There is a new diet fad making the rounds online that promotes intermittent fasting.
It’s called “The 8 Hour Diet” and was written by the editor in chief of Men’s Health magazine David Zinczenko.
Research on this weight loss plan has deemed the diet both positive and negative, citing a separation in effects due to gender.
That’s right, due to different genders.
We here at HealthSlacker or going to dig a little deeper into the controversy and try and get to the facts – not the hype.
8 Hour Diet, What is it?
The book is driven by two physiological scientific principles:
The liver contains glycogen that is the most easily accessible source of energy in the body, fasting allows the body to burn through this storage supply and begin to burn fat from the body for energy.
Mitochondria are energy sources inside of the body’s cells, they convert nutrients from food into energy. The 8 Hour Diet claims to enhance the function of mitochondria, not only helping the dieter to lose weight but also to reduce risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.
Essentially the 8 Hour Diet splits up the 24 hours in a day into three 8 hour periods, the author recommends fasting for 16 hours and then consuming however many calories the body desires in an eight hour period. There have been positive results from the diet in terms of weight loss, decreasing the effects of aging, and cutting the risk of detrimental brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. Zinczenko claims that after only six weeks of practicing intermittent fasting a dieter will lose anywhere from five to ten pounds.
8 Hour Diet, Does it Work?
A key element in finding a diet that works is developing a healthy relationship with food and creating a lifestyle in health. The 8 Hour Diet seems to have some fad qualities which make it difficult for a practitioner to create harmony between themselves and food. However Zinczenko does well in recommending healthy lifestyle choices for those taking part in intermittent fasting. He states that it is intended for the faster to try one of his eight minute workouts that are in the book at the end of each 16 hour fasting period. It is intelligent to work out when the body is low on nutrients because the body will burn fat more quickly.
Zinczenko also recommends healthy food options for the eight hour non fasting period that promote consuming the nutrients that the body needs. He states that during phases of caloric intake one should pair ‘fat buster’ foods with ‘health booster’ foods for adequate meals.
Fat Buster: lean protein and eggs, yogurt and dairy, beans and legumes, nuts
Health Booster: raspberries and berries, tree fruits, whole grains (quinoa and oatmeal), green vegetables
These exercise accompaniments and nutritional recommendations quell the flames of worry in assessing whether this diet has lasting power in a person’s daily regimen. It is not recommended to take part in intermittent fasting forever and the book even states that one can practice the diet only three days of the week. Assuming one follows the author’s tips for nutrition and exercise while practicing the 8 Hour Diet they will acquire useful habits that can carry on for a healthy future lifestyle.
Intermittent Fasting: The Gender Gap
Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can bring hormone unbalancing and stress inducing qualities forth in women. In a study done on male and female rats results showed signs that male rats were able to sustain normalcy while handling nutritional stress such as fasting. When female rats were denied food there were multiple factors that created issues where fasting or even mere caloric restriction were placed on them.
The negative effects of dietary restrictions shown in female rats were:
Wakefulness when they should be resting
Reduced ovary size (poor fertility)
Increased adrenal gland size (chronic stress)
Essentially male rats were not only able to withstand the stress of fasting but they thrived and even became more fertile, while female rats became victims of chronic stress and irregular menstrual cycles due to hormonal imbalance. It is fitting that the 8 Hour Diet book was written by a man who edits Men’s Health magazine because the audience of the diet should only be male.
The 8 Hour Diet cites wonderful scientific proof that intermittent fasting is great for boosting fat burning in the body and enhancing functionality of mitochondria, however one should look in to the gender effects of the diet. Women could possibly suffer from chronic stress, the inability to get a good night’s rest and hormonal imbalance. This is one diet that should be reserved for the boys.