Fasting can help you lose weight. PHOTO | FILE
I am always talking about blood sugar.
I talk about how eating the wrong sort of foods sends your blood sugar soaring, only to be followed by a crash a few hours later,– leaving you irritable, lacking focus, more prone to weight gain, and ready to get on the rollercoaster all over again.
That is why I promote eating the right sort of slow-release carbohydrates and vegetables, coupled with quality protein, and doing so at regular intervals throughout the day.
Now that you know this, what I am about to say will seem strange: I think that certain types of fasting may actually be good for you.
Yes, that is right: the evidence suggests that restricting your food intake over certain prolonged periods of time may have benefits for weight loss and health, and may even extend your life.
And to demonstrate my point I will tell you about some mice, in a study, that were fed in one of two ways.
One group was allowed to eat as much as it wanted night and day. The other group of mice had their eating restricted to just eight hours in every 24-hour cycle.
STARVING THE CELLS
What was interesting is that, even though both groups consumed the same number of calories, the mice with restricted eating ended up weighing significantly less than the other mice.
When we eat, we secrete the hormone insulin, which helps our bodies to absorb nutrients into cells.
I guess you could say that the more insulin we secrete, the fatter we get. Over time however, this can lead our bodies to stop listening to the insulin, a situation known as insulin resistance.
In such cases, cells become starved, leading to symptoms such as fatigue and hunger. Since insulin resistance is also implicated in a number of chronic diseases — from heart disease and Alzheimer’s to type 2 diabetes — better insulin sensitivity is definitely a good thing.
So, how would you start? One approach would be to extend the period of low insulin typically seen at night.
That would mean either eating an early dinner, or delaying breakfast. As the body gets used to lower insulin levels, it will be able to release fat more efficiently, which can be used to fuel the body.
And when your body feeds off its fat, you do not become unnecessarily hungry, tired, or suffer from compromised brain function.
Once the body is used to this way of eating, you may decide to drop some breakfasts or dinners altogether.
Drop the one you feel is easiest to do without, and see the pounds melt away