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AtA: Intermittent Fasting

I actually had one question for you: how do you feel about intermittent fasting? Your book talks about eating once every three hours; is this because you felt:

a) The scientific evidence on fasting isn’t there yet

b) Fasting is too counterintuitive/difficult for most people to handle, and you’re shooting sustainable, easy advice

c) Intermittent fasting just wasn’t known when you started writing it

?

Just curious.

dshack of ShackAttack (via reddit)

I’m not opposed to the concept of fasting; though not with any regularity, I’ve fasted myself from time to time–for example, with the intent of cleaning out and resetting the systems between trials of dietary plans or prescriptions. I wouldn’t necessarily say the research isn’t there yet, but that it focuses primarily on the comparison of intermittent fasting with the ‘typical’ (i.e. garbage-laden) western diet rather than placing it against other types of healthy consumption.

While a big part of is as you mentioned–that compliance with a fasting regimen can be difficult to maintain–still more of a concern is that even in environments where compliance is maintained at a very high level (such as with camps, athletes, or other committed individuals), the results are inconsistent. I’ve seen people adhere strictly to IF diets such as the Warrior Diet and falter or even experience negative results compared to their previous ‘healthy’ intakes.

But ultimately, along with ease-of-compliance, it was my goal to provide a system that is applicable and proven for the greatest number of individuals in the greatest number of situations. Frequent macro-oriented feedings have been consistently successful for a large number of people for many years now and are the staple of numerous successful nutrition plans, even those that incorporate only light or no exercise for whatever reason (rehab, etc). It’s also among the easiest to incorporate and customize for individuals, and my focus was for something equally useful for parents feeding their families, students eating in the dorm cafeteria, and individuals without the time or desire to create or follow complicated meal plans.

The long and short was something useful for the greatest number of humans in the greatest number of circumstances. It is doubtless that some individuals and their internal chemistry or situation would benefit more from an IF-style diet than from what I recommend, but I also specifically began the chapter stating that if you have something that works great for you, stick with it. And likewise if you don’t see the results you want, feel free to experiment with something else.

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