Does intermittent fasting work?

Discussion in 'Survival of the Fittest' started by Quigley_Sharps, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Could you go one 18-hour period with only water one day a week? Yuri Elkaim says it can be beneficial to your health.


    Intermittent fasting is something people either want to know about, should know about or have never heard of. Here's a look at what it is and why it can be beneficial to your health.

    Research shows that those who eat less are generally healthier and live longer than those who eat more. Intermittent fasting is based on this principle. Basically, it's a technique that incorporates a weekly fast into your routine. This method is great because it allows you to reap the benefits of fasting without leaving you feeling weak or deprived. I can understand that this idea might not sound very appealing, but the fact is there's ton of health benefits to fasting, and it really isn't as horrible as it sounds.

    Fat Burning

    From a fat-burning perspective, intermittent fasting is a powerful tool. When you're in a fed state, the body has to produce insulin to keep your blood sugar at a safe level. Insulin's main job is to shuttle excess glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream over to the muscle, liver or fat cells for storage. But insulin doesn't only take sugar out of the blood – it also increases fat storage.

    Now, if a person were to eat small, infrequent meals every day, this release of insulin would not be a big deal. The problem is many experts have led people to believe that eating five or six meals a day is the only way to eat for weight loss. Now let's think about this logically for a second. Do you think the best way to lose weight is to cause your body to constantly release a hormone that favors fat storage? I didn't think so!

    [Read: The Case For Skipping Meals.]



    Another rumor is that fasting and/or eating infrequent meals every day will slow down your metabolism. This simply isn't true.

    To make this point clear, all you have to do is think back to our primitive ancestors. They rarely (if ever) ate the same amount of food on consecutive days. Their caloric intake was dependent on what was available on that particular day. And they would be forced to fast intermittently because sometimes food was simply unavailable. Furthermore, evolution takes, minimally, thousands of years, and even though our world has changed drastically, our bodies have not had time to evolve from this primitive lifestyle. As a matter of fact, it has only been within the last 50 to 100 years that our bodies have been exposed to a consistent caloric intake. The truth is, being in a consistently fed state is not natural to the body's physiology. This is precisely why eating less leads to better health and a longer life.

    [Read: Digestion vs. Metabolism.]


    So, how does intermittent fasting work? There are a lot of different things that happen in the body on a cellular level when you're in a fasted state, but one I can single out has to do with the length of your telomeres. You can compare telomeres to the plastic casings at the end of a pair of shoelaces. Just as the plastic casings protect the end shoestrings, telomeres protect the ends of your chromosomes. The length of these guys is important. Basically, the shorter your telomeres, the shorter your lifespan.

    It just so happens that intermittent fasting is a way to increase the length of your telomeres. Actually, simply eating less can also help your telomeres stay nice and long. Animal studies have shown that animals who ate about 30 percent fewer calories also lived about 30 percent longer than the animals that ate more. So the next time somebody says you should eat five or six meals a day, I suggest you think twice before following their advice.

    [Read: Best Weight-Loss Diets.]


    Blood Sugar Issues

    Now some of you might be thinking, "But Yuri, I have issues with my blood sugar, so I can't fast."

    If you have issues with your blood sugar, you should first work on improving the quality of your foods before introducing fasting. Once you get your blood sugar under control by reducing the amount of refined sugars and processed foods you eat, you can try eating less to see how you feel.

    How Long is a Fast?

    I want to be clear about what I mean when I say "fast."

    The benefits of fasting come after about 18 hours, but this doesn't mean you have to force yourself to go without food all day long. To give you an example of what a fast might look like, let's say you stop eating after dinner at 7 p.m., you go to bed and wake up at 7 a.m. Right there you have already fasted for 12 hours. In this scenario, if you wait to eat your first meal at 1 p.m. you will have successfully completed an 18-hour fast. Not too bad, right?

    [Read: How to Conquer Food Cravings.]


    Which Plan is Best?

    There are a lot of intermittent fasting programs out there, but the only program I recommend is Eat Stop Eat by my good friend Brad Pilon. I don't recommend Brad's program because he is a friend; I recommend his program because it is the most scientifically validated fat loss approach I have come across.

    The Bottom Line

    Intermittent fasting is something I recommend you incorporate into your life. I challenge you to go one 18-hour period with only water one day a week I think you will be amazed at how good you feel. It is really simple. I mean who can't do that, right?

    [Read: The Part-Time Fast: Should You Try It?]

    Hungry for more? Write to with your questions, concerns and feedback.

    Read more: Does intermittent fasting work? - NY Daily News
    melbo likes this.
  2. Elessar

    Elessar Monkey+++

    I have done this in the past with limited success with regard to weight loss. However, I have found that it was helpful in gaining mastery over my cravings by placing me in control for a 24 hour period rather than feeling like my cravings were controlling what I ate. I realized it was a mental thing, but I feel that it did increase my sense of self-control.
    melbo and Tracy like this.
  3. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    As some of you have read over the past few years, I used to do an annual 22-25 day water fast. I'll never do another one after going primal but I will still IF regularly.
    IF is what our bodies expect: times of plenty vs times of want. I don't fast for weight loss as I've reached homeostasis with my body comp.

    During my first few months of PB, I did IFs every week pretty easily: I ate dinner at 6:00PM, ate nothing else that night, went to bed (sleep time counts for IF hours!), woke up and skipped breakfast and lunch, breaking the fast with dinner at 6:00. If 24 hours scares you, you could also just stop eating after 6:00 and then eat lunch the next day for an ~18 hour IF.
  4. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Finally. I have been skipping meals for years and it is good to find an article that give meal skipping the thumbs up. At least 3 days a week I will only eat one meal and it is usually around 4 so I have time to digest prior to bed. I consume fluids water or tea (no sweetener). I do not think one needs to eat 3 big meals a day or have 6-7 small meals throughout the day.
    Ganado likes this.
  5. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey+++

    So, every day my wife is not home to remind me to eat, I can tell people I'm "fasting", and they'll think I'm cool?
    Ganado and Brokor like this.
  6. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Cool is up to you and your people. But my take was it is okay to fast. It is okay to skip meals. I get tired after I eat.
  7. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey+++

    I usually get happy. Haha.
    Ganado likes this.
  8. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    IDK, my body tells me when its hungry. Scheduled eating isnt my thing
    Motomom34 and AxesAreBetter like this.
  9. BlueDuck

    BlueDuck Monkey+++

    I have fasted several times over the years. The best thing that came out of it for me, was confidence. Not eating for a few days would not be nearly as important as I used to think it was.
  10. preparedsolar

    preparedsolar Neophyte Monkey

    I've recently read articles on this subject and they say that if you are losing weight from fasting on and off you are losing muscle. The last thing I would want to lose is maybe this isn't the right way to lose weight.
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