Southlake, TX | Intermittent Fasting | Integrative Pain and Wellness

Learn how intermittent fasting can help you decrease inflammation, lower your blood pressure, lower your blood sugar, and decrease hunger.


Dr. Matthew Barker: Hi, this is Dr. Barker with Mobile Osteopathy. Today, I'm going to be talking to you about intermittent fasting. What is intermittent fasting? You've probably heard the term thrown around. The other term that I like to describe it with is called timed eating or time fasting. The gist of the diet is that you eat all of your food for the day during a certain specified time period. And that could be four hours, six hours or eight hours. And then the remainder of the day you are eating nothing and just drinking water. There's a lot of health benefits to this, and it's really not that hard to do once you get going.

Dr. Matthew Barker: I just came across a great article. It just came out in the June 2018 issue of Cell Metabolism. It was put out by the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and the title of the article is "Early time restricted feeding improves insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, and oxidative stress, even without weight loss in men with prediabetes." So the reason why this article is so interesting is because typically when you're eating less hours of the day means you're eating less food and less calories. And so you're typically going to lose some weight. And so the benefits of intermittent fasting are well documented, but this article aimed to prove that there were benefits beyond eating less calories and losing weight.

Dr. Matthew Barker: And so in this particular article, they took two groups and all the men participating were all pre-diabetic. And in the intermittent fasting group, they ate during a six hour period and the non-intermittent fasting group, the control group, they ate same exact food. And so typically three meals and some snacks. They had the same exact meal calendar and beverages that they were drinking. And in the non-intermittent fasting, they ate that over a 12 hour period. So they had the exact same calorie intake and their weight stayed pretty neutral throughout the five weeks. And then they actually had each group switch. And so the group that started out doing the intermittent fasting, then moved into the traditional diet or the 12 hour eating period. And the group that was doing the traditional diet switched to the intermittent fasting.

Dr. Matthew Barker: In this particular trial, they did the six hours early on in the day. So the participants were starting with breakfast and then finishing right around lunchtime or a little bit after lunchtime. The findings of this article found that their weight stayed relatively neutral. It wasn't a significant change between the intermittent fasting and the regular diet group, but what they did find that the intermittent fasting group, they had better glucose control in their bloodstream, their insulin sensitivity was actually better. The beta cells in their pancreas, which is responsible for creating insulin actually function better. They had less oxidative stress in their body and their blood pressure control was better.

Dr. Matthew Barker: Now, this trial was actually interesting. The most difficult thing for the participants was actually trying to eat that much food in a six hour period. And so typically when you're doing the intermittent fasting, you're eating two meals and maybe one snack over a much less time period than you would typically eat three meals and one or two snacks in a day. So it's a good article. One limitation is the number of participants was kind of low, but I did like that they took each group and had them do the intermittent fasting for five weeks and then switched them to the regular diet for five weeks. Overall, some very compelling evidence to try out the intermittent fasting.

Dr. Matthew Barker: But what I suggest to my patients and to others is not really to go by what an article says, but just try it out, see how you feel. I've been doing the intermittent fasting for four to five months now, and I follow an eight hour eating plan. So I start eating in the morning and then somewhere between six and eight hours is typically when I'm done eating for the day and then nothing but water after that. And actually, I feel great. I've lost about 19 pounds. I have less inflammation and less gut complaints, like less bloating or reflux, GERD symptoms. And then I also have less inflammation in my joints I've even noticed.

Dr. Matthew Barker: Prior to starting the intermittent fasting, some days I was waking up with a little bit of swelling in my hands and some achiness, and I haven't had any of that since I've been doing the intermittent fasting diet. I started out doing seven days a week and I was eating breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday, and then transitioning to-