May 16, 2016

If you’ve been battling with stubborn fat, you have probably heard of CoolSculpting, a fat-freezing procedure performed in laser clinics in Singapore and worldwide. CoolSculpting clinics employ very low temperatures to selectively target fat cells without harming surrounding tissues. Fat is reduced by the body using natural mechanisms, and the result is a slimmer area that can be maintained with regular exercise and judicious diet.

Fitness TimeBut if you want a revolutionary kind of diet, you may want to consider intermittent fasting (IF).

We are repeatedly told not to skip meals, and yet, a new trend of intermittent fasting is gaining ground. Supporters of the idea report that by restricting calories every now and then, they feel more energized, burn fat faster, recover better from exercise, and retain lean muscle mass. With the epidemic of obesity (a look at the rise of aesthetic laser clinic suggests this is so), it may pay to rethink our relationship with food.

Skipping meals flies in the face of the prevailing wisdom about stabilizing your blood sugar levels: You need to eat controlled portions of food in regular intervals of three to four hours. But if the evolutionary reason behind intermittent fasting is to be believed, restricting calories during alternative days may do your health more good than harm.  For those who have been overweight all their lives, this is a tall order. This is one of the reasons why aesthetic clinics in Singapore and around the world are seeing a rise in the number of CoolSculpting patients. The procedure is painless, non-invasive and can be performed in an office setting with no downtime. Who can resist that?

 Going Back to Hunter-Gatherer Lifestyle

Going back to our earliest days, we were hunter-gatherers. There was no constant drip of refined, high-sugar, high-carbohydrate food that we all now enjoy courtesy of ubiquitous fast food chains. The only constant back then was a threat of famine, and our bodies adapted in such a way that it can survive both feast and famine. We gorged when food was plentiful; we made do when food was nowhere to be found. It is this adaptation that explains why our body latches on to sugars whenever it can, and does not easily let go of stored fat no matter what.

It is this kind of fat that CoolSculpting targets. There bound to be areas of concern in our body that exercise won’t be able to blast. In medical clinic in Singapore, patients see remarkable improvements once these problem areas – flanks, love handles, muffin tops, outer and inner thighs, jiggly arms and even double chins – go under the cold.

Could Skipping Breakfast Be Good for You?

Intermittent fasting (IF) builds on this hunter-gatherer cycle of feast and famine. Our Paleolithic ancestors didn’t have coffee and bagels for breakfast, so IF proponents say that we can skip what is supposed to be the most important meal of the day and still feel energized when lunch time rolls around. There’s mounting evidence that IF may indeed confer more health benefits than harm. It’s long been established that caloric restriction among the elderly contributes to better health and even longevity. Laboratory experiments have shown that drastically cutting food intake have doubled longevity in worms, flies and rodents. A 20-year study on rhesus monkeys (a close relative of humans) found that calorie restriction fortified their bodies against cancer, heart disease and cognitive decline brought about by old age.

Prevention Against Cancer and Cognitive Decline?

Intermittent fasting is thought to challenge our brains in a way that exercising muscles stimulate our brains. When the brain is faced with energy restriction, neural activity triggers a process that protects the brain from age-related and stroke-induced degeneration. IF also appears to be detrimental to the growth of cancer cells: During a fast, glucose, which fuels both healthy and cancer cells, disappears from the bloodstream. While healthy cells go into protective mode, cancerous cells continue their course of growth. Without glucose, cancerous cells die while normal cells are safe in their places.

Of course, intermittent fasting does not work for everyone. You need to consult with your doctor before you do any diet programs such as IF. If your doctor gives you the green light and IF fits well with your overall health strategies, it may be worth giving it a try. But if your stubborn fat remains stubborn after all your IF attempts, there is always CoolSculpting to fall back on.