Fasting restores the natural human metabolism
The benefits of fasting are numerous and broad in their effects. One of the most discussed topics in health today is metabolism. Metabolism denotes the calories we burn as a result of naturally occurring hormone production combined with the calories “burned” as a consequence of total body mass and energy expended during the day from activity. Modern living has made more of us more sedentary and constant “snackers”. We have even been told that frequent meals are a healthy way to live. This regular consumption of food along with inactivity has created an unnatural metabolism prone to diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, the three leading “killers” today. Fasting is the most direct method to restore our natural human metabolism. Our natural or historical metabolism required an abundance of physical activity and frequent exertion even in the absence of food for a duration of time beyond four hours(the typical time between meals). Our bodies were never meant to be constantly fed. These modern trends and unsubstantiated “rules” are literally killing us slowly.
Fasting reverses insulin resistance, diabetes, and more
One of the most common and leading diseases of premature aging and death is Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is a disease of chronically elevated insulin, the leading cause of which is frequent(every 4-6 hours) consumption of food, particularly grains. Grains and refined sugar increases insulin, cells eventually ignore elevated insulin, but insulin rises to combat elevating blood sugars. Grains have been touted for too long as a healthy choice. But we have known for decades that processed and refined grains were the leading cause of Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. Fat was never the true villain. The good news is that we can change this pattern. Fasting is the fastest way to reduce chronically elevated insulin levels and reverse diabetes. The longer we go without spiking insulin, the more sensitive to insulin the cells become. This results in lower blood sugars, which as they fall, the more fat our body will burn for energy, resulting in weight loss and reversal of insulin resistance.
What if I have Diabetes or Insulin Resistance?
If fasting insulin, blood sugar, or HgA1c are elevated in labs then consumption of <50gm daily from complex carbohydrates such as grains is recommended to reverse diabetes. The following guidelines will add additional support for insulin resistant or diabetic individuals. These are good rules for everyone to follow either way to reverse or prevent diabetes.
The 5 feeding rules for ideal energy, weight loss or maintenance, and reversing Type 2 Diabetes
- Eliminate consumption of food and drink with added sugars. Avoid all added sugars from soda, candy, and pastries. Use Keto approved snacks, treats, recipes, with Keto approved sweeteners. Consume natural sugars from fruits as a dessert with cream. Use Monk fruit, Erythritol, and Stevia sparingly as a substitute sweetener for drinks, cooking, and occasional deserts.
- Eliminate or at least significantly reduce consumption of refined grains by consuming them only once daily with a meal. This is easy to do with intermittent fasting as no carbohydrates will be consumed at breakfast for example. Avoid complex carbs at one of the next 2 meals and minimize the grains at the other meal to <50 grams in total. If intermittent fasting for breakfast, plan lunch to keep natural fats and protein intake high to prolong ketosis. Again if grains are consumed, target <50gm total daily, preferably at the largest meal of the day, and towards the end of the “eating” cycle as to keeping fat burning at its maximum length of time.
- Keep protein intake to a moderate level. For most individuals a single serving from animal sources once daily could be sufficient.
- Increase consumption of natural fats from avocados, olives, butter, flaxseed oil, ghee, coconut oil, and MCT oil.
- Mix up fasting routines by rotating from 16:8 to 20:4 to 5:2 for example. When weight loss plateaus consider a change in the style of fasting and adding exercise.
Fasting is the fastest path to Ketosis
Ketosis describes the body’s state or primary source for energy in the absence of foods that raise blood sugar levels. During ketosis the body is using fat as a primary source of energy, which results in low insulin in circulation. Ketosis is how the body has been able to continue to have energy and function in the absence of readily available food for thousands of years. The production of ketones from triglycerides provides many advantages including energy for the brain and body, dampened appetite, muscle growth, and weight loss from fat burning. In a culture of constant feeding we are not often or ever in ketosis, though ketosis is the best state to be in for burning our own fat, losing weight, and staying healthy. Fasting is the fastest way to enter ketosis and increases dramatically when fasting beyond 16 hours. Hint: blood ketone monitors can be helpful in tracking ketosis during fasting states.
Fasting and the Keto Diet
Fasting is the most efficient method of getting into Ketosis and can be a productive part of a Keto diet plan. When fasting in any form is applied at the same time as the Keto diet, ketone production and utilization is maximized. While on a Keto diet you want to keep protein intake low (<15%), fat intake high(>80%), and carbohydrate intake low(<5%) to minimize insulin release. Avoid the marketing hype to consume frequent keto meals or keto snacks in order to minimize insulin release and maximize fat burning from your personal fat stores. Dosing with electrolyes and possibly exogenous ketones may help beginning fasters to avoid the “hangry’s”. By dosing electrolytes such as Sustain Electrolytes or exogenous ketone supplements in the early stages of intermittent fasting in place of a typical meal, helps shift the body toward metabolic flexibility.
Fasting improves metabolic flexibility
When the body is in ketosis we are burning our own fat stores for use in all cells of the body, including the brain. When we are eating every 4-6 hours we are feeding our cells energy from the sugars we have consumed. When we fast in any pattern we are helping the body become more efficient at switching between fat burning and glucose burning. Fat burning is a very efficient state to be in and when we can switch between these two states easily we have what is called metabolic flexibility. Fasting is an excellent method for improving metabolic flexibility. Exercise of course also can improve metabolic flexibility, especially when we exercise during fasting states.
Fasting is the leading intervention to reduce risk of most metabolic and age related diseases
Because fasting improves metabolic flexibility and is the most effective method for reducing insulin resistance, there are also very positive reductions in other metabolic and age related diseases. Through the reduction of insulin and reversal of insulin resistance, fasting reduces cardiovascular disease, dementia and alzhiemers, infertility, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, kidney disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, fatigue, and obesity. The leading intervention to reduce risk of all metabolic and age related diseases is again fasting. Additionally fasting is known to reduce inflammation. If we had any such medication or supplement that was able to do all that by ingesting one capsule it would be labeled a “miracle” pill. No such medication or supplement exists or can replace the benefits of regular fasting.
Fasting is the most effective method for weight loss without dietary guidelines
Weight loss has been one of the greatest challenges of mankind. Fasting stands as a new champion in weight loss working often for even the most stubborn of cases. Fasting could be perhaps the most reliable method for weight loss. Fasting combined with other metabolism enhancing guidelines results in progressive weight loss without the worry of calorie counting or macro food avoidance. With no dietary guidelines to follow, fasting becomes one of the easiest programs to follow. Different forms of fasting should be applied over time to maximize weight loss so the body avoids a metabolic plateau. Alternating 16:8, 20:4, all day, or multi day fasting will prevent most plateaus.
Fasting can reduce exposure to toxic food additives
The alarming rise in autoimmunity, allergies, food intolerances, EMF sensitivities, and mast cell disorders among many adults, and now our children, is a cause for great concern. There is no known explanation for this immune plague, but many posit it is due to the ever increasing toxic exposure in our environment and manufactured foods. Many patients report feeling less ill and improved energy by avoiding food generally and with regular fasting. Intermittent fasting as an example allows sensitive and ill individuals an opportunity to heal healthily and reduce toxic exposures and additives so often found in food including GMO sugars from beet, corn, and potatoes. Fasting serves the interest of all Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) or mold sensitive patients as well as autoimmune and immune compromised individuals. Fasting also fits well with detox therapies such as Sauna Therapy, Detox Footbath, and HBOT Therapy.
Fasting is the leading therapy for extending life and healthspan(healthy aging)
Research now confirms that old or decaying cells in the body can persist leading to inflammation, damaged tissues, and premature disease and aging. These persistent cells have been labeled “zombie” cells. Our body has a method of removing “zombie” cells known as autophagy. Autophagy is a process in which the body breaks down old and dysfunctional cells and recycles the usable proteins or parts to make newer efficient cells. This is anti-aging or age reversal at the cellular level. Without autophagy, inflammation and free radicals will speed the process of disease onset and premature aging and death. Autophagy is suppressed in a state of constant eating wherein the body’s energy needs are regularly supplied by the foods we consume. Fasting is the most effective method to stimulate autophagy and it’s free. Studies on fasting and aging suggest those who fast even 24 hours once a month will live 8-10 years longer.
Fasting increases muscle mass
One of the historic myths of fasting is the loss of muscle mass and physique as a result of prolonged fasting. Fasting has been established to increase growth hormone which provides energy, burns fat stores, and promotes muscle growth. The added support of sufficient sleep, adequate protein intake, and resistance training provides the best combination with intermittent fasting in maintaining and gaining muscle mass.
Fasting improves energy and mood
It is surprising that fasting improves energy and lessens hunger cravings. The supposed suffering from fasting is an unvalidated myth. It is not surprising that fasting also increases the joy of food. It seems the constant feedings have stealthily removed the purpose and pleasure out of eating. Again, no suffering and more joy. What diet was able to provide it both ways at the same time? Answer: None. What then are we waiting for?