Why I Unpublished My Book

For those who do not know, I use to run a nutrition and health website called Scientific Nutrition. While running this site, I came across intermittent fasting and in reviewing the literature, I thought it was a potentially useful behavioral trick for weight loss. However, I also found a variety of people making entirely nonsensical claims about intermittent fasting. They believed it cured cancer, diabetes, and overall was the solution to greater health. I wrote a book called The Optimized Guide to Intermittent Fasting that was meant to look at a healthy framework for using intermittent fasting for weight loss, combined with scientifically rooted myth busting surrounding claims others had made. I recently chose to unpublish this book and I would like to publicly discuss the reasons.

I always had a fear surrounding intermittent fasting that it looked a lot like disordered eating, but convinced myself that this is true for many diets, and allowed myself to go forward writing about it. However, as I have spent more time reviewing recent literature, and reflecting on my own eating patterns I felt compelled to remove it.

First, let’s address some of the recent literature that has been published and how that factored into my thought process. A recent five year prospective study on Bulimia Nervosa identified intermittent fasting as a strong risk factor for the development of bulimia. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2850570/) Furthermore, it suggested that intermittent fasting is a much better predictor of development than assignment to a weight loss diet. There is also generally a pattern in the pscyhology research that suggests that using any unhealthy or excessively strained eating pattern can correlate with later development of bulimia and binge eating disorder. This is consistent with my own experience.

I have for much of my life struggled with a nearly compulsive need to eat, and have often felt out of control while I am eating. Starting about a year and a half ago I shared this fact with my primary care provider, and have started receiving treatment for it. However, in the past it has been a problem that has repeatedly dogged me. It was always a source of great shame, and as such I was an expert in hiding my eating. If you occasionally grab some things out of the pantry, and eat less at the meals, then people might not notice. If you grab a Wendy’s Dave’s Double combo and eat it before you get home then no one has to know. If you eat this candy bar from the grocery store before you get back then no one will see it. These narratives had always been present in my head, and had influenced my relationship with my body, my weight, and my confidence.

There were periods where these feelings of shame surrounding my eating were nearly overwhelming. I remember several times in college where I would be kneeling over the toilet bowl, hoping I would be able to purge, because if I did then maybe I would not feel so wrong. I never did, and I am grateful for that fact, but in considering my own behaviors and the things I have written I have come to the conclusion that I can no longer endorse my own work.

The fundamental problem with intermittent fasting is that it represents the same thought pattern as certain types of disordered eating. Namely, that you can eat and consume and do all of that to your limit, so long as you follow this other procedure. It seems to serve much of the same purpose for many people as purging does.

Eating disorders are some of the mostly deadly mental illnesses, and lead to badly damaged health across a variety of measures, not to mention the difficulty inherent in living with them. As such, I have unpublished my book, will be removing any older podcast episodes discussing intermittent fasting, and adding a disclaimer to any older articles that will link back to this article. This may take me some time, so please be patient, but it is happening.

I am writing this article, because I have strongly publicly advocated for some of these techniques, and as such now that I no longer believe them I feel that you deserve to know that. I do still believe that intermittent fasting can be effective for some people, but I worry that the people advocating it for broadly or as a panacea may be unintentionally contributing to health problems, and I regret strongly that I did the same.

To subscribe to my newsletter: https://bennettftomlin.substack.com/

Cancer Fasting: Could Fasting Prevent Cancer

Cancer Fasting

Cancer Fasting

UPDATE: I NO LONGER ENDORSE INTERMITTENT FASTING AS A WEIGHT LOSS TECHNIQUE.  PLEASE SEE HERE.

Introduction to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting and Weight Loss

Intermittent Fasting and Diabetes

Intermittent Fasting and Cardiovascular Health

Intermittent Fasting and the Brain

We have already done a good job of analyzing many of the potential health and physiological effects of intermittent fasting, but what we have yet to address is whether or not it may have any effect on what may be the scariest disease of them all, cancer.  Even with the advancements in care, cancer is still a terrifying and often confusing disease, however it is possible that intermittent fasting may have beneficial effects. Continue reading “Cancer Fasting: Could Fasting Prevent Cancer”

The Intermittent Fasting Brain

Intermittent fasting brain
Could intermittent fasting benefit the brain?

UPDATE: I NO LONGER ENDORSE INTERMITTENT FASTING AS A WEIGHT LOSS TECHNIQUE.  PLEASE SEE HERE.

An Introduction to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting and Weight Loss

Intermittent Fasting and Diabetes

Intermittent Fasting and Cardiovascular Health

We have already shown some of the interesting features of intermittent fasting.  However, we are now trying to assess whether or not it may be beneficial for the long term health of your brain.  Whether or not there may be a special fasting brain.  With the incredible prevalence and destructive ability of neurodegenerative diseases it is important to look for methods and techniques that can promise an improved long term mental health deserves consideration.  The problem with any potential fasting brain is that it is hard to test in humans due to the length of study that would be necessary.  So we are going to need to look at studies done on other mammals, always remember these are not a perfect analogue, but still could give us a useful view into the fasting brain. Continue reading “The Intermittent Fasting Brain”

Intermittent Fasting and Diabetes: Can IF improve insulin sensitivity?

Glukometr_OT

UPDATE: I NO LONGER ENDORSE INTERMITTENT FASTING AS A WEIGHT LOSS TECHNIQUE.  PLEASE SEE HERE.

An Introduction to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting as a Strategy for Weight-Loss

Type 2 Diabetes is an incredibly damaging disease that causes a huge amount of damage to both life and to our national healthcare expenses.  Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.  It has annual costs of $245,000,000,000.  This is a huge problem for our nation and for 29.1 million people.  There was early on some evidence in rats and mice that intermittent fasting could help with insulin sensitivity and potentially with diabetes, and the question is whether or not that same effect is seen in humans. Continue reading “Intermittent Fasting and Diabetes: Can IF improve insulin sensitivity?”

Intermittent Fasting as a Strategy for Weight Loss

Vandalized_sign_-_Stop_Eating_in_Denton,_Texas
Image Courtesy of Rich Anderson

UPDATE: I NO LONGER ENDORSE INTERMITTENT FASTING AS A WEIGHT LOSS TECHNIQUE.  PLEASE SEE HERE.

There is a lot of debate about the potential health benefits of intermittent fasting.  There is a certain group of people who have become extraordinarily passionate about this technique and now believe it to be an almost universal cure-all.  With one of their most oft-cited claims being that intermittent fasting has special benefits for weight loss.   I have previously addressed intermittent fasting here and here. Continue reading “Intermittent Fasting as a Strategy for Weight Loss”

An Introduction to Intermittent Fasting

Vandalized_sign_-_Stop_Eating_in_Denton,_Texas.jpg
Image Courtesy of Rich Anderson

UPDATE: I NO LONGER ENDORSE INTERMITTENT FASTING AS A WEIGHT LOSS TECHNIQUE.  PLEASE SEE HERE.

So like I mentioned I have recommitted myself to losing weight and this has included doing some new research into diet techniques.  One that I found really interesting was Intermittent Fasting.  The concept behind intermittent fasting is really quite simple.  At it’s core it is simply alternating periods of fast (no eating) with periods of eating.  However it has been shown to have some truly interesting health effects.

Continue reading “An Introduction to Intermittent Fasting”