A new review of the evidence published in the New England Journal of Medicine Thursday suggests that intermittent fasting — the practice of limiting how much you eat during the day or week — can actually be a healthy way to eat.
“The state of the science on intermittent fasting has evolved to the point that it now can be considered as one approach, with exercise and healthy food, to improving and maintaining health as a lifestyle approach,” senior author and Johns Hopkins Medicine neuroscientist Mark Mattson told HealthDay Reporter.
Mattson, who has studied the issue for 25 years and practiced it himself for 20, told the Johns Hopkins Medicine Newsroom that intermittent fasting usually takes two forms.
- “Daily time-restricted feeding,” in which people only eat for a six-to-eight-hour window every day.
- “5:2 intermittent fasting,” in which people limit themselves to two moderately-sized meals every week.
The diet probably works, Johns Hopkins explained, because it triggers a mechanism that evolved in humans to adapt to periods of scarcity, called “metabolic switching.”
Such a switch occurs when cells use up their stores of rapidly accessible, sugar-based fuel, and begin converting fat into energy in a slower metabolic process.
Mattson says studies have shown that this switch improves blood sugar regulation, increases resistance to stress and suppresses inflammation for various periods of time. Because most Americans eat three meals plus snacks each day, they do not experience the switch, or the suggested benefits.
Mattson and his co-author Rafael de Cabo of the Translational Gerontology Branch of the National Institute on Aging Intramural Research Program looked at studies that suggested a variety of additional health benefits. They included:
- Cognitive Abilities: A study of 220 non-obese adults who ate a restricted calorie diet for two years had improved memory function.
- Heart Health: Four studies in humans and animals found that intermittent fasting lowered blood pressure, blood lipid levels and resting heart rate.
- Diabetes and Obesity: Two studies of 100 overweight women found that those who followed the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet lost the same amount of weight as those who simply limited calories, but also had healthier insulin sensitivity and lower belly fat than those on the lower-calorie diet.
The authors said more research needed to be done to see if the benefits of the diet would extend to all types of people, Newsweek reported. Most of the studies to date have focused on overweight young or middle-aged adults.
People who are interested in the diet should speak to their doctors first, Newsweek cautioned, but Mattson said the diet would likely benefit those who are overweight and either at risk for or suffer from heart disease, diabetes and inflammation.
Hannah Kittrell, a registered dietitian and manager of the Mount Sinai PhysioLab in New York City who was not involved with the article, also told HealthDay Reporter that the diet could be beneficial.
“If you’re thinking of intermittent fasting as a fad diet, I think it’s actually a pretty legitimate option,” she said. “The reason for that is it’s not completely cutting out any food groups. It’s not telling you don’t eat carbs, don’t eat fat. It’s just modulating when you’re eating food.”
So if you’ve spoken to your doctor and decided intermittent fasting is right for you, how do you get started?
“[T]ry starting intermittent fasting with a spouse, partner or friends at work,” Mattson told Newsweek. “Just as with starting an exercise regimen it is easier to do with someone else than alone.”
You should also be sure to drink plenty of water and, when you do eat, eat healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish and lean meats, he said.
BC Eyeing Record Influenza Vaccine Rollout – CFNR Network
British Columbia is looking to break records when it comes to this year’s influenza vaccine rollout, according to Minister Adrian Dix.
Dix says that the province has received 2.4 million doses of vaccines, 200 thousand more than last year.
Experts are expecting a flu season for the record books as well, after Covid lockdowns nearly killed off all spread last year.
In recent years, British Columbia has been accustomed to closer to 1.5 million doses, but the province is expecting more demand as Covid restrictions begin to loosen.
COVID-19 drives up demand for flu shots; N.S. to launch campaign later this week – CTV News Atlantic
With the colder winds of fall starting to blow, flu season will soon be on us again, but it seems scores of people are hoping to head off the sickness by getting a flu shot.
Unlike last year, when it was essentially pre-empted by COVID-19, experts say influenza will be back this year.
Just hours after getting a shipment and posting signage outside lineups started to form inside a north end Halifax pharmacy.
“We just got our flu shots, and people start showing up right away,” said pharmacist and store owner Ghada Gabr.
“I think this is going to be a lot of demand.”
It’s the same story a few blocks away, where pharmacist Greg Richard is expecting his first shipment of flu vaccine later this week.
With COVID-19 still around, customers like Kathy Lynch, who hasn’t had a flu shot in five years, is anxious to get one.
“I mean, I feel great. I’ve had no problem with either of the vaccinations, so, to put another layer on top is just the best thing, I think,” she said.
“People are eager to get their doses into them right off the bat,” said Richard. “They’re not looking to wait until November or December. So, I have a list of folks I’m going to reach out to as soon as they (the vaccines) arrive, and I anticipate to run through my stock pretty quickly.”
And it might very turn out to be the same thing across the country.
There’s word today Ontario has ordered an extra 1.4 million doses, with an aim to make the shots available to everyone by next month.
In Nova Scotia, the Health Minister says the official kickoff will come later this week, and supply should not be a problem,
“We do anticipate having enough vaccine for folks,” said Michelle Thompson.
“And I would really encourage people to ensure they have both their COVID-19 vaccine and the influenza vaccine this year.”
But, if early demand is any indication there might not be need for much encouragement.
A sign of the times as more and more of us take steps to avoid getting sick.
PG woman denied high dose flu shot, although her age and health condition makes her eligible – CKPGToday.ca
“I’m an advocate for my health and I want the best that there is–everybody should have what they need,” said Newman.
Today, the province announced it’s beginning its influenza immunization campaign.
“The influenza vaccine is for free for anybody over six months of age, for whom it’s recommended. But particularly for people who have underlying health conditions,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer
Newman’s condition requires a higher dose of the flu shot and she has been eager to get it. However, she says she’s been denied even though she’s eligible.
“I have Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which is a cancer of your lymphatic system–your germ fighting network. So as soon as the flu shots were available, I phone my pharmacy to get the high dose vaccine. I was told that the high doses were not available,” said Newman.
Because of her cancer, she’s also classified as a Clinically Extremely Vulnerable person (CEV). She has qualified for the high dose shot in the last three years. But after calling more than a dozen pharmacies and Northern Health, she was told she wasn’t eligible yet.
“It’s really hard to get answers. But when I’ve had it in the past and people in my situation have had the high dose in the past. I just don’t get why we cannot get it. Nobody can tell me. They don’t say it’s a supply issue or anything, so I just don’t understand,” said Newman.
According to ImmunizeBC’s website, First Nations communities, residents in long term care, residents in assisted living facilities, and who are 65 and older are able to receive the high dose for free.
This means Newman’s age alone qualifies her.
CKPG-TV reached out to the Ministry of Health for clarification as to why she wasn’t able to get a high dose shot. At the time that this article was written, this was the response that was given:
“As of today, the province is proud to announce the implementation of free publicly-funded influenza vaccines for those 6 months and older (those under 6 months aren’t eligible to receive this vaccine). FluZone HD, also referred to as the “high-dose influenza vaccine,” was never publicly-funded in BC until the federal government made it available in limited supply last year. With publicly funded FluZone HD, eligibility is restricted to residents of LTC/AL who are 65 or older. This year, eligibility was extended to people 65 or older residing in Indigenous communities. No pharmacy within Northern Health has a stock of publicly funded FluZone HD reserved for these eligible populations; they are administered through other means. Some pharmacies may pay for private-pay stock of FluZone HD. That is their prerogative and the Ministry is only responsible for publicly-funded stock. If those over 65 who do not live in an Indigenous community or are an LTC resident can receive a standard-dose influenza vaccine, they should accept it,” said Ministry of Health.
Newman says that she’s not undermining the importance of the other groups getting the high dose, she’s upset that the province didn’t plan for high-risk people like herself to get one.
“It just astounds me. To me, there’s no common sense. I know common sense is not so common, but what is right is right and you know I’ve already gotten my covid booster shot. I felt guilty getting that before some people in long care even got it. I just want what’s right for everybody.” said Newman.
She says she’s not going to give up on her fight and she thanks all healthcare workers for their fight against COVID-19.
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