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7 Intermittent Fasting Benefits That Aren’t Weight Loss

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Most people try fasting with one goal in mind: losing weight.

But science has also discovered health benefits linked to whole-day, alternate-day, and time-restricted fasting, says Carolyn Williams, Ph.D., the registered dietitian that helped develop the new book The Men’s Health Guide to Intermittent Fasting.

Scientists speculate that the benefits of short-term fasts may come from the structured break they provide to around-the-clock eating.

“Even if you don’t change the content of your diet, by controlling the time period in which your calories are consumed, you give your body a pause from a constant onslaught food,” says Williams.

Maybe you’re skeptical. But Williams says that, at first, she was too.

The Men’s Health Guide to Intermittent Fasting

She studied the research. She looked at the data. She even tried a time-restricted fast herself. “I expected the fast to affect my blood sugar because I’m prone to low blood sugar and I know how I get without eating,” Williams says.

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But Williams says she was surprised to find that she had no trouble going 16 hours without eating. Her method: She stopped eating after dinner and fasted from 7 p.m. to 11 a.m., following the popular 16:8 intermittent fasting pattern, which leaves an 8-hour-long window for eating.

“I find I’m really not hungry; in fact, sometimes I have to remind myself to eat lunch,” Williams says.

While more research is needed to determine if fasting is effective for long-term dieting, there’s no debate that it works in the short-term.

By refraining from eating for at least 12 hours (ideally 16), your body starts burning through glucose and can begin tapping fat for fuel, explains Williams. Studies show that you can expect to lose between 3 and 8 percent of your bodyweight in as few as three weeks.

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Compared to calorie-restriction diets, intermittent fasting tends to trigger more belly fat loss, the research suggests. Anecdotally, Williams says she senses greater energy and improved clarity of thought.

Here are some other potential upsides of intermittent fasting, each supported by research.

Intermittent fasting may help maintain muscle.

Whenever you restrict calories and lose weight, some of that weight comes from a reduction in muscle mass. That goes for intermittent fasts as well as traditional calorie-restriction diets.

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However, at least one study conducted by the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois suggests that intermittent fasting may be more effective for retaining muscle mass.

The study compared overweight and obese adults who followed a calorie restriction diet with similar-weight subjects who restricted calories through intermittent fasting. After 12 weeks, the researchers found both diets to be equally effective in trimming body weight and fat mass, but less muscle was lost by the group that fasted.

Intermittent fasting may target belly fat.

      Overweight people who could choose any 10-hour timeframe to eat as long as they refrained from eating the other 14 hours of the day saw a reduction in waist circumference and visceral abdominal fat after 12 weeks, according to a report in the journal Cell Metabolism.

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      Intermittent fasting may reduce diabetes risk.

      The study in Cell Metabolism referenced above also demonstrated the potential of intermittent fasting to reduce risk of metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

      All the participants in the study were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health conditions—including high blood sugar, excess abdominal fat, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol or triglycerides levels—that occurring together boost the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

      After 12 weeks, every participant experienced improvement in all of the common markers of metabolic syndrome.

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      A similar study in the journal Translational Research found that alternate-day fasting, in which participants restricted calories by 75 percent on a “fast day,” followed by a “feed day” without calorie restriction, resulted in clinically significant reductions in blood sugar and insulin resistance.

      Intermittent fasting may lower high blood pressure.

          A study published in Nutrition and Healthy Aging demonstrated that participants who practiced 16:8 intermittent fasting without calorie counting significantly reduced their systolic blood pressure compared to a control group after 12 weeks.

          Intermittent fasting could fight inflammation.

              Inflammation is your body’s natural way of fighting off infection, illness, and injury. But there’s another type of inflammation, a chronic inflammation that can silently trigger heart disease and diabetes.

              Smoking, mental stress, and a regular diet of fatty, fried, or sugary foods are common causes. Several studies have shown that intermittent fasting may induce an anti-inflammatory effect that reduces risk of those metabolic diseases—and even improve pulmonary function in people with asthma.

              Oven detail

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              What’s more, a reduction in inflammation due to short-term fasting appears to protect the brain from memory disorders and depression, according to a study in Obesity.

              Intermittent fasting may reduce oxidative stress.

                  Even when you don’t lose weight while on an intermittent fasting routine, your cells may benefit from extra protection, according to a study in Cell Metabolism.

                  The study assigned men with prediabetes to either a 6-hour early eating period, where they could eat only from 8 a.m. until dinner before 2 p.m., fasting the rest of the day, or a 12-hour feeding period.

                  At the end of five weeks, the researchers found that the men on the early time- restricted fast improved blood pressure and insulin sensitivity (as expected), but also improved resistance to oxidative stress, where unstable molecules called free radicals can damage proteins and DNA.

                  Intermittent fasting may help you live longer.

                  Rodent studies suggest that intermittent fasting, which is much easier to maintain than extreme calorie cutting, may boost lifespan, too. In one study comparing rats who were given unrestricted access to food to rats who were fed every other day, the rats who fasted lived 83 percent longer than those who gorged themselves.

                  For a quick primer on how to start a health-boosting fast yourself, plus dozens of delicious recipes for brunch, dinner, and even Keto-diet-friendly meals, check out The Men’s Health Guide to Intermittent Fasting here.

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          11 Best Sports Podcasts For Fans of Baseball, Football, More 2020

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          Sports talk still exists in a big way—turn on ESPN at any hour of the day, and you’ll most likely see someone yelling something about some big play, or big controversy within the wide world of sports. If you hop in the car and turn on the radio, chances are you’ll find a sports talk show before too much time passes. But in 2020, more than ever, the sports talk landscape has expanded beyond these two traditional medias and into podcasting, a format that allows significantly more freedom and a significantly more flexible structure.

          Below, we’ve done the work of gathering 11 of the very best podcasts of the moment, focusing on different aspects of the sports you can’t get enough of. Whether it’s gripping stories, useful advice, or just listening to some fans talking shop, each of these podcasts has a specific purpose, and fills it admirably.

          ESPN Daily

          espn daily podcast

          ESPN

          In the world of news, The Daily (from The New York Times) has been a bonafide smash, a podcast that comes out Monday through Friday morning and dives in-depth into the biggest story of the day. It’s been such a success, in fact, that ESPN decided to give the same idea a shot in the sports world. Hosted by one of the network’s best personalities in Mina Kimes (she both writes and appears on-air for ESPN, in addition to hosting her own podcast and being a top-tier Tweeter), The ESPN Daily Podcast has access to the network’s best talent when covering the sports world’s biggest stories.

          A recent edition of ESPN Daily, for example, features Kimes talking about Alex Cora, the now-former Red Sox manager who lost his job due to his role in the uncovered Houston Astros cheating scandal. Where many sports podcasts might just talk about this story, ESPN Daily has access to ESPN’s Buster Olney, a super plugged-in MLB insider. The perspective here is unparalleled, making it a quick hit and a must for the sports fan

          Listen to ESPN Daily

          The Bill Simmons Podcast

          the bill simmons podcast

          The Ringer

          I’m going to tell you all about The Bill Simmons Podcast, but first…our friends…. from Pearl Jam.

          Sorry, I had to. As anyone who’s ever listened to the podcast hosted by the former ESPN personality-turned-founder of The Ringer could tell you, the inside contents of an episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast can vary greatly, but the show is always going to begin and end with a pair of very familiar Pearl Jam riffs. Whether it’s sitting down with top-tier athletes like Kevin Durant, or talking shop with sports-loving superstars like Ethan Hawke or Matt Damon, Simmons usually tends to land amazing guests. But the best episodes of the show are often when people drop everything else and just talk sports, like you do with your buddy down at the bar. Simmons (who at one point wrote for Jimmy Kimmel Live!) often talks sports and gambling with Kimmel’s Cousin Sal, a combo that’s not only informative, but super funny. Most importantly, though, Simmons and his guests just love sports, and you feel that in every episode. As a Knicks fan, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the emergency Simmons podcast last winter after Kristaps Porzingis was traded. Dark times!

          Listen to The Bill Simmons Podcast

          Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc

          Gladiator aaron hernandez podcast

          The Boston Globe/Wondery

          Did you listen to Serial? Or maybe S-town? Are you watching Netflix’s new documentary Killer Inside? Well, the Spotlight team from The Boston Globe (yes, the real-life version of the team that you saw expose the atrocities of the catholic church in Best Picture winner Spotlight)joined forces with podcast production company Wondery to produce Gladiator, which, in a way, combines all of those things.

          The addictive, true-crime storytelling style of Serial combines with the tragic story of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez, who went from signing a 40-million dollar contract to convicted murdered to dead by suicide over the course of just a few years. This eight-part story tells it all, complete with more details than you could’ve possibly imagined. Even if you thought you knew the whole story, you probably don’t.

          Listen to Gladiator from The Boston Globe

          Fantasy Focus Football

          fantasy focus football matthew berry field yates

          ESPN

          For those of you (all of you) who play Fantasy Football, ESPN’s Fantasy Focus is your best bet for the most entertaining show in the business. Airing five days a week during peak football season, this show features a more even split than the hosts would admit between football analysis (led by ESPN Insider Field Yates and Matthew Berry, a fantasy football pioneer who also made a cameo in Avengers: Endgame (!)) and good old fashioned podcast nonsense. For lack of a better term, these guys like to have fun. The show has fans new and old, but it doesn’t take long to get in on some inside jokes, and also learn a little bit about who your best bet at the Flex spot might be for Week 9. (A Fantasy Focus Baseball podcast, hosted by a pair of veteran ESPN analysts, also airs twice a week in the spring)

          Listen to Fantasy Focus Football

          R2C2 is UNINTERRUPTED

          ryan ruocco cc sabathia r2c2 uninterrupted podcast

          Uninterrupted

          He may have just finished up his final season as a member of the New York Yankees, but CC Sabathia has already become a veteran in something else he’s a natural at: podcasting. This show from the 251-game winner and his co-host, ESPN and YES Network broadcaster Ryan Ruocco, originated as a podcast from The Players Tribune, and now is hosted on Uninterrupted, a player-empowerment platform owned by LeBron James and Maverick Carter.

          Sabathia and Ruocco have a natural chemistry, and their conversations in each episode feel like one that you could join in on at a moment’s notice. Topics range from pop culture and anectodes to the happenings of the day in baseball, but the most interesting moments come when CC shared unfiltered feelings, perspective, and true stories from inside the Yankees dugout and around the major leagues. In a recent episode, the 6’7” pitcher addressed the aforementioned Houston Astros cheating scandal that’s rocked Major League Baseball, and held nothing back: “Fuck that!” he said, adding a ton of insight from a player who lived something we’re all reading about in real-time.

          Listen to R2C2 is UNINTERRUPTED

          30 for 30 Podcasts

          30 for 30 podcasts

          ESPN

          One of the coolest entries on this list, 30 for 30 Podcasts (named for ESPN’s ultra-successful sports documentary series) is basically a sports version of NPR’s This American Life, with each episode telling a different story in the format of an audio-only documentary. Last summer, the podcast ran a three-part feature, titled The Sterling Affairs. The Sterling Affairs gave new insight and original reporting on the scandal that led to Donald Sterling, former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, to sell the team after an unearthed recording revealed him making racist remarks. For anyone interested in sports stories that dig deeper and might have slipped through the cracks, this one is for you.

          Listen to 30 for 30 Podcasts

          Only a Game

          only a game podcast npr

          NPR

          The equation for this one is really quite simple: it’s NPR’s sports show. If you’re into Fresh Air, or Planet Money, or Morning Edition, chances are you’ll enjoy this show, which also gets into individual story segments with each episode. About a year ago, the show ran an incredibly touching segment featuring former NBA star and TNT Inside the NBA analyst Charles Barkley, of all people. By the end, make sure you look around wherever you’re listening, because someone will probably be cutting onions.

          Listen to Only a Game

          No Dunks

          no dunks podcast

          The Athletic

          If you’re an NBA fan just looking for a weekday recap of what went down in this crazy league we all love so much, No Dunks, from The Athletic, might just be your best bet. The hosts, Skeets, Tas, Trey, Leigh, and JD, are informative about what’s happening around the league, but without feeling like you’re watching special reports from ESPN every day; they feel like some of your friends and you’re having a couple beers.

          Listen to No Dunks

          The Fantasy Footballers

          Another option for pristine Fantasy advice. Based independently out west in Arizona, if ESPN isn’t your flavor, you should check out The Fantasy Footballers. Hosted by Andy Holloway, Jason Moore, and Mike Wright, these three guys clearly have been friends for a long time, and also do their homework. When the show isn’t making you laugh with their incredibly fun, sometimes nonsensical bits (usually linked to specific players), it’s rewarding your time with really great advice that can help you win in Fantasy Football—and maybe even make a little money.

          Listen to The Fantasy Footballers

          Men in Blazers

          men in blazers podcast

          Men in Blazers

          If you’re a soccer fan—particularly an American soccer fan—this one is for you. Michael Davies and Roger Bennett preview each weekend’s premier league games, and when that magical time every four years comes to talk about a World Cup, these guys don’t only know their sh*t, but they’ll make you laugh while talking about it. They’ve been on ESPN before, and now their show airs on NBC Sports Network, but their podcast is available for whenever you might need it.

          Listen to Men In Blazers

          The JJ Redick Podcast

          The JJ Redick Podcast

          The Ringer

          While we’re naming JJ’s as the recommendation here, this is also a shout out to any NBA player still in the league who simultaneously has a podcast. Redick and Vince Carter (Winging it With Vince) both have podcasts on The Ringer, and Blazers star CJ McCollum also has his own.

          When he’s not draining threes for the New Orleans Pelicans, Redick is a natural behind the mic; with the help of his co-host Tommy Alter, he has guests on his show like his rookie teammate (and fellow Duke Blue Devil) Zion Williamson, as well as comedians like Hasan Minhaj.

          Listen to The JJ Redick Podcast

          Mike’s On With Francesa

          mike francesa podcast

          Radio.com

          Come on, y’all. We had to include The Sports Pope here. Ever since Mike and The Mad Dog launched in 1989, Francesa has been a fixture of the sports talk world, despite his show being rooted only in New York City. He’s got a 30 for 30!

          Not only is the born and bred New Yorker an absolute legend and the king of the hot take, but after a stunning turn in Uncut Gems, he’s now an acclaimed actor, too. Did you hear him drop that F bomb?

          You could also check out @BackAftaThis for all the worthy highlights, too. Either way works!

          Listen to Mike’s On With Francesa

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          George Lucas Cradles Baby Yoda in Image Shared by Jon Favreau

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          • Jon Favreau shared a photo of Star Wars creator George Lucas cradling the still-unnamed Baby Yoda to his Instagram and Twitter feeds.
          • Fans and even Star Wars actors saw the image and felt their heart melt.
          • The second season of The Mandalorian is currently in production.

            The first season of Disney+‘s The Mandalorian might be in the books, but the mania and lovefest for Baby Yoda is continuing on, full speed ahead. The latest figure to be seen in public admiration of Baby Yoda is none other than Star Wars creator George Lucas himself. Lucas was spotted in both a captionless Tweet and Instagram from Mandalorian showrunner Jon Favreau fully cradling Baby Yoda, looking at him with what could only be described as a loving gaze.

            Before The Mandalorian debuted in November of last year, Favreau had talked about his past meetings with Lucas, and the advice he was given by the man who originally brought Luke, Leia, Han Solo, Darth Vader, and the original Yoda to the big screen.

            “The one thing he said to me was, ‘Remember, Jon, the real audience for all stories and all myths is the kids that are coming of age,’ because he’s really a Joseph Campbell adherent,” Favreau told GQ Middle East in an interview last year while promoting The Lion King. “We enjoy the stories as adults, but, really, storytelling is about imparting the wisdom of the previous generations on to the children who are becoming adults, and giving them a context for how to behave and how to learn the lessons of the past without making the mistakes on their own.”

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            What’s not clear to anyone—due to Favreau’s lack of a caption—is whether this photo of Lucas and Baby Yoda was a new photo or an old one. Is this a brainstorm for Season 2? Is this on-set of Season 2? It’s not clear, but seeing the faces of Star Wars past and present looking longingly into each others’ eyes is certainly one that fans of the franchise have to be happy to see.

            While Baby Yoda just might be the smallest major character in the Star Wars canon, the actor who just might play the biggest, Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), saw Favreau’s post and chimed in on both. “The Maker and The Child,” he wrote.

            Others speculated what Lucas could be doing if he was indeed, on set with Favreau.

            On a related note, it won’t be long until fans of Star Wars and The Mandalorian can start to cradle their own Baby Yoda, just like George Lucas. Disney agreed, initially, to hold off on selling Baby Yoda plush toys, action figures, and other merchandise so to keep the character’s initial appearance under wraps, but all of that is now on the way. For anyone wanting to take things a step even further, Build-a-Bear workshop announced this week that they’ll allow customers to make their own Baby Yoda.

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          Watch Dr. Pimple Popper Wiggle a ‘Chicken Tender’ Lipoma Free

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          Close-Up Of Raw Chicken Meat On Table

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          • In a new Instagram video, Dr. Pimple Popper removes a “chicken tender” lipoma from a patient’s arm.
          • Dr. Lee wiggles the slender, jiggly lipoma out of a small incision using a tweezer-like surgical tool.
          • Lipomas are benign tumors made up of fat tissue that are painless, though they can grow to be quite large.

            You won’t want to chow down on this “chicken tender.” In a new Instagram video, Dr. Pimple Popper — aka, dermatologist and TLC host Dr. Sandra Lee, MD — removes a slender, jiggly lipoma resembling a raw chicken strip from a patient’s arm.

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            In the short clip, Dr. Lee uses a pair of surgical tweezers and some blunt surgical scissors to loosen the lipoma from the women’s arm. She then pulls the fatty tissue through a small incision to remove it in one piece. The growth emerges looking like a raw chicken tender, with a thin and jiggling appearance.

            A lipoma is a benign tumor made up of fat tissue, and are actually most commonly found in men. The growths are usually painless and commonly grow on the arms, back, and legs. The distinct yellowish color of lipomas is the same color of most fatty tissue on the body, and gives this growth an especially chicken-like appearance.

            In the video, the patient and her family say they’ve been waiting to say goodbye to the growth. Dr. Lee suggests the family say, “Hasta la lipoma” to bid it farewell. Hopefully the family will be OK saying goodbye to any chicken strip cravings they’ve been harboring, too.

            Watch the raw chicken removal below:

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