Alternative treatments for weight loss address the root cause rather than trying to trick the body into losing weight.  This is a short sighted approach which usually results in any weight lost being piled back on. Obesity and weight gain affect around 1/3rd of people in the developed world. Weight gain is a metabolic disorder linked to our modern lifestyle.  The body switches from burning fats for energy to burning carbs instead. It can be triggered by eating foods that our bodies cannot properly process such as refined foods, grains, pasteurised dairy, sugar, additives and preservatives. Alternative weight loss treatments involve switching the cells back to burning fats.

One of the ways this can be achieved is by intermittent fasting.

Although the benefits of fasting have been known for thousands of years, it is only recently that scientific research has enabled us to understand how and why it works.  The great news is it is not necessary to fast for long periods to obtain the benefits. In fact you only need to go without food for 16 hours to boost metabolism, stabilise blood sugar, stimulate weight loss and reduce the risk of chronic disease. It takes a lot of energy to digest food, and our Paleo ancestors tended to only eat one main meal daily eating light snacks the rest of the time. We tend to be at the trough from the moment we get up (breakfast) until we go to bed, having eaten lunch and dinner and also snacked in between. Our bodies were designed to be most efficient when food was scarce and become sluggish when we eat too much – as most of us do today. Intermittent fasting stimulates a cascade of hormonal balance, metabolic efficiency and increased fat burning whilst promoting better energy production and repair which boosts protection from disease. It also slows ageing. The digestive system and the mitochondria (where energy is made inside the cells) get a chance to regenerate themselves. Mitochondrial damage from toxic metals, chemicals, environmental pollutants, antibiotics, EMF’s, vaccines and stress affects almost everyone today to some degree, and severe damage can lead to fatigue related illnesses and chronic disease.

Intermittent fasting means that you confine eating to an 8-hour window each day. So, if you finished your evening meal at 7pm, you would not eat again until 11am the following day. Drinking is important although milk, which is a food, should be avoided. The great news is it isn’t necessary to do it every day. A minimum of 3 days per week is all that is required to demonstrate results. And it is easy to fit in with your lifestyle as the 3 days can be consecutive or spaced apart.

How does it work?

The body cannot begin to burn fat until its glycogen stores have been used up. Glycogen is stored sugar. If you don’t eat for 16 hours your body will exhaust its glycogen stores and shift you into fat-burning mode for the rest of the day. If you exercise before eating you boost energy and fat burning even more, and once your glycogen has run out, any exercise you do later in the day will also help to burn off fat. And you don’t have to do much exercise on the 8 hour diet. In fact, 8 minutes of exercise is all that is needed to kick-start your metabolism. Obviously more exercise is better, but 8 minutes of brisk walking would be enough to rev-up your metabolism. The Journal of Physiology published research in 2010 showing that those who exercised before eating their first meal of the day gained almost no weight in spite of increasing calorie intake by 30% and showed no signs of insulin resistance compared to the no-exercise group who gained 6 lbs, developed insulin resistance and began storing fat in their muscle cells.


We used to be told to ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper’ as it was believed that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. This has turned out to be wrong. A study published in Nutrition Journal (2011) in which the eating habits of 100 normal weight and 280 obese participants revealed that the more calories consumed at breakfast, the more tended to be eaten throughout the rest of the day. It turns out, according to Mark Mattson, PhD, chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging, that the impetus to eat breakfast has been financed by the food and pharmaceutical industries rather than science. Breakfast cereals in the US are an $11 billion a year industry – not to mention eggs, bacon and so on.

The 8 hour diet keeps the mitochondria functioning at their most efficient and reduces the amount of free radicals generated when energy is produced. According to a 2009 study from Texas Tech University, when food is broken down faster than it is replaced energy levels increase. There is also a decrease in glucose and fat uptake in the liver which means more fat burn and less fat storage.

Italian researchers found that limiting the time you eat protected against inflammation and oxidative damage to the heart.

Intermittent fasting also increases mitochondrial biogenesis, which means that you make more mitochondria. Not only is mitochondrial inefficiency linked to obesity and low energy but it is also a key player in the development of neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic syndrome and heart disease according to Dr Michael Holsapple, PhD, vice president of the Society of Toxicology.

Weight Gain and Obesity

Alternative weight loss treatment involves improving mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are the powerhouses in your cells that produce energy. If you are gaining weight, your mitochondria are not doing this efficiently and your body thinks you are short of food. Instead of burning fat, your cells will be burning glucose instead. This is a bit like using an emergency generator and is inefficient and costly to run. Even though you are eating, the fact that you are unable to burn fat tells your brain that you are starving and so you start to hold on to fat. It is this that makes weight loss so difficult. The solution is to switch off the emergency generator and revert back to efficient fat burning in the mitochondria.

Alternative Weight Loss Treatments and Intermittent Fasting

We have already seen how exercise can boost metabolism, but specialised supplements that switch the cells back into normal energy production (aerobic respiration) further enhance the effects of the 8 hour diet. By repairing the mitochondria and decreasing the burning of glucose for energy, the supplements are designed to restore normal metabolism. Once this has been achieved weight gain and low energy are no longer a problem.   Hair mineral analysis can reveal whether you are burning glucose and breaking down muscle in order to release protein which is then get converted to glucose. This method of producing energy is like comparing a push bike to a racing car. Muscles are your most efficient fat burners, and you want to build them up – not break them down. The more muscle mass you lose, the less able you are to lose weight.

Ref: The 8 Hour Diet by David Zinczenko published buy Rochdale Inc 2013.