Do you remember when was your last time you ate? Last snack? What did you have for dinner or lunch last day? Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Have you wondered why most people who go on a diet and lose weight end up regaining that weight within a year? Well, read on because today I want to talk to you about diet and modern consumption.
As we looked on our short modern history of wellness and how we perceive our health, we should look on our day to day habits – and one of the most favorites of them all is: tam ta ta taaaaaa
Now I know I’m going to tackle some beliefs and things that may seem totally not, well, logical? But please, bear with me.
Now to understand fasting we first need to understand hunger.
Hunger produces a hormone called Ghrelin (sounds like a goblin, right?). Ghrelin is responsible for our appetite and for the distribution and rate of use of energy. Now the simple known equation of no food + time = more hunger is simply wrong. As studies show, our hunger is regulated by hormones like Ghrelin (And his opposite Leptin – another goblin, but this one has a different job.) and it comes in waves – what waves? Well, your body gets used to your food intake very quickly. And those waves of hunger come in the time that your body is used to eat, let’s say – 3 times a day or as some diets suggest – 6 small meals a day.
As you may have experience on your own for a longer period without eating, the hunger somehow…on its own… disappears, and you are not that hungry – well that’s because of decrease of Ghrelin.
Now that we know how hunger works, let’s look at the benefits of fasting.
While you eat, your body stores the energy in the liver as glycogen, after 10-12 hours you deplete your glycogen and your fat cells start to release fats into your bloodstream (Leptin comes into play!) to reach the liver. Now here where is the magic happens, you literally start burning fat to “survive”!
If we go longer without food – up to 16-18 hours. Our body will get to a ketosis stage (that’s where Keto diet comes from). Now, while in ketosis, our body releases ketones – you might say that our body enters the flight or fight mode, something that was very common and necessary in our long evolutionary history. Ketones help to release BDNF hormone, which we know helps to build and strengthen neurons and neural connections of the brain. A boost in ketones has been shown to help treat severe epilepsy and improve memory in people with early signs of dementia.
You can also increase ketones by eating a healthy diet with lots of healthy fats, such as avocados and cutting on eating carbs. But so far, research shows that fasting is the most effective way, that can increase your ketones up by 20.
But what about breakfast? Isn’t it the most important meal of the day?
Well, breakfast is pretty new invention when you think about it, and there is no biological evidence to it. And if you look at marketing trends of BIG breakfasts, those are just tools to sell you more food! Look at cereals, for example, it started as a digestive aid and slowly progressed to a sugary snack (fighting those frightening fats- which we today know, are good for you!) that everybody loves!
Breakfast is important, its name even suggests it…it BREAKs your FAST, but the real question should be – when?
Your body produces a lot of hormones when it wakes up and goes thru a process called Sleep Inertia, so we should give it at least 1 hour to overgo that process. It is natural not to feel 100% in that period.
So, what is intermittent fasting:
Intermittent fasting works like this – You have your 8-hour eating window and then you fast for 16 hours and repeat. The “better” option would be 18/6 cycle but 14/10 is also common.
What are the benefits? First of all, you give your body time to really process the food (those stomach sounds you hear? Yea, that’s your body processing your food – that’s not hunger!).
Second – you save time and money, think about it, you skip one meal a day, you have more time for other things. I have my whole morning to myself.
Third, it is really simple. In all diets you count calories, you are allowed to eat this and that.
Simply, skip a meal. You’ve been doing it here and there without knowing how well it is for your body.
Another thing that really baffles me is this – isn’t it strange that nobody (except nutrition and longevity experts) promotes this kind of lifestyle? That you don’t see any commercials about it? Well, it is hard to promote something that in today’s world will make all food companies, lose profit – nobody is going to make profit, no vitamins or dietary supplements companies.
The only one person profiting from this – is you!
About my experience with intermittent fasting:
I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for the last 7 months. I weighted 66.6Kgs, now my weight is 61KGs, I have more lean muscle and way less body fat. I didn’t change much in my training schedule, and when I eat – I really eat. You really enjoy your meal since it can be only one or two meals a day, but that’s it. It put you into this mindset of not wanting to put some C.R.A.P into your body! (Carbonated Drinks, Refined Sugar, Artificial Sweeteners and Colors, Processed Foods)
I feel that my energy levels are higher than before, that middle day after lunch energy “dive”?
I don’t experience it anymore. Even if I wake up early, work out and eat only at noon.
Since I want to stay socially active at nights, I eat my first meal around 1 pm and the last meal around 8 pm, this way I can meet with people for dinner and lunch. But it is up to you how you choose your meals, everything has its ups and downs, right?
The first 3 days were the hardest, I felt really hungry at the morning and late nights – I was used to getting those munchies! But after the 4 days, you just learn to say no and your body doesn’t have the need for it.
Now, why most people that lose weight pick it back up – people see diets as a short-term fix, something that you do, get lean, and that’s it. Our bodies have an appetite and eating habits are something that takes time for your body to get used to. So, no matter how good your diet is, if you want to maintain the weight, you’ll have to stick to that diet for a very very long time, and that can be exhausting and not very effective.
By doing this simple change in your diet, you’re not only changing your eating habits, you also help your body to change its composition and how it works. It maybe won’t suit everyone, and the science on this is pretty new, but the research so far is looking very positive and looking on evolution process – it makes sense.
Look at our society, the advertisement to EAT more, for me it says something about our social habits. But more importantly, for the majority of people who “practice” intermittent fasting (and a big part of them are athletes and nutrition experts and scientist), agree that it makes you feel better, look better, and it just feels right.
Some of the famous people who do it are George St. Pierre(Former UFC champion), Terry Crews, Christian Bale, Joe Rogan and even Beyonce!
For further reading, I’ve added a link to clinical research about time-restricted eating :