What is Intermittent Fasting?
Simply put, intermittent fasting is changing the times of eating throughout the day to have short times of regular fasting. In our modern culture, our brains and bodies are conditioned to eat often, but the research shows that this might not be beneficial to health. In fact, typical practice in the 1960s and 70s was to eat three meals a day, not having snacks in between including late into the night. Interestingly, some people believe that eating more frequently throughout the day can cause weight loss and blood sugar stability. While there can be a truth to this, it is certainly contrary to how our ancestors ate. Could it be that the rise in chronic illness and metabolic problems including blood sugar dysregulation, type two diabetes, metabolic syndrome, etc are correlated with more frequent meals?
The goal of intermittent fasting is to decrease the production of insulin within the body. Insulin is a storage hormone that has the power to override the body’s ability to burn fuel. When insulin is chronically elevated, the body stores fuel largely in the form of fat. When this happens, other conditions such as insulin resistance can result from having chronically high levels of insulin.
It is important that the body grows in its capacity to be metabolically flexible. This means the body can shift to burning fat as fuel rather than glucose at any given time. The body should not be so dependent on a constant source of glucose every two to four hours during the day.
Types of Intermittent Fasts
Intermittent fasting can look many different ways, although there are two main methods that yield results according to the scientific literature. Keep in mind intermittent fasting does not mean to eat less calorically, but eat less often.
Time restricted feeding:
Time restricted feeding is changing meal times so that you only eat during a certain shortened window of the day. This window could be anywhere from 4 to 8 hours. For example, an individual may choose to eat their dinner and be finished eating for the day at 6 PM. The following day food would not be consumed until 1 or 2 PM; allowing for 18-20 hours without food.
Alternate day fasting:
This form of intermittent fasting is going 24 to 30 hours without eating every other day. When looking at the scientific literature, this is the most common type of fasting in our current research.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
There is a vast amount of research documenting the numerous health benefits to intermittent fasting. These include:
Decreasing body fat
Decreasing inflammation within the body
Decreasing risk for cardiovascular disease
Decreasing brain inflammation
Decreasing insulin and blood sugar levels
Decreasing insulin resistance and risk for type 2 diabetes
Promoting healthy cholesterol levels
Promoting healthy hormone function
Promoting brain health
Promoting better digestion
Promoting beneficial gene expression
Promoting cellular repair through autophagy
Accentuate an intermittent fast by having “Bulletproof” coffee. Healthy fats from MCT oil and grass-fed butter or ghee help give energy needed throughout a fast as well as contributing ketones for increased fat burning. This method can also be done with organic tea.
8-12 ounces mycotoxin-free coffee, such as Bulletproof. We recommend using a french press to avoid mold contamination from coffee makers and to preserve the beneficial oils within the coffee.
1 teaspoon-2 tablespoons MCT oil (such as brain octane). MCTs are medium chain triglycerides that are very potent. It is important to work your way up to 2 tablespoons to avoid a die-off reaction known as a “herxheimer” reaction. This is especially important for those dealing with fungal overgrowth.
1-2 tablespoons grass fed butter or ghee. This adds more beneficial fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins to your bullet proof coffee. It also makes a delicious creamy cup of coffee.
Place the mixture in a blender, preferably glass, and process for 30 to 45 seconds.
Who Should Intermittent Fast?
Intermittent fasting is not for everyone. We strongly recommend you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner who understands the risks and benefits of intermittent fasting. Exercise caution if you are under a high amount of stress, suspect your adrenal glands are not functioning optimally, or have hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA-axis) dysfunction. For individuals currently on low calorie and nutrient poor diets, intermittent fasting should be avoided due to lack of nutrient stores in the body. We do not advise intermittent fasting while pregnant or breastfeeding. Please check with one of our doctors to see if intermittent fasting would benefit your health.
How Do I Break an Intermittent Fast?
It is important to break an intermittent fast by consuming real, nutrient-dense foods. We recommend eating a combination of protein and fats in order to continue avoiding an inflammatory insulin spike.