Despite the research, many people continue to look for a “perfect diet” (diet to go on) and cycle from one fad diet to the next, hoping that they will find a quick fix or a solution to their food and body image issues.   They are often excited when starting a new fad diet, then disappointed when they are not able to stay on their chosen diet or to maintain their gains.  But have you ever considered that you’re going about this entirely the wrong way? 

In this podcast, you will learn:

1.What the research shows about the intermittent fasting diet.

2. What the $60 billion diet industry won’t tell you.

3. What you should eat to get and stay healthy.


Links mentioned in podcast:

Schedule a free consult to discuss your food and body image issues:

To learn more about The Anchor Program a 12-week non-diet program offering ONLINE group and individual sessions for the treatment of binge eating, emotional eating, food addiction and compulsive overeating.  Want to learn more about the Anchor Program?


Resources mentioned in the podcast:

Link to my blog on the Keto Diet:

Dr. Andrew Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid:

Michael Pollan Article: “Unhappy Meals” –


Hi everyone, it’s Dr. Carolyn and welcome to episode number 82, what you should know about the intermittent fasting diet. So obviously that’s what we’ll be talking about today. I want to be sharing some research with you, but I hope more importantly, I’m going to be giving you a bird’s eye view and to how I read the research and how you may, that may help you. So stay tuned to learn more about the intermittent fasting diet.

Okay. I want to start out by just saying right off the bat that not only has research shown this, but I think most of you listening already know this, that, that, that there is no one diet that works for everybody. So today we’re going to be talking about the intermittent fasting diet, but, I want to warn you that this podcast will discuss research. I’m warning you so that you won’t turn it off when the research happens. Hopefully it won’t get too overwhelming, but I know my listeners are smart, intuitive, and educated women and men. So I know you can handle a little research and I hope. It, uh, the way that I show you how I interpret the research, w we’ll keep your interest. Also another warning, I may be using the “O words”, obesity or overweight, which I hate to use, but, uh, the research, you still uses those antiquated terms. Um, and the only way I can define them as being defined by body mass index, and obviously any of you who know me know this is not an endorsement of the intermittent fasting diet.

So let’s get started. Dr. David Katz, who I would say is one of my favorite educated, smart people has said diet is the most important thing you can do for your health. I’ll just say that again, diet is the most important thing you can do for your health. Now, please notice Dr. Katz and I have never said going on a diet, it is the most important thing you can do for your health. So, yeah, we’re not talking about going on a diet and Dr. Katz and I too, don’t say it. Losing weight is the most important thing you can do for your health. Just to let you know who he is Dr. Katz is the founding director of the Yale Griffin Preventive Research Center, and a world renowned expert on health and nutrition. And so I’ve been following his work for Oh gosh, probably a decade and he’s doing some really, really important stuff.

So given that what you eat is the most important thing you can do for your health. What should you be eating? You may be thinking well, when I use the term diet in terms of health and talking about what you eat again, not meaning going on a diet, we know that certain ways of eating have been linked over and over, over to health issues and other ways of eating. For example, the Mediterranean diet is a perfect example, have been associated with improvement in your health and longevity. Now, this was confirmed in a recent article on the global burden of disease study. And that study is looking at the cost of the high rates of diabetes and the cost of heart disease, and also the lost years of productive life or loss of productivity on the job, et cetera. But in that report, they reported that that’s too many reports, but. You know what I mean? They said that inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables, beans, and lentils, whole grains and, and excessive intake of processed meat and processed food overall was the leading cause of chronic disease and early death in the modern Western countries around the world. So I just want to repeat it inadequate intake of fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, excessive intake of processed meats and processed food. So I’m sure that’s not a surprise to you, but I think it’s really important to recognize that around the world. The studies show the same thing in all of the developed countries of the world, the modern countries of the world. So there is, there’s a fact I want to mention there is no one diet that works for every body. There is no one specific, you know, way of eating that works for everybody other than the mention of what I said above inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables, beans, and lentils, whole grains and excessive intake of processed meats and processed foods being the leading cause of chronic disease and early death.

So. When I think most people, despite the research are still looking for that perfect diet to go on, you know, the perfect diet that will be helped them reach their thin ideal, that will help them have more energy and be healthy and improve their health, et cetera. And so that leads to cycling from one fat diet to the next, in the hopes that you can get that quick fix and find a solution to your food and body image issues and I understand the feelings behind that search for the perfect diet and understand the fears that people have given had so many people have been told that you can’t be healthy unless you’re thin. However, the truth is there is no perfect diet. There is no one diet that, that all fits all people and that, and such as the case with the most recent darling of the diet industry, intermittent fasting.

So as we discuss this, as I said, I’m going to be talking about some of the research, but I’m also going to be highlighting my reactions to some of the research. So I hope you will find that helpful. All right. Let’s talk about our topic for today. The intermittent fasting diet, which has been popular as an alternative to counting calories. And it’s also been touted as an anti-aging diet and as a possible therapy for cancer, neurologic disease and heart disease. But most of the health claims and most of the explanations about how, how the intermittent fasting diet works have been based on animal studies and not really tested in humans. A lot of the human studies, which I’ll mention in a bit are also very, short-term not long-term study. So as you know, anybody can go on a diet and you know, achieve some results for three months or maybe even six months, but what happens at year one, year two and down the line, and that’s, what is the most important it’s pretty easy to lose weight. It’s really hard to maintain weight. And secondly, weight is, should, is not, and should never have been the measure for good health, but staying on any kind of eating program should be what we expect of a program that, or an eating approach that someone is bringing to us and expecting us to pay money for.

So the most popular form of the intermittent fasting diet is called time restricted feeding, which involves restricting food intake to certain hours of the day. Usually from noon to 8:00 PM and then no food before noon and no food after 8:00 PM. You do know that this actually coincidentally leads to eating 300 to 500 calories fewer per day, because you’re restricting your eating to an eight hour window. But multiple studies have shown that the intermittent fasting diet is not better than calorie restriction or other diets and improving health markers and that the benefits of intermittent fasting are due in fact, to that restriction of 300 to 500 calories per day, not due to any magical metabolic effects of fasting. So here’s where we get into the research. And then, um, maybe I should use a different voice to tell you what I’m thinking. I won’t bore you with that, but we’ll see what happens. Anyway, in one study of 250 people with a body mass index over 27, they got to choose between the intermittent fasting diet, the Mediterranean diet and the paleo diet, and at the 12 month mark. So this is a little bit of a longer-term study. We went a whole year. A little over half of the Mediterranean and intermittent fasting participants. And only a third of the paleo participants were still following their chosen diet. So they pick the diet, but even when they picked it, it was still hard to follow. When you look at weight loss, which again, I’ll remind you should not be the marker for good health. But anyway, this is what the studies are measuring. Weight loss at 12 months was 8.8 pounds for intermittent fasting, 6 pounds for Mediterranean, 4 pounds for paleo, there was a reduction in blood pressure on the intermittent fasting and Mediterranean diet and a reduction in blood sugar on the paleo diet. But none of those changes were significant of note is that there was a high dropout rate, even though participants pick their own diet. And the changes in blood sugar and blood sugar were not significant again. So in my mind, I’m thinking, well, this verifies that it’s impossible to stay on a restrictive diet for very long. That’s one of the, one of the many, many reasons why diets don’t work. So that’s my thought process in response to that study in another study, which was actually not a study, but a review of studies on the intermittent fasting diet. It was concluded that results did not show evidence that intermittent fasting had an effect on weight loss. So my mind is saying, well, this shouldn’t be the main thing we’re studying anyway. What about health? Or are the studies on health markers? And other markers of success other than weight loss, which tends to be the number one thing that’s studied.

And now the third research paper was a study consisting of what comparing, sorry, consistent meal timing. Which means eating three structured meals per day with the intermittent fasting time restricted eating, which is eating from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM and no calories from 8:00 PM to 12:00 PM the next day. So in this study, it was found that after 12 weeks it was concluded that time restricted eating was no more effective in weight loss than eating throughout the day. Okay. You can probably guess what my mind is saying. First of all, here we go again, measuring weight loss, who cares? Um, and then the other thing my mind is saying is this was a 12-week study that was too short to study anything.

Okay. Number four, we’re almost done. Hold on a review, it was published in 2020 or review of studies concluded on intermittent fasting concluded. There is no single best strategy for weight management. I’m sorry. This was a review on multiple forms of dieting, hence strategies for weight loss and its maintenance should be individualized and healthcare providers must choose the best strategy based on patient preference. Okay. We can go back to note, number one, above where patients were given the option to choose their own diet, but still there was a high dropout rate and over 50% were no longer on there preferred diet by 12 months. This conclusion also again, blames the patient by instructing doctors to listen to patients and then blame patients when they fail to stay on diets. The other thing my mind says about this is doctors aren’t trained in nutrition, so they are the absolute worst people to choose the best strategy because most physicians have not received any training in nutrition. So that’s all my mind chatter going on.

Number five, this was an in-depth article that showed that while intermittent fasting diets are generally safe and well tolerated they are not better at helping you burn calories or keeping you from feeling hungry. There are also conflicting results on whether intermittent fasting improves insulin resistance anti-aging or anti-inflammatory benefits because most of the studies on those outcomes were done in animals. And then finally people with eating disorders were excluded from research. So we can’t confirm that intermittent fasting could could lead to bingeing or trigger an eating disorder. However, as I’ve spoken about many times on the podcast, there are tons of other studies that show that any kind of dieting or restricting is associated with bingeing and also associated with triggering the development of dangerous and life-threatening eating disorders.

So the bottom line, my mind is going crazy when I read these studies and it’s saying researchers continue to ask the wrong question and to get the wrong answers. First of all, if you have the belief that being in a larger body or having a BMI above 27 is inherently bad. And not healthy. Then the only solution is to change your size or change the number on the scale, which is what researchers continue to ask us to do despite evidence that this is a very biased approach. Secondly, we should be measuring the efficacy of an eating program by how long someone can sustain it. And no one has been able to or the majority of people I should say. I don’t want to get too radical on you. The majority of people are unable to sustain restricted or restrictive dieting plans that diets for any length of time. And finally, we should also be measuring an eating plan or diet by the measures for health that we have, that, that are easy to measure such as blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, uh, physical fitness, and not solely by how much weight is lost, which is not a marker for good health and it’s become increasingly clear that that’s true. Look, I could give you the same in-depth analysis of other diets and in fact, I’ve put a link to my blog about the keto diet in the show notes. So if you’re interested in what I have to say about the keto diet, you can check out that link in the show notes and go to my psychology today blog and read about that.

But let’s go on to talk about what we should be doing. So hopefully by now you’re with me, you’re on board. I hope. Are you on the ship of diets don’t work. Are you still out there swimming in the $60 billion diet industry water and being tossed and turned and taken under the waves by those, those fantasies? Well, what should we eat? Actually, there is something that the experts all agree on is, and that is that the most important thing is that we eat mostly vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds all in their natural state, as much as possible. And that we drink plain water. Now the anchor program has used this approach for almost a decade and I call it my simple plan and it’s five specific things that help you move to a lifestyle of a good health.

Dr. Andrew Weil, who many of you may have heard of, who’s considered the grandfather of integrative medicine. I studied with him at the university of Arizona’s program and integrative medicine, and he developed what he called the anti-inflammatory food pyramid over a decade ago. And this anti-inflammatory pyramid also uses the same approach.

I will put a link to the, these references that I’m giving you right now in the show notes. So you can check out the anti-inflammatory pyramid and also. Author Michael Pollan said it simply in 2007, which is way over a decade. He said, eat food, not too much, mostly plants. And that was in his book that looked at all different kinds of ways of eating and the research to support them. So he said it in seven words, eat food, not too much mostly plants. So this information from multiple experts, sources has been around for over a decade and has met the test of time. Why do we need to resort to fad diets? When we have information that is clearly going to benefit our good health and has been proven to be to do that.

The other question is, should you go to the media to look for ways to be healthy? Should you go to social media, to influencers, to. You know, actors or singers or other artists to tell you how to eat healthy. Honestly, if doctors have no training in nutrition, I can guarantee you that nobody on social media who’s either promoting themselves as this self-proclaimed coach or is an influencer and is, is a model or a movie star or whatever have, have had any training in nutrition because learning about nutritionist is so important and yet many times people are going to these sources like social media or online advertisers to tell them about something that is so critical. In other words, your good health. I know that these days it’s super popular to doubt the experts and to feel things like I know my body better than a doctor does. And that’s partially true. And as I’ve said, I’m not going to tell you that doctors know anything about nutrition. That I’m not saying that, however, we also know that many times the media or diet companies blow up and misrepresent studies without giving any interpretation of what the results mean. Now, in my, when I said my mind says, that’s me giving you the interpretation so that you can understand why those studies are or are not important. For example, you may hear intermittent fasting will help you live longer. Without realizing or hearing or being told that the studies that about this were done in animals as well, many medical professionals are still still after all this time focused on the number on the scale, and don’t have much training in actually helping, you know, what you should eat, which is the most important determiner of health, which I said at the beginning.

So my question is how much longer are you willing to risk your life and your health to be thin? You know, I’m like John Lennon imagining a world where maybe someday little girls and boys will grow up, knowing that bodies come in different sizes and shapes, and that all are natural and normal, maybe in my imagine scenario, we will one day be able to allow people to be just the best they can be recognize that their bodies are none of our business and put an end to the awful weight stigma that people living in large bodies experience. So again, I’m imagining like John Lennon, maybe we could bury dieting in a time capsule along with things like dial up internet. Do you guys even remember dial-up internet or rotary phones or cars without seat belts, all bad ideas. Wouldn’t it be great if diets were something our kids or our kids, kids never even heard of. I honestly it’s time to make peace with food and with our bodies to eat intuitively and see ourselves as valuable human beings. No matter what our size. What if you stopped looking for a fad diet and just worked on eating that small list of foods or following the anti-inflammatory food pyramid or reading one of Michael Pollan’s books and following the guidance there. Instead of looking for the perfect diet, you know, the quick fix, which if you’re honest with yourself is really not about health usually, but more about size or the number on the scale. What if you took a different approach, how would it feel to take back control of what you eat? How would it feel to stop spending time and money on yet another fad diet? I know for many of you, it may feel very scary. If you take off the controls that things are going to just go haywire. But we do know without a shadow of a doubt that fad diets don’t work and there’s not going to be a new fat diet. That’s going to come on the market that will work. I can tell you that you don’t have to be on a fad diet to make peace with food and with your body, there are many ways of going about this.

So check out the resources that I’ve put in the show notes, you know, Andy Weil’s Anti-inflammatory Food Pyramid, a link to Michael Pollan’s article about how to eat and think, give it some thought. Uh, next, the next podcast is going to be, uh, podcast 83, called how to stop hating your body. So we’ll be talking about not body positivity. Nope. We won’t be talking about that. We’ll be talking about how to make peace with your body. And if this information that I’ve talked about today helps you and you’re really finally ready to take a step towards becoming truly healthier then I’ve put a link where you can schedule a free consult to talk about your individual food and body image issues.

So I want to end the podcast by first of all, asking you to give us a review. Hopefully a five star would just and share the podcast with as many people as you can. I would really appreciate it. So I’ll end this podcast with another quote from David Katz, Dr. David Katz, and he says A healthy diet is the construction material for the growing bodies of the children that you love. It is the replenishment material for your body. As it turns over hundreds of millions of cells and makes hormones and enzymes every day, it really matters. Get informed, be empowered, make wise decisions. I agree with Dr. Katz and I’ll leave you with that. Thank you for listening.

I hope this podcast has been informative, but more than intellectual knowledge, I hope it’s shifted your perception about looking for, and relying on a fad diet for your health. So if, again, if you’re ready to make those changes, check, check out that free consult link or check out the anchor program. We’re here to help. And to help you really make the changes you need for good health. And then join us next week to learn how to stop hating your body. Thanks for listening, Dr. Carolyn signing out.