I don’t typically write about intermittent fasting (IF) as a general approach to healthy eating. But it is something that I do for myself. And it has an impressive list of metabolic benefits—all without any calorie restriction.
In case you’re not familiar with it, IF is more than just skipping meals. It’s a simple, powerful tool that can completely transform your health.
That’s why I’d like to share some of my thoughts on IF with you today—along with new research that illustrates just how effective it can be…
Cut post-meal triglycerides nearly in half
The study featured otherwise healthy overweight and obese subjects. It compared IF—defined in this case as 630 calories per day for two days of the week, and healthy eating for five days of the week (or a 5:2 plan)—with conventional calorie restriction. And more specifically, researchers analyzed the effects of each “diet” on triglyceride levels.
But what I really like about this study is that it looked at triglycerides after a meal, which is an important distinction.
Most of the damage to your cardiovascular system happens immediately after eating. That’s when oxidative stress peaks, which can damage the lining of your arteries—especially if you’ve eaten sugar or carbs.
And considering most people eat continuously throughout the day, we tend to spend at least three quarters of our day with food in our stomachs. Because of this, any impairments in blood sugar and fat metabolism are extra dangerous for your heart. That’s what makes the results of this new study so exciting.
These researchers found that IF slashed post-meal triglyceride levels by 40 percent compared to a conventional low-calorie diet. And you know what? I’m not the least bit surprised.
Frankly, anything is better than a calorie-controlled diet, in my book. My focus has always been on quality over quantity. But as I mentioned earlier, IF’s unique benefits have nothing to do with the number of calories you’re eating at every meal—and everything to do with the space between those meals.
Fasting is a state of nature
The entire concept behind IF is to “starve” the body. But contrary to conventional wisdom, that’s not actually a bad thing—it’s your body’s natural state.
Evolutionarily speaking, we were never meant to have an endless abundance of accessible food. Our primitive ancestors only ate when they were able to successfully hunt or forage. They didn’t have refrigerators or grocery stores. And they certainly weren’t able to walk into their local 7-Eleven for a Big Bite and a bag of chips at midnight.
So when you think about it, it makes sense that a dietary approach that involves frequent periods of fasting would lead to more efficient metabolism of fat and sugar.
And anything that lowers triglycerides, specifically, is important to know about. Because triglycerides are the true “bad fats”—the ones that clog your arteries and get stored in your liver as stowaway sugar, causing way more damage than cholesterol ever could.
In fact, these researchers believe that having consistently lower triglycerides would neutralize so-called “bad” LDL cholesterol—making the particles larger, fluffier, and less damaging than their smaller, denser counterparts. (And if your doctor isn’t checking your particle sizes as part of your lipid profile, then it’s time to get a new one. Because this is critical knowledge to have, and it tells you much more about the state of your heart’s health than a simple cholesterol test.)
In the meantime, you have a really good reason to consider making IF part of your regular routine.
This 5:2 plan is only one way to do it. My version of IF restricts eating to a six-to-eight-hour window—say, between noon and six p.m.—on a daily basis.
That isn’t to say that you can eat whatever you want in that time frame. Healthy choices are still important. You simply want to be eating less frequently. (Personally, I only eat once per day—but I know that’s not realistic for everyone.)
Pick whichever approach works best with your lifestyle…and try it. It might take some getting used to. But clearly, this is one case where the payoff is well worth the effort.
P.S. In addition to intermittent fasting, my Ultimate Heart-Protection Protocol is chock full of dietary advice, herbs and supplements, and natural recommendations to prevent and reverse America’s biggest killers—high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Click here to learn more about this interactive, online learning tool, or to sign up today.
“Intermittent Fasting Lowers Triglycerides More Than Regular Diet.” Medscape Medical News, 03/07/2019. (medscape.com/viewarticle/910018)