Should I start intermittent fasting for weight loss?

Intermittent fasting is the most forgiving diet out there and sometimes you can get away with eating a little off your plan too when on it. During an intermittent fast, you are eating enough calories through the six-to-eight-hour eating window. After four days of fasting, your BMR goes up by 10 per cent. If you have weight to lose and are low on energy, fasting will force your body to access fat that is stored and after a week you will have more energy than ever. Fasting helps to keep insulin levels low for a long period of time. When our insulin is high, our body is constantly in fat-storing mode. When the levels go down, the body taps into our fat reserves for fat burning. Just make sure you can make it part of your lifestyle, and don’t do ridiculously few hours of eating. This way it will become like just another fad diet you have tried in the past.

Can you throw some light on thyroid tests and their reference ranges?

Your blood work for thyroid should include the following tests: TSH; Free T4; Free T3; Reverse T3; Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb); and Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb).

• TSH TSH is the hormone that tells your thyroid to make more thyroid hormone. Regular reference range is 0.5 to 4.7 but in most cases above two means you will have symptoms and can treat this as a warning sign.

• Free T4: Your thyroid makes

mostly T4, also known as thyroxine. Optimal Free T4 range is 10-23 pmol/L (but above 11 means the imbalance has already started)

• Free T3 – Triodothyroxine: When your tissues need energy, they convert T4 into Free T3, the active form. Above 5.5 pmol/L means thyroid function is moving towards hypo.

• Reverse T3: If your metabolic rate is really slow or you’ve been following an ultra low-carb diet, check this level.

• Antibodies (TPO + TG): If either one or both of these antibodies test high, it means your immune system is attacking the thyroid.

• TG should not be over 33 IU and TPO should be less than nine IU.