Fasting quiz

Fasting quiz

July 8, 2020

If you’ve heard a lot about “intermittent fasting” recently, you’re probably wondering what’s so popular about the latest dieting trend. There was Atkins and South Beach, then came keto and paleo—so how’s this one different?

Well, intermittent fasting isn’t so much a “diet” because there aren’t restrictions on what you can eat. Fasting is more a pattern of eating that uses hard-and-fast rules to guide when you eat for weight loss or control. While there are various routes to take like alternate-day fasting and periodic fasting, where you skip food for a day (or days) or randomly through the month, basic daily fasting is a popular option. See how much you know about how this time-focused eating works—and how it may affect your health.

1. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day if you’re trying to lose weight.

Answer: B—false. All meals of the day are important—no matter when you eat them. Clinical trials have shown that eating a meal upon waking does not cause weight loss,* especially if that meal consists of juice and a bowl of sugary cereal! No matter what time of day you enjoy your first meal, prepare one that includes whole grains; a fruit or vegetable; lean protein like eggs, nuts or low-fat dairy products; and a healthy fat. Limiting junk foods and portion control are key contributors to weight loss.


2. Daily intermittent fasting typically means eating all your calories in which set time frame?

Answer: C—8 hours. The most basic form of fasting suggests a 16-to-8 ratio: skip food overnight for 16 hours, and eat over the span of 8 hours in your day. The hours you choose are flexible: some people eat between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and fast until 10 a.m. the next morning, while others may choose 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. depending on their hunger cycle and schedule. If your body agrees, you can also fast for longer, further condensing your eating hours.

The key is setting a large enough fasting window to allow blood sugar and insulin levels to decrease. Then the body will use its fat stores to produce your energy.

3. Does fasting allow drinking during food-free time?

Answer: A—yes. It’s very important for people who follow a fasting schedule to stay hydrated. BUT—yes, this is a big BUT—it has to be the right kind of liquids: only calorie-free drinks like water, unsweetened tea and coffee. Alcohol, juice or an occasional latte can be enjoyed in moderation during the 8-hour eating window, but it’s best to avoid soda and sugary drinks in general. For weight loss and good health, keep the water flowing!

4. What are the possible side effects from fasting?

Answer: D—all of the above. For anyone who’s felt “hangry”—that’s anger or upset brought on by hunger—you definitely chose “D!” It’s true, skipping meals or snacks can lead to feelings of weakness or tiredness, but usually only in the beginning stages of fasting before the brain and body adapt. Some people also experience excessive fullness or heartburn if they tend to overeat during their food window. Black coffee can help with cognitive challenges, while mindfulness meditation is useful for relaxation and balance during both daily fasting and eating time periods. Drink plenty of water to feel more full, and skip watching the TV, which tends to bombard viewers with images of food.

5. Wile intermittent fasting is a suitable strategy for someone with obesity, it is not ideal for which candidate?

Answer: E—all of the above. While many believers of fasting tout its benefits—including its role in disease prevention**—there is currently little evidence to support the practice: Study findings are sometimes contradictory and inconclusive. Plus, the plan isn’t right for everyone. We simply don’t know all of the implications of short-term calorie restriction, especially for patients who have handled mental health difficulties in the past. Pregnant and breastfeeding women actually require a steady flow of nutrition through the day, so should not restrict their eating times drastically. And the National Institute on Aging has concluded that there isn’t enough evidence to recommend any fasting diet, especially for older adults.***


Before starting any new eating plan, always discuss your intentions and current condition with one of our U.S. board-certified physicians—especially if you have any concerns or underlying health conditions. Our registered nutritionists can also help with dietary goal-setting and creating healthy meal plans. Our experts can discuss options for losing weight, burning fat and building muscle for healthier well-being. Connect with Teladoc anytime, any day, from the comfort of home, for 24/7 support—including all your dietary questions answered.

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