So, "Intermittent Fasting Does Now Make You Fat"? Do the Facebook Posts Lie? Not Necessarily, but Many People Confuse the Important With the Irrelevant Information
|It were the nightly binges, not the fasting that made the rodents fat... and it's not news that starving and bingeing is obesogenic, is it?|
Before we delve further into the details, however, let's briefly take a look at what the researchers from the Ohio State University actually did: As you can see in Figure 1 we are - and this is by no means clear whence you're reading only the press-release "copy-and-paste"-jobs online - actually dealing with a feeding regimen that looks pretty similar to what people usually think of when they are talking about intermittent fasting.
|Figure 1: Feeding and fasting cycles and metabolic states in 24h feeding cycle (Kliewer. 2015).|
- Gorging is not allowed on IF-regimen - Usually people who follow intermittent fasting regimens are somewhat anal about their nutrition. A binge like the one that occurred in the mice during the feeding phase is therefore representative mostly of the obese who don't "fast" in the sense of "intermittent fasting", but try to starve themselves for 24h failing only to fall victim to their own cravings late at night (remember: mice are active at night, so their biological clock is inverted compare to ours).
- Feeding does not occur at the wrong time on IF-regimen - Since we are already talking about "falling victim to [one's] cravings late at night," someone doing a real IF-regimen would never feed at night. He would do it in the early to late afternoon to avoid messing with his cicrcadian rhythm. The mice in the study at hand, however, were fat one-third into the "light period", which is their night and according to the rodents' biological clock not a proper time to "gorge".
|Figure 2: Yes, there's an increase in body weight (albeit not to the same weight as in the control group) and there is an increase in body fat, but both are due to "binging" not due to fasting (Kliewer. 2015).|
|Your breakfast habits determine what happens if you skip it | more.|
And if we put faith into the latest study from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Denver Health Medical Center it is your breakfast-eating or -skipping habit that determines the effects of breakfast skipping.
If you have don just that, you don't have to care about the idiots who are still trying to propagate the myth of "frequent meals for fat loss". If they (a) knew the difference between intermittent fasting and starving and (b) had not relied on an already messed up press release, but had read the study, they would have been aware that the researchers themselves state that the mechanism for the increased fat gains still has to be elucidated:
"Future studies should determine whether changes in adipose tissue gene expressions, lipid stores, and whole-body metabolism in our study can be attributed to the initial food restriction, circadian disturbances, and/or gorging eating pattern" (Kliewer. 2015).And let's be honest, do you really think it's the meal skipping, not gorging at a (internal clock-wise) totally wrong time that made the mice fat? If so, you have probably been exposed to too much "frequent meal propaganda" in the past years.
- Kliewer, Kara L., et al. "Short-term food restriction followed by controlled refeeding promotes gorging behavior, enhances fat deposition, and diminishes insulin sensitivity in mice." The Journal of nutritional biochemistry (2015).