Fareeha Jay | Ep #53 | Intermittent Fasting – Another Diet Fad?



dartif integrative and preventive healthcare the content discussed in this episode is for informative purposes only and should not be replaced by individualized professional consultations

or professional medical advice hey guys i’m tasha hey listeners this is gooney and we’re here to discuss lifestyle medicine so guni you know i’ve tried like a gazillion diets before from like paleo to keto to intermittent fasting to no carbs cutting sugar i think that’s probably crazy in all those times more than i can remember off actually like have you have you done diets like this i think the better question is what diet have i not tried uh maybe from your list the keto because it involves a lot of meat or paleo sorry see i’m even confused about all these different names my first diet was at the age of 14. damn that is that is young like i think i was probably 15 or 16 and it’s crazy because i didn’t have any idea about nutrition except that you have to eat your veggies and that’s all i knew about it but i was doing a diet at 15 or 16 with no guidance same here same here i i think it was my first attempt to intermittent fasting and a very bad one basically i just started myself my dad was actually very concerned but you know when you don’t feel good in your body you just you’re just so desperate and i think a lot of people could relate to that you know when you you just want a shortcut to feel better in a certain way and i think one of the most common diets out there these days is intermittent fasting it even sounds like it’s healthy to do it yeah i mean like if intermittent fasting is all it’s hyped up to be and i think it’s probably best we speak to a specialist a dietitian who can actually weigh in on this pun intended uh and so for that we are bringing in a fariha j fariha is an anthropologist turned dietitian who’s based in plymouth who currently runs her own private practice with clients across the globe she also works with the nhs as a diabetes specialist and has a special interest in south asian diets where she even developed the south asian eat well guide to help south asians navigate their dietary choices better so welcome to dr podcast fariha we are eager to find out all you have to say about this hello thank you so much for having me welcome faria my first question to you is have you done any diet i’m actually assuming you have because you’re a woman what was the first diet you’ve done and how old were you honestly i am going to surprise both of you now but never ever have i done a diet oh my goodness the thing is this was and this is what we will talk about later on as well but never ever in my life i had issues with weight gain i never had that problem so i never even um i think in my late 30s i started thinking that perhaps you know i’ll be really honest with you that i’ve never followed any specific diet listen i think kudos to your mom and your family for not putting that pressure on you yes and for having a good circle around you you know or she was blessed with a very high metabolism and she didn’t have to think about she she didn’t have any weight gain so she was like you know looking fit and nice all this time and at the age of 30 because you know hormone happens age happens and then she might be thinking this but we’ll figure it out we’ll see what comes out this is what it’s all about it’s all about the different factors building in so it’s not it’s not just the one factor it will which will make us gain or lose weight so there’s so many factors involved yeah i mean that’s a fair point the the most common one we see these days are is related to fasting like cutting out food right and having a period of time where you don’t eat maybe we can break that down first and kind of unpack what is actually fasting and you know is it is there is there some truth to to the the craziness of fasting so the thing is tasha fasting has always been there there if you look in historical times as well and if you look into the religion side of it uh usually we tend to associate fasting with islam but if you look deeper into it all religions you know christianity buddhism judaism hinduism all of them will have a type of fasting so everyone will have their own version of it what they’re eating the timings but fasting has always been there then as you you guys also mentioned so everyone can can have a different pattern person someone will say that i will fast for this many hours the other person might say that i will include these foods and i will exclude these foods so fasting to be honest will have no definition everyone can have a different meaning for it every culture can have a different meaning for it every religion can have a different meaning for it but we know that it has always been there but when you talk about intermittent fasting it is a bit different so what is intermittent fasting intermittent fasting is when there is alternating cycles of you eating and fasting without specifying that in the eating hours what will you be eating so now we know there is time for eating and there is there are there is times for not eating then to go further on that there’s so many types of intermittent fasting you’ll be surprised it’s a mind thing so the most common ones i’ll say that many but just to point out few of them there’s one which is called the 5-2 there’s one which is called the sixth one there’s one which is called sixteen eight so there are different types of um intermittent fasting the sixteen eight i would say is the most popular and most of my clients which come to which which come to me uh they they are following the 16 8 and with 16 8 what’s happening is that 16 hours they’re not eating anything they’re fasting and 18 hours is their window period in which they are eating and then again i would like to stress that without any specification of the type of diet they have food of food you can eat during those eight hours right and and when is that bracket usually you know the windows where you don’t eat do they set it themselves or their common bracket that everyone follows they set it themselves but usually how it starts is that they would stop eating at five or six o’clock in the evening and the next day then around one or two or they’ll calculate the hours and then we’ll start eating again but then again they just they just focus on the 16 hour side of it everyone can have their own timings for it and then we’ve got the 5-2 diet the 5-2 diet is that on the five days they are eating their usual dietary intake and with two days they will have around five to six hundred calories then six one diet is six days they will have the usual dietary intake and one day they will not eat at all so really if you look into the intermittent fasting side of it as well there’s so many types of it and people choose what would they feel comfortable with and what they can adopt as well it’s crazy that you know there’s these there’s so many variations of it but like why do you think it’s become so like popular and why has it become like a trend in recent times it has hasn’t it it’s a big trend these days and i think that intermittent fasting has a strong media presence as well if you look into celebrities like beyonce jennifer lopez jennifer aniston ben affleck all of them they have been doing intermittent fasting so obviously when they are doing it you know it’s it makes you think and then on the other hand the proponents of intermittent fasting they claim that it helps shed pounds faster as compared to traditional diets so obviously if someone really wants to lose weight they’ll see ah okay this is something which will make me lose quick why should i not try this then then on the other hand if you look online if you read magazines if you watch delhi you will also see that there have been studies being done on it and there have been positive results with people people with managing diabetes so their sugar levels have come into control they start feeling better so the review it’s reducing the risk marker for diabetes on the other hand there have been certain researches and studies that intermittent fasting can improve inflammatory cytokine profile and which may have positive impact on aging so again if someone someone reads this and someone listens to this they will yeah they will say why not why should i not bring it and further to say it can boost your cell repair and how does it do it it removes the damaged cells from your body so so you’re getting new cells in the body so listening to all this and then you and then your favorite celebrities are doing it so why not it will be a trend but one thing we should bear in mind is that the large-scale research in this area is very limited so yes i i also told you that the positive aging and all but we must understand that the research is very limited and there’s ongoing research and we cannot make conclusions as yet um so you’re saying that research is it’s still very slim and it’s limited as a dietitian what is your point of view with regards to to intermediate fasting is this something that you would recommend to your client okay so the thing is as a dietitian i would never ask my clients to follow something like this we must understand that at the end of the day it is not a balanced approach and potentially it will interfere with your metabolic rate um not having structure will also mean that you’re not prepared what you’re eating so perhaps you’re not eating the right foods are you including your starchy carbs are you having your proteins are you having the fruit and vegetables or are you just thinking that this is my window period and i’ll stuff myself with you know crisps biscuits so really and saying that when my clients come to me and some of them really insist that they would want to follow intermittent fasting then i’ll ask them two questions first i will say that think of the sustainability side of it can you sustain this forever is this something which you can carry on doing answer is yes go on do it but if you can’t sustain it then then what’s the point and the second thing is then again i have to go over with them discussing with them that okay if that’s your period that’s the time those are the hours which you plan to eat let’s go over the foods which which you should be eating so we will talk about the starchy carbohydrates we will talk about the fruit and vegetables we will talk about healthy fats we will talk about protein and i will also talk to them about their calcium intake which will be in the form of dairy or if they’re vegans or vegetarians the non-dairy options as well so within that window period then we have to talk about the balanced diet side of it right and and to kind of echo on this point you know the 16-8 like aren’t there schools of thought also that say like if you eat too late at night there’s a bad impact on your body because you’re going to sleep shortly after so is the timing actually important also because here if i choose to do the eight hours of eating from nine p.m to the following morning is that actually helpful or again it really depends there are two sides to it on one hand when you when we are creating calorie deficit regardless of the timings what science says that although there are many other factors but eventually you will start losing weight because you’re creating that calorie deficit so time doesn’t matter but on the other hand we always tend to say that it is better to keep a gap before you eat and you sleep and the reason being is that when you are sleeping you know your body is now relaxing the body wants to shut down now and there’s food in it the digestion can be affected so it can cause other problems like bloating and not feeling very good so there are two different size to it nothing nothing with regards to weight loss or weight gain but you won’t feel good enough yeah i get you yeah it’s a fair point so i think that even if you were to do like this period is to say from 9 p.m to the following morning it’s also a trick for you to be in a time frame that you actually can’t eat much so it’s like discipline and so it does mean that you shouldn’t be eating too much so that you’re increasing that deficit right i think i want to go back to your point of saying if you choose to do the 16 8 intermittent fasting so you’re saying that there are the benefits and like there’s a trend because there’s faster results you can visibly see right and there’s no uh structure to the types of food you actually consume in that time so what is the risk and the impact of not having this structure the fact that you don’t have structure uh during the time you can eat i think is is very dangerous because you just think okay i can you know i can start stuffing my face with food yes absolutely yes first i want to go back to the claim as well that way the proponents are claiming that you know it is fast weight loss with that because perhaps that’s not true whenever you create a calorie deficit regardless of whatever the diet you’re doing you will eventually lose weight so first we need to understand that the second is that it is really essential if someone wants to do it they really need to understand what are the risk factors so one which you’ve already discussed that when you’ve not eaten for so long our brains first source of energy is carbs yeah and the thing is we’ve not been giving it yeah when your brain is not getting those starchy carbs once it’s time to eat it wants instant energy so you will your body and brain will push yourselves towards high sugary and high fatty foods why because as soon as you have them they will quickly absorb your brain will instantly get what it needs it will get energy instantly because those are sugars on the other hand if we were eating all day we would probably not be longing for that piece of cake because we have regular bursts of energy have been going through our body throughout the day so there is this difference and i will say that as you said that we are restricting ourselves isn’t it throughout the day so this can be a trigger uh for people with eating disorders and sometimes this can be a symptoms right for some people as well so this needs to be really highlighted here i think this is a very important point to understand on the other hand you tell me gooney when you’ve not eaten all day you will feel tired you will feel lethargic you will have low mood you will be irritable it will affect your sleep and there is some research to suggest that it will affect your immune system as well so all things are happening uh the other thing is that we women we are doing it all the time thinking that we want to lose weight but do we understand that when we are doing this it can affect the female hormones as well because the female hormones they are sensitive to the levels of energy in the body yeah they will get affected so if the female hormones are affected it can therefore affect your reproduction it can affect your fertility and it can affect your period regulation as well and that is something i have seen my clients coming up to me and they they don’t know what their dates are sometimes they’re skipping or missing their period and why is that happening because they’re following this so they’re not eating for long period of time so keeping all these things in mind i again say one another thing to it is that yes there is still an argument for this that people can use this for weight loss because there is no universal solution for weight loss is both of you said you know unfortunately yeah yeah i could take a pill but the important thing here is that we must highlight these potential risks yeah i mean i remember when i did like a cleanse and there was a fasting there was intermittent fasting in that process um and there was a section of time where you struggle there’s like the first few days where you struggle and then after a point you you dig in and you’re like in that space where you realize the benefit of it because your mind is now changing your body is changing so the clarity in mind is incredible but struggle to to sustain it right so after after like uh four weeks i’m i’m back to trying to integrate to the normal world and how do i uh maintain that that mindset but to to add on to what you’re saying is that getting your body to struggle a little bit and overcome some of the previous acquired behaviors around food but during your eating period you’re also eating very nutritious and healthy foods and which is what maria was saying is that we’re not talking enough about you know these type of foods that you’re supposed to eat during that that time frame and so when you have that clarity i think that clarity comes from the type of food you’re actually eating absolutely i totally agree with both of you and that’s why we say that you know both of you are talking about this and then you in the end you’re saying that we’re going back to normality so you both of you are not thinking of this as long term anyway so that’s right answer then is this the answer not really because we want something which we’re doing every day forever and that’s the balance we want and that’s why we’re always we dietitians nutritionists we’re always talking about this that balance type moderation including everything but everything in balance yeah right absolutely exactly it’s like integrated in it’s part of your day to day yes and the stress with it that i’m on a diet it you’d all the time you’re constantly in stress and it’s the the strange thing about us humans is that there’s no middle ground either we’re doing it or then when we are not doing it we’re just stuffing our face then so there’s no middle ground as well i believe can a part of fasting be cleansing because there’s a lot of um be religious or even in general would fasting be a synonym of cleansing for this question when you say cleansing i’m not sure what that means because the thing is what usually people refer to when they talk about cleansing is that they’re talking about getting rid of toxins and toxins what toxin wastes and the first and foremost thing we must really understand that our body has this mechanism which automatically removes toxins from the body anyway so your liver your kidney is are all the time working so with whatever bad stuff is occurring in your body those toxins are removed by your kidney and liver right so and if for some reason there is a toxic buildup in your body that means you need to be going to the hospital you need medical attention so this i think this term is being used a lot on social media and on you know everyone in magazines that detox detox so first we need to understand that this cleansing this detox our body is really cleverly so it it is being cleansed anyway as far as the fasting side is concerned as we mentioned earlier the benefits are there you know the research is there but saying that if someone is not doing it but if they are following a healthy lifestyle they will get rid of the toxins anyway the they will to further put it when we say that you know your kidneys and liver will detoxify your body and cleanse your body this means that we need to keep our liver and kidney healthy and how can we keep that healthy by having a healthy diet which we already talked about you know the carbs and the fruit and the veg and the protein so again it all comes down to the balanced diet you you’ve hit the nail on the head in the sense where our body is there’s a natural intelligence our system is functioning the way it functions so we should trust in it that it’s already doing what needs to be done right but on that same thought process i mean it sounds like a very basic question but if just say you had no access to medical like external medical care how would you know that what you’re doing and your body is actually functioning in the right way you will just not feel well you will you if god forbid if you we were talking about toxins being built up you will just collapse you will not you will not be able to digest food you will have serious serious medical problems if you think that you’re you’re moving you’re walking you’re talking you’re feeling energetic you know you’re not feeling drained you’re not feeling tired um just think g have trust that i’m well if and the problem is that sometimes you know what’s happening in in our in these days is that we feel tired we feel lazy and we just put the blame on oh i’ve got a very uh busy schedule so this is what’s happening so the one thing which we really need to do is to differentiate that is this because of the busy schedule in my life or is this is this my body really not feeling well because many times many of my clients who’ve got diabetes what’s happening is that they are feeling tired and lethargic but they think that oh they’ve got this very busy routine and they they never find out that they’ve got diabetes they don’t even do their tests to find out and later when things go really worse when they feel really poorly right it is detected so we really if they’re i would suggest that if someone is feeling really tired let it just sleepy feeling thirsty this is the time you know that they need they need to investigate right so it’s really about building awareness listening to your body which means that you have to be patient you have to be a conscious human being i think to a large extent because you need to be aware of what’s going on with you right otherwise it will become chronic as you were saying and absolutely right so we’ve identified that dieting is not something sustainable so if you were to do intermittent fasting you should focus on the type of food you’re going to be eating but the problem of weight loss is there i think for women in general we’re all kind of constantly thinking about looking a certain way or or slimming down because society says that this is what we are supposed to be doing so what is your general advice if somebody says i want to lose weight i always extend support and i always give them different techniques and ways um i will always guide them through a healthy lifestyle but then again uh every person is different so what’s happening these days now is that we’re looking at pictures on instagram or we’re looking at posts and all we all of us are comparing our bodies with their bodies and what’s happening is we need to understand that even if two twins if twins eat exactly the same and if they have the exactly same physical activity but their body structure might not be the same so this understanding that the body structures how our body responds to food how our body responds to the environment is completely different so honestly i do try to explain to my patients my clients that you know we will we will work on your weight loss but what you have in mind probably that’s not where you will get what i talk to them about is changing their behavior and assuring themselves at first eating well and then assuring themselves that yes i’m eating well i’m looking after my body and then then being confident in whatever i have and the other thing which i say to them that is eventually if you’re looking after your body if you’re eating the right kinds of food if you’re moving in if you’re mentally you’re in a peaceful place eventually your body will respond so you will lose weight but the the idea which is in your head probably not that and then you have to accept it what it is because you know that you’re feeding your body well so what you’re saying it sounds like when you speak with your clients it’s more of a mindset conversation that you’re having first before you’re actually even approaching the how to the the actual work that you need to put in it’s like how are you going through your day what’s your mindset around this yes yes the thing is tasha my clients come to me we want to lose 20 kilos we want to lose 25 kilos i have to explain to them that you know you have to be realistic about your weight loss as well and again it is not that straightforward like they made it a very simple problem you just eat less and move more and there you go you will start losing weight but it is not that straightforward there are so many external factors your genes within you and then the environment together when they interact how your body behaves will be completely different so this this is the message which we need to spread which which needs to go to the people that you everyone bodies will be different and how they respond will be different exactly everyone’s unique their circumstances their environment intermediate fasting is maybe not made for everyone so just kind of drawing to your expertise with diabetes and your clients with diabetes are people who are having diabetes is healthy for them to do like for example intermediate fasting for people with diabetes it depends the thing is on what stage and what level their diabetes is for someone who is on insulin and on specific medications uh we will never recommend someone doing intermittent fasting because then their sugar levels can drop to a dangerous level so people who are on specific medications they would need to be eating throughout the day to get that bursts of energy but sometimes some people who are not on certain medications or they have been told that they just have to follow a lifestyle perhaps they can give it a go but then again what i say to them is that maybe your sugar levels will drop but then what is the long-term thinking what is your planning what will happen after five months what will happen after six months so this is what i always tend to discuss with them and most of them come to this conclusion that no we are not able to do it so please tell us the other easier way so they could please sustain it forever unless you say this is there really a forever right is there really a a plan that we can follow through for the rest of our lives i’m not so sure there are certain practices you’d follow but then it adjusts as as life adjusts with you so i’m sure like if uh if i had children the whole conversation be a different conversation because i can compare like when i was living by myself i had full control about how i was eating and i didn’t buy unhealthy foods so i controlled everything but then when you live in a south asian household uh food is always cooked so it’s like the conversation is about well i can’t speak for every south asian household but in mine it’s like uh you put on too much weight but then i’ve made all this food you have to finish it so i’m like yes what are you trying to do i’m getting mixed signals here so i’m supposed to eat the food but also not eat the food yes that’s absolutely right yeah and the obsession about how you look right so when they greet you is when they greet you it’s like oh you put on weight oh yes you know it’s never it’s never how are you and full staff it’s always put on away it’s so rude i have been i haven’t been vocal about this to be honest and i’ve been making posts on this as well on my instagram is that because we know what’s happening so we are part of this culture so we need to bring the change now so it’s just it has become more of a tradition that whenever you see each other oh you look so fat butliho and moti ho and com the first comment is and you know oh you’ve got dark circles like something has to be you know the the physical aspect has to be you know highlight it first and then you will know that so i always say that you first you need to build boundaries and if someone is commenting you just need to get the message across this sorry thank you very much i don’t want to listen to these comments but if that’s not the case then we are the next generation we can make a change and our children will not do it and then let’s make a start i think i truly agree fully agree yeah all right so we generally end our conversations with a round of rapid fire questions to actually get to know you fariha so um the first question is what is the first sign that you notice when you are out of balance so the answer to this question would be tasha that i have become really really irritable i become you know angry and what happens all the stress and anger goes on on my children and the response which i get is mom i think you’re not feeling well you know you need some help they my job associated with it yeah they know that because most of the time i’m a very happy and a chirpy person so they exactly know that when i’m grumpy and most of them when i’m shouting at them let’s put it away i’m shouting at them so they know that there’s you know i know in my heart and think about that yes there is some problem somewhere they’re they’re you’re sounding bored they’re like they’re your belt you know it’s like something’s going wrong so what do you do when you realize that you know you’re out of balance so you’re acting up in situations like this i let it out and in situations like this whatever i’m feeling something i’ve watched in the news or i have some i’ve not done something really well and i’m not happy about it i just call her and i speak to her and sometimes i i will shout at her as well but i think this comes down to the support i think i’ll give this right and you know there are chances that i won’t even listen to her advice but she will give me the advices and all and then that will make me feel better yeah bless your sister god bless you i i totally agree with you it’s like having that person you can kind of vent to yeah yes and i guess the last question is uh what is one book that has impacted your approach to well-being or wellness the thing is i’ll be very honest with you tasha i’m not the person who who’s reading books and all um i’m more of a person who will watch tv netflix you know listen to music sometimes documentaries but i’m not a book person but yes they have been certain books and one one of the books which i’ve been reading um and i really love it and it’s called gene eating and it’s by dr giles it’s uh the the why i like this book is that it’s exactly what i’ve been saying all along is that the the idea that you know um eat less move more we really need to come out of this we really need to understand that why someone is overweight and why it’s sometimes it’s not their fault and why someone is unable to lose weight and why someone will lose weight very easily so i think this book really has has cleared my you know concepts misconceptions and i will ask everyone if they feel feel that they’re not clear on this this is the book to read that’s a good one and especially and i was also thinking um it doesn’t have to be a book because i’m also very much i’m i like audio and i like also to to watch uh for example in documentaries so definitely um maybe for our next guest asking them you know is there a documentary or a book that you can recommend good point yes yes i’m the type of person as well i i like listening more and if with me i listened even sometimes the podcasts become long for me so you know what the instagram lives people live right half an hour i tend to listen to them that gives me lots of knowledge as well and in less time i gain a lot so i do that’s right yeah and it’s very interactive right and yeah yeah so you’re entertained as you’re getting knowledge so that’s that’s great thank you for that thank you fariha for being here today and kind of shedding light air and putting our reservations for just more like questions to rest to you about intermittent fasting and dieting and what we can do to address it if you want to try it thank you very much thank you both of you it was a pleasure if you enjoyed this episode go ahead and select that follow or subscribe button for now stay safe and we’ll see you next week

Fareeha Jay | Ep #53 | Intermittent Fasting – Another Diet Fad?

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