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Why losing weight is about more than vanity

There are good reasons for doing intermittent fasting which go beyond weight loss (and I cover them later in the book), but the people who will benefit most are likely to be those who are currently overweight, particularly those who are carrying too much weight around the middle (i.e. internal, visceral fat). There is, understandably, a lot of scepticism about dieting on the grounds that they never work and, anyway, isn’t losing weight just about vanity?

There are certainly plenty of ineffective diets out there – I hope to persuade you that this one is different. As for vanity, well, there is nothing wrong with wanting to look better, but the real purpose of the Fast 800 is to make you healthier.

Even relatively modest changes can make a big difference. Studies have shown that if you are overweight or obese, losing 5% of your body weight will: Reduce your blood pressure and levels of blood fats (triglycerides), which in turn will significantly cut your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Lower your risk of getting cancer.

Carrying too much fat in the body leads to the release of hormones and inflammatory agents which boost cancer. According to Cancer UK, many cancers are linked to being overweight or obese, including two of the commonest: breast and bowel cancer. Sleep better. If you are anything like me, when you put on weight it not only goes around your belly, but also around your neck.

A fat neck means you are more likely to snore (which will keep your partner awake), and also far more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder which causes people to stop breathing while sleeping. A 2014 study found that people who lost 5% or more of their body weight got about 20 minutes more sleep, and it was better-quality sleep. Cut your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

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In one big study, people with pre-diabetes (raised blood sugars, not yet in the diabetic range) who lost over 5% of their body weight were 58% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who didn’t. Boost your sex drive. Not just because you may feel more desirable but also because of hormonal changes and improved blood flow to the sex organs.

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