Intermittent Fasting May Speed Up Metabolism
Evolution is a slow and gradual process. Since the typical modern diet does not resemble the diet humans have followed for the majority of history, our metabolisms are designed to work best on a “feast or famine” schedule. Our bodies store fat when food is plentiful, and burn it off in times of scarcity. Since most Americans do not experience periods of fasting, we retain that body fat and gain weight. Because of this, intermittent fasting is a very effective way to lose weight. Not only will our bodies burn off fat stores while we fast, but fasting has also been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, speed up metabolism, reduce blood pressure, and lower risks for type 2 diabetes.
I do not recommend skipping meals altogether, as the resulting hunger pangs may lead to overeating — and going without eating for extended periods of time decreases muscle mass. Instead, I advise my patients to swap out some meals throughout the week for a high protein smoothie. The protein content keeps you feeling full, protects your muscles, and encourages your body to burn off stored fat for energy. If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, plan for one all-smoothie day per week, and then substitute your breakfast or lunch for smoothies throughout the rest of the week. When selecting a protein powder, be sure to pick one that is unsweetened, contains less than 120 calories per serving, and contains around 20 grams of protein per serving. I have found that a whey and casein mix works well for weight loss, as whey protein reaches your muscles quickly, guarding against muscle loss, and casein digests slowly over the course of several hours, prolonging the feeling of satiety.