Complete Guide to do Intermittent Fasting

Hey so you’re interested in starting intermittent fasting or maybe you have a family member or friend that’s interested in starting it well this video is going to be your entire overview it’s gonna give you everything you need to know to get started with intermittent fasting so the cool thing is intermittent fasting is were really easy to get started on now the caveat is there are some little intricacies that you need to be paying attention to that’s exactly why I created this video in some serious detail so what we’re gonna cover in this video is a number of different things and I’m gonna go down the line so you have a solid idea of what we’re going to cover so first off we’re gonna talk about what is intermittent fasting and why you shouldn’t overthink it okay we’re gonna talk about the basic benefits not gonna spend a whole lot of time on that because if you’re watching this video you’re probably already interested and your curiosity has been piqued because you know someone that has had crazy success with it but we’re gonna talk about the physical benefits affect fat loss and some muscle gain we’re gonna talk about the mental and the focus benefits we’re also going to talk about the cellular rejuvenation benefits but again not gonna spend a lot of time there these are the main things I want to cover so make sure that you pay attention so that you don’t miss this section of the video that’s why I want to lay it out before we even get started so number one I’m gonna tell you how you start a fast okay how you actually literally what you do before you start fasting then I’m gonna talk about how long you should fast for okay how much time should you spend not eating okay then I’m gonna go into number three let’s talk about what can I consume like can I consume coffee tea what can I consume during a fast and what will break a fast this is very very important and I’m gonna reference a couple of studies that make some sense of some pretty cool things they’re gonna make getting into intermittent fasting a little bit easier for you then I’m going to talk about how to break your fast this is very important very strategic I’ve done some videos on this that have literally close to a million views because it is such a popular question so you’re gonna want to pay attention to that then I’m gonna talk about when you should actually workout or should you work out at all I’m gonna break that down gonna give you a little bit of science there as well we’re talking about the different types of fasting because there’s intermittent fasting there’s some liquid style fasting there’s prolonged fasting there’s various kinds of fasting you need to know which one is right for you and then we’re gonna move in to fasting for men versus women there are some slight subtle differences that you need to pay attention to and they’re only going to make your experience better it’s not about danger and you think it’s just about making sure that you are doing the right kind of fasting for who you are okay then we’re going to talk about the common concerns these are big ones they’re gonna want to stick with me through the end of the video because I promise everything’s gonna make sense and then this is gonna connect all the dots and get rid of any of that confusion alright so we’re gonna talk about the whole muscle lost concern we’re going to talk about the thyroid because a lot of people wonder if it’s going to slow down your thyroid we’re going to talk about when to take your supplements so should you take them in your fasting period or when you’re eating or what we’re also going to talk a little bit about alcohol consumption how does it affect your fast what should you do so now we’ve got the general breakdown let’s go ahead and get started I’m gonna get this out of the way because it’s this kind of weird looking and ugly so I’m gonna get this other way you come back sit down we’ll get started hey so you were tuned in to the Internet’s and number one performance and nutrition optimization channel so the new videos coming out every single Tuesday Friday and Sunday at 7 a.m.

Pacific time and a bunch of other videos in between including live broadcasts live coaching broadcasts and all kinds of other fun content so I want to make sure that you also hit that little Bell button so you can turn on notifications so you know whenever I do go live after you subscribe alright so let’s go ahead and let’s get down to what intermittent fasting is first and foremost so simply put intermittent fasting isn’t a diet intermittent fasting is a meal timing plan so basically what you’re doing is you’re focusing on a specific period of time in which you are abstaining from food and abstaining from calories and then you have a set period of time in which you consolidate all of your food all of your calories so you’re basically going for an extended period of time and not eating fasting and then you’re going into a period of time where you are eating your fed window so one of the biggest problems that people make with fasting is they overthink it okay they tend to complicate things and it’s human nature for us to do that so you really need to keep it very very simple intermittent fasting is just not eating for a set period of time and then consolidating your calories there’s a lot of different intricacies in-between but for all intents and purposes that’s the goal so let’s briefly talk about the benefits okay there are huge physical benefits and that’s probably the main reason that people are attracted to intermittent fasting and it’s a good chance if that’s why you’re watching this video right now okay physical benefits include dramatic dramatic fat loss all while maintaining muscle okay also increasing muscle tone increasing muscle density and there’s some other general things like actually improving your vascular function as well that can improve your look so in addition to helping out your skin helping out your appearance in that regard there are other benefits too like your nails your hair all kinds of things simply because of the nutrient uptake that occurs so without going into exquisite detail basically you have these physiological functions that occur mainly because of the release of what are called catecholamines adrenaline norepinephrine stuff like that that allow your body to tap into fat stores and preserve muscle when you go an extended period of time it allows your body to start tapping into its fat reserves plain and simple the cool thing is you have a lot of different hormone functions that are preventing you from burning up or losing muscle so you get all the benefits of fat loss without losing your muscle okay I digress a little bit then we have the mental benefits you see what ends up happening is when you’re on any kind of fasting protocol you’re going extended period of time without eating when you go an extended period of time without eating your brain goes into somewhat of a survival mode now this sounds bad but it’s actually good because what ends up happening is when your brain goes into survival mode it gets hyper focused very very focused because it preserves the energy into whatever the task is at hand so instead of having all these extra thoughts you’re able to focus on what you really want to focus on and in today’s society it’s very difficult to find true focus so fasting is very powerful for that but additionally it also allows you to produce what are called ketone bodies you may have heard of ketosis before but it actually doesn’t really necessarily mean the same thing as it does with fasting your body produces ketones which are a tremendous brain fuel explain a little bit more in other videos then we have the cellular rejuvenation side maybe you’re watching this video because you’re interested in sort of the cellular benefits the overall health benefits of intermittent fasting you see what happens in your fasting is something occurs in your body known as autophagy autophagy is the process where old cells get eaten up by newer cells and it consolidates them into stronger more powerful efficient cells so therefore making your skin glow better making you live longer and improving all kinds of organ function so you combine these together you can see why your friends and family might be pushing you to try intermittent fasting so let’s go ahead and let’s get the details so you can actually get started on your fasting journey all right how do you start a fast now I don’t literally mean how do you start fasting okay that part’s pretty simple you just stop eating and you’re fast hasn’t begun but what you eat leading into a fast can make a big difference for example if you eat something that’s higher in fiber it’s gonna put you in a situation where you’re a little bit more satiated so I usually recommend consuming a higher fiber meal prior to starting your fast so if you’re going to be fasting from let’s say 10 p.m.

The night before all the way through to maybe 2 p.m. or 4 p.m. the next day at 10 p.m. you may want to have a little bit of fiber maybe some psyllium husk maybe some vegetables that have a little bit more fiber because what it’s gonna do is it’s going to allow you to stay satiated for a longer period of time you’re still gonna get all the metabolic benefits but as far as your hunger is concerned you’re not gonna get these stomach growls you’re not going to get all that it’s gonna help you out a lot I also recommend having a little bit of fats fats of course you’re going to digest a little bit slower but they’re also going to leak free fatty acids into your bloodstream a little bit more so you’re able to produce those ketone bodies I talked about so a little bit of fat a little bit of fiber and a little bit of protein really pretty simple you don’t have to overthink it so a little bit of broccoli with some coconut oil might just be the perfect match for you now the next thing that people like to know is how long should they actually fast when you’re fasting the benefit that you’re trying to achieve is usually dictated by how long your fast is so what I mean by that is the shorter the fast you’re going to be able to get some body composition effects but the longer that you fast you tap more into the cellular rejuvenation effects so what I usually recommend people do is start off with a 16 hour fast this is known as 16-8 fasting so basically what it means is you’re fasting for 16 hours and then you have an eight-hour eating window now most of us aren’t awake for 24 hours straight so that 8 hour eating window doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be eating the entire 8 hours ok if you were too fast for 16 hours you might be awake for four or five of the eight hour eating window which works out perfectly because it allows you to restrict your calories a little bit more and get more of a metabolic effect so 16 hours is the bare you see after 16 hours you start to have an exponential benefit every hour so 16 hours is where the benefits of fasting really start so if you’re fasting less than 16 hours you’re still getting a good benefit but you’re not getting the same kind of intermittent fasting benefits that occur in the way of auto Fiji and really occur in the way of the cellular rejuvenation that start at 16 hours so I recommend starting 16 and working your way up to 18 or 20 personally I’m a fan of 20-hour fast but that’s a hard pill to swallow for someone that’s just getting started 16 hours is very acceptable pretty darn easy to do an example of that would be stopping your eating at p.m.

And then going to bed and then waking up and not eating until p.m. that’s 16 hours that’s really not that bad then you go ahead and you just eat whatever you need to between 2 and say 6 7 8 9 10 p.m. again so you’re really in this perfect situation this perfect setup of fasting and eating windows and you again you don’t have to eat throughout the entire eight-hour eating window the next thing that you need to know is what you can consume during your fast okay this is very important because a lot of times once you get started fasting you’re gonna want to start exploring a little bit you’re gonna get curious about different things so I figured I’d give you the breakdown of the things that you truly can consume without any hiccup whatsoever alright so you can consume black coffee don’t add a sweetener to it and don’t add any creamer to it okay black coffee in and of itself is very very powerful and it actually has some effects on on top of gee meaning it actually speeds up the process of your cells recycling each other there’s actually a study those published in the journal Cell cycle that found that the polyphenols in coffee whether it was decaf or caffeinated actually encouraged cells to recycle and go through Auto Fidji much more so than those that didn’t have coffee now additionally coffee has a little bit of caffeine in it and believe it or not caffeine supports your fast caffeine not only helps boost fat loss but it also supports autopsy as well so it helps the cellular rejuvenation effects so black coffee is great the issue is once you add the sweetener to it whether it’s artificial sweetener that doesn’t have calories or not it can trigger an insulin response the other thing that you can sooo ms t go ahead and 1/2 t you’re totally fine okay you can have black tea you can have green tea just no sweetener and no creamer in it okay a lot of people are probably wondering what about bulletproof coffee or bulletproof tea we’re adding the butter coconut oil to your coffee keep that out of the equation to have a good fast you shouldn’t have any calories coming in it should just be basic tee or basic coffee now diet sodas are a little bit of a gray area diet soda is you can have every once in a while but the thing is the artificial sweeteners can still trigger an insulin spike that insulin spike can screw up your fast just because it triggers a metabolic response so if you’re going to have a soda I recommend having something that’s sweetened with stevia so you’re at least getting a natural sweetener that is zero calorie versus bringing in something that’s completely artificial and going to trigger what’s called an excitotoxin response within your brain water is obviously okay you can consume as much water as you want to unless you’re specifically doing a dry fest which I will talk about in a moment now additionally I don’t think you should be consuming any bone broth or anything like that some people think that you should be consuming broth during an intermittent fast but there are specific types of fasting that will allow that okay then it comes down to like your pre workouts and your BCAAs and things like that I would not recommend consuming pre-workout during a fast I would recommend leaving on coffee whenever possible and don’t consume your branched chain amino acids and here’s the big thing the branched chain amino acids can actually break your fast so just keep them out of the equation because honestly you’re going to preserve muscle either way because you’re in a fasted state where the physiology is working to your advantage now we get into how to break your fast now this is where there are a lot of different methodologies okay I’m a big fan of taking care of your insides first okay you can’t get in good shape you can’t look amazing and feel amazing if you’re not taking care of your organs so I’m a big fan of breaking a fast with some kind of bone broth okay when you break your fast with bone broth it allows the collagen to help restore the gut a lot of times when you’re fasting you end up weakening temporarily the gut mucosal layer okay this gut mucosal layer is what protects you from any kind of acid or any kind of just damage in the gut so if you consume some bone broth it can make it so that the gut can actually absorb things better so you don’t need much for six ounces but I highly recommend no matter the length of your fast break your fast with some bone broth it helps you out a lot then after that it’s very very important that you’re not combining fats with carbs that is rule number one okay so as long as you’re not combining fats with carbs I’m really okay with whatever you do again there are some intricacies and I’ve done some detailed videos on how to break it fast before and you can check those out but for all intents and purposes for the sake of this overview you don’t want to mix fats and carbs because what happens is carbs cause an insulin spike this insulin spike causes the cells to be very receptive to retrieve whatever you just consume so you can kind of do the math if you consume carbs that trigger insulin the cell opens okay if you’ve consumed fat at the same time the carbs go into the cell but so does the fat if you consume carbs by themselves just the carbs go in if you consume fat by itself fat doesn’t even trigger an insulin response so you’re not getting the cell to open so just don’t combine fats with carbs either have carbs and protein or fats and protein but not a mix of the two okay now the big one when should you work out when it comes down to your fasting period should you work out when you’re fasting or should you work out after you’ve broken your fast well I can tell you honestly that you can do either one but if you want a little bit more of a physiological body composition effect or should I say a lot more you’re gonna want to train in your fasted state here’s how I fast I go to bed I wake up and I get my workout in in the morning then I continue to fast the remainder of the day until it’s time to break my fast so essentially I’m working out in the middle of my fast even though it’s the first part of the full day that I’m fasting a lot of people do like to work out at the end of their fast and this is very very beneficial but it’s hard to do if you work out at the end of your fast like right before you break your fast you are most likely to burn the most amount of fat then simply because you’re already at the exhausted portion of your fast where your body is already burning fat the problem is you will see some performance decline at that point in time if you work out earlier in the day you still have a lot of strength and stamina from the food that you ate the night prior you’re not gonna be weak from the fast yet so you get the benefit of being able to still work out hard without losing the effect of the fast now if you do decide to work out after you’ve eaten you’ll probably find that your strength is quite high but one of the things that you should make sure you’re aware of is that you want to digest your food a little bit first as soon as you break you fast all the blood is going into your internal organs it’s going to your stomach to help you digest this means that if you go work out your detracting from that you’re taking away the blood from the vital organs and sending it out to your extremities to work out this means that you’re not absorbing the nutrients in the fashion that you could be if you worked out a little bit later just remember you’re gonna have great strength gains but you’re not gonna have as much in the way of body composition effects you see there was actually one study that was published in the journal physiology that found that when you workout in a fasted state you burn significantly more fat and it’s simply because you have little bits of fat that are actually inside your muscle and they’re called intra Maya cellular lipids these intra Maya cellular lipids get evacuated out of the muscle when you workout in a fasted state so they leave the muscle and then go into the bloodstream and the body burns them for fuel so the body takes little bits of fat that are in the muscle put some into the bloodstream and burns them and then the process repeats so fasting and working out is really a powerful way to kind of hack the system a little bit and get a bit more fat burning out of your vest so let’s talk about the different types of fasting – okay so this is going to help you determine which one is for you the first one that I mentioned is intermittent fasting that’s the basic 16 hour 8 hour split ok maybe 18 6 maybe 20 / 4 depending on what you’re up for ok that’s basic intermittent fasting the second type of fasting is called prolonged fasting and that’s any kind of fast that’s a little bit longer we’re talking like 24 hours tech fast maybe 24 or 48 hours a little bit less on the body composition benefits and more so just on the cellular rejuvenation benefits of course you’re also getting an exponential amount of mental benefits when you go on these longer fast – believe it or not the longer that you fast the more that your mental acuity sharpest you actually get sharper as you fast longer but the physiological body composition effects tend to start to diminish after 24 to 48 hours so don’t push it past 48 hours unless you’re doing it for specific reason but prolonged fasting is very good to do like once a month or once every quarter or so just to get yourself a little bit of a change of pace and something a little bit more aggressive now another kind of facet you can do is a liquid fast this is where you’re still consuming coffee you’re still consuming bone broth you’re still consuming even bulletproof coffee it’s all the things that still have calories but are liquid technically I guess you could drink a soda but I wouldn’t recommend it okay so the whole idea of a liquid fast is not about the metabolic benefit it’s about giving your digestive system a break I’m not gonna digress too much on that topic cuz I’ve done another video on that but the point is it’s still there and the last kind of fasting it’s called dry fasting okay dry fasting is where you don’t consume any food or water and this is extreme you should only do dry fasting like once every three to six months honestly what ends up happening when you dry fast is you end up pulling hydrogen from your fat stores to make what’s called molecular water now I’m over complicating this for the sake of this video but basically what it means is your body burns more fat because it has to take portion of the fat to make water yes literally fat contains hydrogen which means that the hydrogen in the fat can combine with oxygen that you breathe to make what’s called molecular water so dry fasting is effective at burning fat but it’s not something you want to do more than once every three to six months so now let’s talk about the difference between fasting for men and fascinating for women all in all I don’t want you to pay attention to a lot of the crazy nonsense and bro science that’s out there on YouTube okay because reality is that men and women are very very similar when it comes down to how the metabolisms work with fasting okay now there’s different things and other people will have different arguments on things but when it comes down to women fasting the only thing that they need to be a little bit more concerned with is going to be the fact that because of their reproductive system their body is going to send hugger signals a lot more aggressively it’s a little bit more dangerous for lack of a better term for a female to be fasting in a survival standpoint because they need to have extra reserves that are there to carry a child so their body might go into a little bit more of a fighting response it might send hunger signals up through the roof and make them really so if you’re a female that’s watching this it’s just something to be aware of and even though the benefits of fasting don’t start until hour 16 you can still get some effects by fasting for a shorter amount of time so maybe start with 12 maybe start with 14 hours and work your way up to it then of course the fasting is pretty straightforward you don’t have nearly as much of the complex reproductive system that women have so it’s a little bit easier to go ahead and jump into fasting without any concern now let’s address the common concerns okay so now you’re just about ready to start fasting you’re ready to dive in get the biggest benefits but there’s still a couple questions that are kind of looming here the first one that I want to address is are you going to lose muscle so to make some sense of this so you don’t just think I’m just some random guy on the internet I want to show you a study this study that you can see right now is published in a journal of translational medicine and this study flat-out proved that intermittent fasting versus not intermittent fasting but eating the same amount of calories ended up resulting in subjects not only burning more fat but also building more muscle literally eating the same kinds of foods the same calories the same macronutrients proteins fats and carbs just one group had them allocated to a specific window and one group ate them throughout the course of the day and you’ll find that the benefits of intermittent fasting as far as muscle preservation are very very clear in that Journal of translational medicine study so don’t worry you’re not going to lose muscle you’re just gonna burn fat but if you were to go ahead and fast for like three four or five days yeah you might lose some muscle the other concern that comes up is will my metabolism slow down will it affect my thyroid okay the metabolism is kind of a tricky word okay metabolism metabolism is slowing down it’s something that people throw around and it’s really kind of a tricky way of explaining it your caloric needs are going to decrease if your calories decrease but your caloric needs aren’t gonna necessarily decrease if you go for a period of time fasting so as long as your calories are where they need to be you’re not gonna slow your metabolism down you’re totally fine but the question that comes up a lot is what about my thyroid you see the interesting thing is there’s a study that was published in the journal in Turkey knology and this study found that during the fast during the time that you’re not eating thyroid function would stay the same but thyroid precursors would start to decrease okay meaning that the production of the thyroid hormone would start to slow down but the actual thyroid hormone itself didn’t slow down it’s just sort of the machine that created thyroid would start to slow down but the second the subjects ate it came right back you see what ends up happening is of course when you’re not eating your thyroids gonna slow down but once you’re eating your metabolisms going again so that’s not a fair assessment so it is safe to say that while you’re fasting you might see a slowdown in your metabolism by standards of your thyroid but once you’re eating it all balances back out plus another thing to note is the thyroid rejuvenates very very quick so hypothetically even if it did slow down you’d be back up and running again like ten to fourteen days it’s all good another one is when to take your supplements okay because some supplements break a fast and some don’t so I’ll make this very simple if the supplement that you’re taking has carbs or has calories it breaks a fast if the supplement that you are taking is a soft gel like it’s an oil like a fish oil pill or coenzyme q-10 that’s in an oil okay anything that’s in a soft gel is usually suspended in vitamin E or some kind of oil that will break a fast that has a caloric effect that’s no different than having oil like olive oil or coconut oil it’s just a different kind of oil suspending a fat soluble vitamin consume those like your vitamin D and your fish oil after you’ve already eaten that way it won’t break your fast water soluble vitamins like multi vitamins like vitamin C things like that those are okay to take during your fasting period now I will recommend that you still try to consolidate them during your eating window simply because it can be a little bit hard on your stomach and lastly I want to end with alcohol it alcohol is a pretty interesting one we have to look at how the body processes alcohol when you consume a drink it converts alcohol and what is called acetaldehyde which is a very very toxic thing to your body we all know that alcohol can be hard on the body okay but what ends up happening is the acetaldehyde is so toxic it jumps ahead of all the other food inside your body so what that means is your body still has to have a metabolic effect and it’s gonna prioritize alcohol over anything else but one thing that’s very important to know is that fat burning occurs from your liver if you’re not having a functioning liver if your livers not doing well you’re not gonna burn fat very well so if you’re asking a lot of your liver to prioritize acetaldehyde from alcohol and ethanol then you’re slowing down the process of burning fat so alcohol will definitely break a fast but I highly recommend if you’re going to consume alcohol that you do it after you’ve already absorbed some of your food so go ahead and break your fast and then a couple hours later have a little bit of a drink then that’s a safer bet so I hope that this overview has given you a solid perspective on what intermittent fasting is and what intermittent fasting is not honestly it’s for everybody you can use intermittent fasting with keto you can use intermittent fasting with paleo being a vegan or whatever you want the thing is intermittent fasting is the proper protocol in which you are not eating versus which you are eating and I want to make sure that you check out the plethora of videos that are on my channel that teach you the different intricacies and the different little things you need to pay attention to when it comes down to intermittent fasting or prolonged fasting thanks for watching and please make sure you subscribe see you in the next video

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What’s the Difference Fasting and Eating Less? (Science of Fasting)

“Breakfast of champions.” What’s the difference between eating less food and eating no food? Well, Lets look at two different situations. In 1944, a study called the Minnesota Starvation Experiment was conducted and was designed to understand the effects of caloric restriction on the body in order to gain some knowledge that would help people starving in the aftermath of World War 2. Thirty-six healthy men with an average height of 178cm (about five foot ten) and average weight of kilograms (or 153 pounds) were selected. For three months, they ate a diet of 3200 calories per day. Then, for six months they ate only 1570 calories. However, caloric intake was adjusted to attempt to have the men lose kilograms per week, meaning some men got less than 1000 calories per day. The foods given were high in carbohydrates- things like potatoes, turnips, bread and macaroni. Meat and dairy products were rarely given. During the six months, the men experienced profound physical and psychological changes. Everyone complained that they were too cold. One subject talked about having to wear a sweater in July on a sunny day. The subject’s body temperature dropped to an average of degrees Fahrenheit (degrees Celsius).

Physical endurance dropped by half, and strength showed a 21 percent decrease. The men experienced a complete lack of interest in everything except for food, which they were obsessed with. They were plagued with constant and intense hunger. There were several cases of neurotic behavior like hoarding cookbooks and utensils. Two participants had to be cut from the experiment because they admitted to stealing and eating several raw turnips and taking scraps of food from garbage cans. At first, the participants were allowed to chew gum, until some of the men began chewing up to 40 packages a day.

Now compare all this to the case of, a Scottish man who in 1965 fasted for over 380 days straight. That is, he took in no food whatsoever -nothing but water, black coffee and straight tea for just over a year. He lost 276 pounds, going from from 456 pounds to 180. A case report published by the Dundee University Department of Medicine in 1973 said …the patient remained symptom-free, felt well and walked about normally, and Prolonged fasting in this patient had no ill-effects. There were no complaints of mind numbing hunger and he kept the weight off- for several years his weight stayed around 196 pounds. This of course is not a perfect comparison, with the case of Angus, there’s only one subject and his starting weight was drastically higher compared to those in the Minnesota Experiment.

However, it does illustrate some very interesting points about just how different of a physiological response you get from fasting (that is, eating nothing) compared to eating less, or caloric restriction. Dr. Jason Fung, a Toronto physician specializing in kidney disease, and author of the Obesity Code, says that compared to fasting, Caloric Reduction will result in: less weight loss, more lean mass loss (i.e. more muscle loss), and more hunger. Lets start by talking about hunger. In Upton Sinclairs 1911 books The Fasting Cure, he writes about fasting as a means to improve health. In describing his first couple attempts at fasting he writes I was very hungry for the first day-the unwholesome, ravening sort of hunger that all dyspeptics know. I had a little hunger the second morning and thereafter, to my great astonishment, no hunger whatever-no more interest in food than if I had ever known the taste of it. Sinclair recommends doing quite long fasts – around 12 days or so. In a section addressing concerns about fasting he writes Several people have asked me if it would not be better for them to eat very lightly instead of fasting, or to content themselves with fasts of two or three days at frequent intervals.

My reply to that is that I find it very much harder to do that, because all the trouble in the fast occurs during the first two or three days. It is during those days that you are hungry. Then he says: …perhaps, it might be a good thing to eat very lightly of fruit, instead of taking an absolute fast-the only trouble is that I cannot do it. Again and again I have tried, but always with the same result: the light meals are just enough to keep me ravenously hungry… In the book he says you will know when you should finish fasting, because your hunger will return. He quotes a letter he received from a 72-year-old man saying After fasting twenty-eight days I began to be hungry and broke my fast with a little grape juice, followed the next day with tomatoes, and later with vegetable soup.

He quotes several other letters he received from readers and this disappearance and reappearance of hunger is a common theme. Everyone who wrote to him fasted for at least 10 days, saying they only broke their fast when hunger returned. This phenomenon runs contrary to the idea one would get hungrier and hungrier as long as they dont eat. However, most people have experienced for themselves that this is not the case. Some will find that they are not hungry at all in the morning or at least they are not as hungry as they are for lunch or dinner.

But unless you are eating in your sleep, the morning is when you have gone the longest without food. Some of this can be explained by the hormone Ghrelin. Ghrelin, known as the hunger hormone has been found to increase appetite and weight gain. A study at the Medical University of Vienna looked at patients participating in a 33-hour fast. Their ghrelin levels were checked every 20 minutes. Heres how the levels changed over time. What’s interesting is ghrelin is lowest at 9:00AM, which is when they have gone the longest without eating. And, Ghrelin comes in waves and overall doesn’t rise during the period the subjects were fasting. Then, As you can see, ghrelin rises in sync with normal lunch and dinner times, as if the body had learned to expect food at that time. However, that ghrelin rise spontaneously decreases after 2 hours without food. I’ve experienced this kind of spontaneous decrease in hunger myself many times when I was working as a consultant.

Lunch time would come and I would be hungry, but I was too busy to eat so I just kept working. Pretty quickly I forgot about eating and wasn’t particularly hungry until dinner time. This is very helpful to keep in mind if you’re doing a long fast or even if you’re starting intermittent fasting – you’re going to get annoying waves of hunger, especially around the times that you usually eat. But, it won’t get worse, the hunger will simply go away if you are patient. Another study concerning ghrelin was done at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark and it shows what happens if you do a longer fast. They looked at the ghrelin levels of 33 subjects who fasted for 84 hours. So, did they get increasingly hungrier throughout the fasting period? Well, No. Their ghrelin followed similar rhythms each day but actually decreased the longer they fasted.

Going longer without food actually made them less hungry. This gives credence to what Upton Sinclair and his readers said about hunger disappearing after the first 3 days of fasting. I’ve done a couple 5 and 6 day fasts in the past myself and this was indeed the case. Actually, I did a 4-day fast last week and again the 4th day was when I had the least hunger. Another thing that may be contributing to this phenomenon is that you are entering ketosis. Ketosis is a physiological state where your metabolism switches to using primarily fat for energy. For this reason ketosis is popular as a weight loss method, but it has many other benefits including better physical and mental efficiency. Ketosis occurs when you restrict carbohydrates down to 50 grams or less and you don’t eat too much protein. Everyones body is a bit different so you might have to eat even less carbohydrate or may have room for more, but the recommended ratio of a ketogenic diet is to get 5% of your calories from carbs, 25% from protein and 75% from good fat. A simpler way to enter ketosis is just don’t eat anything for a long enough time.

This is one of the major points in the difference between fasting and caloric restriction. The problem with the subjects in the Minnesota Starvation experiment was that they were eating just enough to keep them out ketosis and keep their metabolism primed for burning carbohydrate (glucose), so they couldn’t use their body fat for energy. This explains a lot of things like why they were losing their strength and were very sluggish and cold.

It also clears up why Upton Sinclair said fruit or light meals were just enough to keep him ravenously hungry and far weaker than if he had just eaten nothing. As I explained in my last video, insulin is necessary for glucose to get into the cell to be used for energy. When you eat carbohydrates, the pancreas secretes insulin to deal with it and too much insulin hampers the action of something called hormone sensitive lipase which is necessary to mobilize fat and use it for fuel. Though, keep in mind that grains or refined carbohydrates will provoke a much higher insulin response than say green vegetables.

Now because the body is having a hard time using its fat for fuel, it will do a couple things: One, it will simply slow down metabolism to preserve energy. In the Minnesota Starvation experiment, the subject’s metabolism dropped by 40 percent. Their bodies didn’t have access to its stored energy, and their restricted calorie diets don’t provide much fuel so there’s no choice but to slow down the metabolism.

Ironically, in the case of fasting, as Jason Fung points out – metabolism actually goes up. “If you don’t do anything about your insulin and just reduce your calories, your metabolism goes down. But what happens during fasting? Well, here’s a study of 4 consecutive days of fasting. What happens to your REE – this is this middle line here, that’s the resting energy expenditure. It doesn’t go down, it goes up. You’re burning more energy than you did.” The other thing the body will do when it can’t use fat for fuel is to break down muscle into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis.

The body doesn’t want to do this too much because it’s not very smart to completely eat through something as important as muscle, but when it can’t access its own stored energy is more likely to resort to this. This is why you’ll experience more muscle loss on caloric restriction than if you ate nothing. When you are fasting, Human Growth Hormone is released. As the name implies, Human Growth Hormone is an anabolic hormone – a hormone conducive to growth. In Leninghers Principles of Biochemistry textbook they give the example of how injecting the human growth hormone gene into a mouse makes it unusually large. As explained in Guytons Textbook of Medical Physiology:”…growth hormone also mobilizes large quantities of free fatty acids from the adipose tissue, and these in turn are used to supply most of the energy for the body cells, thus acting as a potent “protein sparer.” “That is human growth hormone is protecting your muscles from breaking down.

The study I referred to earlier about subjects undergoing an 84 hour fast shows that growth hormone rises significantly after the second day of fasting. As mentioned earlier, you should enter ketosis sometime within the first 3 days or so of fasting, and it depends on how much you are moving around and what your diet was like before starting the fast. The state of ketosis is a great indicator that your body is making good use of its stored body fat for energy. In Tim Ferriss book Tools of Titans, Tim talks about his first clinically supervised 7 day fast. For some sort of liability reasons, he wasn’t allowed to exercise or leave the facility. Considering exercise is a potent stimulator of human growth hormone and will help deplete glucose stores, not getting any exercise is a great way to prevent yourself from getting into ketosis during a fast. Its also a great way to lose muscle.

Tim says he lost 12 pounds of muscle during the overly restrictive clinically supervised 7 day fast. But, when following a protocol designed to get him into ketosis as soon as possible – involving things like 4 hours of brisk walking, he did a ten day fast and apparently lost zero muscle mass. One last factor in Ketosis preserving muscle is leucine. When you’re in ketosis, you have a higher fasting blood leucine level. And leucine is a key branch chain amino acid that has an anabolic effect on the body so it preserves lean body mass. A lot of people interested in building muscle may be worried that fasting or a ketogenic diet wouldn’t work for them because insulin and therefore carbohydrates are necessary for protein synthesis (i.e. muscle growth), but actually this leucine fills that role and is a good trigger for protein synthesis. So, just to sum all this up: compared to a conventional calorie restricted diet, fasting means you lose more weight in the form of fat, you keep more muscle, you have more energy, and you are less hungry. If proper weight loss is your goal, it might be better to eat nothing at all rather than eating a conventional low-calorie diet.


As found on Youtube