Health expert says intermittent fasting can work

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Intermittent fasting can help you lose weight but a health expert says there are important considerations.

Dr. Tom Campbell, the Medical Director at Highland Hospital’s Weight Management and Lifestyle Center, discussed the popular trend Thursday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“Obviously there’s a lot of different ways to fast,” noted Dr. Campbell. “There is the Biblical, sort of 40 days of fasting. You can actually still do that. You can still do medically supervised water-only fasting for weeks at a time if you want to. What people usually refer to as intermittent fasting is more of a day to day, just having stretches of time during their day where they don’t eat. So people can do alternate day fasting for example, where they have very low-calorie intake for one day and they have a normal calorie intake the next, and they alternate back and forth. And then another very popular method to do is a 10 hour eating window every day and the rest of your time, you’re fasting – so 14 hours of fasting. That’s perhaps the most common. In fact, that’s the most popular.”

Dr. Campbell said intermittent fasting can be an effective way to lose weight. “I think it can work. In this one study that just came out, looking at a 10-hour eating window, they found modest weight loss. They didn’t make any other recommendations. There is no exercise. But if people limited their eating to 10 hours, they on average lost about 3% of their body weight over 3 months. And so that equated in these folks to about half a pound a week. So if they restrict their eating, they eat a little bit fewer calories every day, and they lose a little bit of weight, their blood pressure went down. Some of the other risk factors kind of improved. It certainly, you know comes with a little asterisk. This is not a magic bullet. This alone is not going to solve someone’s weight problem.”

Intermittent fasting can be a healthy option. “It can be healthy,” Dr. Campbell said, with a caveat. “It depends on your current state and where you’re starting from. I always talk about, in our Weight Management Center, I think there are basically three major ideas with food intake. One is food choice, you know, choosing the right food. The other is eating structure, you know, not eating all the time, or having three solid meals at certain times. That’s the time-restricted eating, sort of intermittent fasting. And the other is about food volume – so basically, you know, eating not past fullness. Eating a reasonable amount of food. So what I have found is if people focus their attention on one of those things and ignore the other two, they’re not going to do so well. So it has to be a combination of choosing the right food, making healthier choices, having the right eating structure, and not eating past fullness. And those things can lead to a healthier lifestyle.”

For more information, visit the Weight Management and Lifestyle Center website.

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