlfriends.”

I nodded. I’m always eager to get the good patient award when I go for a checkup, but I also meant it. I have really great friends. On The Mindy Project, Mindy was criticized for calling a bunch of people her “best friend.” Best means best, you can only have one best. Mindy responds, “best friends are a tier.”

I’ve also been known to use the term “best friend” liberally. And I feel no shame in admitting that.

Last night I was reading the latest issue of Health, where it had an article called 4 People Every Woman Needs in Her Circle. So with that, I present some awards to my tier of best friends.

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Team uniform

The #RideOrDie

Kelly, Tara, Quyn, and Richie

This is the team that makes living with generalized anxiety disorder a lot more manageable.

The Toughie

Coley gives me tough love in the kindest way possible, and I love her for it.

The Jokester

Navani and James. If you have an opportunity to hang out with them, you should definitely take it. Except get your own. They’re mine.

The Polar Opposite

Courtney. She keeps me young. When I go to bed at 10, she’s just getting ready to go out.

 

Our incredibly reactive bodies

If discussions about weight trigger you, don’t read this. “Text Me When You Get Home” is  a good read. Try that instead.

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2006

Body fat increases during the adult years, particularly visceral fat. It’s a gradual process and easy not to notice because often weight stays constant as fat overtakes muscle. It’s not all bad. The extra fat provides reserve energy. It helps us recover after an illness or surgery and keeps us warm in cold weather and cushions falls. It’s also where we store a reserve of vitamins and minerals.

I read this in one of my nutrition books and found myself nodding along. It’s true. One day I was a slim 20-something. The next thing I knew, I was standing on the scale at the doctor’s office wondering how I’d put on 25 pounds since my high school graduation without noticing.

It creeps up on us. Just like a coffee habit, amIright? It starts with the occasional latte run. Then it becomes a cup every morning. Then two. Then one afternoon you open your eyes and see a latte sitting on your desk. When did this happen that I started drinking coffee all day?

Same with my weight gain. Even though I’ve only lived in a house with a scale for the last year and a half, I actually do know how I put on that weight. When I graduated from high school, I was around 115 pounds. That’s the low end of a normal BMI for my height, but to me it looked too thin. Through my 20s, I maintained a weight I was happy with – in the region of 125.

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Suddenly these pants fit again! (no children were kicked in the gut in the taking of this photo)

When I moved to Seattle from New York and took a work from home job, I started gaining weight. I was working out 3-4 mornings per week plus some fun active weekend activities like hiking and paddleboarding. The morning workouts left me hungry. I’d usually eat a small breakfast (like a banana) before my workout, then eat a bigger breakfast (oatmeal or eggs) when I got home. I’d usually want lunch around 11. There were always snacks nearby. That’s when I started buying pants a size up.

One thing I’m realizing, though, is that this can also act in the reverse. On a nice day in March, I decided to go for a run outside. I took off the 2.5 kilometers to the lake. Usually I’d do this, meet a friend for a walk around the lake then run home. Or I’d stop, look at the lake, then make the reverse trip for about 5K. This day, though, I didn’t feel ready to head home, so I took the nearly 5K lap around the lake before heading home for a total of 9.7K! Granted I walked up most of the hills on the way home, but still. I didn’t know I could run that far. In part because most of my winter running is done on a treadmill and I get dreadfully bored around 2K. Sometimes I’ll tough it out to 5K. Max!

I was amazed that my body had gradually adapted without me even noticing.

I’ve also been weight training for the last two years or so, which made a difference. The scale told me my weight went up, but those pants that I’d relegated to the back of the closet suddenly buttoned up comfortably again. It also helps that I now work away from home, at a company with a good salad bar available for lunch. I feel stronger and healthier than ever.

I like the small changes approach to preventing obesity. Small lifestyle changes can reduce weight gain and are also easier to fit into our lives.

Creating a 200-calorie deficit per day can improve metabolic rate and doesn’t increase hunger1, which means you might not even notice until those extra pounds gradually roll off. Some simple swaps include trading an apple pie dessert for some apple sauce.  For a 150-pound person, a 30-minute walk can burn 105 calories.2

3,500 calories make up a pound of fat, so a combination of diet swaps and increased physical activity that adds up to a 500-calorie deficit can lead to losing a pound per week.  But remember, nothing has to be all or nothing. Starting by reducing 100 calories per day is totally respectable and will improve health.

As one trainer once told me, “it’s not going to get any easier next year, so you might as well start now.”

  1. Hills AP, Byrne NM, Lindstrom R, Hill JO. Small Changes’ to Diet and Physical Activity Behaviors for Weight Management. Obes Facts 2013;6:228-238
  2. Zied E. Losing 10 Pounds: Small Changes In Diet Can Mean Big Health Benefits. Envir Nutr. 2002;1. http://link.galegroup.com.une.idm.oclc.org/apps/doc/A83677808/ITOF?u=bidd97564&sid=ITOF&xid=c97949c1. Accessed 12 May 2018.

Chocolate detox

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No makeup, post-gym, so extra red. This was the day I started my chocolate cleanse. 

My weakness is sweets. I love them. It’s hard for me to keep walking when plate of cookies appears at work. Even if someone brings in mass-produced, preservative-filled scones, do I eat one? Yes! Sometimes after lunch, I’ll make my way down to the café for a cookie.

I just celebrated a birthday and my friends and co-workers who know me so well brought me chocolate bars. Did I eat a couple of squares and tuck the rest away for another day? Ha! If you think I did that, you don’t know me at all.

Problem is that my skin reacted. Big time. I don’t remember the last time it’s looked so broken out and unhappy.

And I know better. I just wrote a paper about how milk chocolate and low-fat dairy are two of the worse things to eat for a youthful, vibrant complexion. Here’s a passage:

In a study where acne sufferers were put on a low-glycemic load diet, the degree of acne was lessened after 12 weeks.2

Frequent consumption of a high glycemic load diet has been linked to acne. Research has shown a strong link between acne and dairy consumption, particularly nonfat milk.2, Consumption of whole milk and cheese did not show correlation with prevalence of acne.11,14 The hormones in milk are thought to elevate insulin levels, which stimulate the synthesis of androgen hormones. Those hormones increase oil production on the skin, which leads to acne. Chocolate also has a high glycemic load and has also been linked to an increase in acne.10

 

After writing that paper, I stopped with the non-fat milk. I don’t drink a lot of milk anyway, usually just a couple tablespoons in my coffee each morning, so I made the switch to whole. I also cut back on lattes to once a week, if that. It’s helped.

After my birthday, I wanted to see what would happen if I cut out chocolate. Would all my skin problems be solved? I decided to put myself on a two-week chocolate detox. No chocolate-chip cookies. No hot chocolate. Definitely no Lemon Hemp Clusters from Theo Chocolate (OMG, you guys, they’re amazing!)

I can generally do something really hard, if I know it’s just for a short while. For example, the first thing I do when I get on the treadmill is put it on countdown. I don’t want to see how many minutes I’ve already been running. I want to see that I only have 20 minutes left. I can run for 20 more minutes. I can’t just run indefinitely. I’m doing the same for this chocolate detox. I can avoid chocolate for 2 weeks. I can’t say I’ll never eat chocolate again.

I’m on day 3 and my skin is already healing.

 

References (if anyone’s interested)

2. Keri J, Rosenblatt A. The Role of Diet in Acne and Rosacea. J Clin Aesthetic Derm. 2008;1(3):22–26

10. Foolad N, Saric S, Burney W and Sivamani RK. The role of nutrition in dermatology. Austin J Dermatol. 2017; 4(1): 1072.

11. Burris J, Rietkerk W, Woolf K. Acne: The role of medical nutrition therapy. J of the Acad of Nutr and Diet. 2013;113(3):416-430. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2012.11.016.

14. Larosa CL, Quach K, Koons K, Kunselman A, Zhu J, Thiboutot D, Zaenglein A. Consumption of dairy in teenagers with and without acne. J of the Am Acad of Dermatol.

Are fasting diets effective?

I’m a student in a Master of Science in Applied Nutrition program. That means I’m not qualified to give health advice and shouldn’t take health advice from me (yet!). But I’m willing to look at the science if you have a question. Here’s one question I was asked recently.

What do you think about fasting diets?

“How about Thursday? I’m fasting today,” is something I’ve been hearing lately. I’m not talking about fasting for religious reasons or because bad luck scheduling led to a fasting blood test in the late afternoon (always schedule those for first thing in the morning!).

Alternate-day fasting is said to speed weight loss and decrease risk of diabetes and heart disease. As it sounds, participants fast one day then eat whatever they want the “feast day.” Some modify the plan to consume 20-25 percent of their daily energy expenditure calories on the fasting day. Others restrict calories two days per week and eat normally five days a week. This is known as intermittent fasting.

Fasting has been shown to be effective in losing weight quickly, but it comes with a problem of elevated hunger, which has been shown to be difficult to maintain long-term.3

One study found that metabolically healthy obese adults did not show significant weight loss when following an alternate-day fasting diet versus following a controlled calorie restriction diet. No significant differences in blood pressure, heart rate, triglycerides, or diabetes markers were noted. 1

However, the HDL “good” cholesterol levels in the alternative fasting group were improved after the six-month diet period. But, when the group was tested again following a six-month maintenance period, no significant differences were seen. LDL “bad” cholesterol levels were similar to the control group’s after the six-month diet period, but the alternative fasting group had significantly higher LDL levels after 12 months.1

The study dropout rate was also highest for the alternate-day fasting group. The alternate-day fasting group also ate more than prescribed on fast days and less than prescribed on feast days. People in the control group generally met their calorie goals. This indicates that alternate-day fasting is not sustainable long-term and is no more effective than traditional calorie cutting for weight loss and improving health.1

Another study showed that when combined with an exercise program, alternate-day fasters had significant changes in weight loss and lipid indicators of coronary artery disease risk when compared to those who only fasted, only exercised, or neither. Also interesting, only two participants dropped out of the diet-exercise combination group whereas nine dropped out of the diet-only group.2

One study suggested further research on what macronutrients to consume on fasting days. The hypothesis is that eating protein on restriction days might help reduce feelings of hunger and help with diet retention.3

So should you try fasting? I wouldn’t suggest it, but I wouldn’t try to talk you out of it either. The science points to no real harm in trying, so if you want to try it and see if it works for you, go nuts.

 

  1. Wise J. Alternate day fasting is no better for weight loss than conventional diets, study finds. BMJ : British Medical Journal (Online). 2017;357. https://une.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.une.idm.oclc.org/docview/1894679817?accountid=12756. doi: http://dx.doi.org.une.idm.oclc.org/10.1136/bmj.j2120.
  2. Bhutani S, Klempel MC, Kroeger CM, Trepanowski JF, Varady KA. Alternate day fasting and endurance exercise combine to reduce body weight and favorably alter plasma lipids in obese humans. Obesity. 2013;21(7):1370-1379. https://une.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.une.idm.oclc.org/docview/1674733807?accountid=12756. doi: http://dx.doi.org.une.idm.oclc.org/10.1002/oby.20353.
  3. Johnstone A. Fasting for weight loss: An effective strategy or latest dieting trend? Int J Obes. 2015;39(5):727-733. https://une.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.une.idm.oclc.org/docview/1678572360?accountid=12756. doi: http://dx.doi.org.une.idm.oclc.org/10.1038/ijo.2014.214.