An article from the New York times asks the question whether intermittent fasting really works. It is a bit vague in the article but intermittent fasting commonly refers to limiting your eating to a certain number of hours in a 24 hour period. A rigorous regimen is to limit your eating to 6 hours a day, but even 12 hours a day may be beneficial. The article is asking whether it really helps with weight loss. The answer is that it’s basically just calorie restriction and so it might help.
But there is more to intermittent fasting than just weight loss according to my understanding of the issue. It also pushes your body into a state where your glucose stores are depleted and that triggers fat burning which has a few benefits. One of them is that your cells go into a state of “autophagy” or eating themselves. This sounds bad, but is actually good, in that it gets rid of waste and apparently, is good for longevity and a host of other ills. I recently spoke to another physician who has been practicing intermittent fasting for years and her Sjogren’s syndrome symptoms have basically disappeared. There is a theory that we, evolutionarily, were hungry for hours at a time, not constantly fed, so there may be advantages. We will see how this plays out, but I will say, that intermittent fasting is easier to stick to than diets! Click on the photo above to watch a TED talk on the topic.