Nutritionist KRISTIAN GRAY suggests the best way to lose weight is to follow the example of our ancestors
Whenever you read a newspaper or open social media, you are bombarded with a stream of expert advice telling you about how some latest diet will help you lose weight and ensure you look and feel better than you have ever done before and this has to be a good thing – right?
I am huge advocate of new technology and advancement in both our personal and professional lives and if there are experts out there designing some new way of eating that is going to tick every-single healthy box, then sign me up.
However, the problem is that many of these new ways of eating simply do not work. Of course you may lose weight quickly following a certain diet but that doesn’t always lead to lasting change and most of the time, these diets can be detrimental to health.
One particular and highly-effective method of healthy eating I and many experts in the field of nutrition are firmly behind, is intermittent fasting (IF).
Now, before you jump to any conclusions and accuse me of advocating a starvation diet, it is important to note that nothing could be further from the truth. Fasting does not mean starvation, it simply means going for a period of time without eating.
Fasting dates back to hunter-gatherer times when our ancestors would kill their food and then during those lean periods when there was nothing to hunt, they would still have enough energy and key nutrients inside them to stay fit and healthy.
Of course, our ancestors’ reasons for fasting were very different, but the same principles apply and IF could certainly be a healthy way to reach your weight loss and health targets without feeling hungry and deprived.
Founder of Nic’s Keto and Organic here in Cyprus Nicolas Tzenios is not only a huge supporter of IF, he also incorporates it into his everyday life and even dedicated a chapter to it in his book Nic’s Keto Diet.
“Intermittent fasting is not compulsory to a healthy life but it is hugely beneficial. It doesn’t mean going as much as a full day without eating either. It just means leaving a long period of time between your last meal of the day and your first meal of the next one,” he said.
During this extended period of fast, your body can no longer call on glucose (carbohydrates – sugar) for its energy because those stores are quickly depleted and it is therefore forced to start burning fat for fuel – the most abundant and efficient source of energy in the body.
And according to Tzenios this is where the health benefits come in: “Because your body cannot call on the food it has eaten towards the end of the fasting period, it is forced to rely on body fat and this can result in much faster weight loss if that is your aim.
“It also means that your blood sugar levels remain constant during this period because you are not eating foods that will cause a spike and your body will not be forced to work overtime to process the glucose and use it for energy instead. It can also lead to better mental clarity and paradoxically, IF can help you avoid hunger pangs too due to the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite.”
There are many ways to practice IF but the method Tzenios recommends is the one I practice myself at least three times a week – the 16:8 method.
“This involves splitting your day into a 16-hour period of fasting and an eight-hour period of eating. It is easy to manage during the day and if you have a family, it also means you still get to enjoy family meals at the key times during the day.”
So, when it comes to healthy eating, new doesn’t always mean improved, in fact, it could mean going back to the future for a new and healthier you.