Intermittent Fasting Post
- Body Needs time to clean out pathogens and utilize all the nutrients we ingest
- Intermittent fasting can prevent Alzheimer’s, Infections, and Cancer!
- Optimum fast is 16 hours
- For those with increased nutritional demands this may be shorter
- Coconut Oil, Coffee, and Bone Broth can be ingested during fasts
Our bodies cells have something called a lysosome which get rid of junk (bacteria, viruses, recycled nutrient parts) but this process of autophagy isn’t turned on until the levels of fats, amino acids, and sugars in our body are scarce. This means we need periods of fast to “clean out the garbage” and can protect us against infections. In the Perfect Health Diet (PHD), the Jaminet’s (co-authors) go into more detail about the process of autophagy and how it can prevent infections, Alzheimer’s, and cancer! In the PHD, the authors commonly reference that too much or too little of something is bad; the same is true with intermittent fasting. Overfeeding and absence of fasts leads to obesity and the problems associated with it such as diabetes, infection, organ failure, and many more. Underfeeding can lead to muscle wasting, slowing of your metabolism, and other problems. A common length from sources including the PHD recommend a 16-hour fast because the benefits of fasting occur when the liver runs low on glycogen; if the fast lasts too long the autophagy process is suppressed and lean body tissue can be lost (muscle wasting). Certain foods such as Coconut Oil and coffee can be ingested during a fast and can promote Ketosis enhancing the fast benefits. A good bone broth can also help maintain appropriate fluid and electrolyte levels during a fast without stopping the benefits. It can take time to get used to intermittent fasting and fasts should be ended when you feel hungry which can lead to anxiety, anger, and overall less productive behaviors.
I started doing some intermittent fasting in the spring of 2013, doing it 2-3 times a week just to try it out. I started fasting for about 10-14 hours after first learning about it. Since the summer of 2013, I have been doing daily intermittent fasts 5-7 days a week for 13-16 hours per fast; and don’t really feel hungry until the end of the fast. I also eat when I am hungry so whether it is at 13 hours or 16 hours, I eat. It took some time to get used to it and early on I was very hungry during my fast even with drinking coffee, coconut oil, and lots of fluids. I also read the 8-hour Diet which talks about feeding for 8 hours a day and fasting for 16; however I don’t believe it is the best nutritional book because it talks about fasting but not necessarily eating clean. I do feel occasional deviations from “clean” eating are ok but not too often; and not if you are just beginning to eat clean. In the PHD, the Jaminet’s talk about how it can take a couple weeks to get used to intermittent fasting, and it did. I love in the PHD, how they talk about too little or too much of just about anything nutritionally including healthy things (example vitamins) are bad. PHD recommends Intermittent fasts at 16 hours daily and no more than 24 hours of fasting at a time. Now I am physically active so I struggle going 16 hours without food so I do roughly 14 hours of intermittent fasting because of my higher nutritional demands. I have had fewer migraines, not been sick, slept great, felt less stressed, and feel mentally sharp. Some of these benefits also might be related to the daily tablespoon of coconut oil that I have during my fast and my other dietary changes that I have made over the last 6-9 months, as you can read about in other upcoming posts. All in all I feel that intermittent fasting is helpful; and fasts of 14-18 hours, depending on physical activity, can be beneficial to your health.
I recommend reading the Perfect Health Diet for all you out there who want to eat cleaner and I have some excellent links to articles and podcasts that talk more about intermittent fasting. The fatbuningman.com link is an excellent talk/podcast where Abel James (The Fat Burning Man) interviews a chiropractor by the name of Dr. Charles Livingston who talks a little bit about his intermittent fasting, his workouts over the years, and bulletproof coffee. I really liked this interview because his fitness and health changes from his high school/collegiate days to today are similar to mine. He went from being “huge” and eating like a weight lifter to eating cleaner, utilizing intermittent fasting, and having a lighter body.
Jaminet, P., & Jaminet S-C. (2012). Perfect health diet. New York: Scribner.
Zinczenko, D. (2013). 8-hour diet. New York: Rodale.