Healthy Hollywood: Ask Keri Glassman — Should I Try Fasting To Lose Weight?

Nutritionist Keri Glassman, who regularly shares her expertise on Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live, is answering your nutrition, diet, and health questions.

Want to know which foods to curb sugar cravings? Or, what should you eat before a workout? Ask Keri anything!

Keri will choose one great question a week to be answered Thursday in our Healthy Hollywood column.

To submit questions for Keri, click HERE!

This week’s question…

“A friend of mine recently decided to fast one day a week to lose weight. I am hesitant to give it a try — will going hungry work?” --Dawn Terlizzi, Naples, FL

Keri says…

There are a lot of crazy diets out there, but a fasting diet surely takes the proverbial cake. Logistically, it is the easiest to plan. You simply don’t eat! While a fasting diet sounds too extreme to consider for most of us, there is some weight loss wiggle room with this food free plan. Here is the scoop on meal skipping:

The Starving Science:
Here is the slimmed down science. When you fast your body is forced to use stored fat as an energy source. “Intermittent fasting,” as some researchers call it, refers to either skipping meals for an entire day (yikes!) or just skimping on meals for an entire day (still, yikes!). Some research shows that it may help you not only drop a few pounds but also improve overall health including cardiovascular health. If your normal diet consists of regularly downing donuts and chips, it probably will. But, don’t throw away the fork and knife and clear out your fridge so fast…

Dangerously Hungry:
Most dietitians (me included!) do not advise going from an early breakfast to a late lunch without a little something in the tank, let alone running on empty for twenty-four hours straight! Fasting and extreme low calorie dieting may potentially slow down your metabolism as your body works inefficiently. It also often leads to fatigue, irritability, and of course, extreme hunger. Skipping meals can also set you up for intense cravings later on in the day or on the non-fasting days. This puts you at risk for overeating and binging. Also, your highly intelligent body may start to store fat more efficiently (when you eventually give it some), so it has fuel for your next fast. Isn’t that what we all want to get rid of?

Bottom Line:
A healthy diet should be all about what you can eat, not about all the things you can’t eat — and on a fasting diet that means everything! Sound miserable? Don’t bother with it. Instead eat consistently — through the day and from day to day. This means you should plan for three real food, well portioned and proportioned meals and one to two snacks depending upon your hunger level. Don’t forget to leave room for a “conscious indulgence” here and there too. You will find just as much, if not more success with a consistent and nutritious diet of food — not to mention be much a happier you!

-- Terri MacLeod & Keri Glassman

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