Intermittent Fasting

timePeople living in Miami can do this kind of fasting on a daily basis. Simply limit the number of hours you eat each day and then fast the rest of the 24 hours. A balanced diet is particularly important when you practice fasting.

Drink Natural Beverages

orangeAround cities such as Sunrise and Daytona Beach, people are learning that all soda, whether diet or regular, are not good for the body. Dr. Bordenave recommends that drinking natural beverages such as milk, water or unsweetened fruit juice is a better way to quench your thirst.

What’s the Point of Fasting?

ThaiFor many years, the recommendation to eat six or so small meals a day has been passed around liberally. The idea is that by constantly providing fuel for the body, it would be continually energized and calories would burn at an even pace, making weight loss easier.

Bad Advice

More recently, it is becoming clear that eating five to six small meals each day is not such good advice. Although the premise may sound good, it doesn’t work very well in practice. One of the reasons for this is that those extra meals usually ended up being an “energy bar” or some other such quick fix and not the fruit or vegetable concentration recommended or a meal prepared at home.

Many also took this advice to mean, “eat all the time,” which understandably led to overeating. It comes as no surprise then that the advice to eat five to six small meals has coincided with the increase of obesity rates in the U.S.

Trying the Opposite Approach

Instead of eating every few hours, the idea is to put more time between meals, even beyond the typical three meals a day scenario: this is known as intermittent fasting, or IF. Cultures all over the world have used fasting in various ways for centuries, one of them being the perceived health benefits.

Intermittent fasting can take many forms. Some prefer to limit food intake to a particular number of hours each day, such as an eight-hour window. Others prefer to fast for entire days. There are increasing research reports that have found that IF may have many benefits for health and longevity.

empty plate

Photo credit Noesis

Following a plan of intermittent fasting does not mean not eating one day and then binging the next. To reap the most benefits, IF means timing meals so that there are regular periods of fasting. For those trying to lose weight or some other health issues, IF can be a powerful tool. IF helps your body to shift from burning carbs/sugar to burning fat.

Is Fasting Healthy?

Is starving yourself a little each day, or for even a couple of days each week, a good idea? Accumulating evidence is indicating that yes, fasting can have beneficial health side effects.

Intermittent fasting requires that a person pay closer attention to their diet in order to obtain proper nutrition. This can include cutting carbs and substituting healthy fats such as olive oil, eggs, butter, nuts and avocados. Although it may take several weeks, the body will shift to burning fat and the desire for fast energy (carbs that turn into sugar) will disappear.

healthy mealIn a 2007 review conducted by the University of California, Berkley, concluded that fasting every other day might:

  • Decrease cancer risk
  • Lower diabetes risk
  • Decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Improve cognitive function
  • Provide protection from some of the effects of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

Yes, intermittent fasting can provide benefits to the brain. Research has shown that when the body begins to use fat for energy, fatty acids called ketones are released and these help to protect memory and learning. In addition, IF boosts the production of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), which is a protein. Depending on the area of the brain, BDNF can experience a boost of 50 to 400 percent. Brain stem cells are activated by BDNF and they then convert into neurons, increasing neural health. The protein also protects brain cells from the changes that take place that are associated with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

So, what’s the point in fasting? Increasing evidence shows that it does have health benefits, and that’s reason enough. Before starting an intermittent fasting program, you should talk with your internal medicine doctor or cardiologist. IF can be considered complementary medicine or integrative medicine as part of a life centered on health and wellness.

Dr. Jorge Bordenave and his staff at Miami Integrative Medicine serve the communities of Coral Gables and South Miami, just to name a few. They would love for you to come in and learn how the holistic medicine approach to health care can benefit you. Call today for a consultation.

Published by Axiom Health Care Marketing


Images: 6 meals Julio Biason credit

Making Connections

connectionsAt Miami Integrative Medicine we are working toward the establishment of better relationships between doctors and patients in cities like North Miami Beach and Pompano Beach. When better relationships are established, health and wellness follow.

Diet Soda

diet sodaThe debate over diet soda is reaching something of a peak. Many now believe that it actually can cause weight gain. There are several theories making the rounds, but whatever the findings, soda really has no place in a healthy diet because it contributes nothing nutritionally.

As Physicians, We Still Don’t Get It


I have read the AHA/ACC Statin Guidelines, as well as many of the tidal wave of articles printed both for and against the new recommendations, most written by equally respected expert physicians.

Is it just me or has something drastically changed with the practice of medicine in the U.S.?

I realize that medicine has transitioned from a most noble profession to a business, but it is mind boggling to notice such a wide diversity of expert opinions that differ and contradict each other. Most of those in favor of the new recommendations are cardiologists. After all, the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association put out the recommendations. One prominent cardiologist even wrote he was surprised at the standard therapy for those 75 or older, with no statin recommendation for primary prevention in the elderly. Others, including the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, are so opposed to the new guidelines, that they will not endorse or follow the new recommendations.

If this isn’t concerning enough, two months later, the new BP Guidelines from JNC-8 were released. Raising of target BP to a systolic of 150mmHg and the elimination of previous target systolic pressure of 130mmHg in diabetics and those with chronic kidney disease. Most controversial and embarrassing still, was the defection of 5 of the 14 members that formed the panel, each of whom came out in opposition to the conclusions after its release.


Let’s forget about the methodology used to create the guideline. Forget about the recommendations, and forget about the reasons why so many experts are in disagreement. What I see as the real issue is a complete shift in what is important to us as physicians.

It seems that there is an obsession with guidelines. We have so many guidelines that there is a guidelines clearinghouse to store them. There is also concern with the way guidelines are developed. A process with little or no transparency, made up of experts from a diverse body of special interests whose goal it seems is self-promotion for himself or herself or the organization they represent.

As a practicing physician, I am guide-lined to death. What’s worse is that very few physicians individualize the recommendations as they should, instead applying them equally to all patients, in a “one size fits all” model.

A serious problem arises for all of us when the recommendations by one medical group are not recognized or accepted by another medical group.


When there is disagreement and opposition among the members of the guideline panel that releases recommendations anyway, then in my opinion we have a severely damaged and broken system.

We have experts that can’t agree on much and the patients and physicians who don’t know what to believe in or who to trust.

“First do no harm.” Maybe guideline panel members should continuously remind themselves of that phrase while they are formulating new guidelines.

It seems that in medicine there are too many “experts” giving too many recommendations that only cause confusion. It’s a disservice to patients and physicians. It needs to stop before we loose what little credibility we have left as physicians.

Science fails medicine not through lack of competence, but through lack of vision. Not for the lack of curiosity, but for the limit of things we are curious about. Not for the lack in the ability to investigate, but for the narrowness of the scope of things it is willing to and patient

I am still waiting for the day that guidelines are published, that deal with the cause of chronic disease instead of the treatment. When all medical organizations, health groups and wellness stakeholders can unite in agreement demanding better quality and a more affordable food supply for the entire U.S. population. We need to start subsidizing organic produce and farming, stop the routine use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock, limit chemicals in our foods and improving the water supply. We should have nutrition education that starts in elementary school and we should begin reinstating physical education periods. This is what is needed, not more guidelines that push more drugs on a country overdosing in drugs.

This isn’t being an idealist, this is being a responsible physician.

Despite all the guidelines published and the increased use of statins, we spend $60 billion a week in healthcare and all we have to show for it is being in 46th position in healthcare outcomes and quality, behind Iran and ahead of Serbia.

Maybe its time we remember to put patients ahead of other interests.

This article has been written by:

Jorge Bordenave MD FACP ABIHM

Integrative Cardiologist

Miami Integrative Medicine

Using a Mix

integrativeCombining the best that science can offer, along with thousands of years of experience is what integrative medicine achieves. Using general internal medicine and complementary medicine provides a patient with overall better results.

The Debate over Sugar Substitutes

sweet n lowThe first artificial sweetener, Saccharin, was actually discovered in 1876 by accident when a research team was researching something totally unrelated. However, it didn’t make it to market until the 1950s when it was hailed as a boon for those trying to loose weight as they could give up table sugar (sucrose) and its calories. Being 300 to 500 percent sweeter than sucrose, it only took a drop in your coffee rather than several teaspoons to get the desired sweetness – that is if you could get past the bitter aftertaste.

Cancer Scare

A study in 1960 claimed that high levels of saccharin caused bladder cancer in rats. In 1977, Canada banned its sale based on the U.S. animal research. The U.S. however, rather than banning the substance, delayed the ban and instead called for a warning label on the substance packaging and directed that more research be conducted.

Eventually, further research showed that the cancer danger did not translate to humans. Based on critical differences between species that take place in the bladder, the threat of cancer to humans was misplaced. However, the damage was done and several countries still ban the substance.

Other Sugar Substitutes

Since the appearance of saccharine, there have been numerous artificial sweeteners created. The sugar substitutes Sucralose (Splenda), and aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), are artificial sweeteners. The more recent to market stevia (Truvia) and mogrosides (Nectress, made from monk fruit) are derived from plants and are considered to have a natural basis, rather than something created in a laboratory. Although Truvia and Nectress are naturally derived, they are generally lumped in with artificial sweeteners simply because they are not “sugar.” Most sugar substitutes are many times sweeter than regular table sugar. Stevia, for instance, is 250 times sweeter than sucrose.sweeteners

Other substitutes include maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol and many others. Maltitol and sorbitol are often present in mouthwash, toothpaste and foods that are “no sugar added.” Xylitol is what is usually added to sugarless gum because aside from having no calories, it also prevents cavity causing bacteria from sticking to teeth.

Sugar Substitute Debate

Few people would argue about the benefits of non-caloric sugar substitutes. Although mostly touted as a weight loss tool, they are highly beneficial to diabetics as it allows them to enjoy sweets without worrying about sugar levels in their blood.

To date, the biggest debate over sugar substitutes is about their safety for human consumption. Detractors question the ability of the human body to process food products containing ingredients created in the laboratory, or overly processed natural products, without there being negative health consequences.

So far, medical information has not proven any derogatory or cancer causing effects of sugar substitutes. Aspartame has been the most widely studied and tested of all food ingredients up to this point. Time after time however, peer reviewed articles and independent government regulatory bodies continue to find that aspartame is safe.

Possible Cause of Weight Gain

Although attempts to show that sugar substitutes are the cause of disease, there is growing belief that it may actually cause weight gain rather than help people to loose weight.

diet cokeThe epidemic of obesity in the U.S. that is contributing an upswing in coronary heart disease, may bear out this belief. Although people have the capacity to consume fewer calories with the proliferation of sugar free, calorie free, sweeteners, they are apparently consuming more, leading to obesity and resultant heart disease.

The effects of sucrose (table sugar) on the body are well documented, but the effects of sugar free sweeteners are not. Current research is showing that sugar free sweeteners produce the same responses as sucrose, but without the same results. Sweetness triggers an increase in insulin production, along with hormones that trigger a feeling of fullness and reward, along with the release of dopamine. When the promised calories repeatedly don’t come along, the body stops responding the way it should, thus increasing the desire for more food that will produce the desired results.

At Miami Integrative Medicine we can help you better understand how food and nutrition can affect your health and wellness. With the right diet and moderate exercise, you can reduce or eliminate your need for sweeteners of any kind. With the combination of general internal medicine, complementary medicine and effective cardiology, good health can be achieved. Contact us today for a consultation. Dr. Bordenave, a triple board certified physician in Internal Medicine, Cardiology and Integrative Medicine, will be pleased to have you visit.

Published by Axiom Health Care Marketing



runnerA large part of cardiovascular disease could be avoided simply by following a healthy lifestyle, diet, and stress reduction; something that most of us, unfortunately, don’t follow in today’s world.