Are you struggling with excess weight and showing signs of insulin and leptin resistance and/or is your fasting blood sugar above 5.5 often? If you answer yes to these questions, you should reconsider what you eat and when you eat as well.
Research reveals that a vast majority of Americans eat all day long. Most consume the majority of their food late in the evening, and this type of eating pattern is a recipe for weight gain and metabolic dysfunction.
Their bodies have adapted to burn sugar as its primary fuel, which down-regulates enzymes that utilize and burn stored fat. Our ancestors did not have access to food 24/7, and biologically our bodies are not designed to run optimally when continuously fed.
Biological repair and rejuvenation
Biological repair and rejuvenation processes take place when there is an absence of food, and this is another reason why all-day eating can activate disease. Your body never has the time to clean out and regenerate.
When you go without food for a period, the resulting metabolic changes stimulate a natural cleansing process, in which your body detoxifies and cleanses itself of damaged cells.
By cycling between periods of eating and fasting on a daily or weekly schedule has been shown to provide many of the same benefits as complete fasting.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
Time magazine stated that intermittent fasting is becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason — it works whether you are trying to lose weight or to improve your biomarkers for optimal health.
Your body converts food into glycogen. Glycogen is energy in storage for later use. Your body uses the glycogen in both fat cells and in your liver when needed for energy.
When you eat all day long, the glycogen stored in your liver is never depleted.
After 12 hours without food, your liver runs out of glycogen and your body starts drawing energy from the glycogen stored in your fat cells.
Your body was designed to:
- Run on fat as its primary fuel
- Go through periods of feast and famine. Today many people do the complete opposite. They eat high glycaemic index carbohydrates and sugar often
When we follow the eating habits of our ancestors, who did not have access to food 24/7, we restore the body to a more natural state that can reset the metabolism.
Fasting can hold the key to cancer and dementia prevention
Intermittent fasting can significantly boost mitochondrial health and energy efficiency, which is important for chronic disease prevention.
Intermittent fasting can prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Research suggests that alternate day fasting can boost a protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) from 50 to 400 percent, depending on the brain region.
BDNF can activate brain stem cells to convert into new neurons. It triggers other chemicals that promote neural health and has been shown to protect brain cells from changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Eat healthy on fasting and non-fasting days
Because you are eating less, it is important that you make sure you are getting high-quality nutrients from your food. Healthy fats are very important, as intermittent fasting pushes your body to switch over into fat burning mode. If you feel tired and sluggish, you should increase the amount of healthy fat in your diet.
Cutting high glycaemic carbohydrates is very important. Fructose is troublesome as it activates a key enzyme, fructokinase, which in turn activates another enzyme that causes your cells to accumulate fat and resist letting any of it go. If you are overweight, insulin-resistant, or diabetic, reducing sugar consumption and high glycaemic carbohydrates is important.
Your diet should be:
High in healthy fats
50 to 85 percent of your daily energy intake should be in the form of healthy fat from avocados, organic grass-fed butter, pastured egg yolks, coconut oil, and raw nuts such as macadamia, pecans, and pine nuts.
Moderate amounts of high-quality protein
Only grass-fed or pastured animals. Consume about 40 to 80 grams of protein per day.
Free amounts of fresh low net carb organic vegetables
Peak fasting — how long?
Permanent intermittent fasting has shortcomings from a metabolic perspective and once you have reached your goals, return to a normal lifestyle.
Stop eating three hours before bedtime and do not have your first meal for at least 13 hours. Measure your blood sugar then. Check your blood sugar every half hour, and when it starts to raise rapidly you need to eat food because you will now start breaking down lean muscle.
If you are overweight, have insulin and leptin resistance, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or full-blown type 2 diabetes, continue intermittent fasting until your insulin/leptin resistance improves, and your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol ratios, or diabetes normalizes.
Revert to a balanced healthy lifestyle once you have reached your goals. Keep track of your health markers, and if they start sliding, go back on the fasting program of your choice.
If you are new to fasting, it may take some time to work up to 13 hours, but once you start activating your fat burning system you will achieve this. The most effective way is to limit your carbohydrates to under 40 grams per day and do not exceed more than 1 gram of protein per kilogram of lean body mass.
Making it through the transition period
The initial transition can take anywhere from 7 to 10 days. For some people it can take longer because of factors, like your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and if you are not consistent with the fasting and wind up cheating.
About 10 percent of people will present with headaches as a side effect when they first start fasting, but the biggest complaint is hunger. Remember that part of why you are craving food is because your body has not yet made the switch from burning sugar to burning fat as its primary fuel.
A diet high in carbohydrates severely inhibits your body’s ability to produce lipase and use fat as an energy source. Lipase is inhibited because of high insulin levels, and your insulin rises in response to eating high glycaemic index carbohydrates, so it is important to replace those carbs with healthy fat in order to successfully make that metabolic switchover and become an efficient fat burner.
Remember if you are used to eating throughout the day, it may take some time to break the habit. Drink more water because often people mistake thirst for hunger.
Peak fasting may be your health U-turn
Other fasting benefits
- Raises human growth hormone which is also a fat-burning hormone, which is another reason why fasting is so effective for weight loss.
- Inhibits the mTOR pathway, which plays an important part in driving the aging process by increasing mitophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis.
Contraindications for fasting
- Chronic stress
- Chronic fatigue or cortisol dysregulation
- Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers
If you are considering a fasting option to lose weight and need professional assistance, please contact us for an appointment.