Feast or Famine Diet? Fasting works

Dylan Graham

Article Summary

Author: Parminder Deo

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/diet-fitness/feast-or-famine-evidence-mounts-fasting-diets-n552596

Date Published: April 7, 2016

This article follows the story of Jennifer Stewart, who has battled obesity her entire life. She has tried diet after diet and still has not been able to find luck losing weight. Jennifer’s luck changed when an unusual diet proved successful in her battle against being overweight. Jennifer started an intermittent fasting diet when she was 52 years old (now 54) and has made amazing results since the start. Over the past decade these diets have become more popular and have proven effective for those that can last during the fasting part of these diets. Jennifer starts off with a day of fasting in which she is allowed a small 500 calories, however the next day she is allowed up to 2,200 calories and then the cycle repeats itself. This diet is unique in that it doesn’t restrict any certain kind of nutrients and during feast days you are encouraged to eat whatever you want. Stewart lost an astounding 110 pounds during phase one of the diets which lasts for 18 months, and has continued to lose weight (another 20 pounds) since she started. Associate professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, Krista Varady, backs up this diet by saying on the feast days participants usually don’t binge eat and end up eating only 10% more than they usually would. More benefits to the diet include lowered blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides. From Varady’s study of 700 participants the results were shocking. In just 8 weeks participant’s lost 10-30 pounds, but 10% also dropped out in the first 10 days. Another study done by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that for women, the diet could decrease glucose tolerance potentially disrupting their metabolism.

Article Critque

Over the years we see all sorts of trending diets, whether its low-carbs, low-fat, or low-calorie. They all seem to disappear as fast as they come so if any of these diets are truly effective, then why don’t they stand the hands of time? To me just like all diets, this article too has its flaws. Deo, the author, doesn’t have any background in the area of nutrition, and is just an internet reporter for NBC. Although NBC news is a highly recognizable and decorated news station, most stories on news websites are used to captivate readers, whatever the topic. Nutrition and weight loss articles are always a big hit. Next, let’s discuss the validity of the content. Like I said before, nutrition is always a trending topic and everyone is looking for that magical diet or pill that will make you lose a large amount of weight in a short time. Although, this article deals with a diet over a period of almost two years, they only focus on one person’s story. Jennifer Stewart was one of 700 in a case study who probably had the best results, which would be good for the article. I still wonder, what about the other 699 participants? Deo includes scientific data from an associate nutritionist that states out of one case study of only 700 people. I will admit, however, from this one case study the diet seems promising, Stewart lost 110 pounds in 18 months, and other participants seemed lost 10-30 pounds in 8 weeks. For me to truly believe this diet is as good as Stewart’s story, I would’ve liked to see more scientific data on all 700 participants including charts or excerpts from the nutritionist’s research.. Overtime I am curious on when the weight loss would plateau, and if these participants suffered from any deficiencies. The problem with fasting diets is that it goes against the idea of recommended daily allowance values. It’s hard to get 100% of every nutrient in just 500 calories, and alternating intake like that has to affect your metabolism in more than just one way. I think that this diet has potential, but focusing on one person’s story is like focusing on one person’s opinion. Everyone is different, especially in regards to metabolism and weight management. To find out more statistics on these kinds of diets, you can search for research articles on fasting diets and its effect on weight and the body.