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  • Translator: Rhonda Jacobs Reviewer: Tanya Cushman

  • What if I told you that breakfast being the most important meal of the day

  • was wrong?

  • (Laughter)

  • What if I told you it is more important when you eat than what you eat?

  • Perhaps much of the nutritional dogma that we've been raised with

  • is now outdated,

  • like snacking all day long and eating many meals.

  • Over the next few minutes, I plan to discuss with you

  • what I believe to be the most profoundly transformational concept and strategy

  • as it pertains to health and aging.

  • Over the last 20 years,

  • as a nurse practitioner and a functional nutritionist,

  • I've seen tremendous shifts,

  • tremendous shifts in health and wellness:

  • escalating rates of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease -

  • many of which are preventable.

  • The choices we make in terms of nutrition are profoundly impactful on our health,

  • more than most of us realize.

  • During my training as a nurse practitioner

  • many years ago,

  • the dominant nutritional paradigm was exercise more, eat less.

  • I've found this to be profoundly ineffective

  • for most, if not all, of my female patients.

  • The concept of "calories-in, calories-out" alone is just not effective.

  • Many of the things that I work with, with my female patients

  • really focus on the connection between our lifestyle choices

  • and how that impacts healthy aging

  • and weight gain.

  • I do not believe, nor do I support, the limiting belief

  • that women have to accept weight gain as a normal function of aging.

  • The National Health and Nutrition Exam Survey,

  • which looks at data with regard to children and adults

  • in terms of their nutrition and escalating obesity rates,

  • compares what went on in the 1970s,

  • where most Americans consumed three meals a day

  • and no snacks;

  • fast forward to today,

  • most of what we are doing as Americans is eating three meals a day

  • and snacking all day long.

  • Really.

  • And so one of the things that starts to happen

  • when healthcare providers are telling our patients

  • that we need to eat all day long -

  • it's wrong.

  • Eating all day long overtaxes our pancreas and our digestive system.

  • It overtaxes it so much that it cannot work properly.

  • And if it cannot work properly, we cannot absorb our food

  • or the nutrients in that food.

  • Another really important distinction when it comes to meal frequency,

  • or how frequently we're eating,

  • is the debate over sugar burners versus fat burners.

  • And when we're talking about that,

  • a sugar burner is someone that consumes lots of carbohydrates

  • and taps into glucose as their primary fuel source,

  • which is incredibly inefficient.

  • If you recognize these individuals:

  • They are frequently hungry.

  • They often get hangry.

  • They have - yes - significant dips in their energy level.

  • They struggle more with fat loss, and they struggle more with their weight

  • because insulin levels are high.

  • Insulin is that fat-storing hormone.

  • So if levels remain high, we have more oxidative stress;

  • we have more inflammation;

  • and we struggle more with weight gain.

  • In sharp contrast to this are fat burners.

  • They tap into fat stores for energy;

  • they have sustained energy;

  • they are much more clear cognitively;

  • they don't get hangry;

  • it's easier for them to lose weight

  • because they tap into those fat stores;

  • they sleep better; and they age more slowly.

  • So meal timing and how frequently we are eating - it's absolutely crucial.

  • Absolutely crucial.

  • Let's talk about some statistics as they pertain to women

  • and healthy aging.

  • So we know two-thirds of women 40-50 years of age are overweight,

  • and more than half are obese.

  • How do we proactively address this statistic

  • without quick fixes?

  • It makes me want to cry

  • when my female patients would prefer I write them a prescription

  • than work on changing their diet,

  • more exercise,

  • other lifestyle changes.

  • Women in their 50s and 60s gain an average of 1.5 pounds per year.

  • Per year. That's average.

  • And some of this is attributable to things like hormonal fluctuations,

  • women having less lean muscle mass than their male counterparts,

  • sleep disturbances and mood disorders.

  • However, there are strategies we can use to help offset this.

  • So folks, I want you to save your money

  • on potions and powders and supplements that are not long-term solutions.

  • I've got a better idea.

  • And I'm going to tell you about it.

  • I've got a better idea.

  • There are lots of strategies that I use with my female patients,

  • but none more powerful than intermittent fasting.

  • Intermittent fasting can help fuel fat loss

  • as well as many other benefits that I'll talk more about in a second.

  • But it also can improve interpersonal relationships

  • and self-esteem.

  • And for many women, this permits them -

  • it's the magic bullet that allows them to gain back their former selves.

  • Really powerful.

  • And the really cool thing about intermittent fasting

  • is it's free,

  • it's flexible and it's simple.

  • You take nothing else away.

  • Free. Flexible. Simple.

  • So let's talk about intermittent fasting.

  • It is the absence of food during a prescribed time period.

  • You exist either in a fed or a fasted state.

  • I'm sure for many of you, you had breakfast this morning.

  • So when you eat, insulin is secreted by the pancreas

  • to move sugar into the cells.

  • We store the bulk of our sugar in our liver and our skeletal muscle.

  • But when we exceed those storage sites,

  • we store it as fat.

  • When we're fasted, insulin levels are low

  • and we can tap into fat stores for energy.

  • Free. Flexible. Simple.

  • And so, when we're talking about intermittent fasting, it's fairly simple.

  • If you skip breakfast -

  • If you skip breakfast in the morning,

  • you can reduce your caloric intake by 20 to 40 percent.

  • And the typical time frame that I recommend to my female patients

  • is a 16:8.

  • Sixteen hours a day fasted with an eight-hour feeding window.

  • I know that seems a little overwhelming at first,

  • but I'll give you some strategies for how you go about doing that.

  • So, the 20-40 percent reduction in calories

  • means that you can fuel fat loss.

  • So what are some of the benefits other than fat loss -

  • fat loss and especially visceral fat around our abdomens,

  • around our major organs?

  • We know that it improves mental clarity because insulin levels are low.

  • We know that it spikes human growth hormone,

  • which helps us with lean muscle mass.

  • We know that it induces something called autophagy -

  • I will speak more about this in a second.

  • But this is spring cleaning for the cells.

  • It is only evoked when we are fasted.

  • Autophagy.

  • We know that it lowers insulin levels,

  • blood pressure,

  • improves our cholesterol profile.

  • And we know that it can reduce your risk for developing cancer

  • and Alzheimer's disease, which I like to call type 3 diabetes.

  • If, for no other reason, we want to protect our brains.

  • As wonderful a strategy as this is, it is not for everyone.

  • I'm going to talk briefly

  • about the individuals that want to avoid this strategy.

  • First and foremost, if you are a brittle diabetic,

  • or you have difficult-to-control diabetes;

  • if you are a child, an adolescent or age greater than 70 -

  • might not be the best strategy;

  • if you are pregnant;

  • if you have chronic heart issues, kidney or renal issues -

  • not the best strategy.

  • If you have a history of a disordered relationship with food,

  • whether it is anorexia, bulimia or binge eating -

  • might not be the best strategy because it can invoke those tendencies.

  • And last but not least, if you have a low body mass index,

  • you're frail

  • or you've recently been in the hospital like I was for 13 days.

  • I'm not currently intermittent fasting.

  • Now, everyone always asks,

  • Well, when you're fasting, we know we're not eating food,

  • but you can absolutely consume things like filtered water, plain coffee or tea.

  • They will not break your fast.

  • But when you're ready to eat, what do you eat?

  • Now, I would be remiss if I did not mention that there are foods

  • that are going to be more advantageous for you to consume

  • when you're ready to break your fast.

  • So I want you to focus on real whole foods.

  • That's what your body needs, wants and deserves.

  • So I want you to purchase the best quality protein that your budget permits.

  • Ideally, organic or pastured meat, wild-caught fish.

  • Healthy fats - so crucial -

  • helpful for building healthy hormones

  • and also really important for satiety - making sure our taste buds light up,

  • make us happy.

  • I'm not part of the anti-fat brigade.

  • Really, really important.

  • Twenty years ago, I might have told you not to eat fat,

  • but now we know better.

  • So I want you to focus on things like avocados,

  • coconut oil, grass-fed butter and nuts - really great, healthy fats.

  • Unprocessed carbohydrates.

  • Ladies, absolutely crucial,

  • if you're in perimenopause, the five to seven years before menopause,

  • or you're in menopause,

  • quality and quantity are crucial.

  • So I want you to consume things like low-glycemic berries,

  • green leafy vegetables, squash, quinoa, sweet potatoes

  • as opposed to bread and pasta.

  • Cautionary tale: I want you to limit sugar and alcohol.

  • By that I mean, I want you to not consume those things

  • because they can offset all the good that you're doing.

  • And lastly, keep yourself well hydrated.

  • Now, I want to make sure

  • that I briefly touch on some of the practical implications

  • for how you would go about starting intermittent fasting.

  • Generally, I have my ladies start with 12-13 hours of fasted period.

  • And they can slowly increase by an hour or so every day

  • until they've reached that 16 hour mark.

  • Again, you want to keep yourself really well hydrated.

  • You can also have plain coffee or tea.

  • In addition to that, you want to ensure that you give it a solid 30 days

  • before you determine if it's the right strategy for you.

  • And if you have chronic health conditions,

  • I want to make sure you discuss it with your healthcare provider.

  • Really important.

  • And recognize it may take six to eight weeks

  • to really see the full benefits of what you're doing.

  • The biggest pain point for my female patients is weight gain.

  • I have a fantastic strategy to help with this,

  • but I don't want you to buy into the next $50 container of protein powder

  • or the hottest weight loss supplement that's out there.

  • I want you to think about the fact this is a simple, flexible and free option

  • that you can try at home,

  • discuss with your healthcare provider if necessary.

  • I really feel so passionately about this

  • because it's something that all of us should be discussing with our patients.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

Translator: Rhonda Jacobs Reviewer: Tanya Cushman

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Intermittent Fasting: Transformational Technique | Cynthia Thurlow | TEDxGreenville

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