We’ve all been to the doctor. Everything is fine, but they would like to do some blood work. We are reminded that we need to fast for 12 – 24 hours before they take the blood. We wake up the next morning, and all we want is breakfast, but we know we can’t eat or the blood work will be compromised.
It seems like the most difficult thing we have ever done! And that is just one morning. Imagine doing it every day? Day after day? or even a few times a week for the long term?
That is the premise behind Intermittent Fasting.
Let’s get started.
How does it work?
There are a couple of different ways to get involved in intermittent fasting. One is a daily fast of about 16 hours. The other is fasting for 24 hours a couple days a week. The other is known as 5:2, where you restrict your calorie intake.
The daily fast would work like this: when you finish dinner, you stop eating for the next 16 hours or so. So if dinner is over at 7:00pm, then you would not eat anything until after 11:00am the next morning. You would skip breakfast and then have lunch and dinner and then repeat the cycle.
The other way would be to just not eat anything for 24 hours, a couple days a week. So if you finished dinner at 7:00pm, then you wouldn’t eat anything until 7:00pm the next day. This would be repeated after regular eating for a couple days.
If you follow the 5:2 method, you would restrict your calorie intake to 500 or 600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, eating normally the other days.
It can be said that Intermittent Fasting is not a diet, since there is no mention of what to eat, but more an eating pattern adjustment. Following any of these three fasting methods will allow you to lose weight.
When my wife and I started the ketogenic lifestyle, we combined it with Intermittent Fasting so we could get our bodies into ketosis quicker and stay in ketosis until we lost the weight we wanted to lose.
The method we choose was the daily 16-hour fast. We would have dinner and then perhaps a snack, and then stop eating until after 1:00pm the next day. IN the morning, we would have coffee and water, but nothing else. Then, after 1:00pm we would have a healthy lunch. It was usually a salad with some protein (chicken or steak or fish). We may snack in the afternoon and then have a keto dinner.
The keto dinner would be vegetables and meat, perhaps some bacon with lots of butter or cheese sauce. This would allow us to get most of our calories from healthy fats, with a huge reduction in carbs and a moderate amount of protein.
We followed this for several months. I was able to lose about 20 pounds, and my wife more than 40 pounds. When we got to a comfortable weight, we backed off on the Intermittent Fasting and continued in the Ketogenic Lifestyle. We had found the foods that we loved and gotten into the habit of eating these foods daily, to stay in ketosis.
Beyond the obvious advantage of weight loss, Intermittent Fasting has many other benefits:
There may be anti-aging benefits (https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/212538),
There may be cancer prevention benefits (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22323820)
There may be heart health benefits (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19793855)
There may be inflammation reduction benefits (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17374948)
There may be brain health benefits (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16011467) and
It may protect against Alzheimer (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17306982).
Note: a lot of these studies were on small groups of animals, and the effects of Intemittent Fasting on humans is still in the early stages of study, but the results do look hopeful.
The Body’s Response to Intermittent Fasting
Some changes that occur in the body when you expose it to Intermittent Fasting are:
A greater insulin sensitivity and levels of insulin drop, making the fat that we have stored in our bodies more easily accessible
Your cells may repair themselves faster (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21106691)
The levels of Human Growth Hormone increase which can assist in weight loss and muscle growth
There may be genetic changes around longevity and protection from disease
These physiological changes are the changes which account for the benefits of Intermittent Fasting.
Intermittent Fasting is a legitimate weight loss tool if used correctly. In my opinion, it needs to be combined with a ketogenic lifestyle to see the maximum benefits. Also, the food you choose to eat to break the fast is important, as this will set your metabolism in motion, so you must choose foods that are high in healthy fats so your body will start to burn the stored fat for energy.
As I’ve said before, give it a try. You have got nothing to lose but fat!
Thanks for listening.
See you in the next post.
Have a great day!