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Intermittent Fasting: Rising in popularity as weight-loss plan

Intermittent Fasting.
Intermittent Fasting. Global News

When you think about fasting, you might associate it with religion.

For thousands of years, Muslims, Jews, Christians and Buddhists have observed fasting periods throughout the year and fasting is growing in popularity. Not for divine reasons, but because of its health benefits affecting our waistline.

“I think the reason [for] that resurgence of interest is really the fact that it works,” said Dr. Jason Fung – a Toronto-based nephrologist and author of “The Complete Guide to Fasting.”

“It starts to make sense to people that ‘hey – if you don’t eat, you’re going to lose weight.’ I don’t think anybody denies that. So, why shouldn’t you give your body the time it needs to use the fuel that you’ve taken,” Fung said.

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Understanding intermittent fasting
Understanding intermittent fasting

Fung suggests other reasons for the renewed interest in fasting include: Not having to worry about food choices, it’s free and convenient because when you fast, you don’t need to shop, cook or clean up any meal mess.

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“It’s something different than the diets – almost the opposite. It’s not something you’re trying to do. It’s something you’re trying to not do, so, it makes your life simpler, easier,” Fung said.

But Fung said it’s the scientific evidence that supports the benefits of Intermittent Fasting.

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“The most obvious is going to be for weight loss and then, you start to talk about metabolic diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, Poly-cystic-ovarian-syndrome – it has huge benefits because if you don’t eat, your body is going metabolize some of that body fat or the excess sugar,” Fung said.

“If you have Type 2 Diabetes for example, you have too much sugar so, simply let your body use it. If your body uses, you’ve burned it and it can no longer make you sick.”

One of Dr. Fung’s success stories is patient Ajit Deshmukh who was diagnosed with Diabetic Kidney Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure. Deshmukh said once he started a routine of Intermittent Fasting, the results were almost immediate.

“I’ve lost 20 pounds. I’m off all the pills. I just feel great. Marvelous.”

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But at Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique, the diet approach is focused on eating regular amounts of protein throughout the day. Naturopathic Doctor Nadine Khoury said Intermittent Fasting could eventually cause some people harm.

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“It may allow you to decrease and drop your weight very quickly initially but in the long run, it can be taxing on your system,” Khoury said.

Khoury added that not eating can promote stress on the body.

“It taxes your thyroid which is the master gland of the metabolic functioning in your body. It also decreases the production of dopamine which we require for mental focus and increases cortisol if we’re not getting that protein during the day,” Khoury said.