A recent hot ticket to better health – in millennialese, this idea is “trending” – is what’s being called intermittent fasting, either by taking a day or two off eating altogether (the really mishugane claim to do this for 72 hours, even longer, although who would ever know if they were cheating), or to eat during only a limited number of hours a day, say from 10 AM to 5 PM (which is not exactly fasting but does mean eating less over a lot less time).
And full disclosure: I do the latter by often skipping breakfast (except for coffee, of course, which really doesn’t count as eating) and (as is true for all old people), eating dinner around 5:30.
Why do I do that?
Because eating later than 6 or 7 always means feeling guilty about eating too many things I should not have eaten, like tubs of ice cream or cookies, and often both.
So I limit my eating hours simply to lower my “bad calorie” intake for the day, but according to many recent studies, that pattern of eating may improve my health for other reasons than simply keeping my weight down at this still-somewhat- too-much level.
The latest testament to the benefit of eating over fewer hours (either fasting for 24 hours or eating over only 8 hours/day) is a study presented at the recent meeting of the American Heart Association which found that in cardiac catheterization patients, fasting seemed to reduce the risk of heart failure and death compared to people who ate as usual.
Is this kind of eating pattern, excuse me, I mean eating trend, something that everyone should try?
Absolutely not – there are all sorts of conditions for which fasting is likely not beneficial and may even be harmful.
However, all being equal, it’s just common sense that our early relatives survived best by eating only during hours when it was a bit safer to venture out of their caves, and although we live in different kinds of caves now, it would still benefit most of us to limit the hours during which we eat and drink.