Diet Trend Alert: Fasting


In the unending battle against the bulge, purported dieting breakthroughs are announced with regularity.  I think I’ve spotted the first of 2013.

Fasting, in this form, is abstaining from food for several hours for health benefits, not religious dogma.  Fasting proponents suggest a key contributor to the obesity epidemic is the cue to eat at all hours.  To wit: Taco Bell’s promotion of the “4th meal“.

So fasting is used to limit your food intake to a smaller daily window.  For example, a Men’s Health article and accompanying book, (ah, synergistic marketing) touts limiting food intake to an 8-hour window.  Caloric intake for the remaining 16 hours is discouraged.

By effectively skipping “4th meal” you not only limit calories but also force your body to use fat stores for fuel.  There’s even purported evidence it can decrease your risk of developing cancer and other diseases.

My Two Cents.

What your telling me is if I fast, essentially eating less food, I’ll lose weight?  Remarkable! (Insert eye-roll).   Ultimately, fasting as a diet strategy is as groundbreaking as announcing, “people post dumb shit on Facebook”.

But, can it work for you?  Well, yeah, it could.  We all have our habits and hangups with dieting.  Perhaps limiting your food intake to an 8 hour window will help kick-start your healthful eating in 2013.  But I’m not convinced.

See, what fasting isn’t is a panacea for the obesity epidemic.  Unfortunately that’s how it’ll likely be reported and marketed.  Look no further than the Men’s Health ad for its 8-Hour Diet Book:

Discover how to eat as what you like, as much as you like, ….and lose up to 15 pounds in 6 weeks!

Shame on Men’s Health.  I thought they knew better.

Experiment with fasting if you wish, but as always, eating more minimally processed food in reasonable portions is the best option for sustained dietary success.  This includes avoiding the Taco Bell drive through at midnight.


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