The Skinny on Fasting

By Ryan Leuteritz

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Popularized by the internet, intermittent fasting is the newest diet trend to gain steam in the nutritional world. It’s a diet that aims to curb caloric intake through periods of fasting, and fasters have claimed that when paired with exercise, it produces results that speak for themselves.

Many fasters state that they are growing muscle and/or burning fat at a faster pace than usual. Juan Chara, a student from Irvine, is one of them.

“I’m gaining so much muscle,” Chara said. “It’s like the fat is just falling off of me.”

He believes that in addition to lifting and maintaining a healthy diet, intermittent fasting has accelerated his progress and kept him very disciplined in his diet. He said that he could not see himself giving up fasting any time soon.

Some people fast for two days, then eat normally throughout the week. Others, like Chara, eat for only six hours a day and fast for 18 hours. And while there seem to be many positive stories surrounding intermittent fasting, the jury is still out on whether it’s safe.

“My first concern is, are they able to get enough nutrients in that time period?” said Dustin Moore, a CSULB professor and registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutritional science. “If you are able to ensure that you are getting all of your nutritional requirements within that window, I suppose that would be all right.”

He also raises a concern about the body’s energy requirements, while still facilitating a proper diet. “It’s a good thing to have discipline in your diet and routine to your eating habits,” Moore said. “But, at some point in the day, your body will need certain food items, and if they are not provided it won’t have any effect.”

“If you have a routine, and cram it in a certain time frame, theoretically [intermittent fasting] could work,” he said. “But if you exert yourself heavily at random intervals throughout the day and don’t feed yourself in the moment that energy is needed, that is when it could detract.”

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