Intermittent Fasting Is Associated With Decreases In Body Weight And Body Fat Percentage
Several studies have shown that intermittent fasting is associated with weight loss . While many of the patients I see are more concerned with overall reduction in weight, I also see a lot of patients who want to gain weight, specifically lean body weight or muscle mass. And some of these patients express concern that intermittent fasting may lead to a decrease in muscle mass. Fortunately, research shows evidence that intermittent fasting causes a favorable shift in metabolism that preserves muscle.
Heres why During the most common fasting duration of about 18 to 24 hours, our cells shift from using glucose as their primary fuel source to using fat . This means that our fat stores, namely triglycerides, are broken down and used for energy. The breakdown of proteins for fuel does not begin until the third day of fasting. Thus, intermittent fasting remains an option for optimizing health even in those wanting to maintain or gain muscle mass.
Without going into too much of the science here, the shift in metabolism from glucose to fat may be most pronounced after about 18 hours of fasting, suggesting potential benefit from occasional whole-day fasts .
Fasting And Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol has been traditionally been associated with increased riskof heart disease and atherosclerosis. Those claims are slowly being challengedyet the idea that cholesterol is dangerous to your health remains.
Cholesterol is an organic compound thats found in all animal cells. Itpromotes bile production, tissue repair, and vitamin D synthesis.
There are different types of cholesterol with various properties andparticle sizes. Generally, HDL isconsidered the healthy one and LDL the bad one.
Triglycerides arefatty acid molecules that can be burned for energy or stored in the adiposetissue. When youre burning fat, you break down triglycerides into glycerol andthree fatty acid chains.
Most of the cholesterol in your blood isproduced endogenously by the liver and dietary cholesterol has an insignificanteffect on the cholesterol in the blood. Heart disease is rooted in inflammation and oxidative stress, whichenforces the formation of cholesterol plaques.
Fasting has been shownto be very effective in lowering potentially dangerous cholesterol levels.
Tuesday: Take A Walk During Your Lunch Break
Its not only what you eat that affects your cholesterol. What you do counts, too. Our bodies simply werent meant to sit all day we were made to move. Being active helps you achieve healthy cholesterol levels in two ways. First, it promotes weight loss, which is a tremendous aid if you want to lower cholesterol fast. And second, physical activity raises levels of HDL cholesterol, which is thought of as your bodys good cholesterol.
Working out at the right intensity can spark the production of HDL. The American Heart Association says 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity three or four times a week can help improve your cholesterol levels. Even walking helps: I always recommend an hour walk a day, but you can just start with a brisk 15-minute walk and work up from there, notes Dr. Crandall.
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How To Read Your Results
Your blood will likely be checked using a test called a total lipid profile. To understand your cholesterol test results, youll need to know the different types of cholesterol that the test measures and whats considered normal, potentially risky, and high.
Heres a breakdown of each type. Keep in mind that people who have conditions such as diabetes may need to aim for even lower numbers.
Foods Rich In Unsaturated Fats
- vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, nut and seed oils
- avocado, nuts and seeds
- a medium sized vegetable such as a turnip, parsnip, sweet potato, leek, tomato or carrot
- a medium sized fruit for example, an apple, orange or banana
- 2 small fruits such as plums or satsumas
- a handful of berries or grapes and other small fruits like strawberries and prunes
- a good-sized slice of a larger fruit such as a melon, mango or pineapple
- a tablespoon of dried fruit
- a 150ml glass of fruit juice
- a bowl of salad
Fruits and vegetables can be fresh, tinned, frozen or dried. They all count. If you choose tinned, choose options in juice or water, without added sugar or salt.
Potatoes, yams, cassava and plantains are exceptions. They dont count because they count as a starchy food, like rice or pasta.
Unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies count too, but only one portion. More than one doesnt count because the loose sugar and acid in them can damage your teeth.
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How Does Fasting & Not Fasting Affect The Cholesterol Level
Fasting for 9-12 hours before collecting the blood sample for testing the cholesterol levels is a standard instruction advised by the doctor and as per the experts. Fasting for long hours before the sample collection provides the most accurate results in terms of knowing your cholesterol levels. Recent food consumption raises the Low-Density Lipoproteins- LDL level and triggers the level of Triglycerides in the blood and this how not fasting affects your cholesterol test.
Fasting for 9-12 hours before blood sample collection gives accurate test results of total cholesterol, protective HDL, harmful LDL and triglycerides and is a standard practice. But, many people dont like to fast for long hours, and it becomes critical for patients. Certain research eliminated the fasting requirement for certain groups after conducting several tests and studies. The individuals taking statins may not require fasting before the blood test for cholesterol level.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance made by the liver. Consuming certain foods with cholesterol increases the level of cholesterol. The increased level of cholesterol builds up in the arteries walls and hardens to create a blockage. The process called atherosclerosis makes blood flow in the arteries difficult creating pressure on the heart.
The Backstory On Intermittent Fasting
IF as a weight loss approach has been around in various forms for ages, but was highly popularized in 2012 by BBC broadcast journalist Dr. Michael Mosleys TV documentary Eat Fast, Live Longer and book The Fast Diet, followed by journalist Kate Harrisons book The 5:2 Diet based on her own experience, and subsequently by Dr. Jason Fungs 2016 bestseller The Obesity Code. IF generated a steady positive buzz as anecdotes of its effectiveness proliferated.
As a lifestyle-leaning research doctor, I needed to understand the science. The Obesity Code seemed the most evidence-based summary resource, and I loved it. Fung successfully combines plenty of research, his clinical experience, and sensible nutrition advice, and also addresses the socioeconomic forces conspiring to make us fat. He is very clear that we should eat more fruits and veggies, fiber, healthy protein, and fats, and avoid sugar, refined grains, processed foods, and for Gods sake, stop snacking. Check, check, check, I agree. The only part that was still questionable in my mind was the intermittent fasting part.
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Could You Benefit From Intermittent Fasting
June 28, 2019
Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool for preventing and reversing disease. Learn how this dietary approach could help you optimize your health.
This is a guest post written by Amy Nett, MD.
In previous podcasts and articles on this site Chris discussed some of the factors to consider when deciding if intermittent fasting is the right approach for you. While the decision to use intermittent fasting as a strategy to improve or optimize health should be considered carefully, it is a powerful tool when used appropriately. In this article, I want to discuss some of the potential benefits offered from intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is a general term used to describe a variety of approaches that change the normal timing of eating throughout a day, with short-term fasts used to improve overall health. In other words, the one consistent theme of intermittent fasting is that individuals periodically fast for a longer duration than the typical overnight fast.
Sunday: Oatmeal For Breakfast
Start your week with a cholesterol-lowering food superstar: Choosing oatmeal for breakfast is a simple way to lower cholesterol fast. Oatmeal is high in fiber, and the TLC diet recommends increasing your fiber intake to get to healthy cholesterol levels. Oatmeal contains more soluble fiber than other grains you can actually imagine it sopping up the bad LDL cholesterol. Getting 5 to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber a day decreases your total and LDL cholesterol, according to the Mayo Clinic, which recommends having 1 1/2 cups of oatmeal for 6 g of soluble fiber. And oatmeal doesnt have to taste bland sprinkle on some fruit or cinnamon for extra flavor.
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Wednesday: Pack A Bean Salad For Lunch
If you customarily choose a mayonnaise-heavy tuna salad or meat sandwich for lunch, substitute a bean salad skipping the mayo, and reap heart-health benefits. Beans, also known as legumes or pulses, are so nutritious that they can substitute for fish or meat and they’re a tasty and easy way to lower cholesterol fast. Beans are as filling as meat, too, thanks to their high fiber content. But while meat is digested quickly, beans take longer and may leave you feeling full longer. When it comes to cholesterol-lowering power, beans cant be beat. An analysis of 10 studies published in February 2011 in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases found that people who ate beans lowered their total cholesterol number by 12 milligrams per deciliter , and their LDL cholesterol by 8 mg/dL.
What Might Happen Next
What happens next will depend largely on the results of the test and other risk factors that a person may or may not have.
If the cholesterol levels do not suggest any potential health problems, a doctor is likely to recommend no further action or testing.
If a persons cholesterol levels are high, a doctor may recommend that the person makes lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or changing their diet. The doctor may prescribe medications, such as statins, to lower cholesterol.
Additionally, a doctor may recommend more frequent cholesterol testing.
Eat More Plant Sources Of Protein
Excellent plant proteins include beans all beans, like lentils, red beans, pinto beans, and soybeans. Rather than raising blood cholesterol levels, as animal sources of protein do, beans actually help lower cholesterol.
Beans also help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, and may even lower cancer risk.
Farewell To The Fasting Cholesterol Test
- By Naomi D. L. Fisher, MD, Contributor
ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
At a recent meeting I offered a visitor lunch which she declined with obvious regret. She was hungry, and it was noon. But she was headed to her annual physical, and eating beforehand would mean returning another morning for a fasting cholesterol level. Most of us can relate to her annoyance, but thankfully this may soon be a thing of the past.
Doctors have traditionally ordered cholesterol tests to be drawn after an overnight fast. But this requirement causes a significant burden on both sides of the health care equation. Most people hate to fast. Skipping meals is particularly difficult for active people, people with diabetes, and children. Yet coming back for another visit is even more of a hassle, so many people just dont bother. And it has been a drain for doctors, too, resulting in repeat test orders, phone calls, and patient visits.
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How Long Does It Take To Lower Cholesterol
Your cholesterol levels are directly tied to your heart health, which is why its so important to make sure theyre in a healthy range. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , reports that 78 million adults in the United States had high levels of low-density lipoprotein , or bad cholesterol, in 2012. The organization also states that people with high LDL cholesterol are at a much higher risk of heart disease.
Dr. Nieca Goldberg, medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Womens Health at the NYU Langone Medical Center, says it can take between three to six months to see lower LDL numbers through just diet and exercise, noting that it takes longer to see changes in women than men.
Read on for more information on how to lower your LDL levels.
Lower Your Cholesterol Whether You’re Eating Breakfast Lunch Dinner Dessert Or Even A Snack
Did you know cholesterol in food only plays a small part in increasing our bodies cholesterol levels? But what we eat has a big role to play in managing our cholesterol and heart health.Consistently poor eating habits, combined with a lack of physical activity can lead to unhealthy weight gain, which can also raise levels of unhealthy cholesterol levels and lower levels of HDL cholesterol which can negatively affect your heart health.
High-density lipoprotein is often called the good cholesterol because it helps to remove other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream and helps to keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries. Low-density lipoprotein is often called the bad cholesterol because it is the main source of cholesterol build-up and blockage in the arteries.
Time and time again we hear that balance is the key to health. There are some foods that can improve LDL cholesterol levels and eating these foods in moderate amounts can help keep us fighting fit. Foods containing healthier fats or soluble fibre are great examples of this. So with this in mind, here are some delicious ideas that can help you eat your way to a healthier heart.
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Whatll It Be: Feast Or Fast
If youre not taking statins, you might not have to fast.
For years, doctors ordered fasts before cholesterol tests. The logic? Scientists thought chowing down affected lipid levels . They also thought eating distorted low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.
Recently, scientists have found that fasting has minimal impact on test results for total cholesterol level, LDL cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
In fact, testing after eating may help better predict cardiovascular risk, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Since most people chow down throughout the day, post-meal tests may best reflect normal lipid levels.
Recent guidelines from the American College of Cardiology advise that as long as youre not taking statins, you might not have to fast.
Hold that acai bowl does that mean youre in the clear? Not necessarily. Many doctors say to fast anyway, so always listen up.
Though eating doesnt significantly impact three measures of the test, it can affect the fourth. Eating can raise your triglyceride levels for several hours especially if you enjoy a high fat meal . The effect is usually small, though.
If the reading seems too high, your doctor may order another test post-fast.
How To Do Intermittent Fasting To Lower Cholesterol
To prevent heart disease, you want your LDL to be lower and have a highertriglyceride to HDL ratio.
Intermittent fasting canhelp to lower cholesterol in several ways:
- Fasting lowers blood sugar and insulin
- Fasting reduces inflammation and oxidative stress
- Fasting helps with weight loss
- Fasting promotes tissue healing and rejuvenation
Heres how to do intermittent fasting for cardiovascular health:
- Practice time-restricted feeding daily by eating your food within 6-8 hours. This creates a fasting window wherein your body can heal itself.
- Extended fasts for 3-5 days can be effective in losing weight rapidly and lowering blood sugar. They can also raise your cholesterol levels, as we discussed. So, dont freak out because of that and wait until youve refed yourself.
- Incorporate physical exercise. Its one of the best ways of promoting cardiovascular health and increasing blood circulation.
- Avoid processed inflammatory foods. Dont eat vegetable oils, trans fats, processed grains, sugar, and too many carbohydrates as they raise triglycerides and cause inflammation.
- Get plenty of low carb vegetables and healthy fats. They can protect against atherosclerosis. Eat cruciferous vegetables and fatty fish like salmon.
- Sleep enough and practice stress management. Too much stress and sleep deprivation will promote insulin resistance, raise blood sugar, and promote fat gain, which can all lead to heart disease.
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Foods To Lower Cholesterol
The foods a person consumes can affect their cholesterol levels over time.
Some foods can help reduce cholesterol. For example, soluble fiber can bind with cholesterol in the digestive system and from the body. Additionally, polyunsaturated fats can help lower LDL levels.
According to Harvard Health, a person should aim to include the following in their diet:
Stick To More Vegetarian Protein Sources
If you typically eat a meat-heavy diet, adding a few more vegetarian or vegan dishes to your meal plan could help get your cholesterol levels under control fast.
“A vegetarian lifestyle not only helps you shed off excess pounds, but it also helps lower your LDL cholesterol as well,” says Fleming, citing a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In doing so, “The risk for heart problems like high blood pressure and heart disease can be decreased significantly,” Fleming adds.
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