The skinny on fasting

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The gist of fasting

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”transparent”][vc_column_text]Fasting.  We’ve all heard the term.  Chances are, if you’re reading this, you probably even practice fasting in some form.  Whether it is for pleasure because it makes you feel healthier, for a fitness goal, or done for religious reasons, fasting is one of the oldest forms of diet modification.  In fact, fasting is an essential part of the body’s own balance.  Fasting for 12-13 hours is in line with the function of our circadian rhythm, specifically with the production and regulation of hormones![/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”transparent”][vc_column_text]So what is fasting exactly?  The common definition of fasting is abstaining from all or some forms of food and/or drink for a period of time.  Simple, right?  There are several ways of fasting, that we’ll explain later, but that’s the gist of fasting.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”transparent”][vc_column_text]Let’s take a step back and cover some of the basics.  The body relies on getting energy by process substrates, or energy sources, that we consume in our foods and drinks.  The three main energy substrates are glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids.  Glucose is the end product of carbohydrate breakdown.  It is the main energy source used during times of normal nutrient availability.  Fatty acids are another energy substrate used by the body.  Fatty acids are created when the body’s cells break down fat (also called lipids).  When fatty acids are available for a cell to use, the cells break them down into ketone bodies.  Ketone bodies are the by-product of fatty acid metabolism that is used as fuel for peripheral tissues (think muscles) during fasted states, or with high fat, low carbohydrate/low protein diets.  Beta-hydroxybutyrate, acetone, and acetoacetate are the three types of ketone bodies produced and used by cells.  On average, a person must be fasting for at least 12 hours before the body switches to fatty acid metabolism.  And finally, we have Amino acids.  Amino acids are the breakdown product of proteins.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”transparent”][vc_column_text]Molecular fasting occurs at the cellular level, when the body’s cells auto-regulate, or self-correct, internal processes as a result in the change of available nutrients.  This includes downregulation of nutrient sensing pathways (I.e IGF, mTOR, PKA) and upregulation of stress resistance or healing (I.e autophagy).  Nutrient sensing pathways include proteins like IGF-1, TOR, PKA.  These proteins sense the presence/absence of nutrients in the blood (glucose, fats, proteins).  If there is a deficiency of nutrients, this pathway is turned off, and the cells focus on preservation, rejuvenation and stress resistance.  If there is an abundance of nutrients, this pathway turns on, leading to cell growth.  Autophagy or self-eating, on the other hand, is a process of self-healing/recycling performed by the cells of the body that improve cellular health, immune function, and cell rejuvenation.  This is a process that is triggered by prolonged fasting, specifically once the body is in a state of lipolysis, or using ketone bodies for energy production.  This is what you want from your fasting efforts.  The discovery of this concept was so critical to understanding human physiology that it was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize![/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”transparent”][vc_single_image image=”524″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_css_animation=””][vc_separator type=”transparent”][vc_column_text]Now that we’ve covered the background and science of fasting, let’s discuss the types of intermittent fasting.  Intermittent fasting is fasting for 2 or fewer non-contiguous days at a time.  There are different types of intermittent days, including: time restricted eating, 5:2 fasting, or alternate day fasting.  Time-restricted eating means you only eat during certain numbers of hours each day (i.e. 16 hours fasting and 8 hours eating, or 12 and 12.  There is no definite evidence of autophagy initiation with time restricted eating. 5:2 fasting is 5 days off eating normality with two consecutive days of fasting.   And finally there is alternate day fasting.  This fast lasts for24 hours followed by a 24 hour non-fasting period.  Alternate day fasting allows consumption of 500-600 calories on fasting day.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”transparent”][vc_single_image image=”523″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_css_animation=””][vc_separator type=”transparent”][vc_column_text]Other types of dating include: prolonged fasting, which is for 2 or more continuous days, water fasting, or fasting mimicking diets (FMD).   FMD’s are 4-7 day fasts with structured meal plans that induce prolonged fasting-like benefits (rejuvenation). The specific nutrient ratios within the meals mimics fasting.  The meals are typically low in protein and glucose, and plant based. This helps to initiate the process of cellular rejuvenation quickly.  This is in distinction from ketogenic diets (5% carbs, 20% protein, 75% fat), which do not provide enough caloric restriction to stimulate stress adaptation at a cellular level. Keto diets may also result in lean body mass more likely than FMD, as well as nutrient deficiencies due to prolonged restrictiveness, and elevated blood lipid levels after 8 weeks, which can negatively affect heart health.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”transparent”][vc_single_image image=”525″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_css_animation=””][vc_separator type=”transparent”][vc_column_text]Prolonged Fasting 

For Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD)

Research in support of FMD is based on the use of a commercial product.

The FMD containts nuts. Be aware of potential allergies or intolerances.

Not advised to consume other food or kcal-containing beverages (such as alcohol) beyond the proscribed pattern during FMD cycle.

1 cup (8 fl. oz.) of black coffee per day as well as any non-caffeinated, herbal teas are acceptable.

Minimum of 32 fl. oz. of water (additional to the meal plan’s teas, soups, etc) to minimize the risk of dehyrdartion.

Avoid addtional vitamin or herbal supplementation.

May require supervision/approval of a healthcare provider if the individual has a diagnosed medical condition.

FMD is not currently FDA cleared to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”transparent”][vc_column_text]As always, the best nutritional gameplan is one that is sustainable.  If you’re interested in learning more about intermittent fasting, contact us for a consultation![/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”transparent”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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