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Continued: Hunger games: Is intermittent fasting healthy?

  • Article by: ALLIE SHAH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 15, 2014 - 2:37 PM

Critics warn of dangers

Not everyone is sold on the idea of fasting for better health.

Dr. Robert Cima, a professor of surgery at the Mayo Clinic, tells his patients to eat the day before a surgery — a departure from the usual pre-surgery drill. A well-nourished body is more likely to recover quickly from the trauma of surgery, he argues.

He is equally skeptical of the intermittent fasting trend.

“I’m not sure it resets anything,” he said. “The main issue in our country today is we’re eating too much.”

A better approach than skipping meals for a day or two, he suggested, would be to eat less throughout the week.

Even fasting supporters acknowledge it’s unhealthy for some people. Consider: pregnant women, frail and elderly people, children, Type 1 diabetics and anyone prone to eating disorders.

Nyberg says he dropped 30 pounds and lost 5 percent of his body fat during the first six months of intermittent fasting. But he was quick to point out that he was also working out three times a week. These days, he fasts whenever he feels like doing it. He said taking a day off from food from time to time makes him more mindful about how much he eats and what he is putting into his body.

“As much as everyone in our culture loves eating and cooking and restaurants, far too often people don’t think about how often we’re eating and how much we’re eating,” he said, adding, “When you’re done fasting, you’ll be hungry but you can’t eat as much.”

When it’s all over, he prefers to break his fast with something simple: a burger and a beer.


Allie Shah • 612-673-4488

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