Massabesic Health Resources March 2019 • (207) 247-3216 MARCH 2019 Massabesic Monthly

THE SLIM SCIENCE BEHIND FASTING DIETS I nvestigating the H ealth T rend T hat ’ s A ll the R age

FROM THE DESKS OF Jim Stevenson & Hayes Sweeney

Did you know that, according to the CDC, more than one-third of adults 65 and older fall each year? In the United States, 20 to 30 percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries. We just recently had a free balance workshop here at MHR, where information was provided to help determine if you were indeed a fall risk. To break it down, approximately 15 percent of all falls are unavoidable and would happen to anyone in any age group; 15 percent are due to a single precipitated event, such as a stroke or someone blacking out; and the remaining 70 percent are due to interacting risk factors, such as strength, balance, and mobility defects, medications, vision and cognitive impairments, and depression. If you feel you have issues with your balance, you can set up a free balance screening with us! We can run a few quick tests to see how you compare with others your age and if you are a fall risk. Physical therapy may be required, and we can tailor a program for you to help reduce your risk of falling. Give us a call today if you think a free screening would benefit you! –Jim and Hayes

If each new year brings with it a new diet plan that promises the world to those who follow it, 2019 is shaping up to be the year of fasting. If you’ve missed the hype, fasting is quite a bit simpler than other nutrition trends like the keto diet or Weight Watchers program. Instead of counting calories or limiting sugars, you just don’t eat. Supporters argue that by putting your body into a “fasting state,” you can shed pounds and damaged internal tissue, increase your energy, promote cellular repair, lower bad cholesterol, and even protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Chances are you have a friend or loved one who’s tried out some form of fasting and discovered dramatic benefits. But before everyone starts skipping meals, it’s important to examine the research. Writer Julia Belluz at Vox splits the fasting trend into four categories. The first, “intermittent fasting,” cuts out or drastically limits your calorie intake intermittently. For example, thousands of people follow the popular “5:2 diet,” during which you eat normally on weekdays but consume less than 500 calories on Saturday and Sunday. Second is “time- restricted feeding,” where you only eat during a four- to six-hour window each day — followers usually skip breakfast or dinner. The third category is “periodic fasts.”With this diet, extreme fasters abstain from food for several days, opting for calorie-free fluids instead. Finally, there is the “fasting mimicking diet,” which involves intaking highly limited, plant-based calories for several days each month. People who use this technique like it because they believe they get the benefits of fasting without missing out on key nutrients. The underlying philosophy behind fasting for weight loss is pretty self-evident — if you don’t eat for periods at a time, you’re bound to burn off some weight. But proponents say the diet’s success can be attributed to more complex factors as well. They argue that as the human race shifted from hunter-gatherers to world-conquering agriculturalists, we left

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