Busting the Myths of Intermittent Fasting

Fasting?!? No way. I HAVE to eat! 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

It isn’t healthy to skip meals. 

I need to take my morning vitamins with food.

I won't have energy for my workouts. 

My trainer says I need to eat more frequently to keep my metabolism up.

Dr. Elizabeth Yurth of the Boulder Longevity Institute suggests that we let go of popular excuses and “diet myths” like those above to attain our health and wellness goals. These myths lead to an insistence on trying varying diet plans that inevitably lead to frustration and minimal if any, weight loss.

Let’s look at the example of drinking “diet” soft drinks. It provides powerful evidence of how diet myths can lead to weight gain rather than weight loss.

Diet sodas have to be better for you, right? I mean, that is what the can says and it makes sense - low sugar, low calories should result in less fat. Unfortunately, our bodies do not fall for the same trick. Diet sodas can lead to weight gain by:

  • Accidentally signaling the brain to increase insulin production, resulting in confusion of the metabolic process and a larger waist, higher blood pressure, and higher blood sugar.
  • Encouraging your cravings for “sweets”, which inevitably lead to an increase in sugar intake.
  • Encouraging you to eat more calories since you “saved” calories by drinking a diet soda. Combined with the signaling of the brain to produce insulin, the body is confused about how to handle the extra food intake.

Diet soda offers the perfect example of how doing what you think is the right thing for your body may be harming it. We are led to these harmful ideas by long passed down myths like those we opened this blog with.

Those same myths often lead to a belief that intermittent fasting is impossible or simply “not for me.” This sad reality is disheartening when so much of the current literature illustrates the power of intermittent fasting. Especially in a time-restricted eating format, intermittent fasting can lead to weight loss, overall health improvements, and ultimately the longevity we all hope for.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

This first part of our series on intermittent fasting is dedicated to telling you that you can do it, and it is worth doing it. We spent a significant amount of time showing you the power of the “diet myth” in hopes it would help you understand that “not being able to” or “it doesn’t work” are both powerful and harmful myths.

Intermittent fasting is often considered “too hard” but usually because people do not understand the process. Later in this series, we will detail the various types of fasting and intermittent fasting. A general definition calls intermittent fasting a restriction of eating to certain periods or eliminating eating for a predetermined amount of time.

Intermittent fasting is NOT a diet. Say it louder for the people in the back! Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern. It does not prescribe what to eat but when you eat it.

The rest of this series will describe the most popular methods of intermittent fasting, why and how time restricted eating can work, and some surprising benefits on your health beyond simple weight loss.