Intermittent Fasting is a simple concept but with far reaching effects and benefits. This short article will highlight how and why you should engage this concept for health and longevity.
You own an inherent ability to be energy efficient and lean. Our caveman bodies have a built-in mechanism that allows us to go many hours and yes even days without food as a tool for survival. In today’s world with abundant food everywhere, Americans culture dictates that we overeat all day long. We were once taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day so eat from sun up and well after sundown. This practice of always having calories in your belly drives the inflammatory response as your body creates oxidative stress as it digests food. When we don’t have food in our belly the body senses this and enters a “clean out” process where is removes damaged cell parts thus making the cell more efficient and more energetic. This fasting process has been recently studied and repeatedly shown to provide an array of benefits for our body.
The following is a concise listing of changes that occur under intermittent fasting:
- Liver enzymes become more efficient at burning more fat.
- Weight loss is easier and regaining weight is very unlikely
- Brown fat % increased which is hugely beneficial for weight loss
- Energy: Steadier energy levels. No post lunch drop in energy.
- Blood sugar reduction, helps to reverse type 2 diabetes. Greater insulin sensitivity.
- Brain: better norepinephrine and dopamine production >> sharper thinking
- Heart: reduces inflammation and thus heart disease risk
- Heart: lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels
- Growth Hormone production increased thus slows the aging process
- More liberty in what you eat, more liberty for occasional cheating
- Improves eating behavior and mood
Let’s be clear, Intermittent Fasting doesn’t necessarily mean reducing your caloric intake. We DO NOT endorse a calorie restricted diet. This process simply states that your normal caloric intake occurs within a shortened window of eating. The goal is to ideally reach a point where we fast 6 or 7 days per week for at least 12 hours. To start, keep it simple and just stop eating for 10 hours, perhaps from 9PM to 7AM or some similar time span. Just try to do this 2 or 3 days per week. Then as you change your diet to reduced carbs and take
in greater amounts of healthy fats you will find it easier to extend that fast to 11 hours and then 12 hours. As you do this then consider adding days of the week to this process and gradually increase to 4 or 5 days or more.
Is there greater benefit to fasting more than 12 hours? Yes. The minimum number of hours of fasting to see an effect is 12, but fasting up to 16 hours a day will return a greater result in how you feel.
Will fat in my coffee break my fast? Yes. True fasting is consuming nothing but water. There is still debate in whether black coffee break the fast but you can experiment and see if black coffee alters your benefits.
Can I do a longer fast of 24 or 48 hours? Yes, there can be benefit to this approach but please do so only in consultation with Chelsea. Excess caloric restriction for days can reduce thyroid function and excessively stress the body if done improperly.
Take your time with this process and don’t be critical of your success. Trial and error is normal and allowing frustration to enter is the biggest mistake. Experiment with different time windows but ultimately you decide what works best for your schedule. Experts like Dr. Panda would say it is best to stop eating 2-3 hours before bed and avoid food for at least an hour after awakening but I personally find it easier to simply skip breakfast and not eat until 10AM. Simply start where you can and learn how your body reacts. Enjoy the process.