Why intermittent fasting?
Yoshinori Ohsumi, a cellular biologist from Japan, became the 2016 Nobel Prize winner “for discovering the mechanisms of autophagy.” The Japanese scientist has scientifically substantiated that fasting is good for one’s health.
Autophagy is a natural process by which the body degrades and recycles damaged cells, proteins and toxins. It is the process of utilizing and recycling unnecessary or dysfunctional cellular components. Autophagy becomes especially intense when an organism is under stress, for example, when it fasts.
This discovery indicates that abstaining from food and keeping fasts is wholesome—the body truly cleans itself.
How do I intermittently fast?
The best way to start is to do a 12 hour fast. For example, if the last thing you ate was at 7PM and you don’t eat again until 7AM, overnight you have fasted for 12 hours. When we fast for 12 hours we get an increase in growth hormone.
Growth hormone is considered an anti-aging hormone as well as a fat burning hormone and it helps facilitate healing—especially in the joints. It also helps protein synthesis (making new proteins). Furthermore, every additional hour after 12 hours of fasting increases growth hormone production, which is vital for your body to heal and repair.
Once you have mastered a 12 hour fast, skip or delay breakfast (break-the-fast) by adding an additional hour of fasting every day or so to help your body adjust. Starting slowly helps avoid blood sugar issues like dizziness and lightheadedness, which usually indicates high levels of insulin or insulin resistance (to learn more about insulin resistance and to identify symptoms of insulin resistance click here).
Ultimately, the goal is to get to a 16-18 hour fast, where autophagy occurs. This is when the body really starts cleaning and healing. The longer the fast the further inflammation goes down. The gut is able to rest without constantly digesting food. The body starts burning ketones instead of glucose which is excellent for both the heart and brain.
When the body begins to run on ketones (which is a superior fuel source to glucose) changes begin to occur. Ketones are an appetite suppressant so hunger and cravings decrease dramatically. Ketones are also antioxidants so you build up your antioxidant reserve. They also provide more oxygen so your body is running on less CO2. Additionally, the thyroid thrives on ketones so people with thyroid imbalances have an added benefit.
It is recommended to do a ketogenic diet along with intermittent fasting, especially for weight loss. A good guideline for staying in ketosis is consuming less than 30 grams of carbs a day. Tracking carbs with apps like My Fitness Pal, Fat Secret and Cronometer is a good place to start.
Moreover, research has indicated that doing a ketogenic diet can help reduce and eliminate epilepsy, brain tumors, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism and ALS. For more information click here and here.
Doing intermittent fasting supports your body in healing and detoxing. Once you start, you’ll see how easy it is and how different you feel!
Remember, it is never too late to start improving your health!
*Note: Intermittent fasting is not recommended for pregnant women.
For more information here are some helpful videos:
How to do Intermittent Fasting – Intermittent Fasting Basics for Beginners – Dr.Berg – YouTube (7 minute video about the basics)
Intermittent Fasting for Beginners: THE MOST IMPORTANT TIPS – YouTube (10 minute video with more details and overview for beginners)
What Really Happens When We Fast? – YouTube (12 minute video about the science and long term benefits)