Intermittent fasting may contribute to muscle loss

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Intermittent fasting, a name given to the practice of eating between a few hours of the day (or in more extreme cases, only a few days), has received a good deal of acclaim in the welfare and tech communities in recent years. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs like Jack Dorsey often present the practice as an intellectual endeavor; Some studies, mostly done on mice, show that intermittent fasting can speed up brain functions. Other researchers have also suggested that intermittent fasting initiates a process known as autophagy, in which the body recirculates “its own damaged cell bits and proteins”, extending lifespan.

But intermittent fasting is ultimately a diet, and one that promises to help people lose weight – which is not shocking, because the lack of food is cooked up in its design. what is There is a new study published in Surprising (and more than a little satisfying for critics) JAMA Internal Medicine, Which finds that intermittent fasting is usually only for minimal weight loss, most of which is muscle.

Many followers of intermittent fasting skip breakfast to follow the diet’s narrow food-consumption schedule, only eating between noon and 8pm. This results in a 16-hour fasting window, which is why intermittent fasting is sometimes called 16. : 8 diet. Diet books state that this pattern leads to weight loss because it encourages people to eat fewer calories, even if they eat whatever they want to eat during non-fasting hours.

But according to the new study, most participants lost just two-to-three pounds in three months, and most of the weight was “lean mass”, including muscle. There is a possibility of losing some muscle with losing weight, but researchers note that the fasting group lost more than expected. This is worrying because muscle is very important For overall health: It is associated with lower mortality, helps prevent deterioration in old age, and increases metabolism, which can help prevent lost weight from returning during death.

The results of the study were surprising for its author, Ethan Weiss, a cardiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who would practice 16: 8 intermittent fasting for years. As soon as they saw the data, for the first time after 2014 they started eating breakfast again. I am so happy for her.

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