Study: Sensible intermittent fasting can be good for heart health

Orem’s Celeste Allred finds that a regular and sensible fasting schedule improves her overall health. (Heather Simonsen, KSL-TV)

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OREM — Have you ever wondered how effective intermittent fasting is? The hot diet trend may have health benefits far beyond weight loss, researchers say.

Until recent changes in her eating habits, including intermittent fasting, Celeste Allred said she was feeling a lack of energy and focus. “I had such bad brain fog. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I couldn’t think,” said Allred, a mother of nine, who lives in Orem. “Even taking simple phone calls was too much.”

She said adopting an intermittent fasting schedule improved her focus and cognition.

It’s not surprising, said Dr. Benjamin Horne of the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute.

“It’s a kind of recovery and rejuvenation,” said Horne, the institute’s principal investigator and director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology.

In a study presented to the American Heart Association last November, Horne and his team found that intermittent fasting, practiced once a week for 24 hours with just water, reduced inflammation in the body.

They believe it controls galectin-3, a protein linked to the inflammatory response, reducing the risk of diabetes, coronary heart disease and heart failure.

“Lack of food signals to cells throughout the body that they need to optimize their function,” Horne said. “They do their job better when you give up the fast. »

Over time, regular periods of fasting can reset baseline blood sugar to normal levels, according to Horne. It needs to be sustainable, however, a routine you can stick to.

Horne and a colleague tried it themselves. “We both lost about six pounds,” he said.

They found that after four months of fasting once a week, they were less tempted to snack between meals, an added benefit he hears about from patients. “They feel like they are more able to control their eating habits rather than having the desire to eat controlling them,” he said.

Intermittent fasting can take different schedules. Horne said even fasting for 12 hours between dinner and morning can be beneficial. But generally, the more safely you stretch those hours, the better.

Allred said that by fasting, she felt better. “I like being able to think,” she said. “I like having energy. I like being able to move. I like being able to take care of my family.”

She makes regular periods without food part of her healthy routine. As with any diet, consult your doctor first.

Experts warn that young children and adults with a number of health conditions should not fast.

They also always worry that fasting could lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and eating disorders.

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Heather Simonson

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