Intermittent fasting is a nutritional strategy that involves periods with food and periods without. Typically the goal is the reduce your eating window to no more than 6-8 hours per day and fast for at least 16-18 hours a day. Before trying IF many are concerned about feeling weak, light headed, and having brain fog but the truth for most people is just the opposite occurs. Most people who implement IF report feeling better, having more energy and having more clarity during their fast.
There are many different ways to implement IF into one’s daily life and there are numerous benefits to doing so! Data shows that IF, when done properly, might help extend life, regulate blood glucose, control blood lipids, manage body weight, gain (or maintain) lean mass, and more. In addition to daily fasting some will implement longer fasting periods such as a 24 hour fast. There are many good reasons to consider doing a longer fast occasionally throughout the month!
One of the most beneficial things about longer duration fasting is the stimulation of Autophagy. In 2016, the Nobel Prize in Physiology Or Medicine went to a Japanese gentleman by the name of Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries of the mechanisms behind autophagy. Autophagy is the natural process by which cells breakdown and then recycle unneeded or dysfunctional proteins and organelles. If allowed to accumulate, dysfunctional proteins and organelles eventually lead to dysfunctional cells that either die, persist as dysfunctional cells (contributing to poor tissue/organ function) or become cancerous. Therefore, Autophagy is critical in disease resistance, longevity and general body and brain vitality.
Fasting has been shown to be the single most effective way to stimulate autophagy in both the body and brain. The level of autophagy activity can be measured by counting the number of autophagosomes (the cellular organelles that breakdown dysfunctional proteins), as these will increase in number when autophagy is stimulated. Studies show that autophagosomes number increase by 300% in the liver and brain after 24 hours and another 30% after 48 hours! The sweet spots definitely seems to be right around 36 hours! So anytime you can stretch your fast to 36 hours you will experience tons of benefits of autophagy!
Fasting for greater than 24 hours can seem daunting and maybe undoable! However, if you are well prepared, making it through a 36-48-72 hours fast can be a breeze! Use these tips below to help you get set for success
Reduce Carbohydrates 1-2 days before your fast to reduce hunger. Hunger is a function of blood sugar, if your blood sugar is high, your body releases hormones (leptin, etc) that tell your brain “I’m full”. If your blood sugar drops, your body releases hormones (ghrelin, cortisol) that tell your brain “get me food”. Therefore the best way to regulate hunger during your longer fast is to reduce blood sugar fluctuations 1-2 days prior to your fast!
DRINK LOTS OF ELECTROLYTE ENHANCED WATER! Staying well hydrated is very important to tolerating a fast. Adequate balance of your electrolytes, sodium, magnesium and potassium are vital to feeling your best while fasting! Some will report feeling light headed, weak and fatigued while fasting and many will think this is a drop in blood sugar. However, it is not, most likely it is an electrolyte issue. Therefore if we keep our electrolytes properly replenished many of these symptoms disappear!
Make or buy organic mineral bone broth. With all the fat strained out, bone broth is quite low in calories and will have a negligible impact on your fast. Similar benefits you get from the electrolyte water can be obtained in drinking quality organic bone broth. Sip on 6-8oz of bone broth a few times a day during your fast.
Take MCT Oil or drink the Bulletproof Coffee. Quality MCT oil that is high in C8 Caprylic acid will increase ketones production plus help you through your fast due to the fat content. Use 1-2 times a day during a longer fast.
Refeed with a light, low-carb meal. Don’t come off a week-long fast and immediately tuck into a platter of ribs. Don’t refeed with high-carbs. Large meals are difficult to handle after a long fast. I like to break my fast with a protein supplement and then eat a light low carb meal about an hour later.
Take two or three days to ease yourself back into your normal routine. Eat smaller, lighter meals and don’t train too hard the days following a longer fast!
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