Without a doubt, the coronavirus pandemic has changed life for everyone—one way or the other. And things have taken another turn for the worse this winter, with cases continuing to skyrocket (even as health authorities work diligently to distribute the vaccines).
Unfortunately, one of the ways many people are coping with the ongoing stress and uncertainty is by turning to comfort foods. And I’ve heard from more than a few people complaining about gaining “the quarantine 15” (or more). But considering the fact that obesity significantly raises the risk of severe COVID complications, this isn’t a situation anyone can afford to shrug off.
So let’s discuss two surefire strategies to help keep your waistline in check: intermittent fasting (IF) and a low-carb diet.
Start converting fat to energy
I’ve busted this myth before, but let me say it plainly once again: Breakfast isn’t necessary if you want to lose weight. In fact, as one new study shows, skipping it can actually help you achieve your goal weight faster. (And deliver a whole host of other health benefits in the process.)
This small study of lean, normal-weight subjects showed
that skipping breakfast fires up more fat burning activity
than eating either a zero-carb or Mediterranean–style breakfast, made up of 50 percent carbs. (Remember, the Mediterranean diet features foods like fresh produce, full-fat dairy, meat, eggs, and olive oil.)
Researchers found that insulin levels were lower and fat-burning activity was higher in breakfast skippers compared to the subjects who ate either type of breakfast.
They measured subjects’ ketone levels to get an idea of how quickly and efficiently subjects were converting fat to energy. (You can measure your ketones at home using
specific urine strips found at almost any pharmacy. They’re not as reliable as a blood test, but they still give you a general idea of what your body is up to.)
Of course, on most ketogenic diets, it will take you about three days of carb restriction to alter your body’s metabolism to begin relying on fat rather than sugar as its main source of fuel. And for some dieters, it may even take a week or longer.
But by skipping breakfast, you can jumpstart that process. Without more immediate sources of fuel, your body more quickly turns to its most reliable source: Fat. It then converts this fat into ketone bodies that serve as an alternative energy source.
The result: a slimmer waistline, a sharper memory, and a better mood. Even without the “most important meal of the day.”
Of course, skipping breakfast is really just one form of intermittent fasting (IF). And other research shows that any form of IF will confer metabolic benefits.
There are a number of ways to put this strategy into practice. Like the 5:2 approach (two days of fasting per week), or the alternate day fasting approach (every other day). Or you can simply restrict your eating times to eight-hour windows—such as between 11 a.m. and
These are all simple strategies that most anyone can fit into their lifestyle. But I also understand fasting isn’t for everyone. So if you prefer to keep breakfast on the table (so to speak), just make sure you keep it low-carb. Here’s why…
Low-carb is the way to go
Now, the study I mentioned above pointed to skipping breakfast as the most effective way to speed up weight loss. But among subjects who DID eat breakfast, those who kept theirs low-carb were less hungry than those who ate a Mediterranean-style breakfast.
Not only that, but insulin levels were higher in the group that ate a Mediterranean-style breakfast. This is important, because elevated insulin actively blocks ketone generation and fat loss in dieters of any size. But luckily, this is one case where you really can have it all…
When it comes to burning fat and warding off hunger, combining low-carb dieting with IF is the most effective strategy you can use. But throw in plenty of antioxidant-rich fresh veggies, fish, and monounsaturated fats from olives and macadamia nuts, and you’ll get all of the cardiovascular and brain health benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet, to boot.
In other words, this is not an “either/or” affair. That’s why my very own ketogenic, Mediterranean-style A-List Diet combines the best of all three worlds.
You can learn more about it or order a copy at www.AListDietBook.com. Weight loss resolutions really don’t get any easier—or more delicious—than that.
“‘On-Demand’ Fast Mobilizes Fat; Low-Carb Breakfast Stymies Hunger.” Medscape Medical News, 10/12/2020. (medscape.com/viewarticle/938967)