Yesterday the nightly news in Canada aired with a segment on Intermittent Fasting, and your truly was in it.
You can watch the clip below.
This was a great eye opener for me as it reminded me that even after all these years, it’s the most basic anti-fasting scaremongering that is still the most prevalent.
Back in 2007 when Eat Stop Eat was first published dispelling the myth of muscle loss while fasting was the major topic of the book. Since then the book has expanded, and in the fitness world ‘muscle loss’ is rarely brought up as a side effect of fasting anymore. But this television segment was a great reminder that to people first coming across Intermittent Fasting, this is still the major concern.
And it’s not just Intermittent Fasting.
It’s the most basic concerns that still hold back most of Health and Fitness.
High Protein –> But what about your Kidneys?
Squats –> But what about your knees?
Weight training –> Is it safe for women and children?
Building Muscle –> Won’t the muscle just turn to fat when you stop exercising?
As laughable as many of these concerns may seem, they are still MAJOR concerns to many people.
Which brings me to the dietitian in the television segment. It would be very easy to hate on her for the ignorant statements she made, but that wouldn’t be entirely fair. Chances are she hasn’t read Eat Stop Eat, so she probably doesn’t know that it involves fasting AND weight training. She also was probably approached to give the “argument from authority” and had to give the quick, authoritative answer. Plus, as a Dietitian appearing on TV her job isn’t to be non-biased – It’s to give advice from authority to an entire nation. So I ‘get’ it. Better safe than sorry. Ten years ago I probably would have given the exact same answer.
However, I do also feel as though our current Nutrition Education system needs a reboot. The only reason Eat Stop Eat even exists is because during my graduate work I decided to question the facts I learned from my undergraduate degree in Applied Human Nutrition – The exact program you take to become a dietitian in Canada.
The simple fact remains that our current attempts at changing eating patterns and obesity rates are largely ineffective – either in theory or implementation, yet we are too afraid to recommend anything different since that would mean going against what we have been taught. So in essence the logical fallacy of an appeal to authority – (Because someone with authority said it was true it must be true) is protected by a second appeal to authority (The authority to the authority said it was true so it really must be true). In this case the ‘authority’ is the dietitian and the ‘authority to the authority’ is her education.
So it really is time to change the way we think about eating for weight loss. We need to question the things we learn in school. Actually – we need to question everything. No matter how good we think the current advice is, if it’s not working, it’s not working. The reason is really irrelevant.
Finally, regarding muscle loss – There are chapters in Eat Stop Eat if you want the science behind why you don’t lose muscle during short periods of fasting. If you’re happy with a quick anecdotal answer you can go to www.EatStopEat.com and scroll halfway down to see over 6 years of pictures of me. To the casual observer you’ll notice no muscle loss, the expert eye will notice that I’ve actually gained close to 4 pounds of Lean Body mass over the years of fasting.
If you want a larger example you can go here –> Adonis Immersion.
If you scroll down on that page You will see dozens and dozens of before and after pictures from our Adonis Transformation contests. Many (but no all) of these people used fasting to get in shape. Can you pick out the ones who were fasting versus traditional dieting? Me neither.