Review of the Intermittent Fasting Wiki

Review of the Intermittent Fasting Wiki
Photo by Christopher Jolly / Unsplash

I wanted to review a Wiki page for a topic that I find is often misunderstood and sometimes controversial. I am not a doctor but I have read about ten books on the topic of intermittent fasting, spoken with a doctor, follow several doctors and research specialists on YouTube, and read scientific articles and studies of the results of intermittent fasting. I have made a practice of questioning the resources cited in the books I have read and gone directly to the source to see my own interpretation of the data and compare that to what is presented by the author.

Neutral Point of View

Is it possible to present this topic from a neutral point of view and without bias? The short answer is no. The first paragraph of the page actually offended me by making the comparison of intermittent fasting (IF) to reduced calorie intake. IF has nothing to do with calorie reduction or tracking calories-in-calories-out (CICO).

Verifiability

In this case, verifiability is easy! or impossible? Intermittent fasting is free. It requires no special training, pills, or supplements, and it works for many people. Consumers and writers can, however, easily find studies and articles to the contrary. For a study that claims eggs are "good", you find one where eggs are "bad". Is red meat good? Is red meat bad? Is oatmeal improving your heart health, or a horribly feared carb? According to an article published by Custom Market Insights in May of 2023 regarding the US Weight Loss industry, the revenue in 2022 was 135.7 Billion and is projected to hit about 159.69 Billion in 2023. Diet, exercise, meal services, supplements, pills, and magic fairy dust, appear to be easy sells to consumers looking for some diet and weight loss assistance. This is what makes verifiability so hard in this case. Have you ever heard that breakfast is the "most important meal of the day"? A study of school-aged children that was used to prove that slogan, was funded by the Kellogg Company.

The Wikipedia page mentions in the History section that, "fasting is an ancient tradition, having been practiced by many cultures and religions over centuries." This is elaborated in great detail further down the page, as every major world religion incorporates fasting in some form. However, in the Recommendations section, the American Heart Association is quoted referring to IF as a fad diet. This is confusing since it follows the section on fasting used by major religions for centuries. There's a disconnect between centuries of use and a "fad diet".

No Original Research

Does the material come from a reliable published source? That depends. Can you trust that the Kellogg Company can perform an unbiased study regarding the benefits of their own breakfast products? There are one hundred thirteen sources cited and as more research emerges on the topic, I think should be updated to keep the page current.

Overall Thoughts

The page contains a good amount of information related to the different methods used by many IFers and some of the history, along with an overview of the benefits and of course, some warnings. It seems very long to me but the topic warrants the length.

Claire Toledo

Claire Toledo

Claire is a proud manager for local government. She is working to complete her MBPL, and balances work and school with family--husband, 2 independent children, dogs, cats, and chickens.
Defiance, Missouri