Thanks for your feedback, Mathew. It’s all about fit.
You are in good company in finding that cutting carbs makes it easier to maintain a calorie deficit — it’s very common that eating carbs causes cravings for more. Biologically, this makes perfect sense given that even complex carbs are ultimately made of glucose, which triggers our “eat more” brain centers. The fact that many (but not all) high-carb foods are calorie-dense makes them a double-whammy.
Personally, I find that intermittent fasting is my best fit for fighting those “last 5 pounds” separating me from my twenty-something self. I lost the weight this summer with five-two intermittent fasting and learned a lot about my eating habits in the process. I feel I’ve emerged stronger, and empowered, in many ways. I’ve managed to keep it off with one day a week of fasting, occasionally boosting beyond this as needed. I find this much easier than trying to undereat by a tad every single day. I wrote about the first few months of my experience here.
I also agree that some form of fasting is likely health promoting, beyond the benefits of weight loss. It has been known for decades that caloric restriction is the surest way to increase lifespan in many organisms. In fact, I chose this topic for my grad school thesis defense in 2002! As you mentioned, the flipside is that spending our lives chronically overfed is not a good thing. It’s scary to think that this is the new norm.
While animal data are very provocative, and consistent, we still have a lot to learn. One of the main challenge facing longevity researchers is understanding the “dose” response curve. How long, how often, how low do we need to go to? The answer will depend on your goals — and your biology! These questions are not easy to answer without good short term biomarkers. Unfortunately, we will need decade long trials to get the real answers!
This is an area I look forward to digging into more deeply and I’m keeping my eye on research leaders like Dr. Valter Longo! I also tried his Fasting Mimicking Diet and am a fan, though I think we need to be realistic about the uncertainty of the benefits to longevity.
Dr. Chana Davis
Founder, Fueled by Science