HEALTHY FASTING

HEALTHY FASTING

Intermittent Fasting can help you:

Lose weight

Feel better

Reduce your risk of disease

And increase longevity.

Fasting and Weight Loss

Three Stages – Digesting vs. Fasting:

1. Fed

Your body is considered to be in a “Fed” state when it’s digesting and absorbing food. This starts as you begin eating and typically lasts for three to five hours after a meal as your body digests and absorbs the food you just have eaten. When you are in a “Fed” state, it’s very hard for your body to burn fat because your insulin levels are high.

2. Post-absorptive

The “Post-absorptive state” occurs when your body isn’t processing a meal. This phase begins after 3-5 hours of digesting and lasts for 8-12 hours.

3. Fasted

After the 8-12 hours in the Post-absorptive state, your body finally enters the “Fasted state”. This is a time when your insulin levels are low and it’s much easier for your body to burn fat.

Fasting allows your body to burn stored fat.

Because we only enter a true “Fasted state” between 11-17 hours after our last meal, it’s rare for those who eat frequently or follow the typical ‘three square meals a day’ to actually be able to burn stored fat. People who use Intermittent fasting will often lose weight quickly — without changing what they eat, how much they eat, or how often they exercise.

The Beginners Guide to Intermittent Fasting“, by James Clear.  (3)


Healthy Fasting using a 16:8 plan.

EATING state — Your body burns glucose as a result of eating carbs and protein. Insulin and blood sugar levels remain high. This phase lasts for 3-5 hours after eating.

INTERMEDIATE state — A resting phase. This generally lasts for 8-12 hours and occurs only after the eating stage is complete.

FASTING state — Your body burns fat for fuel at this point. Insulin and blood sugar levels both remain low while fasting. This lasts until your next meal.


Gut Health & Fasting

An often-ignored benefit of Intermittent fasting is that it can also profoundly impact and improve your gut health.

Fasting can help to heal your gut by improving the gut barrier, reducing gut permeability.  This helps repair the condition known as “leaky gut syndrome”, considered by many practitioners to be the precursor to autoimmune disease, as well as many other modern health conditions.

Researchers find that beyond its benefits on your body and brain, Intermittent fasting can favorably influence the balance of beneficial gut flora that protects against metabolic syndrome, a traffic jam of issues that include high blood sugar and abdominal obesity.

In addition, Fasting, which results in losing weight, also reduces inflammation and improves gut ecology.

You win on every level: you look and feel better. Gut health improves. And lower inflammation scores reduce your risk for nearly every disease.

Gut Health specialist, Dr. Vincent Pedre (1)

Autoimmune Disease & Fasting

“When you fast for an extended period of time, your body has the chance to rest and recover since it is not busy digesting food or defending against inflammatory agents in food. This state of rest can be especially helpful for taming autoimmunity for a number of reasons.

Periods of fasting were also a natural part of our evolution. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors could not always find food to eat, and so our bodies adapted to function for extended periods of time without eating. It is only recently that the scientific community has begun to research the various health applications of Intermittent Fasting, with studies showing the potential of fasting to reduce oxidative damage and inflammation, optimize energy metabolism, and boost cellular protection.”

From the article, “Should you try Intermittent Fasting if you have an Autoimmune Disease?”, by Dr. Amy Meyers (2)

Benefits:

According to Dr. Meyers:

  • Fasting helps you lose weight.
  • It helps you to live a longer life.
  • Strengthens the immune system.
  • Improves neurological responses.
  • It may also help to reduce the risk of cancer.
  • It supports faster metabolism.
  • Has been shown to improve brain health and brain function.
  • Supports fitness training, muscle development, and hormone production.
  • Has been shown to improve Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • And has shown potential benefits for autoimmune conditions including Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Scleroderma, Multiple Sclerosis, and other autoimmune diseases.

Common Fasting Methods

Healthy Fasting can come in many styles and schedules.

Short-Term Fasting

There are many combinations:

  • 12 hours fasting/ 12 hours eating
  • 14 hours fasting / 10 hours eating
  • 16 hours fasting/ 8 hours eating
  • 20 hours fasting/ 4 hours eating

16:8 is a popular way to get started. With this method, you eat during 8 consecutive hours of the day and then fast the 16 hours in between. A common version is to have dinner, then fast from 8 pm to noon the next day. And then begin eating again at noon the following day, and finishing eating again by 8 pm. (Basically skipping breakfast, which can be contrary to most former dietary guidelines.)


Long-Term Fasting

24 hours Fasts. Generally, this is done only once or twice a week. (For example, eat dinner one day and then fast until the next day’s dinner.)

Multi-day Fasts. Follow fasting protocols for several days to many days in a row.


Calorie Restriction Fasting

5:2 Diet.  This calorie restriction diet recommends eating no more than 500-600 calories/day on two non-consecutive days of the week, and then eat normally the other 5 days of the week.

This technique is focused on weight loss – and does not provide benefits of Autophagy, as your body will not get into the non-glucose/fat-burning stage of a “true” fasted state. Even on the “fasting” days of a 5:2 program, you will remain in a fed state. There are, however, lots of other benefits and appeal as a way to reduce calories and lose weight.


Questions:

Can I eat or drink while Fasting?

Most experts say that the most important part of the fasting process is that you should continue to drink liquids!

Suggestions for beverages to drink while fasting, include:

  • Water
  • Tea
  • Black coffee
  • Bone broth or Vegetable broth (made from non-starchy vegetables).

** While fasting, ALL beverages must be non-caloric drinks (meaning they contain no calories or sugars). If you avoid calories and sugars, your body will not have to produce insulin and you can remain in a fasted state.

The same is true for eating. If you feel like you need energy while fasting, try adding grass-fed butter or coconut oil to a hot coffee or tea and stirring it in so that it melts. Fat will give your body fuel without triggering insulin production or stressing the digestive system during the resting/ repairing phase of fasting.

People call this idea of adding fat, “bullet” coffee or tea. I often like to have a little fat during the morning hours when I’m fasting, it seems to keep me sharper and makes fasting a bit easier. So “bullet” coffee works for me. But there’s no one right way… Try different variations. Experiment. Do what is best for you!


How do I transition from Fasting to Eating?

Here are a few helpful suggestions:

  • Go Slowly. Come off any fasting period gently.
  • Start with liquids. Begin an Eating phase by having a drink that is high in nutrition, but low sugar. Liquids are easier for your digestive system to initially process after a being in a Fasted state.
  • Stay hydrated while fasting. And be sure to drink healthy beverages during the eating phase.
  • Eat healthy foods. It’s best to follow a plan like the True Gut Health Reboot, a plan that is high in plant-based foods, good fats, and good fibers, while low in sugars and processed foods, and includes only moderate levels of animal-based proteins.
  • Don’t binge eat. If you consume way too many calories during the eating phase, you won’t feel well and you can undermine the benefits of the fasting phase.
  • Add good bacteria. Fermented and cultured foods will ensure that you have a healthy population of good bacteria in your gut. This will aid digestion. And cultured foods will help adjust your taste buds to prefer savory over sweet! This is a really helpful tip when trying to cut back on sweets and curb sugar cravings!

Healthy Fasting as a part of a Gut Reboot = Great results!


Please use caution:

Some people rave about the benefits of multi-day fasting. However, it’s important to understand that longer fasts (24 hours or longer) are done less often and take more preparation and practice. While for most people, shorter fasts (like a 16:8), can be followed on a daily basis. It’s important to remember that fasting is something that you should experiment with and listen carefully to your body as you go through the process.

There is conflicting information about the differences between women and men with fasting. Some professionals argue that different sexes may not benefit from fasting in the same way. To learn more about this idea, I recommend reading Dr. B.J. Hardick’s article, An Intermittent Fasting Guide for Men and Women. (4)

Important Disclaimer: Although fasting can be a very healthy choice, fasting is not necessarily for everyone. If you are pregnant, nursing, if you have a history of eating disorders, if you are on medication to regulate blood sugar, or if you are under the care of a doctor, you should check with your physician first before starting any fasting protocol.

Peg Desrochers

True Gut Health

Live a Vibrant Life!