Often considered a running joke among fellow Muslims, the reality
is that fasting during Ramadan for some serves as the catalyst for
newly established weight loss goals. A new study published in the
Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
discovered that weight
loss during Ramadan is, in fact, a very realistic outcome. The study
found that fasting between the hours of dawn and sunset, not only
led to weight loss in more than 200 adults over the course of 20
days (out of 30), but also a reduction in overall body fat, particu-
larly among males all of whom
made very little changes to
their food consumption before
and during Ramadan.
Tina M. Kaufman, Ph.D.,
PA-C, Assistant Professor in
Preventive Cardiology and the
Clinical Supervisor of Cardiac
Rehabilitation at Oregon
Health & Science University,
believes this type of study and
similar research may be sub-
ject to skepticism within the
medical community as fast-
ing is not considered an ideal
method of weight loss.
“A lot of people will fast for
weight loss purposes,” says
Kaufman. “The problem is
when you fast your body goes
into a state of deprivation.
That’s a very poor way of losing
weight because once you fast
for more than 8 to 12 hours,
your metabolism slows down
and you’re not really burning
any calories at that point and
you mostly lose water.”
Fasting is typically prescribed
to hospital patients prior to
undergoing a medical procedure or surgery. While Muslims are
not allowed to eat or drink during the fasting process, patients
are allowed to drink water with no consumption of solid foods
between 8 and 12 hours. Aside from this routine medical
practice, Kaufman says fasting can benefit people who eat an
otherwise unhealthy diet, and as a result can create a shift or
positive change in the body.
“If you took someone who had a really poor diet — meaning
they ate a lot of processed foods, junk foods, [and] fast foods
— then fasting might be a good type of reset for their bodies,
particularly if they ate a vegetarian diet,” says Kaufman.
Health fasts involving juice cleanses that claim to rid the body
of toxins, have always been a go-to among wellness and fit-
ness enthusiasts and people looking to quickly shed a few extra
pounds, but nowadays they are more popular than ever. Cooler
Cleanse and BluePrint Cleanse are among the leading brands
at the front of this increasingly,
growing trend.
While evidence that definitively
lays out the health benefits of
fasting, aside from weight loss
remains weak, “intermittent
fasting,” or fasting on consecu-
tive or alternate days (or 2 days
of fasting per week), is hailed
as one form proven to facilitate
disease prevention. Dr. James
Brown, a lead researcher at Aston
University located in the United
Kingdom, along with his team of
researchers, recently revisited the
topic of intermittent fasting as a
dietary intervention in the pre-
vention of diseases. Their findings
revealed that periods of intermit-
tent fasting assisted with weight
loss, the reduction of inflamma-
tion and instances of diabetes,
slowed down the progression of
Type 2 diabetes, and lowered
blood pressure levels even when
there was little or no change in
total daily calorie consumption.
Despite these findings of its dis-
ease prevention capabilities,
intermittent fasting should not
be mistaken as cutting back on
calories, otherwise known as “calorie restriction”. Previously
held studies have found that restricting calories by margins of
approximately 15 to 40 percent have been shown to improve
cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure and heart
rate, halt the development of cancer, and dementia including
Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
According to Kaufman, people who intentionally lower their cal-
orie intake, in particular by eating vegetables, tend to have less
chronic diseases and as a result end up living longer.
...findings revealed
that periods of intermit-
tent fasting assisted with
weight loss, the reduction
of inflammation
and instances
of diabetes,
slowed down the
progression of Type 2
diabetes, and lowered
blood pressure levels even
when there was little or
no change in total daily
calorie consumption.
|
Summer 2013
20
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