Humans have fasted periodically as part of religious or cultural traditions for thousands of years. However, our overabundance of fast, processed foods and its addictive quality as well as ease of access has changed diets and health in profound ways. Excess caloric intake has led to a whole host of chronic illnesses.
Is fasting the answer to manage chronic conditions and if so, Who should fast?
Intermittent fasting has become a hot topic and is now being used commonly for a variety of reasons. Fasting has been found to have a beneficial effect in the following conditions:
- Weight loss
- Insulin sensitivity
- Immune health
- Coronary artery disease
- Fatty liver
- Reducing the risk factors associated with poor outcomes of COVID 19
Most of the studies of intermittent fasting have been on its ability to improve insulin sensitivity, diabetes and obesity. One randomized controlled trial also showed that intermittent fasting significantly reduced hemoglobin A1C a marker for diabetes and improved blood sugar control. Better yet is that participants had very high rates of compliance. Most people find it easy to skip a meal or to eat in a specified time window.
How much or how often should I fast?
The answer to this is what do you want to accomplish or what condition you want to reverse as well as what works best for you.
- 12:12 or Overnight Fast
- Most people find it easy to fast overnight for 12 hours.
- 16:8 Fast
- 16 hours of fasting and eating in an 8 hour window is the most popular.
- 5:2 Fast
- Studies to reverse insulin resistance showed that eating a normal number of calories (2,000) for 5 days and semi fasting by eating only 25% of total calories (500 calories) for 2 days showed that participants lost weight and fat and improvement in insulin levels and insulin resistance. This is known as a 5:2 fast.
- 3- 5 Days or Alternate Days
- Fasting for 3-5 days can decrease inflammation, insulin and promote longevity. It does this by a process called autophagy described below. Alternate day fasts tend to decrease cholesterolSome find it easier and more beneficial to fast for 1-3 days a month. Especially when weight loss plateaus. If you do plateau change your strategy and your diet. Do a 24 hour fast, if you did that then go 36 -48 hours. Some people have tried eating only once a day or continuously fast for a week. You have many ways to break a plateau.
To prevent the body from adapting to the new weight loss strategy, the fasting or calorie restriction has to be intermittent and not constant. Find what works for you. A lot depends on what you want to accomplish and how your body responds.
Who should not do intermittent fasting?
If you are on medications or have any disorders it is best to consult with your doctor since medications would have to be adjusted.
Don’t attempt fasting if you have:
- Eating disorder
- Chronic kidney disease
- Brittle diabetes
- Heart rhythm disturbances
- Heart failure
- Blood clots
- Children under 18
- Malnourished or underweight
- If on medications consult with your doctor. Many medications such as for blood pressure or blood sugar will have to be adjusted.
Timing is everything
While most people skip breakfast, emerging research suggests that skipping dinner) may be more effective than skipping breakfast. Eating fewer meals during the day may reduce disease incidence. Meal timing affects circadian rhythms, and late-night eating may contribute to obesity which may be due to the rhythm of glucose tolerance.
Do you want to live longer and healthier?
Intermittent fasting has its place in improving longevity
One of the benefits is autophagy. Autophagy is cleaning out old, damaged cells. This process enables the body to produce newer, healthier cells and regenerate tissue. In order for this to occur a fast has to be for over 24 hours and the maximum benefits occur at 48 to 72 hours.
There is a way to get the benefits of a fast without fasting. The Fasting Mimicking Diet has been studied and there is now a system using ProLon. ProLon’s breakthrough nutri-technology was researched for over 20 years and developed by Dr. Longo at The Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California
ProLon provides 5 days of food in a kit. Eating what is in the kit for 5 days once a month for 3 months has shown the following benefits:
- Regeneration of stem cells
- Loss of weight and inches
- Loss of abdominal fat
- Metabolic balance
- Blood pressure reduction
- Reduced IGF1, a marker for aging and cancer risk,
If you feel you can benefit from intermittent fasting, try a short overnight fast then progress to a 16 hour fast as long as you don’t have any serious medical conditions. Consult your doctor if you want to do a longer fast. If you want to try ProLon, you can buy 3 kits at a discount just be aware that is has soy in it so avoid it if you are soy sensitive. Many of our diets include windows of intermittent fasting and provide the guidance and support needed for you to be successful. Contact us for more information at HowToLiveYounger.com.