Part 3 — Intermittant Fasting

All of the experts mentioned in this series are advocates of intermittent fasting. It confers health benefits far beyond assisting in reducing unwanted weight, but first we will look into the weight aspect.

Intermittent fasting is basically not eating for a period of hours out of every 24. For example, say dinner ends at 7 PM. The next intake of food would be at 11 AM the next day. That would be a 16 hour fast. Repeat daily.

Although conferring health benefits for anyone, this technique is an especially ideal for type 2 diabetics who are overweight – especially when used in conjunction with a high-fat-moderate-protein-low/moderate-carb diet (Let’s abbreviate that to “HF diet.”) That type of diet satiates hunger for much longer periods than conventional diets, and does not cause abrupt sugar/insulin spikes. Intermittent fasting along with a HF diet tends to modulate energy and mood swings. (For details of HF diet see previous post.)

On a HF diet you will tend to produce minimal glycogen (stored glucose). The body works while you are sleeping. For energy, first it will use glycogen. This diet enables you run out of glycogen within 8 hours or less. At that point the body must make some glucose either from the protein in muscle (by gluconeogenesis) OR from glycerol in triglycerides, (or make ketones). This is when weight loss takes place.

WILL POWER?  Dr Paul Jaminet says if you feel that slightly dull ache in the stomach indicating true hunger before the 16 hours is up, go ahead and eat! Intense will-power is not necessary. You should still lose weight provided you do not eat until bursting at the seams during the 8-hour window. Implementing any diet combined with intermittent fasting is more a matter of cultivating new habits with a desire to improve. With that attitude combined with the superior satiation effects of a HF diet, will powers should not be much of an issue.

BUT YOU DON’T WANT TO LOSE MUSCLE. When you run out of glycogen, the body chooses whether to break down muscle for energy or to break down adipose tissue – according to which you seem to need least. Also the body considers that it is preferable to convert muscle into glucose than fat into glucose – if muscles are being used much.

So in order to convince your body to use fat and not muscle to make glucose, Dr. Chris Masterjohn points out it is important to do regular exercise during a fat-reduction program. That way the body gets the message that you need your muscles so it will use fat for glucose. To accomplish this it is necessary to exercise the muscles relatively heavily – but relatively short periods are sufficient such as 30-40 minutes of weightlifting 3x per week PLUS daily light exercise. Exercise has multiple benefits including for brain health.

COFFEE: It’s permissible to drink coffee in the morning, but no creamer, absolutely no sugar, and not even artificial sweetener. But Dr Jaminet says it’s okay to add coconut oil or MCT oil to the coffee as the body will convert it to ketones which is healthy and may delay hunger. It’s either that or black coffee, or plain green tea, or nothing.

Drink plenty of water (filtered). It’s advisable to add a little apple cider vinegar and real salt such as Himalayan to your water. That will not break the fast. But do NOT take amino acid supplements until the fast ends, and just before the meal.

Regardless of the type of diet, it is a good health practice to leave the table BEFORE you feel absolutely stuffed. For one thing, digestion will be better. Also moderate eating tends to lengthen life spans.

Intermittent fasting increases insulin sensitivity so if you are diabetic soon blood sugar should come down (especially if on a HF diet).

Dr Paul Jaminet considers 16-hour intermittent fasting to be the OPTIMAL fasting time period for overall health, even better (healthier) than the more extreme 24 or 48-hour fasting methods.

LONG-TERM BENEFITS of intermittent fasting: It promotes a process in the body called AUTOPHAGY by which the body cleans debris out of cells and combats intracellular pathogens. When people eat from wake-up until bed time autophagy is suppressed and people tend to become less healthy. Intermittent fasting tends to improve health both in the short term and it tends to lengthen life spans.!

CHANGING HABITS is usually quite difficult! But in this case is it is very likely to be worthwhile. For many people intermittent fasting along with a HF diet soon becomes comfortable, even desired, because people feel better.

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Using myself as an example of what intermittent fasting is like: I eat my last meal 4 hours before bed. I may get an urge for a snack 2-3 your later but this is due to previous habit, not real hunger, it’s psychological. I know that if I give in to it, I will not feel so well and might not sleep so well. Reminding myself of that previous fact makes it easier to resist the urge. As proof that I did not need the snack, the next morning I do not feel hungry at all. I do some chores, take my mile walk, and eventually begin to actually feel hungry. This may be only 14 hours into the fast, but I’ll go ahead and eat.

— Fred Pauser