How Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Live Healthier, Longer


In the featured documentary, Eat, Fast, and Live Longer,1 British author and journalist Dr. Michael Mosley documents his journey as he decides to try fasting, to see if it might improve his health.

Story at-a-glance

  • Fasting has a number of health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, reduced cancer risk, gene repair, and increased longevity
  • Research shows that you can get most if not all of the same benefits of severe calorie restriction through intermittent fasting, where you feast on some days and cut calories on others
  • One of the primary mechanisms that makes intermittent fasting so beneficial for health is related to its impact on your insulin sensitivity
  • Intermittent fasting helps reset your body to burn fat for fuel
  • Mounting evidence shows that when your body becomes adapted to burning fat instead of sugar as your primary fuel you dramatically reduce your risk of chronic disease
  • People that would be best served to avoid fasting include those living with chronic stress (adrenal fatigue), and those with cortisol dysregulation. Pregnant or nursing mothers should also avoid fasting

At the outset, his blood work revealed he was borderline diabetic and his cholesterol was high, which his doctor wanted to treat with medication.

Concerned by this diagnosis—especially as he considers himself somewhat of an expert on conventional health strategies—Dr. Mosley sets out to investigate his alternatives.

“I have always been interested in self-experimentation as a research device because so many of the most important discoveries came from scientists and doctors who used themselves as test subjects,” he says, “but I had never before performed a series of trials on my own health.”

His journey takes him across the United States, where he meets with both long-lived, healthy folk, and health and longevity experts, to learn the secrets of their success.

Your Body Was Built for Periodic Cycles of ‘Feast and Famine’

Fasting, it turns out, has a number of health benefits that most people seek: from improved cardiovascular health and reduced cancer risk, to gene repair and longevity.

In short, he discovers that part of what appears to be driving the disease process is the fact that we’re eating too frequently. When you’re in constant “feast mode,” your body actually forgoes much of its natural “repair and rejuvenation programming.”

It’s true that severe calorie restriction promotes both weight loss and longevity in animal models, but this kind of “starvation diet” is not a very appealing strategy for most people.

However, newer research shows that you can get most if not all of the same benefits of severe calorie restriction through intermittent fasting, i.e. an eating schedule where you feast on some days, and dramatically cut calories on others.

This effectively mimics the eating habits of our ancestors, who did not have access to grocery stores or food around the clock. They would cycle through periods of feast and famine, and modern research shows this cycling produces a number of biochemical benefits. In short, by altering what and when you eat, you can rather dramatically alter how your body operates. And that’s great news.

Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Fasting is historically commonplace as it has been a part of spiritual practice for millennia. But modern science has confirmed there are many good reasons for fasting, including the following:

    • Normalizing your insulin and leptin sensitivity, and boosting mitochondrial energy efficiency: One of the primary mechanisms that makes intermittent fasting so beneficial for health is related to its impact on your insulin sensitivity.

While sugar is a source of energy for your body, it also promotes insulin resistance when consumed in the amounts found in our modern processed junk food diets. Insulin resistance, in turn, is a primary driver of chronic disease—from heart disease to cancer.

Intermittent fasting helps reset your body to use fat as its primary fuel, and mounting evidence confirms that when your body becomes adapted to burning FAT instead of sugar as its primary fuel, you dramatically reduce your risk of chronic disease

  • Normalizing ghrelin levels, also known as “the hunger hormone”
  • Promoting human growth hormone (HGH) production: Research has shown fasting can raise HGH by as much as 1,300 percent in women, and 2,000 percent in men,2 which plays an important part in health, fitness, and slowing the aging process. HGH is also a fat-burning hormone, which helps explain why fasting is so effective for weight loss
  • Lowering triglyceride levels and improving other biomarkers of disease
  • Reducing oxidative stress: Fasting decreases the accumulation of oxidative radicals in the cell, and thereby prevents oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids associated with aging and disease

There’s also plenty of research showing that fasting has a beneficial impact on longevity in animals. There are a number of mechanisms contributing to this effect. Normalizing insulin sensitivity is a major one, but fasting also inhibits the mTOR pathway, which plays an important part in driving the aging process.

Intermittent fasting is by far the most effective way I know of to shed unwanted fat and eliminate your sugar cravings. Since most of us are carrying excess fat we just can’t seem to burn, this is a really important benefit. When sugar is not needed as a primary fuel, your body will also not crave it as much when your sugar stores run low.

As mentioned above, the other mechanisms that makes fasting so effective for weight loss is the fact that it provokes the secretion of HGH—a fat-burning hormone that has many well-recognized “anti-aging” health and fitness benefits.

Last but not least, intermittent fasting has also been identified as a potent ally for the prevention and perhaps even treatment of dementia. First, ketones are released as a byproduct of burning fat, and ketones (not glucose) are actually the preferred fuel for your brain.

In addition to that, intermittent fasting boosts production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, and triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health. It also protects your brain cells from changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Research by Dr. Mark Mattson, a senior investigator for the National Institute on Aging, suggests that alternate-day fasting (restricting your meal on fasting days to about 600 calories), can boost BDNF by anywhere from 50 to 400 percent, depending on the brain region.3

The 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Plan

Intermittent fasting is an umbrella term that covers a wide array of fasting schedules. As a general rule, it involves cutting calories in whole or in part, either a couple of days a week, every other day, or even daily. Dr. Mosley became so convinced of the health benefits of intermittent fasting he wrote a book on the subject, called The Fast Diet: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting.4

The fasting schedule he ultimately suggests in the book (after trying a couple of variations in the film), is to eat normally for five days a week, and fast for two. This schedule is sometimes referred to as the “5:2” intermittent fasting plan. On fasting days, he recommends cutting your food down to one-fourth of your normal daily calories, or about 600 calories for men and about 500 for women, along with plenty of water and tea. Dr. Mosley claims to have lost 19 pounds in two months by following this 5:2 intermittent fasting plan.

Alternate-Day Fasting—Another Alternative

Yet another variation that is quite common is the alternate-day fast. This fasting protocol is exactly as it sounds: one day off, one day on. When you include sleeping time, the fast can end up being as long as 32-36 hours. The drawback is that it requires you to go to bed with an empty stomach every other day, which can be tough for most people—at least initially.

However, according to Dr. Krista Varady, author of The Every-Other-Day Diet: The Diet That Lets You Eat All You Want (Half the Time) and Keep the Weight Off, the alternate-day fasting schedule does have a much higher compliance rate than many other fasting schedules. In the end, the best fasting schedule is the one that you will comply with. If you’re constantly cheating, it won’t work.

Dr. Varady’s research shows that alternate-day fasting, where you consume about 500 calories on fasting days and can eat whatever you want on non-fasting days, works equally well for weight loss as complete fasting, and it’s a lot easier to maintain this type of modified fasting regimen.

In her study, which was recently completed, participants ate their low-calorie fasting day meal either for lunch or dinner. Splitting the 500 calorie meal up into multiple smaller meals throughout the day was not as successful as eating just one meal, once a day. The main problem relates to compliance. If you’re truly eating just 500 calories in a day, you will lose weight. But when eating tiny amounts of food multiple times a day, you’re far more inclined to want more, so the cheat rate dramatically increases.

My Personal Recommendation

A third  version of intermittent fasting, and the one I recommend and personally use, is to simply restrict your daily eating to a specific window of time, such as an eight hour window. I have experimented with different types of scheduled eating for the past three years, and this is my personal preference as it’s really easy to comply with once your body has shifted over from burning sugar to burning fat as its primary fuel.

Fat, being a slow-burning fuel, allows you to keep going without suffering from the dramatic energy crashes associated with sugar. And, if you’re not hungry… well, then not eating for several hours is no big deal! You do this every day until your insulin/leptin resistance improves (weight, blood pressure, cholesterol ratios, or diabetes normalizes). Then you continue to do it as often as you need to maintain your healthy state. I used a six hour window until I was burning fat for fuel, and now eat in a 9-10 hour window, and will snack on macadamia nuts during that period. I rarely eat anything for four or more hours before going to bed.

Compliance is always a critical factor in any of these approaches and it seems this is one of the easiest intermittent fasting schedules to implement. It really is beyond amazing to me how the food cravings literally disappear once you have regained your ability to burn fat for fuel. You don’t need iron willpower or enormous levels of self-discipline to maintain this eating schedule. Yes, you will get hungry, but your hunger will be appropriate and you will be surprised at how much less food will completely satisfy you once you regain your metabolic flexibility and no longer need to rely on stored sugar in your body for your primary fuel.

What Should You Eat on Non-Fasting Days?

In the featured documentary, Dr. Krista Varady takes Dr. Mosley out for lunch at a local fast food restaurant, noting that it doesn’t seem to matter what you eat on your non-fasting day, as long as you’re fasting properly every other day. I would caution against versions of intermittent fasting that gives you free reign to eat all the junk food you want when not fasting, as this seems awfully counterproductive. From my perspective, I simply cannot agree with or promote this idea.

I view intermittent fasting as a lifestyle, not a diet, and that means making healthy food choices every time you eat. Your goal is to seek to emulate the eating patterns of your ancient ancestors, which was a constant feast and famine pattern. Besides, if alternating between feasting on junk food and fasting can produce favorable metabolic results as in the video, just imagine the health benefits you’d get if you were actually making healthy food choices each time you ate!

Unfortunately, Dr. Varady doesn’t appreciate the dangers of processed foods and trans fats in particular. She focuses mostly on the quantity, not the quality, of the calories. A healthy diet includes minimizing non-starchy, carb-rich processed foods and replacing them with healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, olives, butter, eggs, avocados, and nuts (macadamia are particularly beneficial, as they are high in fat and low in protein). I also recommend being moderate in your protein consumption, and making sure meat and other animal products like dairy and eggs come from organic, pasture-raised animals.

I would also caution against eating enormous amounts of fruit, like Joe Cordelli, the calorie restricter at the beginning of the film. He starts out his day with a supersized bowl of fruit, and even though he tosses out certain parts that are particularly high in fructose, I believe most people would be wise to refrain from excessively large amounts of fruit—at least until your weight and health has normalized. While a fruit-rich diet may work for some people, in the end you need to pay close attention to your metabolic parameters, and getting your vitamins and antioxidants from vegetables would be a more appropriate strategy for most.

Speaking of sugar, if you have a sweet tooth, don’t despair. It typically takes several weeks to shift to burning fat as your primary fuel, but once you do, your cravings for unhealthy foods and carbs will automatically disappear. Again, this is because you’re now actually able to burn your stored fat and don’t have to rely on new fast-burning carbs for fuel. Once you are at your ideal body weight, and do not have diabetes, high blood pressure, or abnormal cholesterol levels, you can be less rigid with your fasting. However, it is probably best to resume some type of scheduled eating regimen once in a while, to make sure you don’t slip back into old habits.

Who Should Use Extra Caution When Fasting, or Avoid It Altogether?

Intermittent fasting is appropriate for most people, but if you’re hypoglycemic or diabetic, you need to be extra cautious. People that would be best served to avoid fasting include those living with chronic stress (adrenal fatigue), and those with cortisol dysregulation. Pregnant or nursing mothers should also avoid fasting. Your baby needs plenty of nutrients, during and after birth, and there’s no research supporting fasting during this important time.

My recommendation would be to really focus on improving your nutrition instead. A diet with plenty of raw organic foods and foods high in healthy fats, coupled with high-quality proteins, will give your baby a head start on good health. You’ll also want to be sure to include plenty of cultured and fermented foods to optimize your—and consequently your baby’s—gut flora. For more information, please see this previous article that includes specific dietary recommendations for a healthy pregnancy, as well as my interview with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.

Hypoglycemia is a condition characterized by an abnormally low level of blood sugar. It’s commonly associated with diabetes, but you can be hypoglycemic even if you’re not diabetic. Common symptoms of a hypoglycemic crash include headache, weakness, tremors, irritability, and hunger. As your blood glucose levels continue to plummet, more severe symptoms can set in, such as:

  • Confusion and/or abnormal behavior
  • Visual disturbances, such as double vision and blurred vision
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

One of the keys to eliminating hypoglycemia is to eliminate sugars, especially fructose from your diet. It will also be helpful to eliminate grains, and replace them with higher amounts of quality proteins and healthy fats. You can use coconut oil to solve some of these issues as it is a rapidly metabolized fat that can substitute for sugar, and since it does not require insulin, it can be used during your fast. However, it will take some time for your blood sugar to normalize. You’ll want to pay careful attention to hypoglycemic signs and symptoms, and if you suspect that you’re crashing, make sure to eat something, like coconut oil. Ideally, you should avoid fasting if you’re hypoglycemic, and work on your overall diet to normalize your blood sugar levels first. Then try out one of the less rigid versions of fasting.

Everything You Need to Know About Intermittent Fasting


Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting: How to Enhance Your Body’s Ability to Burn Fat

Intermittent fasting is a powerful approach to eating that is becoming very popular because it can help you lose weight without feeling hunger, and help reduce your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. If done correctly, intermittent fasting can also lead to better sleep and lots of energy.

So far, research overwhelmingly supports this notion that ditching the “three square meals a day” approach in favor of intermittent fasting may do wonders for your health. This type of scheduled eating was practiced by our ancestors, since they did not have the frequent access to food that we have now.

The Many Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is a type of scheduled eating plan where you adjust your normal daily eating period to an hours-long window of time without cutting calories.

Throughout history, fasting is a commonplace practice and has been a spiritual tradition for millennia. Today, modern science has proven that fasting yields the following benefits:

  • Helps promote insulin sensitivity – Optimal insulin sensitivity is crucial for your health, as insulin resistance or poor insulin sensitivity contributes to nearly all chronic diseases
  • Normalizes ghrelin levels, also known as your “hunger hormone”
  • Increases the rate of HGH production, which has an important role in health, fitness, and slowing the aging process
  • Lowers triglyceride levels
  • Helps suppress inflammation and fight free radical damage

In addition, exercising in a fasted state can help counteract muscle aging and wasting, and boost fat-burning.

Adding Exercise to Intermittent Fasting Can Provide Even More Benefits

Science has proven time and again that high-intensity training is far superior to hour-long aerobic exercises. It burns more calories in less time and increases the production rate of human growth hormone (HGH).

I’ve been doing high-intensity training for three years and it has done great wonders to improve my overall fitness level. At present, there are a growing number of studies showing that high-intensity exercise combined with intermittent fasting is an ideal strategy to increase your fitness level.

Fasting the Way That’s Right for You

There are many considerations to take note when fasting intermittently:

  • Intermittent fasting is not a form of extreme calorie restriction. It’s a practice that should make you feel good. If your fasting strategy is making your feel weak, you need to reevaluate it.
  • Typical fast time ranges from 14 to 18 hours, and the longest you’ll ever abstain from food is 36 hours. You may also opt to delay eating, which is what I’ve been personally doing. I advise that you skip breakfast and eat your lunch and dinner within a six to eight-hour time frame, and stop eating three hours before you go to bed.Fasting will help your body adjust from burning carbs to burning fat. Eating on a six- to eight-hour window can take a few weeks and should be done gradually. Once your body has successfully shifted into fat burning mode, it will be easier for you to fast for as much as 18 hours and still feel satiated. Your craving for sugar will slowly dissipate and managing your weight will be easier.
  • It is not advisable to practice intermittent fasting if your daily diet is filled with processed foods. Addressing the quality of your diet is crucial before you venture into fasting. It’s critical to avoid the wrong calories, including refined carbohydrates, sugar/fructose, and grains.Within the six to eight hours that you do eat, you need to eliminate refined carbohydrates like pizza, bread, and potatoes. Fill your diet with vegetable carbohydrates, healthy protein, and healthy fats such as butter, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, and raw nuts.

    On the days that you work out while fasting, it’s best to consume a recovery meal—ideally consisting of fast-assimilating whey protein—30 minutes after your workout. Finding out what schedule works for you may take some trials and errors.

  • Intermittent fasting is not something you should carelessly undertake. ALWAYS pay close attention to your body and your energy levels. Individuals who are hypoglycemic, diabetic, or pregnant (and/or breastfeeding) should avoid any type of calorie restriction until your blood sugar or insulin levels are regulated.

Let me help you create an effective eating plan and schedule. Check out my Intermittent Fasting infographic and let it serve as a guide for you to maximize your body’s ability to burn fat. Share this with your family and friends so they, too, can experience the benefits of fasting.

How Intermittent Fasting Can Slow Degenerative Disease, Protect the Brain and Slim the Body


“Humans live on one-quarter of what they eat; on the other three-quarters lives their doctor.” ~ Egyptian pyramid inscription, 3800 B.C.

Mark Mattson is an expert on food deprivation. A scientist at the National Institute on Aging and a professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Mattson has been studying for decades the effect fasting has on mental and physical health, as well as how it influences aging. He’s considered the foremost expert in the field of Alzheimer’s and brain research. And he’s a major advocate for skipping meals.

Mattson himself only eats one meal a day — and says, because of it, he has more energy, mental clarity and focus, along with heightened levels of productivity. “As is similar to what happens when muscles are exercised, the neurons in the brain benefit from being mildly stressed. To achieve the right kind of stress, people might benefit from severely minimizing their food intake,” he told Michael Anft in “Don’t feed your head.” Worldwide, participants involved with various forms of fasting have healed a wide-range of health complaints, from diabetes to obesity and heart disease.

Now a number of physicians have come forward, enthusiastically praising the benefits of the practice. But in the West, where access to food is abundant and even excessive, the thought of going without appears to be a ghastly and unpleasant exercise in unnecessary hardship. Even so, when faced with sky-rocketing cancer rates and an uncomfortable spike in Alzheimer’s disease, our curiosity might just get the better of us — and we may decide to have a look at this seemingly foreign practice, which promises exceptional health and more.

Why fast?

When we explore how our bodies evolved, fasting makes quite a bit of sense on several levels. Obviously, grocery stores and access to food 24/7 isn’t how we developed as humans. A more realistic scenario encompasses food scarcity — especially during seasons of severe weather. Winter and spring are traditionally lean times, where our bodies naturally adapt to lower caloric intake. Part of this adaptation involves the brain, as Mattson explains:

“Our ancestors undoubtedly had to go without food for stretches of time. It hasn’t been that long since humanity lacked regular supplies of food. When you search for food when you’re hungry, the brain is really engaged. The individuals who survive the best—the ones whose brains are more attuned to predators and who can remember where food sources are—are the ones who’ve survived.”

When we fast, messaging chemicals that operate at the cellular level are stimulated, which encourage the growth of brain cells. As these neurons grow, a protective mechanism kicks in and our brain becomes more resistant to damage caused by Parkinson’s, or the protein plaques that aggravate cases of Alzheimer’s.

It has long been known that fasting exerts a positive influence over those who suffer from epileptic seizures. Scientists believe calorie deprivation triggers a process within the brain that helps to calm the overexcited signals which an epileptic brain displays. Overfed normal brains exhibit another kind of unruly excitation, which ultimately leads to impairment in brain function.

Ketones are also produced — a type of acid that is created when the body begins to use fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. In lieu of glucose, ketones provide an alternate, less damaging fuel for the brain. Fasting also increases the number of mitochondria in nerve cells, creating more energy in the process. Fasting improves learning and memory factors as well.

fasting

If improved brain function isn’t enough to convince you to give fasting a try, consider this: the practice can significantly lower the risk of cancer and heart disease — and even reverse early-stage diabetes.

How the “Fast Diet” can revolutionize health

Overweight and pre-diabetic, Dr. Michael Mosley decided to forgo the standard regiment of pharmaceuticals and instead seek a solution to his health issues elsewhere.

“I started off by looking at calorie restriction and saw that the research was really great — it’s pretty much the only thing that extends life,” Mosley told the Huffington Post. “The problem is it just is impossible to do — I could not imagine myself never eating the things I love. So I started investigating intermittent fasting as a way to control calories.”

Mosley spent months researching the science behind intermittent fasting — a method of drastically altering caloric intake — and eventually tested the approach on himself. As the experiment progressed over three months, he shed 19 pounds of fat and watched his cholesterol normalize. Moreover, his insulin resistance completely disappeared.

The version of fasting described in Mosley’s bestselling book — “The Fast Diet” — is one of the least uncomfortable forms of the practice. Called the 5:2 plan, it prescribes normal eating patterns for five days a week and then two days of fasting on less than 500 calories per day for women, 600 for men. According to the book, inflammation is curbed and degenerative disease is significantly slowed — if not completely prevented. A happy side-effect of the program is a svelte physique where fat — not muscle — is reduced. Additionally, animal tests have shown food restriction retards aging and increases longevity by an impressive 30-40%.

With all the benefits of fasting, why wouldn’t Westerners embrace the practice with open arms? Besides the usual aversion to even the slightest discomfort, Mark Mattson suspects another culprit behind our resistence, which he addresses in his TEDx Johns Hopkins University talk:

“There are a lot of pressures to have that eating pattern [three meals a day plus snacks]. There’s a lot of money involved. The food industry — are they going to make money from skipping breakfast like I did today? No, they’re going to lose money. If people fast, the food industry loses money. What about the pharmaceutical industries? What if people do intermittent fasting and exercise periodically and they are very healthy, is the pharmaceutical industry going to make any money on healthy people?”

There are several methods of intermittent fasting. Dr. Mercola provides another example with this infographic:

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting - Mercola

Watch the video discussion. URL: https://youtu.be/cATFCKtJnwg

The Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting


The Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

 

Is it a good idea to “starve” yourself just a little bit each day, or a couple of days a week? Mounting evidence indicates that yes, intermittent fasting (IF) could have a very beneficial impact on your health and longevity.

I believe it’s one of the most powerful interventions out there if you’re struggling with your weight and related health issues. One of the primary reasons for this is because it helps shift your body from burning sugar/carbs to burning fat as its primary fuel.

As discussed in the featured article,[1] intermittent fasting is not about binge eating followed by starvation, or any other extreme form of dieting. Rather what we’re talking about here involvestiming your meals to allow for regular periods of fasting.

I prefer daily intermittent fasting, but you could also fast a couple of days a week if you prefer, or every other day. There are many different variations.

To be effective, in the case of daily intermittent fasting, the length of your fast must be at least 16 hours. This means eating only between the hours of 11am until 7pm, as an example. Essentially, this equates to simplyskipping breakfast, and making lunch your first meal of the day instead.

You can restrict it even further — down to six, four, or even two hours if you want, but you can still reap many of these rewards by limiting your eating to an eight-hour window each day.

This is because it takes about six to eight hours for your body to metabolize your glycogen stores; after that you start to shift to burning fat. However, if you are replenishing your glycogen by eating every eight hours (or sooner), you make it far more difficult for your body to use your fat stores as fuel.

Intermittent Fasting — More a Lifestyle Than a Diet

I have been experimenting with different types of scheduled eating for the past two years and currently restrict my eating to a 6- to 7-hour window each day. While you’re not required to restrict the amount of food you eat when on this type of daily scheduled eating plan, I would caution against versions of intermittent fasting that gives you free reign to eat all the junk food you want when not fasting, as this seems awfully counterproductive.

Also, according to research published in 2010,[2] intermittent fasting with compensatory overeating did not improve survival rates nor delay prostate tumor growth in mice. Essentially, by gorging on non-fasting days, the health benefits of fasting can easily be lost. If so, then what’s the point?

I view intermittent fasting as a lifestyle, not a diet, and that includes making healthy food choices whenever you do eat. Also, proper nutrition becomes even more important when fasting, so you really want to address your food choices before you try fasting.

This includes minimizing carbs and replacing them with healthful fats, like coconut oil, olive oil, olives, butter, eggs, avocados, and nuts. It typically takes several weeks to shift to fat burning mode, but once you do, your cravings for unhealthy foods and carbs will automatically disappear. This is because you’re now actually able to burn your stored fat and don’t have to rely on new fast-burning carbs for fuel. Unfortunately, despite mounting evidence, many health practitioners are still reluctant to prescribe fasting to their patients. According to Brad Pilon, author of Eat Stop Eat:[3]

“Health care practitioners across the board are so afraid to recommend eating less because of the stigma involved in that recommendation, but we are more than happy to recommend that someone start going to the gym. If all I said was you need to get to the gym and start eating healthier, no one would have a problem with it. When the message is not only should you eat less, you could probably go without eating for 24 hours once or twice a week, suddenly it’s heresy.”

The Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Aside from removing your cravings for sugar and snack foods and turning you into an efficient fat-burning machine, thereby making it far easier to maintain a healthy body weight, modern science has confirmed there are many other good reasons to fast intermittently. For example, research presented at the 2011 annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans[4] showed that fasting triggered a 1,300 percent rise of human growth hormone (HGH) in women, and an astounding 2,000 percent in men.

HGH, human growth hormone, commonly referred to as “the fitness hormone,” plays an important role in maintaining health, fitness and longevity, including promotion of muscle growth, and boosting fat loss by revving up your metabolism. The fact that it helps build muscle while simultaneously promoting fat loss explains why HGH helps you lose weight without sacrificing muscle mass, and why even athletes can benefit from the practice (as long as they don’t overtrain and are careful about their nutrition). The only other thing that can compete in terms of dramatically boosting HGH levels is high-intensity interval training. Other health benefits of intermittent fasting include:

Normalizing your insulin and leptin sensitivity, which is key for optimal health Improving biomarkers of disease
Normalizing ghrelin levels, also known as “the hunger hormone” Reducing inflammation and lessening free radical damage
Lowering triglyceride levels Preserving memory functioning and learning

Intermittent Fasting is as Good or Better Than Continuous Calorie Restriction

According to Dr. Stephen Freedland, associate professor of urology and pathology at the Duke University Medical Center, “undernutrition without malnutrition” is the only experimental approach that consistently improves survival in animals with cancer, as well as extends lifespan overall by as much as 30 percent.[5] Interestingly enough, intermittent fasting appears to provide nearly identical health benefits without being as difficult to implement and maintain. It’s easier for most people to simply restrict their eating to a narrow window of time each day, opposed to dramatically decreasing their overall daily calorie intake.

Mark Mattson, senior investigator for the National Institute on Aging, which is part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), has researched the health benefits of intermittent fasting, as well as the benefits of calorie restriction. According to Mattson,[6] there are several theories to explain why fasting works:

“The one that we’ve studied a lot, and designed experiments to test, is the hypothesis that during the fasting period, cells are under a mild stress, and they respond to the stress adaptively by enhancing their ability to cope with stress and, maybe, to resist disease… There is considerable similarity between how cells respond to the stress of exercise and how cells respond to intermittent fasting.”

In one of his studies,[7] overweight adults with moderate asthma lost eight percent of their body weight by cutting their calorie intake by 80 percent on alternate days for eight weeks. Markers of oxidative stress and inflammation also decreased, and asthma-related symptoms improved, along with several quality-of-life indicators.

More recently, Mattson and colleagues compared the effectiveness of intermittent fasting against continuous calorie restriction for weight loss, insulin sensitivity and other metabolic disease risk markers. The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2011,[8] found that intermittent fasting was as effective as continuous calorie restriction for improving all of these issues, and slightly better for reducing insulin resistance. According to the authors:

“Both groups experienced comparable reductions in leptin, free androgen index, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, total and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and increases in sex hormone binding globulin, IGF binding proteins 1 and 2. Reductions in fasting insulin and insulin resistance were modest in both groups, but greater with IER [intermittent fasting] than with CER [continuous energy restriction].”

How Intermittent Fasting Benefits Your Brain

Your brain can also benefit from intermittent fasting. As reported in the featured article:

“Mattson has also researched the protective benefits of fasting to neurons. If you don’t eat for 10–16 hours, your body will go to its fat stores for energy, and fatty acids called ketones will be released into the bloodstream. This has been shown to protect memory and learning functionality, says Mattson, as well as slow disease processes in the brain.”

Besides releasing ketones as a byproduct of burning fat, intermittent fasting also affects brain function by boosting production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Mattson’s research suggests that fasting every other day (restricting your meal on fasting days to about 600 calories), tends to boost BDNF by anywhere from 50 to 400 percent,[9] depending on the brain region. BDNF activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, and triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health. This protein also protects your brain cells from changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

BDNF also expresses itself in the neuro-muscular system where it protects neuro-motors from degradation. (The neuromotor is the most critical element in your muscle. Without the neuromotor, your muscle is like an engine without ignition. Neuro-motor degradation is part of the process that explains age-related muscle atrophy.) So BDNF is actively involved in both your muscles and your brain, and this cross-connection, if you will, appears to be a major part of the explanation for why a physical workout can have such a beneficial impact on your brain tissue — and why the combination of intermittent fasting with high intensity exercise appears to be a particularly potent combination.

Give Intermittent Fasting a Try

If you’re ready to give intermittent fasting a try, consider skipping breakfast, make sure you stop eating and drinking anything but water three hours before you go to sleep, and restrict your eating to an 8-hour (or less) time frame every day. In the 6-8 hours that you do eat, have healthy protein, minimize your carbs like pasta, bread, and potatoes and exchange them for healthful fats like butter, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil and nuts — essentially the very fats the media and “experts” tell you to avoid.

This will help shift you from carb burning to fat burning mode. Once your body has made this shift, it is nothing short of magical as your cravings for sweets, and food in general, rapidly normalizes and your desire for sweets and junk food radically decreases if not disappears entirely.

Remember it takes a few weeks, and you have to do it gradually, but once you succeed and switch to fat burning mode, you’ll be easily able to fast for 18 hours and not feel hungry. The “hunger” most people feel is actually cravings for sugar, and these will disappear, as if by magic, once you successfully shift over to burning fat instead.

Another phenomenal side effect/benefit that occurs is that you will radically improve the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Supporting healthy gut bacteria, which actually outnumber your cells 10 to one, is one of the most important things you can do to improve your immune system so you won’t get sick, or get coughs, colds and flus. You will sleep better, have more energy, have increased mental clarity and concentrate better. Essentially every aspect of your health will improve as your gut flora becomes balanced.

Based on my own phenomenal experience with intermittent fasting, I believe it’s one of the most powerful ways to shift your body into fat burning mode and improve a wide variety of biomarkers for disease. The effects can be further magnified by exercising while in a fasted state. For more information on that, please see my previous article High-Intensity Interval Training and Intermittent Fasting – A Winning Combo.

Clearly, it’s another powerful tool in your box to help you and your family take control of your health, and an excellent way to take your fitness to the next level.

Watch the video. URL: https://youtu.be/Uh0LclDcE1Y

Metabolism Boosting Tips to Optimize Your Weight


Healthiest Foods to Eat

Story at-a-glance

  • Is your metabolism slow, in spite of eating well and exercising? Several effective strategies are discussed for reviving a sluggish metabolism
  • Chronic low-level inflammation can stall your metabolism, which may result from food sensitivities, poor sleep, stress, and other lifestyle factors
  • When consumed shortly after a workout, especially strength training, whey protein has been shown to exhibit significant thermogenic and muscle building effects
  • Consuming fermented foods can help restore balance to your gut flora, which is necessary for optimal metabolic function and body composition

Do you feel like your metabolism is stuck in first gear? Is your body refusing to let go of that stubborn extra body fat, in spite of making good dietary choices and exercising? Fear not—there are a few simple tricks you can try that are backed by solid nutrition science.

Your lifestyle can be “tweaked” in a variety of ways, from what you eat to when you eat, how and when you exercise, and other daily habits such as sleephygiene and stress management. ALL of these play a role in your metabolism

People today move much less and consume more inflammatory foods than they did hundreds and thousands of years ago, and this takes a toll on your metabolism.

A recent article in Time1 makes some excellent metabolism-boosting suggestions, and we will take a look at several of these in detail. But first, let’s examine one of the most common causes of metabolic sluggishness: chronic inflammation.

If Your Metabolic Engine Has Stalled, It Could Be Inflammation

If your metabolism is stalled—or stuck in reverse—it would be helpful to look at what might be keeping your body in a state of low-level inflammation. It’s well established that weight gain is often a sign of chronic low-level inflammation, and frequently this is related to the foods you are eating.

Food sensitivities can lead you down the road toward insulin and leptin resistance and can seriously hamper your metabolism.2 When you have a food sensitivity or allergy, your body feels “attacked” by a food rather than nourished by it.

Inflammatory molecules are then produced and circulated to protect you from your body’s perceived threat, causing you to decrease insulin and leptin sensitivity. Your body is under stress so it uses its resources differently. This is typically accompanied by a gut dysbiosis, an imbalance in the microorganisms in your digestive tract.

In addition to food allergies and sensitivities, inflammation can be caused by a number of different factors, including poor sleep, environmental toxins, stress, and other factors. Even overexercising may stall your metabolism by triggering inflammation, pain, water retention, etc.

The foods most likely to be pro-inflammatory are junk foods and highly processed foods, grains, foods high in sugar (especially fructose), and GMOs. For help with dietary strategies, please refer to my Optimized Nutrition Plan. However, many people have food sensitivities to what would normally be considered healthy foods, such as gluten, nuts, and dairy products.

It’s important to not rule out the possibility that you may be having an unhealthy reaction to a “healthy” food. These food sensitivities can be very subtle, so they can sometimes be challenging to identify, requiring some trial and error.

Whey Protein Fuels Muscle Growth and Repair

The featured article suggests that whey protein may be effective for kicking up your metabolism, and I couldn’t agree more. According to Paul Arciero, a professor in the Health and Exercise Sciences department at Skidmore College:

“Whey protein increases calorie burn and fat utilization, helps the body maintain muscle, and triggers the brain to feel full.”

Protein in general has a tendency to rev up your metabolic engine due to its thermogenic effects—meaning, it makes your body produce more heat and in turn, burn more calories—but whey is particularly effective for this.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that fat oxidation and thermogenic effects are greater with whey than with soy or casein.3

Consuming a high-quality, rapidly absorbed, and easily assimilated wheyprotein concentrate, not isolate within about 30 minutes of resistance training may maximally stimulate muscle building in young healthy individuals, but this is equally important, if not more so, for the elderly.

People tend to lose muscle mass as they age. The leaner you are, the better your metabolism will be, regardless of your age. There is only about a two-hour window after exercise for optimal muscle repair and growth, and supplying your muscles with the right food at this time is essential—and whey is among the best.

Intermittent Fasting Ignites Your Fat Burning Engine

It’s long been known that calorie restriction can increase the lifespan of certain animals. More recent studies suggest that intermittent fasting can provide the same health benefits as constant calorie restriction, which may be helpful for those who cannot successfully reduce their everyday calorie intake. “Undernutrition without malnutrition” is the only experimental approach that consistently improves survival in animals with cancer, and extends overall lifespan by about 30 percent.

Both intermittent fasting and continuous calorie restriction have been shown to produce weight loss and improve metabolic disease risk markers. However, intermittent fasting tends to be slightly more effective for reversing insulin resistance. Besides turning you into an efficient fat burner, intermittent fasting can boost your human growth hormone production (aka HGH, the “fitness hormone”) by as much as 1,200 percent for women and 2,000 percent for men.

Intermittent fasting can also improve your brain function by boosting your production of a protein called  brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which protects your brain from the changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and  helps prevent neuromuscular degradation.

Avoid Sitting to Keep Your Metabolism Going

The featured Time article extols the virtues of “non-exercise activity thermogenesis” (e.g., fidgeting), but I believe it is more important to intentionally increase your movement throughout the day. Recent research has shown that prolonged sitting is absolutely devastating to your health, promoting dozens of chronic diseases, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Even if you exercise regularly, it will not counteract hours’ worth of sitting.

For men, research shows that the combination of sitting too much and exercising too little can more than double your risk of heart failure, no matter how much you exercise. Studies show that people in agrarian villages sit for only three hours a day, but the average American office worker may sit for 13 to 15 hours a day. To counter the ill effects of sitting, increase yourintermittent movement all day long—hourly if not more. Better yet? Get a fitness tracker and walk 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day.

Dr. Levine recommends standing up and/or moving about 5-10 minutes for every hour of sitting, during your waking hours. Better yet, seek to keep your sitting to a minimum—I personally strive for less than one hour of sitting per day. Simply standing up is all that is needed to activate beneficial physiological effects. Just bearing your bodyweight upon your legs initiates cellular mechanisms that push fuel into your cells. Activities such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther from an entrance, and going for a walk at lunchtime are all great ways to increase your cumulative intermittent activity.

Strength Training Is the Engine That Drives Fat Loss

Most adults need more muscle building activities, and strength training (aka resistance training or weight training) is an excellent way to achieve this. Working your muscles is the key to firing up your metabolism—muscle contraction is the booster rocket of fat loss. Unlike traditional cardio, strength training causes you to continue burning more calories for up to 72 hours after the exercise is over through a phenomenon called after-burn.

Not only does strength training give your metabolism a boost, and increase your brain power but it’s also an excellent way to reduce aches and pains, while at the same time preventing osteoporosis and age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia). Light walking is not enough to preserve optimal muscle tone, bone health, and posture, so if you’re not engaging in strength training, chances are you’ll become increasingly less functional with age.

Super-slow weight training is a form of high-intensity exercise that has superior metabolism-boosting benefits, especially for older individuals. What does this involve? Basically, you just go much slower!

By slowing down your movement, you’re actually turning it into a high intensity exercise. The super-slow movement allows your muscles, at the microscopic level, to access the maximum number of cross-bridges between the protein filaments that produce movement in the muscle. Another benefit of the super-slow technique is that it shortens your sessions to 12 to 15 minutes, just a couple of times per week. For more on this, please refer to my previous super-slow weight training articles and videos. If you are new to strength training, take a look at my “Beginner’s Guide to Strength Training.”

Friendly Bacteria Can Help You Lose Weight

As mentioned earlier, health problems such as obesity, insulin resistance, and heart disease are all rooted in inflammation, which must be properly addressed if you wish to reach optimal health. Research suggests there’s a connection between certain types of bacteria and body fat. Bacterial imbalance in your gut can produce an exaggerated inflammatory response, and toxic molecules (superantigens) produced by pathogenic bacteria such as staph may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes due to their effects on your fat cells.

So, if your metabolism has you feeling sloth-like, it may be that your gut bacteria and fat cells are interacting to produce the “perfect storm” of inflammation. A recent study published in British Journal of Nutrition found that a certain strain of bacteria—Lactobacillus rhamnosus—seems to help women lose weight and keep it off.4 This makes sense, given what we know about lean individuals having different gut flora from obese individuals.

Research also tells us there’s a positive-feedback loop between the foods you crave and the types of organisms in your gut that depend on those nutrients for their survival. Eating processed and pasteurized foods worsens dysbiosis. Sugar, refined carbohydrates, and junk foods promote the growth of disease-causing yeasts and fungi, and cause certain bacteria to release endotoxins that drive inflammation, resulting in metabolic changes that lead to overproduction of insulin, increased appetite, excess fat storage, and obesity.

A gut-healthy diet is one that eliminates sugars and processed foods and is rich in whole, unprocessed, unsweetened foods, along with traditionally fermented or cultured foods. If you are interested in learning how to make delicious naturally fermented foods at home, please refer to my earlier article. It should also be noted that intermittent fasting has proven benefits for your gut flora—so fasting actually gives your metabolism a double whammy, in a good way!

What About Coffee?

If you’re a coffee lover, I have good news! When consumed correctly, high-quality organic coffee can be used as a health- and fitness-enhancing tool (as long as you aren’t pregnant, in which case it’s best to avoid it altogether). Coffee has a number of excellent health benefits besides boosting metabolism, including lowering your blood glucose levels, and reducing your risk for Parkinson’s disease, dementia, stroke, and several cancers. A number of studies show that coffee has pre-exercise benefits, but the science is less clear when it comes to drinking coffee after exercise. When consumed before exercise, coffee has been shown to exert the following positive effects:

  • Improved energy and endurance
  • Increased microcirculation
  • Reduced pain
  • Better muscle preservation
  • Improved fat burning

However, when consumed after exercise, the caffeine from coffee inhibits mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin), the mechanism that increases protein synthesis in your muscle tissue. You do not build muscle while exercising. Muscle building occurs afterward, so if your goal is to gain muscle mass, you don’t want mTOR to be inhibited. That said, if your main goal is to lean down and maximize fat burning, having coffee after exercise might be just the ticket, as it will help keep you in fat burning mode longer. In a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology,5 consuming caffeine after exercise helped muscles refuel. Post-exercise caffeine increased muscle glycogen by 66 percent among endurance athletes, enabling them to replenish energy stores more quickly. Make sure your coffee is made from fresh organic beans that are pesticide-free. If you exercise in the evening, you may want to skip the coffee altogether, as it can significantly disrupt your sleep.

Another Metabolic Marvel: Green Tea

Green tea is arguably one of the healthiest beverages you can drink. Green tea has been shown to benefit your brain and heart, boost metabolism, and has anti-cancer properties. In one study,6 people who consumed six or more cups of green tea daily were found to have a 33 percent lower risk for type 2 diabetes than those who consumed less than one cup per week. The positive effects of green tea may be related to its rich source of antioxidants called catechins. There is evidence that the catechins and other natural agents in green tea work synergistically to augment thermogenesis and lipolysis.

According to research in Physiology & Behavior:7

“Positive effects on body-weight management have been shown using green tea mixtures. A green tea-caffeine mixture improves weight maintenance through thermogenesis, fat oxidation, and sparing fat free mass… Taken together, these functional ingredients have the potential to produce significant effects on metabolic targets such as thermogenesis and fat oxidation.”

According to the Time article, a study in Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that green tea combined with a total of three hours of moderate exercise per week reduced abdominal fat in subjects over a three-month period. Unsweetened, brewed green tea was said to increase calorie burn by about 100 calories per day.

Your Lifestyle Can Hinder or Bolster Optimal Metabolism

If your metabolism isn’t what it used to be, you may need to do some dietary detective work. Remember that when you eat may be as important as what you eat, so intermittent fasting may give your metabolism the boost it needs. And, while sugary beverages and sports drinks are best avoided, organic coffee and green tea may actually be able to give your metabolism a boost, as long as you’re not adding sugar to them. Needless to say, exercise, and high intensity exercises in particular, cannot be overlooked if you want to rev up your metabolic engines.

If you are already fit, it’s possible that you are simply spending too much time sitting, like I was, and the remedy for this is to get out of your chair and move more often. I have managed to reduce my sitting to less than an hour per day unless I am travelling. For those who think this isn’t possible with your job, talk to your boss as studies show that companies that adopt this approach actually boost their profits because their employees are far more productive and take fewer sick days.

Other metabolic menaces you may need to address include food sensitivities, poor sleep, and stress. Chronic low-level inflammation may be pushing the kill-switch on your fat-burning engine. You might have to do some experimenting, but rest assured there are a number of effective strategies for hitting your “metabolic reset” button—it’s just a matter of finding where yours is stuck.

What Is the Role of Gut Bacteria in Calorie Restriction?


Story at-a-glance

  • Life-long calorie restriction in mice significantly changes their gut microflora in ways that promote longevity
  • It appears that calorie restriction’s beneficial changes to gut microflora may be, in part, responsible for its observed enhancement of longevity
  • Intermittent calorie restriction, such as intermittent fasting, appears to provide many of the same health benefits as constant calorie restriction, including benefitting gut bacteria, extending lifespan and protecting against disease
  • What you eat is crucial to maintaining a healthful inner ecosystem; in addition to calorie restriction/intermittent fasting, avoiding excess sugars and grains and eating plenty of traditionally fermented foods are important

Lowering your caloric intake has been scientifically proven to slow down aging, reduce age-related chronic diseases and extend lifespan. The effects have been observed in a variety of species from worms and yeast to rats and fish, with some research showing that restricting calories in certain animals can increase their lifespan by as much as 50 percent.

There’s evidence that calorie restriction has a similar effect on the human lifespan, as well, and one of the key reasons why is likely related to its ability to lower your insulin levels as well as improve insulin sensitivity.

However, researchers recently studied whether calorie restriction also prompts changes to your gut microbiota, which may also be responsible for some of its beneficial role in health.

Calorie Restriction Prompts Significant Changes to Your Gut Bacteria

Science is increasingly revealing that microorganisms living in your gut are there performing indispensable functions. Known as your microbiome, about 100 trillion of these cells populate your body, particularly your intestines and other parts of your digestive system.

There is also an emerging consensus that most disease originates in your digestive system, and this includes conditions that impact your brain, your heart, your weight and your immune system, among others. There’s also evidence that the microorganisms present in your gut can affect how well you age,1 and this, of course, ties in directly with the latest research on calorie restriction and longevity.

One important thing to remember about the microbes in your gut is that they are not static. They can change profoundly throughout your life, for better or for worse, and one of the biggest influences on this change is your diet.

Indeed, the latest study showed that life-long calorie restriction in mice “significantly changes the overall structure of the gut microbiota” in ways that promote longevity.2 So it now appears that one reason why calorie restriction may lengthen lifespan is because it promotes positive changes to the microorganisms in your gut.

The researchers noted:

“Calorie restriction enriches phylotypes positively correlated with lifespan, for example, the genus Lactobacillus on low-fat diet, and reduces phylotypes negatively correlated with lifespan.

These calorie restriction-induced changes in the gut microbiota are concomitant with significantly reduced serum levels of lipopolysaccharide-binding protein, suggesting that animals under calorie restriction can establish a structurally balanced architecture of gut microbiota that may exert a health benefit to the host via reduction of antigen load from the gut.”

Intermittent Fasting May Provide Comparable Health Benefits to Calorie Restriction

While the research supporting calorie restriction is compelling, it’s not a very popular dietary strategy for most people, for obvious reasons. Many are simply not willing to deprive themselves of calories to the extent needed to prompt the beneficial effects.

An alternative that is much more acceptable is intermittent fasting, which can be as simple as restricting your daily eating to a narrower window of time of say 6-8 hours (this equates to 16-18 hours worth of fasting each and every day).

Recent research suggests that sudden and intermittent calorie restriction appears to provide many of the same health benefits as constant calorie restriction, including extending lifespan and protecting against disease. For instance, intermittent fasting leads to:

  1. Increased insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial energy efficiency – Fasting increases your leptin and insulin sensitivity along with mitochondrial energy efficiency, and thereby retards aging and disease, which are typically associated with loss of insulin sensitivity and declined mitochondrial energy.
  2. Reduced oxidative stress – Fasting decreases the accumulation of oxidative radicals in the cell, and thereby prevents oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids associated with aging and disease.
  3. Increased capacity to resist stress, disease and aging – Fasting induces a cellular stress response (similar to that induced by exercise) in which cells up-regulate the expression of genes that increase the capacity to cope with stress and resist disease and aging.

Intermittent Fasting Switches Your Body to Fat-Burning Mode… With Radical Improvements to Your Gut

If you want to give intermittent fasting a try, consider starting gradually. You can delay breakfast as long as possible and extend the time every day before you eat breakfast until you are actually skipping breakfast. Make sure you stop eating and drinking anything but water three hours before you go to sleep, and restrict your eating to an 8-hour (or less) time frame every day. In the 6-8 hours that you do eat, have healthy protein, minimize your carbs like pasta, bread, and potatoes and exchange them for healthful fats like butter, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil and nuts — essentially the very fats the media and “experts” tell you to avoid.

This will help shift you from carb-burning to fat-burning mode. Once your body has made this shift, it is nothing short of magical as your cravings for sweets, and food in general, rapidly normalizes and your desire for sweets and junk food radically decreases — if not disappears entirely.

Remember, it typically takes a few weeks for most to shift from burning carbs to fat-burning mode. Once you succeed and switch to fat-burning mode, you’ll be easily able to fast for 18 hours and not feel hungry. The “hunger” most people feel is actually cravings for sugar, and these will disappear once you successfully shift over to burning fat instead.

Another phenomenal benefit that occurs is that you will radically improve the beneficial bacteria in your gut, as occurs with calorie restriction. Along with improving your immune system, you will sleep better, have more energy, have increased mental clarity and concentrate better. Essentially, every aspect of your health will improve as your gut flora becomes balanced.

Certain Gut Bacteria are ‘Major Contributors’ to Cancer

As if you needed even more reason to optimize the bacteria in your gut, recent research has revealed an association between different gut bacteria and the development of lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells. The study involved mice with ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T), a genetic disease linked to a high rate of B-cell lymphoma in both mice and humans. Those with certain microbial species in their gut lived significantly longer before developing lymphoma, and had less of the gene damage that causes the disease. The researchers also created a catalog detailing which types of bacteria had either promoting or protective effects on genotoxicity and lymphoma.

This is not the first time gut bacteria has been linked to cancer. Findings published in the journal Nature,3 for instance, reported the discovery of microbial-dependent mechanisms through which some cancers mount an inflammatory response that fuels their development and growth. Another study, published in the journal Science,4 suggested cancer may be due to a chain reaction that starts with inflammation that disrupts your gut ecosystem, allowing pathogens, such as E. coli, to invade your gut and cause cellular damage.

Healthy Gut 101: How to Optimize Your Microflora for Better Health

With it now becoming increasingly clear that your microflora influence the expression of your genes, your immune system, weight, mental health, memory, and your risk of numerous chronic and acute diseases, from diabetes to cancer, destroying your gut flora with antibiotics and poor diet is a primary factor in rising disease rates.

As discussed, your diet is crucial in this equation, and it appears likely that calorie restriction, or intermittent fasting, may have a beneficial effect on the makeup of your microflora. But there are other factors, too. Remember, an estimated 80 percent of your immune system is also located in your gut, so reseeding your gut with healthy bacteria is important for the prevention of virtually ALL disease, from colds to cancer. In light of this, here are my recommendations for optimizing your gut bacteria.

  • Fermented foods are the best route to optimal digestive health, as long as you eat the traditionally made, unpasteurized versions. Healthy choices include lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner), fermented grass-fed organic milk such as kefir, various fermentations of vegetables like cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots, and natto (fermented soy).

Fermented vegetables, which are one of my new passions, are an excellent way to supply beneficial bacteria back into your gut. And, unlike some other fermented foods, they tend to be palatable, if not downright delicious, to most people. Most high-quality probiotic supplements will only supply you with a fraction of the beneficial bacteria found in such homemade fermented vegetables, so it’s your most economical route to optimal gut health as well.

  • Probiotic supplement. Although I’m not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics are an exception if you don’t eat plenty of raw organic and fermented foods on a regular basis.

In addition to knowing what to add to your diet and lifestyle, it’s equally important to know what to avoid, for optimal microflora balance, and this includes:

Antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary (and when you do use them, make sure to reseed your gut with fermented foods and/or a probiotics supplement) Conventionally raised meats and other animal products, as CAFO animals are routinely fed low-dose antibiotics, plusgenetically engineered grains, which have also been implicated in the destruction of gut flora

 

Processed foods (as the excessive grains and sugars, along with otherwise “dead” nutrients, feed pathogenic bacteria)

 

Chlorinated and/or fluoridated water

 

Source: mercola.com

 

What the Science Says About Intermittent Fasting.


Story at-a-glance

  • It’s long been known that calorie restriction can increase the lifespan of certain animals. More recent research suggests that intermittent fasting can provide the same health benefits as constant calorie restriction, which may be helpful for those who cannot successfully reduce their everyday calorie intake
  • “Undernutrition without malnutrition” is the only experimental approach that consistently improves survival in animals with cancer, and extends overall lifespan by about 30 percent
  • Both intermittent fasting and continuous calorie restriction have been shown to produce weight loss and improve metabolic disease risk markers. However, intermittent fasting tends to be slightly more effective for reducing insulin resistance
  • Besides turning you into an efficient fat burner, intermittent fasting can also boost your level of human growth hormone (aka the “fitness hormone”) production by as much as 1,200 percent for women and 2,000 percent for men
  • Intermittent fasting can improve brain function by boosting production of the protein BDNF, which activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons and triggers other chemicals that promote neural health. This protein also protects your brain cells from changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and helps protect your neuro-muscular system from degradation
    • Is it a good idea to “starve” yourself just a little bit each day, or a couple of days a week? Mounting evidence indicates that yes, intermittent fasting (IF) could have a very beneficial impact on your health and longevity.
    • I believe it’s one of the most powerful interventions out there if you’re struggling with your weight and related health issues. One of the primary reasons for this is because it helps shift your body from burning sugar/carbs to burning fat as its primary fuel.
    • As discussed in the featured article,1 intermittent fasting is not about binge eating followed by starvation, or any other extreme form of dieting. Rather what we’re talking about here involves timing your meals to allow for regular periods of fasting.
    • I prefer daily intermittent fasting, but you could also fast a couple of days a week if you prefer, or every other day. There are many different variations.
    • To be effective, in the case of daily intermittent fasting, the length of your fast must be at least 16 hours. This means eating only between the hours of 11am until 7pm, as an example. Essentially, this equates to simply skipping breakfast, and making lunch your first meal of the day instead.
    • You can restrict it even further — down to six, four, or even two hours if you want, but you can still reap many of these rewards by limiting your eating to an eight-hour window each day.

      This is because it takes about six to eight hours for your body to metabolize your glycogen stores; after that you start to shift to burning fat. However, if you are replenishing your glycogen by eating every eight hours (or sooner), you make it far more difficult for your body to use your fat stores as fuel.

    • I have been experimenting with different types of scheduled eating for the past two years and currently restrict my eating to a 6- to 7-hour window each day. While you’re not required to restrict the amount of food you eat when on this type of daily scheduled eating plan, I would caution against versions of intermittent fasting that gives you free reign to eat all the junk food you want when not fasting, as this seems awfully counterproductive.
    • Also, according to research published in 2010,2 intermittent fasting with compensatory overeating did not improve survival rates nor delay prostate tumor growth in mice. Essentially, by gorging on non-fasting days, the health benefits of fasting can easily be lost. If so, then what’s the point?
    • I view intermittent fasting as a lifestyle, not a diet, and that includes making healthy food choices whenever you do eat. Also, proper nutrition becomes even more important when fasting, so you really want to address your food choices before you try fasting.
    • This includes minimizing carbs and replacing them with healthful fats, like coconut oil, olive oil, olives, butter, eggs, avocados, and nuts. It typically takes several weeks to shift to fat burning mode, but once you do, your cravings for unhealthy foods and carbs will automatically disappear. This is because you’re now actually able to burn your stored fat and don’t have to rely on new fast-burning carbs for fuel. Unfortunately, despite mounting evidence, many health practitioners are still reluctant to prescribe fasting to their patients. According to Brad Pilon, author of Eat Stop Eat:3
    • “Health care practitioners across the board are so afraid to recommend eating less because of the stigma involved in that recommendation, but we are more than happy to recommend that someone start going to the gym. If all I said was you need to get to the gym and start eating healthier, no one would have a problem with it. When the message is not only should you eat less, you could probably go without eating for 24 hours once or twice a week, suddenly it’s heresy.”
    • Aside from removing your cravings for sugar and snack foods and turning you into an efficient fat-burning machine, thereby making it far easier to maintain a healthy body weight, modern science has confirmed there are many other good reasons to fast intermittently. For example, research presented at the 2011 annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans4 showed that fasting triggered a 1,300 percent rise of human growth hormone (HGH) in women, and an astounding 2,000 percent in men.
    • HGH, human growth hormone, commonly referred to as “the fitness hormone,” plays an important role in maintaining health, fitness and longevity, including promotion of muscle growth, and boosting fat loss by revving up your metabolism. The fact that it helps build muscle while simultaneously promoting fat loss explains why HGH helps you lose weight without sacrificing muscle mass, and why even athletes can benefit from the practice (as long as they don’t overtrain and are careful about their nutrition). The only other thing that can compete in terms of dramatically boosting HGH levels is high-intensity interval training. Other health benefits of intermittent fasting include:

·         Intermittent Fasting — More a Lifestyle Than a Diet

·         The Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Normalizing your insulin and leptin sensitivity, which is key for optimal health Improving biomarkers of disease
Normalizing ghrelin levels, also known as “the hunger hormone” Reducing inflammation and lessening free radical damage
Lowering triglyceride levels Preserving memory functioning and learning

·         Intermittent Fasting Is as Good or Better Than Continuous Calorie Restriction

  • According to Dr. Stephen Freedland, associate professor of urology and pathology at the Duke University Medical Center, “undernutrition without malnutrition” is the only experimental approach that consistently improves survival in animals with cancer, as well as extends lifespan overall by as much as 30 percent.5 Interestingly enough, intermittent fasting appears to provide nearly identical health benefits without being as difficult to implement and maintain. It’s easier for most people to simply restrict their eating to a narrow window of time each day, opposed to dramatically decreasing their overall daily calorie intake.
  • Mark Mattson, senior investigator for the National Institute on Aging, which is part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), has researched the health benefits of intermittent fasting, as well as the benefits of calorie restriction. According to Mattson,6 there are several theories to explain why fasting works:
  • “The one that we’ve studied a lot, and designed experiments to test, is the hypothesis that during the fasting period, cells are under a mild stress, and they respond to the stress adaptively by enhancing their ability to cope with stress and, maybe, to resist disease… There is considerable similarity between how cells respond to the stress of exercise and how cells respond to intermittent fasting.”
  • In one of his studies,7 overweight adults with moderate asthma lost eight percent of their body weight by cutting their calorie intake by 80 percent on alternate days for eight weeks. Markers of oxidative stress and inflammation also decreased, and asthma-related symptoms improved, along with several quality-of-life indicators.
  • More recently, Mattson and colleagues compared the effectiveness of intermittent fasting against continuous calorie restriction for weight loss, insulin sensitivity and other metabolic disease risk markers. The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2011,8 found that intermittent fasting was as effective as continuous calorie restriction for improving all of these issues, and slightly better for reducing insulin resistance. According to the authors:
  • “Both groups experienced comparable reductions in leptin, free androgen index, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, total and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and increases in sex hormone binding globulin, IGF binding proteins 1 and 2. Reductions in fasting insulin and insulin resistance were modest in both groups, but greater with IER [intermittent fasting] than with CER [continuous energy restriction].”
  • Your brain can also benefit from intermittent fasting. As reported in the featured article:
  • “Mattson has also researched the protective benefits of fasting to neurons. If you don’t eat for 10–16 hours, your body will go to its fat stores for energy, and fatty acids called ketones will be released into the bloodstream. This has been shown to protect memory and learning functionality, says Mattson, as well as slow disease processes in the brain.”
  • Besides releasing ketones as a byproduct of burning fat, intermittent fasting also affects brain function by boosting production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Mattson’s research suggests that fasting every other day (restricting your meal on fasting days to about 600 calories), tends to boost BDNF by anywhere from 50 to 400 percent,9 depending on the brain region. BDNF activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, and triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health. This protein also protects your brain cells from changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
  • BDNF also expresses itself in the neuro-muscular system where it protects neuro-motors from degradation. (The neuromotor is the most critical element in your muscle. Without the neuromotor, your muscle is like an engine without ignition. Neuro-motor degradation is part of the process that explains age-related muscle atrophy.) So BDNF is actively involved in both your musclesand your brain, and this cross-connection, if you will, appears to be a major part of the explanation for why a physical workout can have such a beneficial impact on your brain tissue — and why the combination of intermittent fasting with high intensity exerciseappears to be a particularly potent combination.
  • If you’re ready to give intermittent fasting a try, consider skipping breakfast, make sure you stop eating and drinking anything but water three hours before you go to sleep, and restrict your eating to an 8-hour (or less) time frame every day. In the 6-8 hours that you do eat, have healthy protein, minimize your carbs like pasta, bread, and potatoes and exchange them for healthful fats like butter, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil and nuts — essentially the very fats the media and “experts” tell you to avoid.
  • This will help shift you from carb burning to fat burning mode. Once your body has made this shift, it is nothing short of magical as your cravings for sweets, and food in general, rapidly normalizes and your desire for sweets and junk food radically decreases if not disappears entirely.
  • Remember it takes a few weeks, and you have to do it gradually, but once you succeed and switch to fat burning mode, you’ll be easily able to fast for 18 hours and not feel hungry. The “hunger” most people feel is actually cravings for sugar, and these will disappear, as if by magic, once you successfully shift over to burning fat instead.
  • Another phenomenal side effect/benefit that occurs is that you will radically improve the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Supporting healthy gut bacteria, which actually outnumber your cells 10 to one, is one of the most important things you can do to improve your immune system so you won’t get sick, or get coughs, colds and flus. You will sleep better, have more energy, have increased mental clarity and concentrate better. Essentially every aspect of your health will improve as your gut flora becomes balanced.
  • Based on my own phenomenal experience with intermittent fasting, I believe it’s one of the most powerful ways to shift your body into fat burning mode and improve a wide variety of biomarkers for disease. The effects can be further magnified by exercising while in a fasted state. For more information on that, please see my previous article High-Intensity Interval Training and Intermittent Fasting – A Winning Combo.
  • Clearly, it’s another powerful tool in your box to help you and your family take control of your health, and an excellent way to take your fitness to the next level.

·         How Intermittent Fasting Benefits Your Brain

·         Give Intermittent Fasting a Try

Source: mercola.com

The Most Effective Strategies for Eliminating Cellulite.


Cellulite, those pockets of fat that tend to collect on buttocks, thighs and upper arms, are a cause of embarrassment for many. The dimpling, “orange peel” effect occurs when fat cells push against the surrounding subcutaneous connective tissue in your skin. If your lymph circulation becomes sluggish, toxins accumulate in these fat cells.

Liposuction, creams and wraps only temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite. Without continual treatment, cellulite just reappears…So what, if anything, might actually work to reduce cellulite?

The featured article in The Guardian1 suggests body brushing. Simply give yourself a vigorous scrub-down with a dry body brush before you get into the shower, and then apply a good moisturizer afterward. (I recommend plain coconut oil opposed to chemical-laden creams). According to the writer, this simple technique “really did, honest-to-God, make a remarkable difference in just a few weeks.”

There’s certainly nothing wrong with this strategy; body brushing can help improve circulation and lymph flow, which are important elements for cellulite elimination. The downside is having to manually scrub yourself in areas that can be hard or uncomfortable to reach. Three strategies that I believe might be far more effective, in order of importance, are as follows, and in the following sections I’ll explain why:

  1. Intermittent fasting
  2. Whole body vibration training, a.k.a. Acceleration Training
  3. Rebound exercise

Intermittent Fasting Shifts Your Body from Burning Sugar to Burning Fat

In a nutshell, the answer to eliminating cellulite is to shift your body from burning sugar to efficiently burning fat for fuel, in order to get rid of excess fat deposits. Intermittent fasting is one of the most powerful interventions I know of to move your body into fat burning mode.

One of the mechanisms that makes fasting so effective for fat loss is the fact that it provokes the secretion of human growth hormone (HGH), which is a fat-burning hormone. Fasting also increases catecholamines, which increases resting energy expenditure while decreasing insulin levels, which allows stored fat to be burned for fuel.

Together, these and other factors will turn you into an effective fat-burning machine.

The type of fast you choose appears to be less important, so pick whichever one fits your lifestyle, schedule, and temperament the best. For variations, see this previous article on intermittent fasting. I have been experimenting with different types of scheduled eating in my own life for the past three years, and my preference is to simply skip breakfast and restrict my eating to a 6-7 hour window each day.

For this version of intermittent fasting to be effective, you need to restrict your eating to a window of maximum eight hours each day. This means eating only between the hours of 11am until 7pm, as an example. Essentially, this equates to simply skipping breakfast and making lunch your first meal of the day instead.

This is doable and convenient for most people, but you can restrict it even further — down to six, four, or even two hours, if you want, but you can still reap many of these rewards by limiting your eating to a window of about eight hours.

In the 6-8 hours that you do eat, you want to have healthy protein, minimize your carbs like pasta and bread and potatoes and exchange them for healthful fats like butter, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil and nuts. (The type of fats the media and “experts” tell you to avoid.)

This will help shift your body from sugar-burning mode to fat-burning mode. Remember it takes a few weeks to make the transition. You have to do it gradually, but once you succeed and switch to fat burning mode, you will easily be able to fast for 18 hours and not feel hungry. Your cravings for sugar will magically disappear and it will be much easier to achieve your ideal weight.

How Acceleration Training Can Help Beat Cellulite

Next, reconsider how you exercise. One form of exercise that provides many of the same health benefits as intermittent fasting is high intensity interval training (HIIT). Doing these kinds of Peak Fitness exercises while fasted (i.e. exercise before you break your fast) will further boost the effects. One of the ways HIIT can be particularly helpful for combating cellulite is that it significantly boosts your levels of human growth hormone (HGH) which, as mentioned earlier, is a fat-burning hormone.

But another form of exercise that is particularly useful for combating cellulite in particular is Acceleration Training, in which you perform exercises on a vibrating platform such as the Power Plate.

Acceleration Training improves your lymph circulation, helping break down cellulite from the inside out. The vibrations cause thousands of muscle contractions that pump your lymphatic fluid out of problem areas, reducing fluid congestion in your tissues. This helps to flush out toxins and ease the load on your immune system. This mechanism has been scientifically shown to actually help rid your body of excess pounds and unsightly cellulite.

In a 2004 German study,2 Acceleration Training alone reduced cellulite on subjects’ thighs and buttocks by nearly 26 percent. When cardio exercises were added to Vibration Training, cellulite dropped even more; just over 32 percent. Other research confirms its benefits for sustained fat loss. For example, one animal study3 showed that Acceleration training caused a drop in the creation of new fat cells, and a 2010 study4 on humans found that:

  • Those using Acceleration Training in addition to a low calorie diet lost twice as much visceral fat after six months compared to those who followed a low calorie diet with cardio and weight training.
  • The decrease in visceral fat remained at the same level in the vibration group after 12 months, while the diet and fitness groups returned to their normal baseline values after 12 months. The researchers suggested that the maintenance of visceral fat loss in the Acceleration Training group might be related to hormonal changes—specifically, increased production of human growth hormone (HGH).

As You Get Older, Growth Hormone Levels Can Affect Your Fat Deposits

Many tend to gain weight as they approach middle age, and if you don’t stay physically active, you also start losing muscle mass around age 40. Overall, you start burning fewer calories as your body shifts from building muscle to storing more fat. This is in part caused by what’s known as “somatopause” — the decline of your body’s hormone production as you age, which includes dwindling production of human growth hormone (HGH). HGH actually starts declining rapidly after age 21, so by the time you hit your 40’s, your levels can be quite low, contributing to these stubborn fat deposits.

The amount of HGH you secrete depends on how much lean body mass and belly fat you have. The more belly fat you have, the less HGH your body produces. Some resort to HGH injections to maintain youthful levels. According to ConsumerProductsReview.org,5 HGH injections are now also considered a “revolutionary” way to reduce cellulite. But there are significant drawbacks to HGH injections, both biological and financial.

As discussed above, there are at least three different ways you can elevate your HGH levels naturally, either alone or in combination. Each of these can very effectively boost HGH production, and when combined I have no doubt it can rival or even surpass injections, but without any of the associated health risks or cost:

  1. Intermittent fasting
  2. High intensity interval training (HIIT)
  3. Acceleration Training

Even a Mini Trampoline—or Rebounding—Can Help Improve Cellulite

Acceleration training works by increasing the acceleration or the force of gravity on your body. To a lesser degree, a mini trampoline will also increase the G forces on your body and provide similar, yet less extreme, benefits. A mini trampoline or rebounder subjects your body to gravitational pulls ranging from zero at the top of each bounce to 2 to 3 times the force of gravity at the bottom, depending on how high you jump. And, unlike jogging on hard surfaces which stresses your ankles and knees, rebounding helps protect against this stress so it’s easy on the joints.

Some of the benefits rebounding offers include circulating oxygen and nutrients to tissues and organs, and promoting increased muscle strength. It’s an option you can use if the cost of a vibration platform such as the Power Plate is prohibitive. Acceleration Training on a high-quality machine will definitely offer more powerful benefits though, and some gyms do have them, so it’s worth checking around.

Tying it All Together…

Foods high in sugars and carbs, damaged fats (think trans fats) and processed salt are all dietary contributors to cellulite, so addressing your diet should be your first step. My optimized Nutrition Plan can help you do that with the least amount of fuss as it takes you step by step through the changes, from beginners to advanced.

It’s important to realize that dietary carbohydrates, especially fructose, are the primary source of a substance called glycerol-3-phosphate (g-3-p), which actually causes fat to become fixed in fat tissue. High carb intake also raises your insulin levels, which prevents fat from being released, so sugars and grains are really at the root of stubborn fat deposits.

In short, you’ll want to avoid processed foods, as they are loaded with fructose and highly processed fats and salt. Keep in mind that for every gram of excess sodium chloride your body has to neutralize, it uses up 23 grams of cellular water. Hence, eating too much common processed salt will cause fluid to accumulate in your tissues, which can also contribute to unsightly cellulite.

Instead, focus your diet on whole, ideally organic and locally grown foods, healthful fats such as butter, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil and nuts, and grass-fed or pastured animal protein. If you want to add salt, make sure to use unprocessed natural salt, such as Himalayan salt, which contains about 86 different essential minerals and will not cause the same detrimental health effects as processed salt—especially if you’re eating a diet high in vegetables, as this will ensure a healthy sodium to potassium ratio.

Eating this way will help you transition from being a sugar burner to burning fat as your primary fuel, which is key for lasting weight loss and optimal health. However, do not attempt fasting if your diet still consists mainly of processed foods as proper nutritionbecomes even more important at that stage. Next, revise your exercise regimen to include some high intensity interval exercises, and consider Acceleration Training to further boost results—especially if you want to tackle cellulite.

Source: mercola.com

How Intermittent Fasting Stacks Up Among Obesity-Related Myths, Assumptions, and Evidence-Backed Facts .


 

fasting

Is it a good idea to “starve” yourself just a little bit each day? The evidence suggests that yes, avoiding eating around the clock could have a very beneficial impact on your health and longevity.

What we’re talking about here is generally referred to as intermittent fasting, which involves timing your meals to allow for regular periods of fasting.

It takes about six to eight hours for your body to metabolize your glycogen stores and after that you start to shift to burning fat. However, if you are replenishing your glycogen by eating every eight hours (or sooner), you make it far more difficult for your body to use your fat stores as fuel.

It’s long been known that restricting calories in certain animals can increase their lifespan by as much as 50 percent, but more recent research suggests that sudden and intermittent calorie restriction appears to provide the same health benefits as constant calorie restriction, which may be helpful for those who cannot successfully reduce their everyday calorie intake (or aren’t willing to).

Unfortunately, hunger is a basic human drive that can’t be easily suppressed, so anyone attempting to implement serious calorie restriction is virtually guaranteed to fail. Fortunately you don’t have to deprive yourself as virtually all of the benefits from calorie restriction can be achieved through properly applied intermittent fasting.

Three Major Mechanisms by which Fasting Benefits Your Health

While fasting has long gotten a bum rap for being one of the more torturous ways to battle the bulge, it really doesn’t have to be an arduous affair. We’re NOT talking about starving yourself for days on end. Simply restricting your daily eating to a narrower window of time of say 6-8 hours, you can reap the benefits without the suffering. This equates to 16-18 hours worth of fasting each and every day — enough to get your body to shift into fat-burning mode.

Many studies have evaluated daily intermittent fasting, and the results are compellingly positive. Three major mechanisms by which fasting benefits your body, as it extends lifespan and protects against disease, include:

  1. Increased insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial energy efficiency – Fasting increases insulin sensitivity along with mitochondrial energy efficiency, and thereby retards aging and disease, which are typically associated with loss of insulin sensitivity and declined mitochondrial energy.
  2. Reduced oxidative stress – Fasting decreases the accumulation of oxidative radicals in the cell, and thereby prevents oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids associated with aging and disease.
  3. Increased capacity to resist stress, disease and aging – Fasting induces a cellular stress response (similar to that induced by exercise) in which cells up-regulate the expression of genes that increase the capacity to cope with stress and resist disease and aging.

Is Daily Fasting the Key to Permanent Weight Loss?

As reported by George Dvorsky1 in a recent article, one of the most important studies in support of daily intermittent fasting was published just last year by biologist Satchidananda Panda and colleagues at Salk’s Regulatory Biology Laboratory. They fed mice a high-fat, high-calorie diet but altered when they were able to eat.

One group had access to food both day and night, while the other group had access to food for only eight hours at night (the most active period for mice). In human terms, this would mean eating only for 8 hours during the day. Despite consuming the same amount of calories, mice that had access to food for only eight hours stayed lean and did not develop health problems like high blood sugar or chronic inflammation2. They even had improved endurance motor coordination on the exercise wheel. The all-day access group, on the other hand, became obese and were plagued with health problems including:

This suggests that your body may benefit from the break it receives while fasting, whereas constant eating may lead to metabolic exhaustion and health consequences like weight gain. Researchers said their latest work shows it’s possible to stave off metabolic disease by simply restricting when you eat with periodic fasting, or even by just keeping to regular meal schedules rather than “grazing” off and on all day. They concluded:

“[Time-restricted feeding] is a nonpharmacological strategy against obesity and associated diseases.”

What the Research Says about Intermittent Fasting

Dvorsky highlights other research into fasting that point to similar conclusions, such as:

  • Research by Valter Longo3 at the University of Southern California’s Longevity Institute shows that intermittent fasting has a beneficial impact on IGF-1, an insulin-like growth factor that plays a role in aging. When you eat, this hormone drives your cells to reproduce, and while this is good for growth, it’s also a factor that drives the aging process. Intermittent fasting decreases the expression of IGF-1, and switches on other DNA repair genes. In this way, intermittent fasting switches your body from “growth mode” to “repair mode.”
  • Krista Varady with the University of Illinois has been researching the impact of fasting on chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Her work also compares the effects of intermittent fasting with caloric restriction, which is known to benefit health and longevity. Animal studies using alternate-day fasting4 have shown it lowers the risk of diabetes, at rates comparable to caloric restriction. Alternate-day fasting has also been shown to reduce cancer rates by reducing cell proliferation.
  • Research by Mark Hartman and colleagues5 indicates short-term fasting can trigger production of human growth hormone (HGH) in men, and reduce oxidative stress that contributes to disease and aging; benefits brain health, mental well-being, and clarity of thought

Review Debunks Myths about Weight Loss, Obesity

Intermittent fasting is one of the latest weight management strategies to get a lot of press. Meanwhile, other weight loss myths are being debunked. Dr. David B. Allison, director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama, and colleagues recently published a paper on Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity6, stating:

“Many beliefs about obesity persist in the absence of supporting scientific evidence (presumptions); some persist despite contradicting evidence (myths). The promulgation of unsupported beliefs may yield poorly informed policy decisions, inaccurate clinical and public health recommendations, and an unproductive allocation of research resources and may divert attention away from useful, evidence-based information.”

The team identified:

  • Seven obesity-related myths concerning the effects of small sustained increases in energy intake or expenditure, establishment of realistic goals for weight loss, rapid weight loss, weight-loss readiness, physical-education classes, breast-feeding, and energy expended during sexual activity. These include:
    • Small things make a big difference. Walking a mile a day can lead to a loss of more than 50 pounds in five years.
    • Set a realistic goal to lose a modest amount.
    • People who are too ambitious will get frustrated and give up.
    • You have to be mentally ready to diet or you will never succeed.
    • Slow and steady is the way to lose. If you lose weight too fast, you will lose less in the long run.
  • Six presumptions that have yet to be proven true or false about the effects of regularly eating breakfast, early childhood experiences, eating fruits and vegetables, weight cycling, snacking, and the built (i.e., human-made) environment, such as:
    • Diet and exercise habits in childhood set the stage for the rest of life.
    • Add lots of fruits and vegetables to your diet to lose weight or not gain as much.
    • Yo-yo diets lead to increased death rates.
    • People who snack gain weight and get fat.
    • If you add bike paths, jogging trails, sidewalks and parks, people will not be as fat.
  • Nine evidence-supported facts that are relevant for the formulation of sound public health, policy, or clinical recommendations, including:
    • Heredity is important but is not destiny.
    • Exercise helps with weight maintenance.
    • Weight loss is greater with programs that provide meals.
    • Some prescription drugs help with weight loss and maintenance.
    • Weight-loss surgery in appropriate patients can lead to long-term weight loss, less diabetes and a lower death rate

What I feel is missing here is the focus on an all-around healthy lifestyle pattern. Can you lose weight on prescription drugs? Yes. Does the research support this as “fact”? Yes. But this does NOT automatically mean that recommending diet drugs is good public health policy! Will diet drugs have a beneficial impact on your health in the long run? Do potential side effects of the drugs outweigh the benefit of losing weight?

Ditto for bariatric surgery. Does it lead to weight loss? Yes! But the side effects can be severe, including death, and several studies have shown the long-term outcome in terms of overall health is not that great…

Some of the items listed as myths and presumptions are simply common-sense guidelines and “helpful tips” that can help you maintain a healthier lifestyle, which will inevitably form the foundation of good health. So I would advise you to differentiate between “established scientific fact” (such as: weight loss surgery leads to weight loss) and what amounts to holistic healthy lifestyle guidelines, as the two are not necessarily interchangeable.

If your goal is to promote health, then supporting the addition of bike paths in your communities is not a crazy idea at all. In fact, some of these myths and presumptions are sort of silly, as when you talk about things like “can adding jogging trails and parks promote healthier weight?” You also have to consider the fact that there is social conditioning at work, and people have to start to rethink how they live their daily lives in order to see a change. This can take time. Having a public policy that tells you to get bariatric surgery instead of going for a walk every day is nothing short of crazy if you really think about it…

Clinical Trial to Be Conducted to Test Whether Skipping Breakfast Leads to Weight Loss

According to the New York Times7:

“… people often rely on weak studies that get repeated ad infinitum. It is commonly thought, for example, that people who eat breakfast are thinner. But that notion is based on studies of people who happened to eat breakfast. Researchers then asked if they were fatter or thinner than people who happened not to eat breakfast — and found an association between eating breakfast and being thinner. But such studies can be misleading because the two groups might be different in other ways that cause the breakfast eaters to be thinner. But no one has randomly assigned people to eat breakfast or not, which could cinch the argument.

… The question is: ‘Is it a causal association?’ To get the answer, he added, ‘Do the clinical trial.’

He decided to do it himself, with university research funds. A few hundred people will be recruited and will be randomly assigned to one of three groups. Some will be told to eat breakfast every day, others to skip breakfast, and the third group will be given vague advice about whether to eat it or not.”

Is Intermittent Fasting Right for You?

If you’re already off to a good start on a healthy diet and fitness plan, then intermittent fasting might be just the thing to bring you to the next level. However, you need to pay careful attention to your body, your energy levels, and how it makes you feel in general.

Please keep in mind that proper nutrition becomes even MORE important when fasting, so addressing your diet really should be your first step. Common sense will tell you that fasting combined with a denatured, highly processed, toxin-rich diet is likely to do more harm than good, as you’re not giving your body proper fuel to thrive when you DO eat.

If you’re hypoglycemic, diabetic, or pregnant (and/or breastfeeding), you are better off avoiding any type of fasting or timed meal schedule until you’ve normalized your blood glucose and insulin levels, or weaned the baby. Others categories of people that would be best served to avoid fasting include those living with chronic stress, and those with cortisol dysregulation.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is a condition characterized by an abnormally low level of blood sugar. It’s commonly associated with diabetes, but you can be hypoglycemic even if you’re not diabetic. Common symptoms of a hypoglycemic crash include:

  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Tremors
  • Irritability
  • Hunger

As your blood glucose levels continue to plummet, more severe symptoms can set in, such as:

  • Confusion and/or abnormal behavior
  • Visual disturbances, such as double vision and blurred vision
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

One of the keys to eliminating hypoglycemia is to eliminate sugars, especially fructose from your diet. It will also be helpful to eliminate grains, and replace them with higher amounts of quality proteins and healthful fats. However it will take some time for your blood sugar to normalize. You’ll want to pay careful attention to hypoglycemic signs and symptoms, and if you suspect that you’re crashing, make sure to eat something.The ideal food would be coconut oil as it will not worsen your insulin levels and is metabolized relatively quickly for energy. You can try some coconut candy, for example. Ideally, you should avoid fasting if you’re hypoglycemic, and work on your overall diet to normalize your blood sugar levels first. Then try out one of the less rigid versions of fasting and work your way up.

Fasting While Pregnant is Not a Good Idea…

As for pregnant and/or lactating women, I don’t think fasting would be a wise choice. Your baby needs plenty of nutrients, during and after birth, and there’s no research supporting fasting during this important time. On the contrary, some studies8 suggest it might be contraindicated, as it can alter fetal breathing patterns, heartbeat, and increase gestational diabetes. It may even induce premature labor. I don’t think it’s worth the risk.

Instead, my recommendation would be to really focus on improving your nutrition during this crucial time. A diet with plenty of raw organic, biodynamic foods, and foods high in healthful fats, coupled with high quality proteins will give your baby a head start on good health. You’ll also want to be sure to include plenty of cultured and fermented foods to optimize your — and consequently your baby’s — gut flora. For more information, please see this previous article that includes specific dietary recommendations for a healthy pregnancy, as well as my interview with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.

Finding a Lifestyle Plan that Works for You Requires Trial and Error

While intermittent fasting can provide valuable health benefits, remember that fasting does not mean abstaining from ALL food for extended periods of time. Rather it involves a dramatic reduction of calorie intake at regular intervals — whether you opt for a 16, 20, or 24 hour fast once or twice a week, or fasting every other day, or simply delaying certain meals, such as skipping breakfast.

Just remember, it takes about six to eight hours for your body to metabolize your glycogen stores and only after that do you start to shift to burning fat, but only if you are already adapted to burning fat by having your fat burning enzymes upregulated by the strategy discussed above, which takes anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on how healthy you are.

Always listen to your body, and go slow; work your way up to 16-18 hour fasts if your normal schedule has included multiple meals a day. Also be sure to address any hypoglycemic tendencies, as it can get increasingly dangerous the longer you go without eating to level out your blood sugar.

Source: mercola.com

The Power of Intermittent Fasting.


If you’re already off to a good start on a healthy fitness plan, and you’re looking for ways to take it to the next level, then you might want to consider intermittent fasting. In essence this fitness-enhancing strategy looks at the timing of meals, as opposed to those fad plans where you eat just one or two things for several days in a row.

On intermittent fasting, the longest time you’ll ever abstain from food is 36 hours, although 14-18 hours is more common. You can also opt to simply delay eating. For example, skipping breakfast may be just the thing to get you off a plateau in your fitness routine. The issue of fasting is a major shift from my typical recommendations. I’ve not been a major advocate for it in the past, but as many of you who have been reading this site for years know, I am always learning.

To that end, I’ve now revised my personal eating schedule to eliminate breakfast and restrict the time I eat food to a period of about six to seven hours each day, which is typically from noon to 6 or 7 pm.

Your Ancestors Rarely Had Access to Food 24/7

So it makes sense that our genes are optimized for to this type of feeding schedule. It takes about six to eight hours for your body to metabolize your glycogen stores and after that you actually start to shift to burning fat. However if you are replenishing your glycogen by eating every few hours, you make it far more difficult for your body to actually use your fat stores as fuel.

On the days that I exercise in the morning, I will have two scoops of Pure Power Protein about 30 minutes after the workout to provide nutrients, especially leucine, for muscle growth and repair. Interestingly, since adopting this approach for the past few months I have lost two inches from my waist size and gained three pounds, which means I have lost body fat and gained muscle mass. Just broke 33 inches for my waist and am maintaining my 180 pounds.

A growing body of research suggests that intermittent fasting may in fact be a key weight loss tool. It appears particularly powerful when combined with exercise—i.e. working out while in a fasted state. According to some fitness experts, such as Ori Hofmekler—whose guest commentary is featured below—fasting may indeed push your exercise program to the next level.

It can also boost general health and longevity, but as Ori explains later in this article, there are tradeoffs—you cannot achieve maximum fitness and maximum longevity at the same time. You have to chose one or the other and tailor your diet and fitness regimen to achieve your intended goal. Gender differences also come into play when fasting, which you need to be aware of.

For the last several months I have been experimenting and not eating breakfast and compressing the time that I eat into a 6-7 hour window. I do this nearly every day of the week and it has helped me drop my body fat percentage effortlessly. Interestingly, hunger is not much of a problem as I have shifted to upregulate my fat burning enzymes. I am convinced that having periods of 12-18 hours of fasting is likely highly beneficial. The other variable I am currently in the process of evaluating if dinner would be the better meal to skip. Skipping breakfast is far easier and logistically and socially more acceptable, but avoiding dinner might be better from a health perspective.

Boost Fitness Results and Weight Loss with Intermittent Fasting

Exercising on an empty stomach has been shown to have a number of health and fitness benefits. It may even be a key to keep your body biologically young. This is most easily accomplished if you exercise first thing in the morning, before breakfast.

Part of the explanation for why exercising while fasted is beneficial is that this regimen complements your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) along with your capacity to burn fat. Your body’s fat burning processes are controlled by your SNS, which is activated by exercise and by lack of food. Another reason is that fasting can trigger a dramatic rise in human growth hormone (HGH), also known as “the fitness hormone.” Recent research found fasting raised HGH by 1,300 percent in women and 2,000 percent in men!1

The combination of fasting and exercising maximizes the impact of cellular factors and catalysts (cyclic AMP and AMP Kinases), which force the breakdown of fat and glycogen for energy.

This is why training on an empty stomach will effectively force your body to burn fat. Exercise and fasting also yield acute oxidative stress, which keeps your muscles’ mitochondria, neuro-motors and fibers intact. (You may have heard of oxidative stress before in a negative light, and indeed, when it is chronic it can indeed lead to disease. But acute oxidative stress, such as occurs due to short intense exercise or periodic fasting, actually benefits your muscle.)

Regardless of when you choose to exercise, remember that you need to eat 30 minutes after your workout, which will effectively break your fast. If you exercise in the late morning or early afternoon, you could break your fast by including 20 grams net protein from a fast-assimilating source like a high-quality whey protein concentrate 30 minutes before you start your exercise, and then have another recovery meal 30 minutes after.

Intermittent Fasting for General Health and Longevity

There’s plenty of research showing that fasting has a beneficial impact on longevity in animals. There are a number of mechanisms contributing to this effect. Normalizing insulin sensitivity is a major one as insulin sensitivity is critical for the activation of the mTOR pathway, which along with IGF-1 plays an important part in repairing and regenerating your tissues including your muscles and thereby counteracting the aging process. The fact that it improves a number of potent disease markers also contributes to fasting’s overall beneficial effects on general health. For example, modern science has confirmed fasting can help you:

  • Normalize your insulin sensitivity, which is key for optimal health as insulin resistance (which is what you get when your insulin sensitivity plummets) is a primary contributing factor to nearly all chronic disease, from diabetes to heart disease and even cancer
  • Normalize ghrelin levels, also known as “the hunger hormone”
  • Promote human growth hormone (HGH) production, which plays an important part in health, fitness and slowing the aging process
  • Lower triglyceride levels
  • Reduce inflammation and lessening free radical damage

While much of the research is profoundly positive, questions have been raised about certain studies where results in human subjects have been less than ideal. Below, fitness expert Ori Hofmekler delves into some of the pitfalls that plague some of the human studies on intermittent fasting, which make the results of such studies unreliable. He also offers a few caveats to successful IF, such as the necessity to avoid the standard American diet when you do eat, as your body requires high quality nutrients when you’re doing intermittent fasting. He also reviews some of the gender differences, and why you need to decide on a goal—either maximum fitness, or maximum longevity.

Guest Commentary by Ori Hofmekler

Studies on animals reveal that intermittent fasting (IF) can improve health and extend lifespan similar to calorie restriction. Both regimes have shown to protect against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. Animals on IF have demonstrated some major physiological changes, including:

  • Decreased plasma insulin
  • Decreased blood sugar concentrations
  • D blood pressure
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Enhanced immune function
  • Reduced body fat

Human Trials on Intermittent Fasting

That’s how animal respond to a low feeding frequency. But what about humans? Is the human body programmed for a low meal frequency? Only a few experimental studies have tested the effect of intermittent fasting (IF) on humans. Apparently there have been conflicting reports concerning the results.

There were some indications of adaptation issues among subjects who did not become ‘habituated’ to the low meal frequency – particularly the alternate day fasting. Subjects seemed to feel increased hunger and desire to eat, and a decreased feeling of fullness during these trials.

The one meal per day’s results were particularly confusing, as they indicated that though some health improvements were attributed to that regimen, they were only marginal, and they came along with both adverse and beneficial side effects such as increased blood pressure, increased cholesterol (good and bad), decrease in circulating triglycerides, decreased cortisol, and decreased body fat, respectively.

Overall, the findings showed only modest changes in body composition, decreases in some cardiovascular risk factors, and some improvements in cognitive function. These seem like minor benefits compared to the dramatic results shown in animal studies.

Why Do Results from Human IF Trials Differ from Animal Studies?

Though a possible explanation could be that the human response to fasting is different than that of animals, the real reason seems to be in the studies themselves. Apparently, a couple of design flaws have rendered some of these studies unfit for IF trials. Take a look for instance at the initial human study on reduced meal frequency by the American Society for Nutrition – three meals per day versus one meal per day.

That study had two notable flaws:

  1. The subjects on the one meal per day were force-fed a fixed amount of calories, often despite their spontaneous tendency to stop eating due to the feeling of fullness.
  2. The study’s diet design was based on the typical American diet’s food ratio – high carbs – low protein – low fiber (carbs 50 percent, protein 14.5 percent, fiber 1 percent).

The point is: force feeding and the typical American diet’s food ratio are inherently counter-effective to IF and therefore yield misleading results in IF trials. Here is how…

Forced Feeding Shatters Your Adaptive Response to Fasting

Fasting has a profound effect on your food cravings as it has shown to shift cravings toward more subtle tasting, nutrient dense, satiety-promoting foods, which can then lead to a spontaneous decrease in your overall calorie intake. This is probably part of an early adaptation mechanism to food scarcity, which encourages intake of maximum nutrients from minimum food.

And when that adaptive response takes place, it transforms your body to become eaner, healthier and increasingly resilient to hunger and fasting. Force-feeding abolishes this adaptive feature.

This means that under the study’s terms, the subjects on the one meal per day plan could not possibly adapt to that regimen. However, if they were allowed to choose their foods freely and stop eating upon feeling satiety, they would have probably become increasingly adept to fasting, and the study’s results would have been very different. The second flaw in the diet design was that it was based on the typical American diet’s food ratio, and that food ratio is counter-effective to IF.

The Typical American Diet’s Food Ration Negates the Benefits You Get from IF

The typical American diet and its high glycemic food ratio will never complement intermittent fasting, certainly not the one meal per day. Shoving in 40 percent of the daily calories from refined carbs alone in one sitting will affect your insulin and your health more than when that amount is divided into three or several meals.

Yes, if you eat the typical American portions of chocolate, pie, milkshake or ice cream, you’d better cut these into as many meals as possible. And note that the typical American diet with its high carb, low protein, low fiber ratio is known to promote hunger and weight gain; and it certainly lowers your capacity to endure fasting.

So what can you learn from these studies? What should be your right food ratio when following an IF regimen? What should be your right food choices? And what should be your right fuel food?

  • Proper Food Ratio: high protein, low carbs, high fiber. Having a low glycemic food ratio is critical to the viability of your intermittent fasting. Your ideal ratio would be: high protein – low carbs – high fiber. That ratio has proven to be most effective in promoting satiety and resisting hunger. The high protein part serves to nourish and retain your lean tissues whereas the low carb-high fiber ratio helps optimize your insulin and sustain a healthy metabolism. This dietary ratio has also shown to be most effective in decreasing body fat while sparing muscle tissue.
  • Proper Food Choices: Quality protein, green and fibrous vegetables, nutrient dense fruits, good fat. Your protein should come from chemical-free, preferably organic whole food sources – fish, pastured eggs, legumes and dairy. Note that dairy protein, particularly whey, isn’t just ok for IF, it actually enhances the benefits you get from fasting via its unique content of immune supportive, anti-inflammatory, and tissue regenerating nutrients which include bioactive peptides, leucine, and calcium.

For fiber and carbs use whole and fibrous plant foods such as greens, cruciferous vegetables, roots, legumes, corn kernels, wild rice, oats and barley.

To support your antioxidant and anti-inflammatory defenses, use nutrient dense fruits such as berries, cherries, citrus, papayas and apples; other powerful options in this category include dark chocolate (no sugar added), green tea and quality non-denatured whey protein. Your fat fuel should come from nuts, seeds, avocadoes, olives, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil or whole dairy.

Fat will Typically Accommodate Your Fasting Better than Carbs

Fat fuel will generally accommodate your fasting better than carb fuel, as it has a longer and more profound effect on your satiety and your ability to sustain energy during fasting. Fat fuel increases ketogenesis – an energy pathway that involves production of ketone bodies, byproducts of fat metabolism – known to serve as your body’s preferred fuel during fasting, when glycogen reserves are depleted, and glucose supply is limited.

Ketone bodies have shown to sustain brain and body functions; and incredibly, they have also demonstrated the capacity to protect against neuronal disease, seizures, and age related brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s. There are however some exceptions to the above.

Cases where Dietary Fat Should Not Be Your Primary Fuel

Fat should not be your primary fuel if you suffer from a condition of impaired fat metabolism such as:

  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Cholesterol disorder
  • Obesity related insulin resistance
  • Liver disease

The other reason for not having fat as a primary fuel relates to your type of exercise. If you’re a power lifter or engaged in sheer strength training, fat should not be used as your main fuel. Max strength performance requires carbohydrate fuel, as you predominantly use your fast glycolytic fibers (Type IIB white fibers), which are inherently carb dependent and have a very limited capacity to utilize fat.

Beware of Differences Between Gender, and Individual Health Goals

Gender is another important factor in human and animal studies. Female-specific responses to fasting raise an interesting scientific phenomenon. Researchers have been finding evidence that there is indeed a tradeoff between virility and longevity of organisms.

Apparently the same genes that promote human longevity may trigger biological mechanisms that suppress female reproductive capacity.

Hence, fasting and intense exercise protocols, known to promote longevity, also lower estrogen level and thereby modulate body composition and suppress female reproductive capacity. This is apparently part of an early adaption mechanism to primordial conditions of food scarcity and hardship, which requires increased strength and durability on the account of reproductivity. Hence, hard conditions are not biologically suitable times for pregnancy and child bearing.

I discussed this issue with Dr. Marc Mattson, Prof. of Neurosciences at Johns Hopkins University a few years ago. According to Mattson, women who fast or are on calorie restriction, have the tendency to get leaner, become increasingly addicted to physical exercise, and lose their menstrual cycle. Nonetheless, they seem to gain substantial improvements in all main biological markers of longevity – i.e. increased insulin sensitivity, increased GH secretion, improved lipid profile, improved anti-inflammatory cytokine profile, improved cognitive function, etc.

Note that fasting triggers the longevity gene SIRT-1, which regulates mitochondrial energy production along with the gene transcription promoter protein PGC-1α, which increases mitochondrial biogenesis and density in the muscle. Yes, mitochondrial energy utilization efficiency is a key to longevity.

One of the most notable benefits of fasting is its profound anti-inflammatory effect. Fasting increases production of anti-inflammatory cytokines while suppressing pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α and IL-6. Note that pro-inflammatory cytokines produced by fat cells (adipokines) are associated with insulin resistance, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and a shorter life span; whereas anti-inflammatory cytokines, such as adiponectin and IL-15, are associated with improved insulin sensitivity, increased thermogenesis, decreased fat storage, increased muscle regeneration and increased life span.

Finally, in view of the current epidemic of excess estrogen in females and males, caused by estrogenic chemicals and foods (such as petrochemicals and soy), fasting and IF can be used as an effective therapeutic strategy to balance estrogen and prevent related metabolic disorders and cancer.

Summary Points

  • Don’t blindly trust human studies on IF as some of these show misleading results due to major design flaws.
  • Don’t even think about intermittent fasting if you eat the typical American portions of high glycemic junk food.
  • When following an IF regimen you need to make it low glycemic and high in protein and fiber. Eat whole foods, possibly high in dairy and whey protein, along with nutrient dense antioxidant foods.
  • Adjust your fuel food according to your specific condition and type of training.
  • Your intermittent fasting regimen must make sense. The length of your fasting intervals should be optimized to yield maximum biological impact. What really counts is your net fasting time (period between meals minus digestion time.) It takes your body roughly 5-8 hours to fully digest a meal and shift into a fasting mode. Three to six hours of “not eating” between meals will not be sufficient to put your body in a fasting mode and therefore will fail to get you the results you’re looking for.
  • The female-specific response to fasting or intermittent fasting is no different than the female response to intense exercise. There is indeed a tradeoff between benefits and side effects. And the question “should women fast” raises the same issues as the question “should women exercise intensely”.

About the Author

Ori Hofmekler is the author of The Warrior Diet, The Anti-Estrogenic Diet, Maximum Muscle Minimum Fat, and Unlock Your Muscle Gene.

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Soure: Dr. Mercola