Balance September 2017 - 56

TWO OUT OF THREE

Traditional breakfast foods,
such as eggs and bagels, may
taste great, but would they
be better left until lunch?

fasting can help weight loss, stabilise blood sugar
levels, lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol
and protect against heart disease. This was the
basis of the highly popular 5:2 diet, where for two
days of the week you survived on a 'fast' of just 500
calories, but ate normally for the other five.
'There is a lot of evidence available now to show
fasting is extremely important to your health and
wellbeing,' says Max. 'Fasting allows the body to
burn fat for energy instead of being dependent on
the sugars it gets from food. But this is different
from the 5:2, because you can incorporate it into
your daily life. Eating 500 calories for two days
every week is not sustainable long-term.' The main
benefits of this way of eating, Max says, is you burn
fat, have more energy and feel less hungry without
going on an actual diet. 'If you eat by 8pm the
previous evening, skip breakfast and have lunch
at noon, it means you have stretched your normal
overnight fast to around 16 hours, at which point
it has started burning body fat,' he says. 'The longer
you are in the fasting state, the more you are likely
to see the benefits over time.'

THERE ARE A
LOT OF MYTHS
ABOUT THE
IMPACT OF
NOT HAVING
BREAKFAST.
ONE IS
THAT YOUR
METABOLISM
SLOWS DOWN.
RESEARCH
HAS SHOWN
THAT DURING
FASTING IT
CAN ACTUALLY
INCREASE BY
UP TO 12%

BREAK WITH TRADITION
Max believes as a nation we have been conditioned
to think we need to have breakfast every morning.
'The truth is we don't,' he says. 'There are a lot of
myths about the impact of not having breakfast.
One of them is that your metabolism slows down.
Research has shown that during fasting it can
actually increase by up to 12%.'
Unsurprisingly the eating plan has been met
with scepticism in some quarters. Nutritional
physiologist Rick Hay, author of The Anti Ageing
Food & Fitness Plan (£11.99, Clink Street Publishing)
says that while he acknowledges the evidencebased benefits of fasting, the idea of a two-meal
diet should be approached with caution.
'For most people, I would still advocate that
breakfast is important,' he says. 'If you have a

56

BA LA N CE September 2017

high-powered job or just a stressful life, as many
people do, not eating in the morning can cause a
drop in blood sugar and you can suffer mood
swings or a general lack of concentration.
'There's also a concern that if the body can't
get energy from food, it will get it from stress
hormones, which could increase levels of visceral
fat - the body fat stored around the abdominal
cavity, which includes the liver, pancreas and
intestines. This is associated with cardiovascular
disease and conditions like high blood pressure
and high cholesterol.' He also adds that people
who have fasted all morning could be tempted
to eat too much at lunchtime.
If so, says Rick, 'there is a danger they could end
up actually gaining weight. Often what we need is
more nutritional knowledge, not a new eating plan.'
Consultant dietitian Helen Bond is equally wary.
'While we know fasting is gathering momentum
in terms of research, there's a weight of evidence in
favour of having breakfast. It breaks your overnight
"fast" and gives you the energy and nutrients to help
throughout the morning. We should be having 20%
of our recommended calorie intake at breakfast.'
Helen adds there is stacked evidence to suggest
people who regularly eat breakfast are less likely to
have weight issues as they grow older, too.
'They tend to be slimmer or able to lose weight
in the long term and are more likely to have a
nutritionally balanced diet,' she says. 'Long term,
you can sustain your weight and weight loss better
if you have three meals a day."

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
While Max accepts there are some people who may
struggle with skipping breakfast initially, he says it
doesn't take long for the body to adjust.
'If you are concerned about low sugar levels,
then the change needs to happen gradually,' he
explains. 'First you start with three healthy meals
a day with absolutely no snacking in between.
Then, when you are comfortable with that, you
can push your first meal a little bit later each day
until you are eating at lunchtime.'
So should you ditch breakfast or not? The answer
may actually lie with 'intuitive eating', a concept
championed by nutritionist and life coach, Pandora
Symes (rootedlondon.com). 'If we eat intuitively,
many of us would probably skip breakfast a lot of
mornings anyway because we would wake up after
a heavy meal the night before, for example, and
recognise we're not really hungry,' she explains.
'It is ingrained in us that we eat three meals a
day which means many of us have lost our natural
intuition when it comes to food.
'What we need to be doing is listening to what our
body needs at different times, rather than following
specific diets or eating at assigned times, regardless
of whether we are hungry or not. That is really the
best way to have the healthiest relationship with
food and find the right balance.' B



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Balance September 2017

Balance September 2017 - 1
Balance September 2017 - 2
Balance September 2017 - 3
Balance September 2017 - 4
Balance September 2017 - 5
Balance September 2017 - 6
Balance September 2017 - 7
Balance September 2017 - 8
Balance September 2017 - 9
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