Fasting has been around for thousands of years. Intentionally and of course unintentionally..... Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Monks and an assortment of rituals have included fasting. Plus the long winters when it wasn't exactly an option. It can hardly be imagined that someone would intentionally go without food, for a long time. It's pretty annoying to think about. Just to-think-about, not even to perform, just to imagine a whole day no food........ugh.
"The best of all medicines is resting and fasting" - Benjamin Franklin
In recent years fasting has become in vogue. It comes in many forms, like intermittent fasting, extended fasting, water fast, liquid only fast, prolonged fasting and, dry fasting. Today's focus is on how the forms of fasting can benefit your life and weight loss journey. We will save how to perform the different fast in another post.
It may come as no surprise that fasting is great for weight loss. Who was the genius that realized that depriving people of food led to weight loss? Before we get into the benefits of fasting lets talk about health. Is fasting healthy? Not inherently. First talk to your physician if it's even a possibility based on your current health. If you are a in good health, and you normally eat healthy, this is for you. The biggest concerns are nutrients and energy.
When it comes to getting enough nutrients it should not be a concern because out of the 20 necessary nutrients that the body needs, the body makes 9 of them.
How Long Can I survive Without Food?
This is widely debated however it seems that most doctors agree that you can go without food for up to 2 months. This is, of course, if you are also intaking enough water. You would start to see some effects of not having the 11 essential nutrients, but this would take weeks before your body ran out of these nutrients and hit a critical moment. There is little worry here if you perform any fast except for the extended fast which generally lasts longer than 48 hours.
What about weakness from not having energy?
In western civilizations we rely on a steady stream of carbohydrates (glucose/glycogen). We can store roughly 500 grams of glycogen in our muscles and liver and that runs out between 12-24 hours depending on activity level. So without carb energy how do we survive for up to two months? Well, we convert over to metabolically using our favorite form of energy that is in much greater supply, fats. After a painful push through the "I think I'm doing" mood, the body uses small versions of fats known as ketones. They are easy to consume like sugar once broken down by the body. Now we have an unlimited source of energy (practically, depending on size. In fact there is research shown from a doctor who monitored a 368 day water fast with an obese gentleman who was living off of his own fat, metabolically. That's amazing! Our body is incredible. This is just the beginning.
For Weight Loss
"I'm kind of like a middle mix between a warrior diet and a Paleo diet, so I only eat once a day and it's at night - so kind of like interval fasting. But I eat until I'm full, I eat as much as I want, and I really don't eat anything that you couldn't find, you know, 10,000 years ago" -Ronda Rousey
Weight loss is the name of the game here at RX Fit, and everything else are sprinkles on a low carb, low glycemic, dairy and gluren free ice cream treat. There are two primary mechanisms of action during fasting for weight loss. Insulin sensitivity and ketone production.
Whenever you consume carbohydrates, and to a lesser extent protein, your pancreas produces insulin. One of the main jobs of this hormone is to transfer glucose from the bloodstream to energy production (metabolism). A healthy insulin production is that of a child when given candy, they spin, twist, jump, flip and drive adults insane. Pure, unadulterated energy. You may have noticed that as you age you don't react that strongly to that same amount of sugar. That's because our pancreas doesn't produce as much insulin for the amount of glucose (sugar) we ingest. This leaves glucose in the bloodstream and becomes stored fat. This state is also known as insulin resistance, and leads to type 2 diabetes. The opposite of this is
"I fast for greater physical and mental health efficiency" -Plato
Heart Health - He who eats until he is sick must fast until he is well. ~English Proverb
" What you eat has almost NO impact on what your cholesterol" - Dr. Stephanie Estima
It is the sophisticated nature of this process of breakdown and rapid rebuilding that suggests it might be a way tapping into an ancient program of self-repair mostly lost to us because of the general abundance of food and utter lack of famine that most of us enjoy. Our genes, however, shaped by the feasts and famine of the past, remember.
Sharper Brain - When you don't have food in your life, just for a day, it makes you realise you're lucky to have it the next day. So the day after fasting, the music that comes out will be very joyous. -Chris Martin