Intermittent Fasting – Week 5

IF Chat: Continuing the Gut Health Conversation

Last week, I shared a (basically) meta-analysis of the effects of IF on the microbiome. Sort of paradoxically, it seems that depriving the GI tract of ingested nutrients for prolonged periods of time actually results in a fuller, more flourishing bacterial environment and more intact gut lining.

This week, I’ll share a couple more studies which support this idea, and even suggest that fasting may increase the life span. I realize that I have not discussed the populations for whom fasting, intermittent or otherwise, may prove to be dangerous. People with glycemic issues such as diabetes, and people taking medications for blood pressure or heart disease should avoid fasting diets unless well supervised by their doctor.

Courtesy of Current Biology
  • Current Biology, “Short-Term, Intermittent Fasting Induces Long-Lasting Gut Health and TOR-Independent Lifespan Extension”.
    • Here the researchers use fruit flies to determine the effects of IF on gut health and lifespan
    • Testing the fruit flies with various versions of IF, they found that 5 days fasting, 2 days eating increased the lifespan of the flies compared to “every other day” fasting or normal feeding, which saw no improvements
      • It was noted that the GI tract lining in fasted flies was healthy and intact, whereas the GI tract lining of normal fed flies showed aged-related pathology
      • Interestingly, the fasted flies had increased lipid content and showed resistance to oxidative stress, which the researchers contribute to their increased lifespans
    • Researchers believe that the effects of IF vary with duration of the diet and age of onset, stating that there is likely a window where the benefits of IF are at their most effective
Courtesy of Cell Metabolism
  • Cell Metabolism, “Intermittent Fasting Confers Protection in CNS Autoimmunity by Altering the Gut Microbiota”.
    • Here the researchers used mice to evaluate the effects of IF on the pathology of multiple sclerosis (MS)
    • They found that IF reduced the clinical course and severity of MS, and that the guts of IF mice were rich with bacteria
    • Normal fed MS mice saw beneficial effects after receiving fecal microbiome transplants from IF mice, indicating that the gut flora helps to mediate the effects of IF
    • The researchers conclude that “IF has potent immunomodulatory effects that are at least partially mediated by the gut microbiome.”

Last week (week 4):
Week four was the first week of 14 hours fasting to 10 hours eating, and it went really well! I was pretty hungry by the time I could eat on Monday (which was later than normal at 1:30pm since I knew I’d had pizza coming around 9pm). This week I began drinking black coffee with a couple drops of stevia and vanilla extract to avoid calories from half and half (although supposedly having less than 50 calories doesn’t affect the fast). The mushroom soup I defrosted turned out to be pasta sauce (that’s why I usually label things!), so I had pasta for dinner on Friday, lol.

Stuck to the plan well during the week

Challenges:

  • Not an IF challenge, but last week I set some goals around drinking. I hadn’t planned to drink on Friday but then I remembered that a restaurant where I used to work was closing for good, so I met a date there for a couple glasses of wine. Saturday I also had more than two glasses of wine… 

Successes: 

  • Was pretty hungry Monday morning but held out!
  • Stuck to meal plan during week
  • Fewer dates so I so got thru a lot of the food in my fridge
  • Didn’t drink Tuesday to Thursday
  • Snack items on Superbowl Sunday were not terribly unhealthy

The above photos highlight Tuesday to Thursday, and these meals added up to ~1950 calories, 90g protein, 110g fat, and 165g carbs, according to My Fitness Pal (which is not 100% accurate). This weekend also marked one month on IF, and the turn of February means measurement time… Not too surprisingly, I only lost one pound. This weight was taken Sunday, which could be affected by the dining out and drinking from Saturday. Next month, I’ll take measurements on Friday March 1st. Anyhow, here is how the measurements stack up to last month:


Jan 6, 2019 Feb 3, 2019

146lb 145lb
Chest 33.5″ 33″
Waist 26″ 26″
Hips 37″ 37″

BTW I made these bomb soft pretzels and spinach dip for the Super Bowl… links to recipes provided below:

Week 5 – Second week of 14:10

Plan for this week:

Busy week with meetings and events
Happy I went ahead with Hungry Harvest 🙂
  • I thought about cancelling Hungry Harvest this week since dinners are being pulled from the freezer. Instead, I altered the order to bring oranges instead of grapefruit, cauliflower instead of carrots, and canceled the eggs (I have plenty).  
  • Because I’m using up chili and chicken stew and have the ingredients needed for a veggie stir fry with protein, it’s a light grocery week. 
  • This week is busy with meetings, networking things, and social events so I’ll need to practice discipline and carry snacks.
    • Friday Night Lights is a social event / workout at the crossfit gym, so I need to decide between going at noon or doing the FNL workout (I’ll probably go hang out either way)
  • Continue to track calories and macros using My Fitness Pal (for future discussion and blog post)
  • Goals related to drinking:
    • Monday-Thursday: none
    • Friday and Saturday: 2 drinks allotted for each day
    • Sunday: none
    • Strategies to decrease weekend drinking:
      • Have friends hold me accountable
      • Drink tea, club soda with lime
      • Hold myself accountable 😛

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