This past Sunday, an excerpt from our new SuperFastDiet the Book was featured in Body+Soul in the Sunday Telegraph around the country, focusing on busting those pesky myths associated with intermittent fasting. Check out our top 5!
Myth #1: Skipping Breakfast is Bad For You
This has to be one of the oldest dieting myths in the book. We’ve been force-fed this line for more than five decades. And yet there’s pretty much zero evidence for the weight-loss (or metabolic) benefits of eating breakfast.
Research shows that people who eat breakfast consume an average of 260 calories more each day than those who skip breakfast tend to weigh more. Basically, skipping breakfast can help to reduce your daily calorie intake, boost your metabolism and give you more time in fat-burning mode.
Myth #2: Fasting Equals Starvation Mode
Starvation mode is pretty much the weight-loss industry’s equivalent of the boogie-man. If you’ve mentioned part-time dieting (or intermittent fasting) to your friends or family, you’ve probably been warned about it. “Don’t stop eating, you’ll go into starvation mode!” is generally the battle cry of those who are stuck in the diet cycle.
So, what’s the deal? Starvation mode (or adaptive thermogenesis) is your body’s way of protecting itself from starvation. (Without it, humans would have been extinct ages age). Scientific research proves that intermittent fasting/part-time dieting does cause starvation mode. And here’s the awesome news: intermittent fasting actually helps to preserve muscle mass while you’re losing weight, which helps protect against starvation mode and keep your metabolism high.
Myth #3: Eat Regularly to Keep Your Metabolism Running Hot
Ah yes! The old ‘three solid meals a day’ adage. Where on earth did it come from? Well, it was mainly shaped by the industrial revolution. People who did the hard slog of manual labour from dawn til dusk ate three times a day so they could sustain themselves: before going to work, again at around noon and upon returning home. We’ve been told over and over that this approach will boost our metabolism and keep our bodies burning energy all day long. But is it true? No. Recent studies show that the number of meals you eat, and the frequency of those meals, has almost nix impact on body weight, food intake, appetite or metabolism.
Myth #4: Six Small Meals A Day Will Stop Cravings
How did three meals a day get stretched out to six? This is a common myth, too – one we’ve been told repeatedly will help us to ‘curb cravings’. Luckily, we have science to set the record straight. One recent study examined the appetite effects of eating three meals a days vs. eight mini-meals a day. Once again, the results countered the myth. The group that ate three larger meals showed greater appetite suppression and increased feelings of fullness than the group eating multiple mini-meals. They also showed lower hunger levels and increased feelings of fulness. So it turns out loads of small meals don’t have any effect on your metabolism, appetite, cravings or body weight.
Myth #5: Fasting Burns Muscle
As well as having zero basis in science, this myth also lacks common sense. Why would your body store food energy as body fat, and then burn muscle for energy? Muscle is actually a terrible source of energy, and is therefore only used as a last resort. Fat is a much richer source of energy, so naturally it makes sense that it would be the first thing your body burns. Other studies have found that the production of growth hormone increases almost five-fold during fasting periods, which is essentially your body encouraging new tissue growth. So, not only are you burning fat and maintaining muscle mass by fasting, but you’re actually encouraging muscle growth.
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