To start this story, I was researching for an article on the claims made by @moveu about high waisted leggings “deactivating” your core(look out for this article next week) when I stumbled upon this post on my timeline by @fastreps

Immediately my mind resorted to every physiology and nutrition course I have ever taken, trying to comprehend what logic or evidence supports the claims made in this post. Trying to give Mr @fastreps the benefit of the doubt, I commented

After failing to provide any evidence to back his claims, and knowing that his entire page is built on selling the idea of Intermittent fasting I decided to do the research for him.

How does Fat loss/Fat Gain occur?

No matter what any fitness “guru” tries to sell you, body weight changes all stem back to the first law of thermodynamics, conservation of energy. (Hall 2012)

Calories In vs Calories Out

Calories In = Food that you are eating

Calories Out are influenced by many factors including:

For anyone who argues against the idea that calories in vs calories out, I could point them to pretty much every textbook and majority of research studies, but for more fun I send them to the story of a teacher who only ate Mcdonalds and lost 56 pounds. He did this by eating 2,000 calories a day and working out 45 minutes 5 days per week to maintain a considerable caloric deficit.

Now I do Understand there are other contributing less substantial factors that influence our body composition. One of these factors is what your mama(and papa) gave you; your genetics. The most discussed and possibly most significant factors are a group of genes that are termed the “thrifty genes”. For much of human history these genes were highly advantageous as they control how efficiently we store fat. During times of feast individuals with the thrify genes were able to store more fat, that later could be utilized during times in which food was scarce. However, in today’s world where we have a food surplus, this gene has become more detrimental than beneficial. It has been shown to put people at much higher risk for diabetes and obesity. ( Venniyoor 2020)

Another factor that influences our body composition is our hormones. Anyone that argues against this obviously did not watch baseball during the early 2000’s. Thyroid hormones,cortisol, testosterone, estrogen, leptin, etc all have been shown to influence body composition. However, Mr @fastreps made the claim that hormones are only affected by when and what we eat. He has forgotten about how sleep, sex, age, physical activity enviromental factors, genetics, and stress all contribute to our hormones.( Leproult 2010, Gray 1991)

Argument for Intermittent Fasting

I want to start with full disclosure, that depending on my schedule during a particular semester, I have and will implement intermittent fasting into my diet. I have found it to be extremely useful in times when it is conducive with my life demands, in large parts because I like lunch/dinner foods way more than breakfast foods. When I use Intermittent fasting I typically utilize the 16:8(16 hour fast; 8 hour eating window); however, there are many other intermittent fasting protocols including alternating days, 5:2(5 days per week normal diet; 2 days of fasting) and many more all centered around the idea of incorporating extended fasting periods(Rynders 2019). The idea behind this fasting and eating periods are to simulate the feast famine diet that our ancestors had to experience and adapt to. Up until recent years, most of the research on Intermittent fasting was done on animals models. In recent years more and more research continues to come out in human trials. With limited data, on limited populations, the results have been extremely positive (Welton 2020). Intermittent fasting has been shown to be an effective weight loss tool, increases insulin sensitivity, decreases inflammation and improves cardiovascular function. Although these results are extremely encouraging, when compared to other diets, there are small to no differences in these improvements(Cioffi 2018, Rynders 2019)

Why does the argument for Intermittent Fasting Not Hold Up?

As I stated before, I utilize Intermittent fasting when my schedule and lifestyle are set up to do so. We should choose our nutrition plan based on what our life demands are. People who do not consider their life demands typically have horrible adherence to their diet. Intermittent fasting has an extremely high dropout rate in the research, most likely due to the fact that many people’s lives are not conducive for long periods of fasting. But guess what? That is perfectly okay because almost all research has shown that all other diets(low carb, low fat, small meals, etc) are equally effective at long term weight loss when calorically matched(Cioffi 2018, Rynders 2019). Caloric restriction as a whole has shown to increase insulin sensitivity as well as positive effects on cardiovascular health(Larson-Meyer 2006). Another pitfall with Intermittent fasting is that some research has shown one or few large meals are more likely for food to be stored as fat compared to many small meals. This may be due to the body’s ability to only process a certain amount of certain macronutrients(most notably protein) at any particular time(Schoenfeld 2018). Another downfall within individuals who are not good matches for Intermittent fasting is that some people overeat during the eating period, ruining their caloric deficit. My final issue with Mr @fastreps claims that hormones are what causes fat gain and they are only controlled by what and when you eat is that Mr @fastreps must have forgotten about all other things that influence our hormones that include but not limited to sleep, exercise, age,sex, time of day, time of the month, etc.

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