My latest opinion piece in the Jersey Evening Post considers the madness of low calorie diets and the benefits of intermittent fasting.
The NHS and Diabetes UK have come up with their latest wheeze: starving people to put them into remission from type 2 diabetes. At least they are finally admitting the condition CAN be reversed, but why choose starvation when there’s a better way?
In the Minnesota starvation experiment in the mid-1940s, participants all saw a loss in metabolic rates and lean tissue. Many suffered anaemia and exhaustion and they also became miserable, apathetic and obsessed about food. Similarly, people nowadays who go on crash diets (which is what is being advocated by the NHS) report initial weight loss followed by a rebound,with the added insult of having more fat and less lean tissue and energy than before.
Even Diabetes UK admit participants are ‘finding the diet incredibly challenging’ and that hard work is needed to stay in remission,despite them having ‘a lot of support’.
Then they add, ‘Low-calorie diet soups and shakes… can be expensive, may not work for everyone and there’s not much evidence about how they work in the long-term. Or you might be able to start a low-calorie diet by eating very small portions of regular foods. It can be difficult to make this nutritionally balanced…’.
For goodness’ sake! Words nearly fail me – but luckily not enough to stop me suggesting you give intermittent fasting (IF) a go.
Fasting has been used since Hippocrates’ days, but you don’t need to stop eating for several days to get many of the same benefits that the practice gives.
Studies on IF show that while fat is lost, lean tissue is retained, and energy and health levels increase – and diabetes very often goes into remission.
I see personal tale after tale corroborating these findings.
You must ease in: become ‘fat-adapted’ by transitioning to low-starch, unprocessed foods with plenty of natural fats (not seed oils), no sugar and no snacks. Now gradually work to eating within a shorter time frame at least 3-5 days of the week (such as between 1pm and 7pm); it’s surprisingly simple to do.
You will find you are naturally starting to eat less; this is because you are getting the remainder of your calories from your body fat, which you can’t do when you eat several times a day.
NOTE: Please do some research first (search for doctors Berg and Fung online) and always work with your doctor if you are on medications.
Jacqui Carrel is a Nutrition Consultant. You can contact her here.