Intermittent fasting's dark secret

Welcome to the positive corner of wellness. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If...

Welcome to the positive corner of wellness. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Member of the week

  • Is soy a problem?

  • Intermittent fasting's dark secret

Member of the Week

This week's member of the week is Robbie! A few months ago, in my semi-monthly email, I asked for testers so we could try out some of the workouts for my upcoming app. Robbie was one of the first to sign up, and the test group has become an incredibly positive support group for each other, so I want to give them a big virtual high five for not just proving that our fitness plans work, but for proving that we aren’t crazy for thinking we can build a positive corner of the internet where people build each other up instead of tearing down. I mean, these people were strangers and now they make playlists for each other and more importantly, my team and I set it in motion, but they do most of the motivating when they face illnesses and setbacks. You guys are fantastic and I’m proud of all of you. Now let’s hear from Robbie.

You’ve had a pretty fantastic transformation. Can you tell us about it?

It’s been awhile since I’ve been this determined and motivated. When I first started this program I was pre diabetic and my range of motion was severely limited. I’m happy to say my blood sugar levels are in normal ranges now, and I can move much more freely without feeling labored.

You didn’t do anything crazy and follow a big diet. What were the simple changes that helped?

The biggest change that I applied to my life was just being aware of what goes into my body. I didn’t want to fail my changes right out of the gate so I decided big immediate changes would cause me to fail. I started by keeping a food and workout journal. Without huge life altering diet changes this really helped curb and change my eating habits. Combine this with the workout program, and I started feeling better in no time.

What would you say to other subscribers who might be facing health scares or just struggling to get started on their fitness journey?

The biggest challenge I faced was being afraid. I was scared to step on the scale, to have my blood work done, and to even see a doctor. It was like I was perfectly fine living in ignorance and just letting my body deteriorate. It wasn’t until I saw Arnold’s post on Reddit that I decided to go to a doctor just to know where my health was. My biggest advice to anyone who is terrified or living in denial is to just set one day a week to step on a scale - it really puts your goals into perspective and helps you hold yourself accountable. I still have a long way to go, but I'm no longer afraid and I will push myself slowly but surely to my goals.

Reader Question: Does soy cause cancer?

We frequently discuss the benefits of eating more protein. But, one protein in particular — soy protein — is clouded by conspiracy. Specifically, many people worry that soy will convert to estrogen and cause cancer.

Fear not: research suggests that not only does soy not cause cancer, but it can play a role in improving all-cause mortality.

The important thing to remember is that phytoestrogens (what’s found in soy) are much weaker than the human hormone of estrogen, they don’t turn into estrogen, and soy doesn’t increase cancer growth. What’s more, soy tends to be loaded with protein, micronutrients, and fiber, all of which tend to be connected to positive health outcomes.

If you like soy or follow more of a plant-based diet, you can continue to eat soy. If it’s not your preference, there’s no need to force it into your diet.

Intermittent Fasting’s Dark Secret

We don’t believe in good vs. bad diets. Instead, we know that many plans can help you accomplish your goals. And some diets are better suited to support whatever it is that you want to achieve.

Case in point: Although intermittent fasting is a popular diet trend -- and can be helpful for many -- it might not be ideal for maximizing muscle mass.

Several studies have already suggested that intermittent fasting can be effective for weight loss, even though it does not deliver superior fat loss to simply restricting your calories through non-fasting methods. But new research found that people who followed a time-restricted feeding plan (AKA intermittent fasting) lost more lean mass than those who didn’t. What made it so interesting is that intermittent fasting didn’t reduce muscle protein synthesis (the process of building muscle), but that didn’t prevent muscle loss from occurring.

If building muscle is your primary goal, you might want to try other eating styles that suit your schedule. That's not to say you can't build muscle while following intermittent fasting (you can). But it might not be as effective as a plan where you don't go long stretches without food.

Intermittent fasting's dark secret

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