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TomBAvoider

The Intermittent Fasting Advantage

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I came across an article that deals with intermittent fasting in a different context (cardiac catherization patients), but touches - in passing - on something that's quite interesting. Now, first of all, let's be clear how they use the term here - it's not how the term was originally used in reference to true fasting of 24 hours or more or EOD. Rather, this is the restricted time window feeding - so, f.ex. you have the 8 hour feeding window, and fast for the remaining 16 hours, or 18:6 or what not - even OMAD, although one could argue that OMAD is actual daily fasting. 

In any case, here is the article:

Intermittent fasting increases longevity in cardiac catheterization patients

The interesting passage however was this:

"Researchers speculate that fasting routinely over a period of years and even decades conditions the body to activate the beneficial mechanisms of fasting after a shorter length of time than usual.

Typically, it takes about 12 hours of fasting for the effects to be activated, but long-term routine fasting may cause that time to be shortened so that each routine faster's daily evening/overnight fasting period between dinner and breakfast produces a small amount of daily benefit, they noted."

Well, that quite something! They give no grounds for these speculations - and to be fair, they do note that these are speculations - but if this pans out to be true, then these are pretty compelling grounds for routinely engaging in restricted time window feeding (or as they call it here "intermittent fasting"). Because you start reaping the advantages (caveat: if indeed these advantages transpire to exist in the first place!) of such "intermittent fasting" much sooner in the fasting period than an individual whose body has not transitioned to being conditioned to such states. The speculated advantages, according to the article (these are speculations that are traditionally given as grounds for limited-time feeding widows in general):

"Why long-term intermittent fasting leads to better health outcomes is still largely unknown, though Dr. Horne said it could be a host of factors. Fasting affects a person's levels of hemoglobin, red blood cell count, human growth hormone, and lowers sodium and bicarbonate levels, while also activating ketosis and autophagy—all factors that lead to better heart health and specifically reduce risk of heart failure and coronary heart disease."

I guess all of this makes a kind of intuitive sense, but ultimately we have no proof one way or another - I have no idea whether any of this is valid in the least. Generally, it seems studies have shown that any advantages of intermittent fasting come down to crypto CR - basically, you consume fewer calories. There's even research showing disadvantages of achieving your low-calorie goals through IF compared to steady-state CR. So, my expectations here are pretty low. Having said that, I do restricted time window feeding for practical reasons - I find it more convenient and pretty easy, plus I appreciate the gain in time, not having to prep/eat 3 meals a day. My own practice is a combo of 5:2 day feeding and 18:6 window; so for 5 days I restrict myself to the 18:6 window, but on two days a week, I eat only one meal (OMAD in effect), but it's a low calorie meal of no more than 500 calories. And again, I have no idea if this does me any good, but it's a huge winner as far as time management - so much less time spent prepping and eating! I've been doing this for several years now, so if the speculation in the article transpires to be true, I'm hoping my body has transitioned to being conditioned to this and I'm deriving bennies far earlier in the non-feeding time - but who knows! In any case, I thought folks might find this interesting.

 

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From my limited research and consultations with a nutritionist short term fasts like 12-24hr are just too short to activate anything than the most early/minimal body changes that one is seeking with true fasting state. One is simply activating the early hunger responses and alerting the body that a lower calorie phase might be coming, please "wake up". Sort of like ringing the bell, the people inside know someone is at the door, but the door isn't open and you haven't come inside, LOL. My nutritionist said it is likely that to reproduce the effects of the animal/cell experiments one would have to fast for at least 3 full days (water/vitamins/minerals excluded of course) and probably closer to 5-7days and do it routinely, like twice a month. 

It is not clear if super low calorie intake would simulate fasting, no clear evidence yet she said. 

I've been ok doing 24hr but longer than that my performance deteriorates and it becomes not worth it from the life functioning perspective for me. I can still do it if I sit on the couch and read a book, but not go out and live a full life. Wish it was easier.

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On 6/18/2020 at 10:15 AM, Keliot said:

From my limited research and consultations with a nutritionist short term fasts like 12-24hr are just too short to activate anything than the most early/minimal body changes that one is seeking with true fasting state.

While the science is less than exact, arguably the above claim is false, based on a number of studies.

Most nutritionists are also focused on weight loss, advise three meals a day, and are currently pushing high-protein diets, which is generally counter to what most longevity studies indicate. 

Edited by Ron Put

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Thanks for the reply.

I am not sure what relevance the statement regarding "most nutritionists …." has especially in reply to my post, since I did not discuss what most nutritionists do, and focused on advice that my nutritionist gave me specifically regarding intermittent fasting. Perhaps it is a simple misreading of my post or just a straw- man argument against it but bringing up something not entirely related? Don't know.

I think she is well educated and versed in the latest science, works with athletes and specific nutritional needs people, I am sure she could also focus on weight loss. The last claim "pushing high protein diets"? Wow, that's so incorrect, I have never met a nutritionally educated and up to date person that did that, maybe online forums with self proclaimed nutritionists or in bodybuilding forums? Nobody recommends a high protein diet that I have ever met in my life. 

I think we need to wake up and get more real and serious with the evidence, having little things show up here and there is not enough to proclaim benefits that are conclusive and widely applicable to different people.

 

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On 6/18/2020 at 2:15 PM, Keliot said:

From my limited research and consultations with a nutritionist ... My nutritionist said ... ... no clear evidence yet she said

It would be helpful if you cited (provide the citation(s) of your apparent research) to provide the basis of your reasoning for why the short fasting "are just too short to activate anything than the most early/minimal body changes that one is seeking".  'What your nutritionist said' isn't very compelling.

As Michae Rae once said; No citation, no argument ...

Edited by Clinton

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13 hours ago, Keliot said:

I think we need to wake up and get more real and serious with the evidence, having little things show up here and there is not enough to proclaim benefits that are conclusive and widely applicable to different people.

I don't think we have good evidence.  As far as I know there are no commonly available tests for people that are considered good direct measures of the beneficial cellular processes induced by fasting.  We can use proxies but I haven't seen any strong evidence for ranking their relevance.

I would expect a person following a regimen of continuous severe CR will have a very different response to short duration fasts than an obese man with hyperinsulinemia.  Other factors such as endurance exercise, high intensity exercise, cold or heat exposure, etc. are also likely relevant.  Without good tests though one can't readily determine what is sufficient or optimal in those various cases.

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14 hours ago, Keliot said:

Thanks for the reply.

I am not sure what relevance the statement regarding "most nutritionists …." has especially in reply to my post, since I did not discuss what most nutritionists do, and focused on advice that my nutritionist gave me specifically regarding intermittent fasting. Perhaps it is a simple misreading of my post or just a straw- man argument against it but bringing up something not entirely related? Don't know.

I think she is well educated and versed in the latest science, works with athletes and specific nutritional needs people, I am sure she could also focus on weight loss. The last claim "pushing high protein diets"? Wow, that's so incorrect, I have never met a nutritionally educated and up to date person that did that, maybe online forums with self proclaimed nutritionists or in bodybuilding forums? Nobody recommends a high protein diet that I have ever met in my life. 

I think we need to wake up and get more real and serious with the evidence, having little things show up here and there is not enough to proclaim benefits that are conclusive and widely applicable to different people.

 

I completely agree with you. Not enough is known, and for each argument, there is a counter-argument. 

Again, quality of life is most important, and I believe this amounts to maintaining optimal health. This does not involve self-torture, however. Honestly, some of the self-reported regimes I have read by members of the CR community are jaw-dropping. And I truly believe when it erodes ones family and social life, the whole exercise is counter-productive.

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On 6/18/2020 at 11:15 AM, Keliot said:

From my limited research and consultations with a nutritionist short term fasts like 12-24hr are just too short to activate anything than the most early/minimal body changes that one is seeking with true fasting state.

This is simply inaccurate. For example, here were see that even a 13 hour overnight fast reduces breast cancer risk in females: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4982776/

This is remarkable in that it is not difficult for most people to do a 13 hour fast, whereas the majority of people will never do multi-day fasts.

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On 6/24/2020 at 5:30 AM, Keliot said:

... I am not sure what relevance the statement regarding "most nutritionists …." has especially in reply to my post, since I did not discuss what most nutritionists do, and focused on advice that my nutritionist gave me specifically regarding intermittent fasting. Perhaps it is a simple misreading of my post or just a straw- man argument against it but bringing up something not entirely related? Don't know.

I think she is well educated and versed in the latest science, works with athletes and specific nutritional needs people, I am sure she could also focus on weight loss. The last claim "pushing high protein diets"? Wow, that's so incorrect, I have never met a nutritionally educated and up to date person that did that,...

 

It is relevant because you offer no proof, other than hearsay some unknown nutritionist, who you believe is "well educated and versed in the latest science," whatever that may mean. For what it's worth, practically anyone can call themselves a "nutritionist" in the US and bilk the gullible, as the industry is barely regulated. Your nutritionist's opinion may be important to you, but it's irrelevant to me unless you can offer some evidence to back up your rather vague and uninformed statement.

There are plenty of discussions on the topic here, so before you make definitive statements, you should do a bit more than "limited research" and parroting some random nutritionists.

I am not going to do the research for you, but here is a start:

De Cabo, R., & Mattson, M. P. (2019). Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease. New England Journal of Medicine

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4 hours ago, drewab said:

1154673670_ScreenShot2020-06-25at7_04_51AM.png.e383c927786d15c9d23d13ab20fc9d26.png

I always found stuff like this rather underwhelming. So fasting for less than 13 hours will increasy (by 36%) your chance of the RECURRANCE of breast cancer. But the very same conditions (fasting less than 13 hours) will NOT increase your chance of actually dying from breast cancer or dying from anything at all, i.e. all-cause mortality. 

This says to me, that unless I ALREADY have had breast cancer which is in remission, this finding is completely irrelevant to me. I mean, it even implies that while fasting less than 13 hours *might* make the breast cancer recur the cancer it won't kill me*. And that's if it even does make the cancer recur in the first place - that's not 100% I'm getting it, it's 36% increased risk, i.e. if the risk is 10 in a 1000, my risk increases to 14 in a 1000, and my risk of death increases by 0%, just as if I had not had it recur (from the point of view of death). Pretty weak sauce if you ask me.

*I am male, but I assume this applies to women's breast cancer, not men's. 

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7 hours ago, TomBAvoider said:

I always found stuff like this rather underwhelming.

I am not arguing that we have definitive answers.  But I started trying to eat within an 8-hour window about a year ago, after reading and evaluating whatever research I could find on the subject.  Just like CR, the evidence is not entirely clear. But in my opinion, the preponderance of the evidence shows that there are benefits, often significant ones, to the practice. YMMV, of course.

My problem with Keliot's post is that he offers no evidence, yet holds very strong opinions on the subject.

Edited by Ron Put

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My problem with Keliot's post is that he offers no evidence, yet holds very strong opinions on the subject.

Agreed.

I too of course practice limited-window feeding (around 18 hours 5 days a week and 22 hours 2 times a week), and subjectively feel fine - my labs are somewhat better for it (certainly not worse), at least that which I'm tested for, and as I wrote previously, I find the practical advantages of time management to be very substantial benefits. So even if it were shown to have no health benefits, I'd engage in it just for that reason alone.

I'm hoping there'll be more research into this, so we can develop more science-based regimens - cause a lot of it is "seat of the pants" at the moment :).

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I just looked at it.  IMO, it's absolutely worthless for us.

First of all, they're using obese  people, and people who are "overweight" (BMI > That's not merely overweight).  Second of all, the "TRF" that they are using is:  No eating after dinner, until morning -- that's pretty lame for "TRF" -- e.g., I've been doing that all my life, incuding before I'd heard of CR.

But, of course, such "TRF" is to severe for they're study -- so they're allowing a midnight snack.

This study reminds me of the post that we've had a while back, called

"The Five Minute Diet".  But hat was a satire.

  --  Saul

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I mistakenly had the wrong study linked. But the title study used an 8 hour feeding window. That's the equivalent of not eating after 2pm assuming someone wakes up at 6am, which is a little more intensive fasting than no eating after dinner.

Regardless of sample being overweight, I would have expected some favorable outcome on body mass or insulin resistance. However, the study group actually lost a significant amount of lean body mass, not fat mass. 

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