So what about fasting for weight loss? I have written about fasting before but here’s an updated version.
We have conditioned ourselves to be hungry at certain times of the day and are often triggered by cues like the smell of food or the sound of it cooking. When we eat is as important as what we eat to avoid excessive weight gain.
Traditionally everyone has been told to eat less and move more to lose weight. When we lose temporarily or not at all we are accused of cheating. Well there have been lots of well-controlled studies that have shown that this is not the case. As it turns out, our bodies want to metabolically maintain our weight at the setpoint where it started. This happens because just reducing calories lowers metabolism and causes an increased storage of nutrients into fat cells. 99% of people who try to lose weight with calorie reduction and exercise either fail or end up heavier than they started.
ll nutrients raise insulin levels but carbohydrates stimulate much more than proteins or fat. Elevated insulin levels drives nutrients into the fat cells. A low carbohydrate diet reduces insulin levels by 50% and fasting reduces by another 50%. Fasting actually raises the metabolism to maintain energy levels therefore burning more calories. There are multiple ways to fast and it is important to find the right one for you. There is the 5-2 fast which means for two days a week you eat 500 cal or less. Some do a three day fast once a month and combine it with time based eating . This means consuming all of your calories over a 6 to eight hour period on non-fasting days. Others do a 7 day water only fast twice a year. It depends on your goals. All of these techniques should include carbohydrate restriction.
I have read that we should think of our sugar stores as the refrigerator and our fat stores as the basement freezer. We have much easier access to the sugar stores and it takes 36 to 48 hours to reduce them to a level where we can access the freezer or fat stores, when we fast. When this is done, our metabolism is changed for the better. Fasting cannot only improve our health but can improve our lifespan by an average of three years. This is something that no medication can do.
So I suggest that you do more research and ask your doctor about this evolving field. Remember that restricting all foods some of the time is much more important than restricting some foods all of the time.
- Dr. Mike
- Brooke Rieth FNP