Weight Watchers And Intermittent Fasting
Weight Watchers And Intermittent Fasting. If you have not spent your year in a bunker, under the most inhospitable desert on Earth, you’ve heard about intermittent fasting, the queen of diets this year. The apps that organize you to eat at the perfect time have grown like mushrooms in 2019 the number of searches of the term on Google has doubled that of 2019 (it has multiplied by ten that of previous years) and even the prestigious journal Science has paid attention to the phenomenon. The publication has collected the scientific basis that supports it in a spatial number on diet and health, and, yes, it impresses what could be achieved with it … if it turns out that it works in humans.
Science knows that the benefits of eating little are exceptional in animals. Laboratory experiments indicate that a snip between 15% and 40% of calories prevents diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and even some types of cancer. It also manages to extend the life of mice up to 50%. But the effects of this reduction have not been proven conclusively in people. And, let’s face it, spending a third of the food we’re used to does not seem like a realistic purpose.
That’s where intermittent fasting comes into the picture, with the promise of realizing the benefits of starving without giving up a single calorie … when you eat, of course. The only thing that has to be done, according to the defenders of the regime, is to accept interspersed periods of deprivation between meals, or to concentrate all the intakes of the day in a fork of eight hours.And how do you eat?
The best and the worst of intermittent fasting, the diet that has triumphed in 2019
One of them, the intermittent fast 5: 2, does not impose any caloric limitation during five days of the week. The counterpart is that you have to stop eating solids completely, or limit the calories to 25% of the usual, during the two remaining days. Studies in mice suggest that this demanding diet protects against obesity, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes and even neurodegeneration. Then there is 18: 6, which promotes that all the meals of the day are ingested in a period of six hours and that the eighteen remaining ones are fasted (the radical versions of this plan limit the time of indulgence to 4 hours, and the most lax , 12 hours).
The biological mechanisms that are activated with intermittent fasting are still a scientific mystery
“They are very different diets”, explains the professor of Nutrition of the University of Navarra and president of the International Union of Nutrition Sciences Alfredo Martínez. “The first is a diet of ketogenic type,” he adds. That is, it promotes ketosis, a state in which the body uses fats as a source of energy for the muscles and the brain. “It has the benefit that you lose weight, but it is necessary to do it under a medical control to detect possible alterations or metabolic imbalances,” he warns.
The 16: 8 diet, on the other hand, has a lower risk of side effects and accumulates a long tradition in versions such as Ramadan, according to Martínez. A study by the University of Iran in Public Health Nutrition found that Muslims who stop eating during the month marked by tradition lose an average of 1.2 kilograms. The essence of this diet is the object of study of chrononutrition, the science that studies the relationship between when you eat and biological rhythms.
Identifying the moments in which the cycles of the organism get the most out of the viandas could make the difference. This is what emerges from a clinical trial that saw the light this summer in the magazine Nutrition and Healthy Aging, which recorded a weight loss of 2.6 kilos on average between those who made all their meals between 10.00 and 18.00 during 12 weeks . What researchers do not know is why this happens.
You lose weight, but at what price?
“The studies that have been done in humans on intermittent fasting can be counted on the fingers of your hands and mine, so to speak of the mechanisms behind it is impossible,” says the coordinator of the Molecular Medicine Program at IRB Barcelona Antonio Zorzano : “The general observations are clear, these diets reduce body weight and surely they do it through changes in adipose tissue, that is, they are quite likely to work”.
But the expert does not hide his fear of certain side effects, such as the loss of muscle mass, which could cause a serious physical deterioration in old age. “I still have not seen this reflected in the studies, but we have to be very careful before telling the population that they can do these diets,” he says. All of them should be kept under medical supervision, and we must not forget that Muslims who follow the guidelines of Ramadan return to take the weight lost in the weeks following the celebration, which brings to light the biggest problem of intermittent fasting: ” Can we live with 1,200 calories a day? “, As so many celebrities claim, Zorzano asks.
The diet of self-control wins by a landslide
“It is convenient to study these diets now because we have a serious problem of obesity and food consumption,” reflects the professor of Public Health at the University of Navarra Miguel Ángel Martínez-González: “You have to reduce calories, but it is difficult while the society continues to be obesogenic, “he reflects. In this line, Predimed-Plus delves deeper, from whose previous project, Predimed, the largest study on the Mediterranean diet to date, was Martínez-González researcher, and which has become the most important nutritional project carried out in Spain.
Its aspiration is to reduce the caloric contribution of the individual by up to 30% (600 kilocalories), based on reducing the consumption of foods such as meats and sausages, sugars, white bread, packaged fruit juices and sugary drinks. “But we see them and we wish for people to comply,” admits the scientist.
This problem has inspired a whole new line of research that tries to imitate the benefits of fasting without going through an experience that is hardly compatible with the rhythm of modern life. It involves reducing calories gradually up to 30% for only five consecutive days a month, and for three months. In that period, the diet should be 50% vegetable fat, 40% protein and 10% carbohydrate (when a standard nutritional plan is composed of 30% fat, 15% protein and 55% of carbohydrates), according to a review of fasting methods published in Science. Of course, how to organize these nutrients gives many points of view.
The guru of this method is the director of the Institute of Longevity of the University of Southern California Valter Longo, who already marketed it under the name of ProLon. Its survival kit during fasting has the advantage of not having to cook: it consists of vegetable soup, tea, energy bars, food supplements and snacks based on nuts, all packaged for your customers. “But that can not be given as a proven science, there is much to investigate”, alerts Martínez-González.
“Many of the conclusions drawn from the studies are purely speculative,” and one can also conjecture with long-term effects not demonstrated, or with fasting causing anemia or having someone crash while driving. .. “We have created a problem, which is obesity, and the solution is not going to be extreme radicalism,” the professor resolves. Needless to say, he recommends the Mediterranean diet. And his next piece of advice is not so far from what the new fashions promote: “You have to pronounce two words that are never said because they do not interest the industry: ‘eat less'”. Theirs is the self-control diet.