Fasting has been around for centuries. In the old days when food was not readily available, people had to fast until the next meal was hunted or gathered. Fasting is also common in many religions for spiritual purposes. But what about fasting for weight loss and health?
Fasting is the practice of abstaining from food and not eating for a specific period of time. You would instead drink clean sourced water, coffee (1 cup) in the am, or herbal teas. In recent years, numerous studies have suggested that intermittent fasting can be good for us. Fasting has been shown to improve biomarkers of disease, reduce oxidative stress and preserve learning and memory functioning, according to Mark Mattson senior investigator for the National Institute on Aging, part of the US National Institute of Health. There are several theories about why fasting provides physiological benefits, states Mattson from the Journal of Biochemistry, “The one that we’ve studied a lot and designed experiments to test, is the hypothesis that during the fasting period, cells are under mild stress and respond to the stress adaptively by enhancing their ability to cope with stress and, maybe, to resist disease.”
Mattson also looked at the effects of intermittent and continuous energy restriction on weight loss and various conditions including breast cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease among overweight young women and published in the Int J Obesity, 2011, and found that intermittent fasting was as effective as continuous restriction for improving weight loss, insulin sensitivity and other health biomarkers.
Benefits of Fasting
So is fasting bad for you? Different kinds of healthy fasting are actually good for you and as previously mentioned, do have health benefits. The benefits of fasting according to Dr. Jockers.com are:
- Improvement of Immune regulation
- Stimulates Cellular Autophagy-process which the body breaks down old weakened and damaged cells and recycles them for energy, making room for new efficient cells
- Improves genetic Repair Mechanisms
- Improves Insulin Sensitivity
- Reduces the risks of Chronic Diseases
- Helps the body to Sleep and Heal overnight
- Allows the Liver to Cleanse the Bloodstream
- Reduces Food Cravings and Addictions
- Helps the Body to Burn Body Fat
When you first begin fasting, it’s best to prepare your body by starting off slow with a 12 hour fast and build your body up to a 16 hour daily fast. Always remember to drink lots of clean-sourced water. A good rule of thumb is half your body weight in ounces, so for example, if you weigh 160 pounds, drink 80 ounces of water in a day. It is also helpful to drink herbal teas in the evening and green teas in the early afternoon or am.
If you are going to dedicate yourself to a daily fast, its best to have your healthy meals pre-planned so you break the fast with a healthy protein, fat, and carbohydrate and not a bunch of junk or processed foods.
Just because you fasted doesn’t mean you get to add the extra calories back in!
4 Types of Fasting
Simple 12-hour Fast
This fasting method is best when just starting daily fasting. This fast is where you would fast for 12 hours which includes your sleep time. If you finish dinner at 7 pm then you would not eat again until 7 am the following morning, pretty easy really. That means no after dinner or midnight snacks! Make sure you drink plenty of clean-sourced water.
14 Hour Fast
Just add 2 more hours on to your fasting time. For example, if you finished dinner at 7 pm, you would fast until 9 am, only drinking clean-sourced water, 1 cup of coffee or/and herbal teas.
16 Hour Fast
This amount of time is considered a strong fast, and the one that I do everyday. Once again, add 2 more hours onto your fasting time. So if you finished dinner at 7 pm, fast until 11:00. For this longer fast, it is recommended that you add 2 TBS of grass-fed collagen and 1tsp-1 TBS of MCT oil to your coffee or tea. This still maintains your fast because there is no digestion taking place. The MCT oil and collagen are absorbed without being digested. Your window of eating would be 8 hours, so you would eat breakfast at lunch or lunch, a small snack 3-4 hours later and dinner, making sure it was not processed foods and getting lots of organic veggies and good quality protein.
Support Your Fast with coffee or tea and added grass fed collagen and MCT oil or ghee butter.
Review of Great Lakes Collagen:
We at lifesparknutrition.com recommend “grass fed” collagen, which means the collagen comes from cows that have grazed on grass and not fed grains. The result is grass fed collagen should be labeled “gluten free,” which Great Lakes Collagen is. Great Lakes Collagen is also labeled gluten free, all natural, non GMO, Paleo friendly, keto certified Kosher, no MSG and verified glyphosate free.
Why use MCT Oil during a Fast?
- BRAIN BOOSTER: Pure MCT oil provides rapid mental and physical energy; supports cognitive function and keeps you satisfied and free from food cravings
- SUGAR FREE ENERGY: Rapidly absorbed providing instant energy. Experience the power of using quality fats for fuel and keeping you focused for hours
- CURB CRAVINGS: With C8 MCT oil from the best part of the coconut, you’ll crave less and be more satisfied; add to your daily routine
- BURN FAT: Brain Octane MCT oil is extracted from coconut oil, not palm oil and metabolizes more efficiently into ketone energy; Keto and Paleo friendly
- SUPPORTS HEALTHY DIGESTION: Brain Octane produces 4x the ketone energy of plain coconut oil. Promotes healthy digestion and immune function
19-21 Hour Fast
This is definitely not for everyone and maybe doable only once/week as opposed to daily. This fast is basically finish dinner at 7:00 and fast until 4:00, which means you get a 3-hour window for eating. Again, you could add in the collagen and MCT oil to your am coffee or tea and drink plenty of clean sourced water, which should be 1/2 your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80 ounces of water.
ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet
Another fast that I have tried and loved is the Prolon Fasting Mimicking Diet.
This is a great way to jump-start weight loss or reset your metabolism, have fewer cravings and more energy. What I appreciate about Prolon is that it is well researched and has several studies to support its effectiveness.
Dr. Valter Longo, Ph.D., is the inventor of the Fasting Mimicking Diet. He is considered by many to be the global leader in nutrition and aging. His research team embarked on a journey to uncover an impactful intervention that slows or reverses biological aging in order to delay the onset of age-related chronic diseases and in addition provides weight loss!
Professor Longo proved that periodic fasting, done for several consecutive days, is a very powerful intervention that our body learned to naturally cope with by protecting and rejuvenating itself, both anti-aging measures.
According to Prolon’s patient brochure, Prolon is the first fast mimicking diet (FMD) that is a prepackaged convenient 5-day meal program based on a complex proprietary combination of ingredients. This meal program consists of scientifically formulated, great-tasting, plant-based foods that are either ready to eat or easy to prepare, including soups, bars, snacks, supplements, a drink concentrate, and teas.
Here’s what Prolon can do for you:
- Decreases body fat
- Decreases body weight
- Preserves lean body mass
- 60% of the weight loss is maintained 3 months after resuming a normal healthy diet
- Maintains healthy levels of fasting blood glucose
- Maintains BP, cholesterol, triglycerides, C-reactive proteins and stem cells
- Maintains insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)
I recommend a combination of several of these fasts. First build your body up to a daily intermittent 16 hour fast and then add in a Prolon supported fast for a week and then back to a daily 16 hour daily intermittent fast. You will feel better, support weight loss, reduce cravings and according to Dr Longo, rejuvenate cells and provide your body with anti-aging benefits!