Health and Wellness

Why Mark Wahlberg doesn't do intermittent fasting and what he eats every day: 'I'm old school'

Mark Wahlberg
Greg Doherty | Getty Images

Intermittent fasting — which typically entails eating only during a set window of six to eight hours each day — may be trendy among big names like Twitter's Jack DorseyJennifer Aniston and former NFL star Rob Gronkowski, but actor and health enthusiast Mark Wahlberg isn't buying into the fad.

He's team breakfast all the way.

"For me, I've dealt with the ketone fad and intermittent fasting and all that stuff, but I'm old school," Wahlberg, 48, told CNBC Make It in July. "I like to eat small, healthy meals every three hours."

Wahlberg says his physiotherapist and one of his coworkers tried to get him into intermittent fasting but he didn't budge.

"I like to eat when I get up. I want to eat," he said.

Wahlberg is so passionate about breakfast that he recently got into a social media spat with cardiothoracic surgeon and TV host Mehmet Oz after Oz told TMZ on Jan. 10 that he's banning breakfast in 2020 because it's "an advertising ploy" and isn't "really based on the truth around our health."

"Listen, I don't care what Dr. Oz says, I gotta have my breakfast before I work out, that's my preference," Wahlberg told TMZ on the following day on Jan. 11.

Days later, Wahlberg posted an Instagram clip, calling out Oz's breakfast ban.

"You gotta have food; food is your friend," Wahlberg said on Jan. 14.

For what it's worth, Oz told CNBC Make It in November 2018 that breakfast was part of his daily routine.

"It's the same morning, every morning, that way I don't have to reinvent the wheel," Dr. Oz tells CNBC Make It. And that included a breakfast of "a small cup of Greek yogurt with some blackberries put into it, and I don't change that," Dr. Oz said.

But now, fasting is "a key part of Dr. Oz's new System 20 lifestyle plan," according to Oz's website, which Oz says "tackles your entire body and all facets of your health," he told Today.

Wahlberg, who wakes up at 4 a.m. every morning — not 2:30 a.m like he once did — to work out, says he has to eat right away.

"I take my vitamins so I need food to hold my vitamins. So, I eat eggs and a little bit of oatmeal with blueberries, and then I have my protein shake after the workout. I like eating every two and a half to three hours," he says.

He says that style of eating works best for him and urges people to figure out what works best for their goals.

Beyond breakfast, Wahlberg says he mainly sticks with healthy fats, good proteins and tries not to eat too many carbs. In September he revealed on Instagram that loves to eat things like turkey meatballs, grilled chicken salad for lunch, steak with green peppers and some sort of white fish for dinner.

He also sticks with a rigorous workout as an investor of the Australian Fitness Franchise F45 Training.

Mark Wahlberg and F45 Training Source: F45 Training

The efficacy of intermittent fasting is debatable. While there is some research that shows it can lead to weight loss, there hasn't been enough research on humans to support cognitive benefits or whether fasting is healthy or sustainable long term. And fasts lasting longer than 12 hours can be dangerous, especially for individuals who have specific health conditions or take certain medications, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Oz told the Today Show on Wednesday that Wahlberg, like most Americans, has bought into "the dogma of breakfast."

"For the average human being … the smart thing to do is skip breakfast, work out as hard as you can — you may not do what Mark can do, but do as much as you can — and you'll look better because you burn fat, not the food in your stomach, while you're exercising," Oz said.

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