Thursday, October 04, 2007

Are 24 Hour Fasts a Fad?

Well, it finally happened. I knew it would happen sooner or later, so I can't say I'm surprised.

Someone referred to my book Eat Stop Eat as a "fad diet". Now, I know for a fact that this person hasn't actually read my book, so really they were implying that using fasting for weight loss was a "fad diet". In particular, I think what this person was trying to point out was that long term, prolonged fasts aren't ideal for weight loss...which could be the farthest thing from what Eat Stop Eat recommends...but I digress..

This particular person felt the need to point out that "weight control and body composition changes are achieved by healthy nutrition, sensible dieting and an active lifestyle."

hmmm, interesting. Lets take a look at exactly how Eat Stop Eat fits into this description.

Firstly, in the united states, the US Dietary Guidelines describe a "healthy diet" as one that:

  • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products;
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts;
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars; and
  • Stays within daily calorie needs.

You'll notice two things. Right away, the US Dietary Guidelines make no mention of how many times you should eat in a day, nor do they mention anything about the ideal amount of time in between each meal (For my Canadian friends, the Canadian Guidelines for Healthy Eating doesn't mention any form of recommendation for the amount of times in a day you should eat or an ideal amount of time in between each meal either) .

Second, compare the bullets above to the following statement...

"Eat less, but enjoy the foods you eat. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and lots of herbs and spices. And maybe most importantly, spend less time stressing over the types of food you are eating."

This is my own personal "golden rule of eating" that I share in Eat Stop Eat.

Finally, Eat Stop Eat is not just a specific method of using short term fasting for weight loss. It is a specific method of using resistance exercise AND short term fasting for weight loss.

Thus, by all accounts using brief periods of fasting (especially the Eat Stop Eat method where you still eat everyday) in combination with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, can be considered within the scope of the US Dietary Guidelines and if followed correctly, an effective tool in a person's on going quest for health nutrition and sensible weight loss.


If you are interested in learning more about using 24 hour fasts for weight loss, then check out my book Eat Stop Eat

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1 comment:

Israel said...

interesting points you make here. i agree with you.