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Optimizing Your Intermittent Fasting: the Evidence Base

Optimizing Your Intermittent Fasting: the Evidence Base

A 2018 study found that, “Early Time-Restricted Feeding ETRF improves insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, and oxidative stress.”

A 2018 systematic review concluded that, “Intermittent energy restriction may be an effective strategy for the treatment of overweight and obesity. Intermittent energy restriction was comparable to continuous energy restriction for short term weight loss in overweight and obese adults. Intermittent energy restriction was shown to be more effective than no treatment, however, this should be interpreted cautiously due to the small number of studies and future research is warranted to confirm the findings of this review.”

An Experiment

You may like to try an “early day” intermittent fasting by eating between 7am and 3 pm, or 10am and 6pm, and avoid eating in the evening before bed.


Studies and Reviews

1.     Sutton, E.F, Bey, R., Early, K., Cefalu, W.T, Ravussin, E. and Peterson C.M. (2018) Early Time-Restricted Feeding Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Blood Pressure, and Oxidative Stress Even without Weight Loss in Men with Prediabetes. Cell Metabolism, Volume 27, Issue 6, 5 June 2018, Pages 1159-1160

2.     Harris, L, Hamilton, S., Azevedo, L., Olajide, J.,De Brun, C.,Waller, G.,Whittaker, V.,Sharp, T.,Lean, M.,Hankey, K. and Ells, L. (2018) Intermittent fasting interventions for treatment of overweight and obesity in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports: February 2018 - Volume 16 - Issue 2 - p 507–547. doi: 10.11124/JBISRIR-2016-003248

Eating Protein at every meal: the LoBAG diet

Eating Protein at every meal: the LoBAG diet

In a 2011 study, Gannon and Nuttall of the Minneapolis VA Medical Center studied the effect of a high-protein diet on ghrelin, growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor-I and binding proteins 1 and 3 in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus.  

They, “…developed a diet that over 5 weeks dramatically lowers plasma glucose in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus. This diet consists of 30% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 40% fat and is referred to as a Low Biologically Available Glucose (LoBAG) diet. The diet also resulted in an approximately 30% increase in fasting insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I).”


Mucus in the Colon: Diet Important

Mucus in the Colon: Diet Important

A July 2019 study by Baylor College of Medicine found that, “a high-quality diet is linked to more potentially beneficial bacteria; while a low-quality diet is associated with an increase in potentially harmful bacteria.”

Professor Li Jioa said, “… we focused on dietary patterns as defined by the Healthy Eating Index … and how they relate to the microbiome [the microorganisms in a particular environment] … In a previous study, we found that [the Health Eating Index] is associated with reduced risk of pancreatic cancer."

The study found that “…a good-quality diet … high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and low in added sugar, alcoholic beverages and solid fats is associated with higher abundance of beneficial bacteria such as those with anti-inflammatory properties.”

Cutting 300 calories to reduce heart health and diabetes risk

Cutting 300 calories to reduce heart health and diabetes risk

A July 2019 study by Duke Health and the National Institutes of Health suggests that cutting down daily food intake by just 300 calories can cut the risk of diabetes and heart disease.   

For context, two scrambled eggs is equivalent to 360 calories.

Lead author Dr William Kraus said the study showed that, "… even a modification that is not as severe … could reduce the burden of diabetes and cardiovascular disease …"  and, "People can do this fairly easily by simply watching their little indiscretions here and there, or maybe reducing the amount of them, like not snacking after dinner."

Sugary Drinks and the Risk of Cancer

Sugary Drinks and the Risk of Cancer

A July 2019 NutriNet-Santé cohort study looked at sugary drinks (sugar sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices), artificially sweetened (diet) beverages, and the risk of overall cancer, as well as breast, prostate, and bowel (colorectal) cancers. Well-known risk factors for cancer were factored in.  These included age, sex, educational level, family history of cancer, smoking status and physical activity levels. The study found that, “a 100ml daily increase in the consumption of sugary drinks was associated with an 18% increased risk of overall cancer and a 22% increased risk of breast cancer.” But “No association was found for prostate and colorectal cancers, but numbers of cases were more limited for these cancer locations.” The researchers noted that, “the consumption of artificially sweetened (diet) beverages was not associated with a risk of cancer, but the authors warn that caution is needed in interpreting this finding owing to a relatively low consumption level in this sample.”

The researchers concluded that the study supports, “the relevance of existing nutritional recommendations to limit sugary drink consumption, including 100% fruit juice, as well as policy actions, such as taxation and marketing restrictions targeting sugary drinks, which might potentially contribute to the reduction of cancer incidence."


Nutritional Supplements

Nutritional Supplements

A July 2019 study found that only two out of 16 nutritional supplements tested had any positive impact.  Researchers at West Virginia School of Medicine found that only folic acid and omega-3, long-chain fatty acids seemed to have some benefits.

The study found that, “…taking both calcium and vitamin may actually be harmful. The meta-analysis indicated--with moderate certainty--that taking a combination of calcium and vitamin D may increase the risk of stroke.

“But taking calcium or vitamin D alone seemed to have no effect on mortality or cardiovascular outcomes whatsoever. Neither did any of the other supplements that the meta-analysis addressed, such as multivitamins, iron, folic acid, beta-carotene and antioxidants.

“When the researchers turned their attention to diets, they discovered that eating less salt improved all-cause mortality rates in people with normal blood pressure. It also made cardiovascular-related deaths rarer among hypertensive people. But reducing sodium was the only diet that demonstrated any benefit. The other seven--which included eating less or different types of fat, adopting a Mediterranean diet and increasing fish-oil intake--had no effect.

Safi Khan said, "Reduced salt intake was associated with improving overall survival and cardiovascular mortality. This is something that can be backed up with logic because there is a sufficient amount of data, in various studies, that shows low salt intake basically improves hypertension, which directly influences cardiovascular outcome."



Kratom – Ketum - Mitragyna Speciosa

Kratom – Ketum - Mitragyna Speciosa

In a July 2019 study by Binghamton University, State University of New York suggest that, “…kratom is not reasonably safe and poses a public health threat due to its availability as an herbal supplement.” Professor William Eggleston said, “Although it is not as strong as some other prescription opioids, kratom does still act as an opioid in the body … In larger doses, it can cause slowed breathing and sedation, meaning that patients can develop the same toxicity they would if using another opioid product. It is also reported to cause seizures and liver toxicity. Kratom may have a role in treating pain and opioid use disorder, but more research is needed on its safety and efficacy. Our results suggest it should not be available as an herbal supplement."



By English Wikipedia user Ingenium, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Posture Impacts Taste

Posture Impacts Taste

In a June 2019 study by South Florida University it was found that, “holding a standing posture for even a few minutes prompts physical stress, muting taste buds. The force of gravity pushes blood to the lower parts of the body, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood back up to the top of the body, accelerating heart rate. This activates the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and leads to increased concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol. This chain reaction reduces sensory sensitivity, which impacts food and beverage taste evaluation, food temperature perception and overall consumption volume.”

Quorn Protein -v- Milk Protein


Quorn Protein -v- Milk Protein

A July 2019 study by the University of Exeter finds “mycoprotein, the protein-rich food source that is unique to Quorn products, stimulates post-exercise muscle building to a greater extent than milk protein.”

Professor Wall says, "These results are very encouraging when we consider the desire of some individuals to choose non-animal derived sources of protein to support muscle mass maintenance or adaptations with training … Our data show that mycoprotein can stimulate muscles to grow faster in the hours following exercise compared with a typical animal comparator protein (milk protein)."


Salt and Bloating

Salt and Bloating

Dr Noel Mueller of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in a June 2019 study found that, “Bloating is one of the leading gastrointestinal complaints …” and can be made worse by “…by a high-fiber diet; our results suggest that they might be able to reduce that bloating, without compromising on healthy fiber, by lowering their sodium intake."


Turmeric and Bone Cancer

Turmeric and Bone Cancer

A June 2019 study by Washington State University says that it has, “…developed a drug delivery system using curcumin, the main ingredient in the spice turmeric, that successfully inhibits bone cancer cells while promoting growth of healthy bone cells.”


Case Study: Crohn's Disease remission with Plant-based diet

Case Study: Crohn's Disease remission with Plant-based diet

Dr Hana Kahleova of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reports on a case study which suggests that, “Eating a plant-based diet may be an effective treatment for Crohn's disease … The patient decided to maintain the new dietary pattern--which was based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes--and experienced a complete remission of Crohn's disease ...[the study suggests that] food really is medicine."

Coffee and Obesity

Coffee and Obesity

A June 2019 study by the University of Nottingham has found that, “…drinking a cup of coffee can stimulate 'brown fat', [brown adipose tissue (BAT)],  the body's own fat-fighting defences, which could be the key to tackling obesity and diabetes.”

Professor Michael Symonds said:

"Brown fat works in a different way to other fat in your body and produces heat by burning sugar and fat, often in response to cold. Increasing its activity improves blood sugar control as well as improving blood lipid levels and the extra calories burnt help with weight loss. However, until now, no one has found an acceptable way to stimulate its activity in humans.

"This is the first study in humans to show that something like a cup of coffee can have a direct effect on our brown fat functions. The potential implications of our results are pretty big, as obesity is a major health concern for society and we also have a growing diabetes epidemic and brown fat could potentially be part of the solution in tackling them."

"From our previous work, we knew that brown fat is mainly located in the neck region, so we were able to image someone straight after they had a drink to see if the brown fat got hotter," said Professor Symonds.

"The results were positive and we now need to ascertain that caffeine as one of the ingredients in the coffee is acting as the stimulus or if there's another component helping with the activation of brown fat. We are currently looking at caffeine supplements to test whether the effect is similar.

Once we have confirmed which component is responsible for this, it could potentially be used as part of a weight management regime or as part of glucose regulation programme to help prevent diabetes."

Keeping strong by eating enough protein

Keeping strong by eating enough protein

A June 2019 study by the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital found that, “Adequate intake of protein [defined as at least 1.1 g per kg of body weight] is associated with a reduced risk of frailty and prefrailty in older women.” And, “…the consumption of animal protein was associated with a lower likelihood of frailty.”

“For someone weighting 70kg [this translates as] a minimum intake of 77 g of protein [and by way of illustration] the protein content of a chicken breast per portion is 25 g, one boiled egg is 6g, and two slices of whole grain bread is 6g.”

25% of adults over 50+ are Vitamin D deficient

25% of adults over 50+ are Vitamin D deficient

A June 2019 study by Trinity College Dublin found that, “Over a quarter of adults aged 50+ are deficient in vitamin D” and “Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in older adult populations living at Northern latitudes”

“Our study identified factors associated with vitamin D deficiency, including being aged 80+ years, obesity and sedentary lifestyles; all of which are increasing traits in western populations.” said Professor Maria O'Sullivan

Dr Niamh Aspell said, “Those who used a vitamin D supplement, were less likely to be vitamin D deficient as may be expected, but supplement use was low (4.4%) …”

Constipation - Qabz - Imsak-ul-Batan

Constipation - Qabz - Imsak-ul-Batan

Constipation, Qabz, Husr, Ehtebaas-al- batan, Eátaqaal-al- batan, Ehtabas-al- tabiya, Eátaqaal-al- tabiya  and Imsaak-ul- batan

The home of disease and the mother of disease

The Arabs of old said, “The stomach is the home of disease and restraint is the basis of the remedy.” There is also an old saying that “constipation is the mother of all diseases”. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few mouthfuls, to keep him going. If he must do that (fill his stomach), then let him fill one third with food, one third with drink and one third with air.”

The Cause of constipation

The National Health Portal India states that, “According to Unani Medicine, constipation (qabz) is caused by intake of less quantity of food, consumption of constipative and flatulent diets, decreased repulsive force or increased retensive force of intestine, weakened intestinal sensation and muscles, excessive absorption of chyme by the liver, decreased flow of secretions towards intestine and weakened heat of stomach and intestine…” and is a result of a “faulty lifestyle and wrong dietary pattern. Causes like untimely, unbalanced food habits, irregular sleeping habits, and low physical exercise are few of them. It is also mentioned that constipation is the mother of all diseases. It causes gastritis, piles, duodenal ulcer and severe abdominal pain.”

Diagnosing Constipation

 In June 2019 research by King's College London it was reported that

  1. The “public's perception of constipation differs drastically from that of doctors' and from the formal diagnosis guidelines.”

  2. “Currently prescription medication for constipation fails in nearly 60% of patients and almost half report not being satisfied with their treatment.”

  3. “Nearly one in three "healthy" patients were … clinically constipated but did not recognise it.

  4. “The study also highlighted six key symptom clusters which were commonly agreed upon across the study groups: abdominal discomfort, pain and bloating; rectal discomfort; infrequent bowel movements and hard stools; sensory dysfunction; flatulence and bloating; fecal incontinence.”



  • Drink more water.

  • Do more exercise.

  • Walk or do light exercise in the open air in the morning.

  • Take a hot bath on an empty stomach.

  • Eat radishes, turnips, peas, carrots, tomatoes, beetroot, sprouts, coriander, cabbage, and mint.

  • Eat avocados, guava, mangoes, oranges, papaya, and grapes.

  • Eat dried figs, almonds, apricots, and dates.

  • Drink apple-pear juice.

  • Eat stewed prunes, figs, and dates.

  • Chew food properly.

  • Drink more soup.

  • At the end of meal, eat watermelon, mangoes, and cucumber.

  • Eat honey and lentils.

  • Reduce bread, white flour, biscuits, preserves, sugar, cakes, pasta, pizzas, burgers, cookies.

  • Avoid fast foods, coffee and strong tea, fried foods, oily and junk foods.

  • Avoid boiled eggs, cheese and yoghurt.

  • Avoid spices, fats, and excessive salt. 

Checklist of Essential Minerals and Vitamins

Checklist of Essential Minerals and Vitamins




















Vitamin A

Vitamin D

Vitamin E

Vitamin K

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)


Vitamin B6

Vitamin B12

Pantothenic Acid

Folic Acid (Folate)


Vitamin C


Belching, Yawning and Gasping

Belching, Yawning and Gasping

According to Tibb, Chishti in "The Traditional Healers Handbook" says, “These are caused by excess gas. Use a purgative and correct digestion. Relief of gas can be had from ground anise in rose water or honey.”

Suyuti says of endive (Arabic: Hindiba) “The endive changes its temperament according to the season. In summer it is hot, in winter cold. Its powers fall to naught at the end of each season. It prevents both hot and cold diseases of the liver. It causes to disappear the flatulence produced by vinegar and by sugar. It is used in decoctions and in the syrup of dodder. A traditional saying is as follows: Eat endives and do not belch, for verily there is not one single day that drops of the water of Paradise do not fall upon them. So says Abu Nu’im.”