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There are a million diets out there.
But only a few diets work without causing you long-term damage.
And by that, I mean that they don’t leave lasting damage to your body, metabolism, or your male performance.
So there’s real cause to research diets carefully like we do here at Daily Medical Discoveries.
For example, right now there is a very trendy diet called “intermittent fasting.”
There are various versions of it, including one that I used for several years called the warrior diet.
I’ll tell you right now — I’m sorry that I used intermittent fasting.
The idea of these intermittent fasting diets is that although you may eat the same amount, you do it during an “eating window.”
Typically the window is an eight hour period where you eat, and then you fast for 16 hours.
For example, you may wake up and have no breakfast.
Then you have lunch at noon, you have dinner at six, and by 8 o’clock you’re done with eating for the day.
You had your first food at noon and your last food at 8 PM.
That’s an eight-hour eating window.
And now for the 16 hours of night and morning, you fast.
It seems pretty straightforward, and it usually is.
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But there are serious long-term consequences to treating your body this way.
So here’s a study where researchers document this type of intermittent fasting versus normal eating.
They worked with 34 men who were young, fit, and good at weightlifting.
One group ate within an eight-hour eating window.
They ate three meals from one in the afternoon to about 8 PM.
The other group ate three meals per day, starting at 8 AM for breakfast, and having dinner at 8 PM, with lunch at 1 PM.
Each group ate the same amount and the same types of foods.
There were no differences in the number of calories or the percentage of fat or anything like that.
So this was a great test of whether intermittent fasting causes any type of damage, or if it leads to better fat loss.
Researchers continually monitored fat loss versus lean mass loss in both groups.
And they did consistent blood testing:
Total and free testosterone, insulin-like growth factor 1, blood glucose, insulin, adiponectin, leptin, triiodothyronine, thyroid stimulating hormone, interleukin-6, interleukin-1β, tumor necrosis factor α, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides were measured.
The good news is that the intermittent fasting group lost a little bit of fat.
Remember, both the intermittent fasting group and the normal group ate the same calories, fat, and protein.
So it would seem that intermittent fasting is good for cutting fat.
Frequently, when someone loses fat, they lose lean muscle, too.
But not in this case.
Fortunately, for both the intermittent fasting group and the normal group:
fat-free mass, muscle area of the arm and thigh, and maximal strength were maintained in both groups.
So far, so good!
It would seem that intermittent fasting helps you lose fat even if you don’t actually cut calories.
But let’s read on.
T3 thyroid decreased in the intermittent fasting group.
This is something we hope not to see.
T3 is the vital, active form of thyroid that keeps your metabolism up.
Without adequate T3 levels, your body doesn’t burn calories as efficiently.
It seems that intermittent fasting cuts down on T3, which means that it lowers metabolism.
The normal eating group did not experience a drop in their thyroid or metabolism.
But there is more:
Testosterone decreased significantly in the intermittent fasting group.
As you can see from this chart:
So this is a good reason not to practice this “eating window” idea.
It proves that it’s better to spread out your eating throughout the day.
There are many other studies that show poor results from intermittent fasting as well.
They’ve shown permanent issues such as increased insulin resistance and loss of lean mass.
And this study of very fit, healthy men shows that intermittent fasting lowers testosterone, thyroid, and metabolism — even for healthy fat men.
And it may be even worse for older men, or for men who are not so fit.