Two main takeaways I've gained from fasting (I've done multiple 24 hour fasts prior to this 5 day one):
1. You don't need to eat nearly as often as you think. Hunger pangs are usually just food cravings, and drinking lots and lots of water, water you should probably be drinking anyway, will mask them more easily than one would expect.
2. The successful self-deprivation of food (in a healthy, reasonable way) and the almost exclusively positive benefits that it brings makes you wonder how much of an economic and nationwide health impact the USA would see if everyone practiced some form of fasting.
> drinking lots and lots of water
People who are sedentary and probably drinking more water than someone who finished a marathon does not sound like a good idea to me. I was drinking a ton of water throughout the day based on ideas like this and got sick from it. I feel much better now having cut my water intake. Could the converse also be true, that we're overestimating how much water we actually need?
> Hunger pangs are usually just food cravings
Are you sure? For me cravings and hunger pangs are entirely different feelings.
I don't doubt there are benefits to some forms of fasting, but people should consult their doctors first and tread carefully.
How would information online from experts in the field helps someone determine their cellular hydration levels or their various levels/requirements of sodium/potassium/calcium/magnesium? These are things that should be monitored over a 5 day water fast not guessed at based on information read online.
Drink when you're thirsty. Realize that often "wanting something to eat" can be a symptom of thirst or satisfied by getting a drink. Drink a full glass of water 15 minutes before eating. You'll be fine.
I get your point, but what was in your water? Did you just drink too much water once or this happened over a period of time?
I'm sure you don't have any reason to try this again, but this condition could be confirmed by a blood test.
Drinking too much water is dangerous. People have died from hyponatremaia. The original poster should not be spouting general advice unless he knows his stuff, which I doubt.
I've found it useful to distinguish between "mouth hunger" and "stomach hunger". When I'm actually hungry, I feel sensations in my stomach, and will often burp or feel like I'm about to reflux.
The "mouth hunger" is when I think of a croissant and start salivating, even though I wasn't hungry a moment ago. Or that store checkout-line "hunger" when you see all the tempting treats they've put there. So, not hunger at all, but craving.
And then there are mornings like today where I ran 10 miles and then had 2 eggs, 2 strips of extra thick bacon, two buckwheat pancakes (with butter and syrup)and a piece of rye toast with marmalade. Definitely not fasting!
Industrial revolutions required us to specialize and not spend time walking or working hard physically, but now that we're so comfy we're somehow deprived.
ps: I'd say it's super healthy to get some big big meals at times just because you enjoy it so much. Life's not just about being on a tight rope.
It took around 3-4 weeks until I noticed results which seems in line what I was told by others.
What stood out beside the weight loss (I was very close to my ideal weight anyway) was my ability to concentrate. I noticed a huge improvement after around 5-6 weeks. When I try to come up with the right words in a conversation it feels I have immediately in mind what I want to say.
Is there a relatively easy way to boost one's appetite? Drinking a gallon of full fat milk a day on top of one's usual meals is the easiest option I have found, but even that is a lot of hard work.
Sugar has the least satiety of any of the macros (protein has the highest satiety) so if you’re looking to simply pack in calories, sugar sweetened beverages are good (I saw an interesting study that discovered that carbonation increases ghrelin response, so most soda will give you a twofer).
Something like a donut (sugar and fat in combination has been shown to be particularly obesogenic) and you can get some of the hyperpalatability effect.
Kevin Hall recently published a study showing ultra-processed food increased ad libitum food intake by about 500 calories per day: https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/pdf/S1550-4131(19)30248...
Also eating/snacking throughout the day will keep insulin high and increase hunger signals and driver fat storage in your body as a result.
Of course, this basically sums up the Standard American Diet and explains why most people have the problem of putting too much weight on.
Also, as a caveat to all these “interventions,” while they are effective for weight gain, they are almost all also generally terrible for your metabolic health, and will drive MetS, diabetes, CVD, cancer, etc (basically the things killing everyone eating the SAD).
That's actually part of Mark Rippetoe's bulking diet. It's apparently the best combination of calorie density and beneficial nutrients. There's a section on diet on Starting Strength, if you are interested.
Believe it or not, for me, low appetite is often goes hand in hand with not getting enough salt. I have found that I can fix low appetite by getting more salt.
I don't know the exact mechanism, but I suspect the Chloride part of Sodium Chloride contributes to the Chloride part of Hydrochloric acid in my stomach.
I've had to resort to body builders weight gainer which is mostly sugar, protein and dairy as I seem to be able to tolerate that OK.
I would argue that perhaps you aren't "depriving" yourself but more like adjusting your intake to meet your actual needs.
In other words, most of us overeat, and it just feels like deprivation when we eat less. (until we get accustomed to it)
It also decreases in severity over time, which is why anyone who hasn’t ever done any extended fasting imagines that you’ll get hungrier and hungrier until you’re gnawing your hands off, but anyone who has usually has the opposite experience.
I've recently started intermittent fasting (22:00 - 12:00, still cheat too often, but it's a start) and I've noticed this too. Two cups of coffee and a couple of glasses of water really keeps me alright until lunch. That's when I really start feeling hungry.
I wasn't afraid to start IF either, because I often used to skip breakfast because I couldn't get out of bed on time.
This comes back to the whole "is breakfast the most important meal of the day or damaging our health?" question. A lot of people who skip breakfast are still consuming calories anyway (e.g. that morning coffee with cream/sugar in it).
A lot of people who think they don't eat until late are ignoring calorie-loaded and frequently sugar-loaded lattes, cappuccinos or juices that fill them up with calories in liquid format.
I'm one of those "haven't eaten breakfast since I was a kid" types (I have a coffee with semi-skimmed milk, if I eat breakfast I'm ravenous and want a snack before lunch).
People seem to effectively conduct 7-10 day fasts regularly, but beyond that you should talk to a doctor/registered dietician and also take nutritional supplements (and exit the fast in a very gradual way, not feasting).
Of course, I am only referring to certain veggies or soaking things like peas/beans/lentils in water overnight (instead of cooking). Please don't eat raw meat or anything after you see my message!
Obviously there's lots of other additional dietary steps one can take, but most of them don't actually differ much from traditional healthy eating advice: limit carbs and sugar, balanced meals, don't drink your calories, etc.
This changed our lives for the better
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And remember we are in charge of our own health.
The healthcare system, your providers and their team get PAID for seeing patients usually with a broad range of conditions (unless they are volunteering in a region in need of health services)
Although I do not wish to gain weight, I do have trouble maintaining a set weight that I would like to live (and compete) at.
And yet, I am on a 16/8 or even 18/6 fasting schedule about four days per week.
The answer, for me, is almond butter. Tremendously dense in calories and very easy to add 1/3 cup (or more) to a meal replacement shake. It's one of the easiest ways I have found to have a 1500 calorie meal that doesn't involve a tremendous bulk of food. Avocados are another food that fits this same bill.
 I am a "lightweight", or 168 pound, fighter as per IBJJF.
Very quickly after starting it just sort of became normal, the hunger pangs were gone, there were no particularly strong cravings even when sitting at the table with people eating normal food. Surprisingly many times I even felt more energetic but this may have been purely a subjective feeling.
I will say that when I was younger I often wanted a bodybuilder physique, but I didn't have the discipline to eat enough to support proper muscle growth. Now I'm just glad I'm not going the seemingly inevitable route of becoming an overweight middle-aged office worker that morphs into their chair.
Edit: To be clear, I still go to the gym regularly to lift weights and do cardio even with fasting, but I never have and never will compete in any bodybuilding competitions (which I'm OK with).
This can't be reiterated enough. Fasting helped me NOT eat all day while sitting at a desk. I eat no breakfast during the week and have a light salad for lunch and then have a regular dinner. The only byproducts I've come across is a slightly higher sensitivity to caffeine and I'm more alert.
As someone who has competed in both bodybuilding and powerlifting, I can attest that you don't want that physique. It's not worth the pain, time, and effort for it. Plus, anyone you see with rock-hard abs looks like that for maybe a 3 hour window. Almost no one looks like that year-round all of the time.
I do weight training and running. Usually after a workout I feel like the cravings I do have are more manageable. You do need to be careful though. I wouldn't recommend doing any weight training if you're doing more than a 24 hour fast and if you are weight training while fasting make sure you have a spotter. At least at first.
When doing cardio, I feel like I have more energy fasted than if I eat before. That might not be normal, might just be what I'm used to.
> It also reduces the time spent each day processing food and lengthens the period devoted to cleansing and restoring the body’s cells, both of which have positive health effects.
So "cleansing and restoring" the body's cells only happens when one isn't eating?? Gonna need a citation for that one.
If you’re looking for the science, “autophagy,” “AMPK”, “MTOR” are probably good search terms to start with.
Here’s a recent review/introduction on how fasting stimulates autophagy that you can scihub: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S156816371... (if you just want PubMed access you can give this one a read: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5783752/ ) and a couple more starting points (follow the citation chain) if you’re looking into molecular mechanisms: https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpendo.00008.20... or https://www.nature.com/articles/ncb2152
But the article specifies exactly what they mean:
> When we eat, our body releases insulin. That disrupts the process of autophagy (from the Greek, meaning “self-devouring”), by which cells deconstruct old, damaged components in order to release energy and build new molecules. Autophagy helps to counteract the aging of cells and builds immunity. Fasts stimulate autophagy and allow the full molecular process to take place, as a team led by Frank Madeo at the University of Graz in Austria found in 2017.
Now maybe insulin doesn't have anything to do with autophagy, but if if the claim that insulin stops autophagy is correct, then "lengthens the period devoted to cleansing and restoring the body’s cells" has a specific well-defined meaning.
When I meditate or fast from time to time I can observe that it makes me feel better and I don’t really feel the importance for someone to explain it.
I really could not disagree more, given how much conflicting health information I see talked about seemingly daily.
Another way to look at it is that, if we try hard enough, science will offer explanations that take into account all of these differences. But it might be really hard, like multi-billion dollar studies to reach basic conclusions.
Thank you, I could not agree with this more.
Observation is the basis of science and yet many still need to be passively hand fed how to live and need constant validation from a constantly changing dynamic field where "experts" get fame, power, and attention for their true gospel 
Even after I graduated with a science degree and went onto healthcare, my mother would still lovingly remind me, "Son, you may have book smarts, but you need more common sense" :-)
However if you make a specific scientific claim about cell "cleansing" then you need to be able to back it up with evidence; without evidence, such claims are just nonsense. There is no "subjective observation" of what cells are doing.
I think it's very easy to get hung up on refuting or confirming the observer's explanation and ignore the observation. For as much as observations are worth, if someone says they saw a strange animal, I might believe them, if they said they saw Bigfoot, I wouldn't, but that's a very good moment to ask questions.
(Would you only take a cancer drug if the oncologist can explain exactly how it works?)
Explanations need to be tested to verify they are correct. Incorrect explanations delivered authoritatively lead to bad extrapolations, which in turn lead to incorrect procedures. So, if something has been observed to work but an explanation has not been verified, the proper response at the practitioner level is "This tends to work, but we aren't sure why".
Procedures are neither correct nor incorrect but rather effective or ineffective. Whether the explanation is correct or incorrect is irrelevant if the procedure is effective. Of course we would prefer to have both the effective procedure and the correct explanation but if we insist on only applying procedures with correct explanations we are not doing the best we can.
So, I would extend the proper response to, "This tends to work, we don't know why, but you should try it."
It's less about fasting being magic and more about our current lifestyle putting too much/unnecessary strains on our organs.
The real deal with IT is that after a while you became more aware about hunger. Then you can chose to eat when you are hungry vs when "it's time to eat". A lot of it is due to Ghrelin and Insulin afaik. Basically the more regularly you eat the more your body will signal you to eat when the regular time approach -> you feel hungry but in most case your body doesn't _need_ to eat at that time.
There are some "easy" and basic tricks that really helps. One of the best is eating very light dinners, which helps not feeling hungry in the morning (you can easily reduce your daily calorie intake by 30%+ like that). On the other hand eating a big dinner -> feeling super hungry the day after thanks to insulin .
Furthermore it's really not clear that something is better just because it was that way during the time we supposedly evolved. For example, we didn't evolve with antiseptics either and yet disinfecting wounds seems like a pretty good idea.
> there have been many generations since agriculture started and agricultural societies regularly outcompeted hunter-gatherers.
Never refuted that, it's more efficient in every aspects. The only problem is that we're way past "eating for survival", we eat for fun, when we're bored, when "it's time to eat" no matter if we truly are hungry or not.
> we know very little about prehistoric lifestyle
I'm sure we can all agree they were not eating 3 times a day at regular interval, every single day of their life while sitting 80% of their awake time. Not even talking about the amount of calories or how processed their food was.
> Furthermore it's really not clear that something is better just because it was that way during the time we supposedly evolved. For example, we didn't evolve with antiseptics either and yet disinfecting wounds seems like a pretty good idea.
I fail to see the link. We evolved a way to keep bacterias out (skin) and antiseptics were designed to help with that in certain cases. Regular mealtime is something we came up very recently, especially for the average joe (ie. industrial revolution). Try putting SP98 in a diesel engine, that's what we're doing with our stomachs. It might somehow run for a bit but in the long term it's no bueno.
The human body is simply not designed for what we throw at it, and is incapable of handling the changes in such a small timeframe. Looking out of the window is enough proof that our lifestyle is not adequate.
IF may be great but it is definitely also riding a diet fad wave right now.
At least IF doesn't involve the sale of anything... that elevates it above almost all the recent diet fads where you end up buying lots of highly processed supplements.
The reference I have handy shows that Americans average 5 meals/snacks per day now: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29574043 although I’ve seen even higher numbers (closer to 6) mentioned.
Ah, found a source analyzing eating frequency (and timing) changes since 1977: https://idmprogram.com/the-critical-importance-of-meal-timin...
I don't consider myself as someone who fasts and it is typically 13-14 hours from my supper to my breakfast.
Eat dinner around 6-7PM
Eat breakfast around 7:30-8AM
My schedule I would assume is shifted forward from say my grandparents schedule. They would have eaten dinner & breakfast earlier due to differences in work hours 50+ years ago.
If that's fasting it seems like a strange/new definition. But maybe a lot of people are indeed still eating something substantial closer to midnight as they watch TV or something?
I actually spread out my lunch into several smaller meals during the day.
But I also exercise a lot, and I'm not buying lunch like so many engineers I work with. My lunch is 1/4-1/2 the size of a sit down restaurant meal.
The old norm was so much more physical activity than today too.
One of those articles is totally right about kids though. When I was a kid I took a lunch to school and that was the only time I ate. My son is going into first grade and all the day cares he went to and his current school have dedicated snack times, 2-3 extra times eating that are not lunch. The day care that had 3 snack times porked the kids up pretty good.
Sadly, due to snacking and the misconception that they should eat as soon as they get up, I suspect that most Americans probably have an eating window that spans 14-16h instead of 8-10h (which has been RCT’d to show a significant difference in hunger and ad libitum food consumption).
What irks me is the usage of vague but positive terms to indicate what is a neutral, mechanical process. It might have positive impacts in certain circumstances, but if the body were so concerned about "cleansing" and "restoring", it would do it, fasting or not fasting.
Projecting on nature our own intentionality, sense of purpose and good/ bad categories is a pre-scientific attitude.
My father had psoriasis - after a week of fasting, his scabs would completely disappear, even in winter, when he had the worse flare-ups. Even eating healthy, even avoiding all sorts of foods that he knew he was sensitive to (lemons, garlic, spices, etc) didn't have nearly the same effect.
Sure autophagy is an important process in cellular "cleansing", if you want to use the pop definition here. But more autophagy != good outcomes, generally speaking. For instance, too much autophagy is associated with reduced cellular division and growth.
It sounds like someone just did a s/cleansing toxins/autophagy/ here to make this sound more science-y.
Note, I am NOT saying that there's no value in fasting. There certainly could be. I'm just saying that the article seems to be playing a bit fast and loose with the science.
But... that's not why I am doing it. I've suffered for years from migraines. 2-4 times a week, I've been to half a dozen doctors with no solid recommendations besides medication.
Now, not only do I take zero medication, but I get migraines about once a month, and way less severe than I used to. Ive also correlated the migraines with times followed by poor fasting behavior (for instance, eating all day on a weekend with family and friends).
I also need less sleep, am less groggy, and have far fewer stomach issues.
Overall its a massively net positive change.
I have a guard from a company called NTI. It’s a small piece of acrylic that sits on my upper front teeth and has a sort of “shelf” that my lower incisors rest on. This apparently tricks the brain into refusing to clench down because at a deep level it knows not to bite when it’s incisor on incisor.
I recall reading that this style of night guard, while certainly better than a whole tooth guard that still allows you to grind but just protects your teeth, is not great for long term. However I can’t recall why and I need to research more. In any case I’ve been using mine for over 10 years and I would never go back to not using it.
Anyway, a bunch of unsolicited info that will maybe help you or anyone suffering from migraines who stumbles across this post.
After a while I noticed that my front teeth were not coming together any more when biting, and I could not force them together. It turns out it is known that for people that really force their jaws together, the NTI device actually changes and collapses the jaw joint, changing the pivot point of your whole jaw.
I stopped using it, but the change is permanent. I had to have the dentist actually grind down my molars so that my front teeth could touch again. Beware.
On the weekends its a bit of a crap shoot since my social life is mostly around eating but I tend to stick to 16:8 (still IF)
Fasting has changed my life. I put a ton of weight on in B-school (yes not afraid to admit I went to b school on HN) that plus my consulting lifestyle (lack of good quality sleep for days at a time) really started to take a toll on my health (lines and bags under my eyes, poor health and energy levels in general).
My wife is due with our second in august, so I decided to get in shape as a gift to my baby girl. I’m not a gym goer, so fasting looked appealing. There’s so much research around IF, circadian rhythms, effect on anti cancer factors, autophagy, anti Alzheimer’s, diabetes, etc, definitely a lot more to motivate people now than before when it was likely for spiritual reasons.
I dropped forty pounds in the last three months, and probably look almost ten years younger, I feel like my body has almost reversed the damage I did to it from school and over work. I was addicted to eating and I’ve broken through that, and now I can just work non stop all day for 12-18 hours as needed, whereas my colleagues are still fixated on six small meals, which I’ve now realized is so disruptive to work and concentration. No more after lunch coma, I haven’t even had to set foot in a gym. I don’t do Omad but will do 48h and 72h fasting, and I feel fine, have not felt a huge drop in muscle that everyone freaks out about. All in all I will keep going with this fasting focused lifestyle, and would definitely recommend anyone who is struggling with this to try it.. first week is toughest, once you break through the addiction, you won’t even think about it.
That said, doing this successfully does require a mindset change. It requires a "new normal" at the end of the period.
It works great for me for maintaining my energy level and managing my weight. It probably does not work for everybody, but I think more people should try it.
Most humans currently living and who have lived didn't eat three meals every day. It's a recent phenomenon driven by those marketing food and snacks. Observing obesity rates, more people should try hunger and learn how to manage it.
I should add: I do occasionally have breakfast and lunch meetings or social engagements at which I feel compelled to eat or have a treat. I find that once I break my fast for the day, my hunger is awakened and it is harder to abstain.
I also notice more easily how food is pushed on us. Food advertising is pervasive. In the city, you cannot even walk 50m without seeing a signboard enticing you to eat something. Everywhere people are eating, carrying food, talking about food. When I am in a more natural setting, thoughts about food come from within. I get hungry, and then I think about eating. If I am not hungry, I do not think much about eating (aside from having basic food security). The desire for food is not broadcast to me.
I never use to eat breakfast until a recent hockey injury where I damaged 6 teeth including losing 2. My weight dropped rapidly because I couldn't eat solids so I started to eat eggs and tofu a lot (mostly eggs). The byproduct of all this was I would wake up so hungry I was dizzy so I started having 3 eggs for breakfast.
I'm mostly over the injury now (still waiting for the implants to be implanted), however I've continued to eat a large breakfast and my weight has remained the same - roughly 20 pounds lower than before the injury. I had already gotten in the habit of not eating at night, and if I have anything it's a little bit of yogurt.
Long/short I think it's a mistake to skip breakfast, I had done that for most of my life and now I'm sharper and more productive in the AM than I have ever been.
It seems for me digesting a meal early in the day makes me lazy and sleepy. In high school, I use to eat a very light breakfast to avoid terrible hunger just before lunch. Even then, I'd get a bit sleepy. As I've gotten older, it just gets worse.
My solution is to skip breakfast, but eat lunch an hour earlier than most people.
I had a lot of luck with eating breakfast foods high in fat and protein, like boiled eggs and bacon. It works best if your body is adapted to a ketogenic diet, and you avoid carbs in general.
One you are adapted to a ketogenic diet, you will find that you can skip entire meals without hardly even noticing a reduction in energy. Your blood sugar will stabilise over time, and you just always have a low and slow burn of energy.
Also my 2c about breakfast, it is important to have a diet that works for you and I don't think skipping breakfast for me is a mistake simply because I'm not hungry at that time. IMHO forcing yourself to eat for breakfast because you have been told otherwise would be a mistake is the mistake, and listening to your body is more important.
I’m probably an outlier in that I workout 6 days a week and play hockey 3-4 times weekly.
I typically burn around 800 or so calories on my non-hockey days; when I play hockey I hit 1600-1800 regularly (years of data in case anyone is wondering).
My own experience is that unless I have been strenuously active skipping breakfast does not have any negative effects.
But it's also socially difficult to maintain a no-dinner lifestyle, so I still choose to skip breakfast instead. I'll take the 80% benefit I can maintain versus the 100% I can't.
I'm not sure your experiment of n=1 is enough for anyone else to take the advice that contradicts empirical evidence. But, do what works for you.
Then I tried IF.. after just a couple weeks I was able to stop the pantoprazole and my heartburn problems went away. The first two weeks were hard, I had a constant dull headache and the hunger at night (I'm 'skipping dinner' in my 16/8 schedule) was pretty hard. But after I got used to it, I felt much better over all. No more getting hangry, no more heartburn, no more trouble sleeping, no more groggy mornings, better mood overall.
It's ridiculous how much food and your eating patterns can affect you. I've seen it multiple times now when I've 'fallen off the [IF] wagon'... my mood deteriorates, and often other symptoms come out: headaches, upset stomach, all sorts of stuff. I don't think it's absurd to think that the stuff you're putting into your body "for energy" actually has a lot of other affects on your system.
Oh, and I dropped some of the weight I started gaining in my 30's when I did IF, too, which is a benefit of course, but not my reason for doing it.
As a diabetes researcher myself, it makes sense. While I do not investigate type 2, I understand that having a decent stretch of time where the body's insulin levels drop is a really good thing.
I haven't been perfect but I have noticed that it (obviously) has cut my mindless snacking and has made me more mindful as to what I'm actually eating. After about a week your body adjusts and you're hungry during the day.
What I've been doing now is during lunch, instead of eating I go for a 30-45 minute walk.
During this experiment I felt mentally fantastic. Mood was improved. Energy was higher. Not to mention I spent way less money on food, spent way less time thinking about or having to find food on my fasting days, and felt more in control of my hunger.
I tried increasing my fast from 24 hrs to 48 hrs, it went fine. But when I broke my fast with a large bean rice and cheese burrito, I felt like I was dying about 30 minutes later (lightheadedness, tachycardia, nausea). Ended up being hospitalized with refeeding syndrome or something similar, which was surprising to physicians because they only saw refeeding syndrome (had critically low phosphate) in people who had gone without significant caloric intake for weeks or months at a time.
I’ve never been the same since then. I think Ive developed gastrocardiac syndrome because I frequently (1-2x week) get less severe episodes of nausea, lightheadedness and tachycardia that generally self resolve but still feels like I’m dying for about 30 minutes. It’s been about a year now, so seems somewhat permanent damage.
So, I definitely recommend intermittent fasting but if you have a tendency to take things to the extreme, just don’t. It’s not worth it.
Instead, I'm using the Every Other Day Diet variant of intermittent fasting which arguably is the best researched one. It helped me drop weight significantly in 2015 with little trouble (details: http://lukasz.langa.pl/9/i-lost-26-pounds-in-3-months/).
Sadly, since I stopped cycling regularly two years back and dropped the diet a year ago, I regained what I lost and then some. So I'm back on intermittent fasting now.
Recommendations based on my experience:
- weigh yourself daily in the morning, as the very second thing you're doing
- a Withings scale or similar helps putting this in a database efortlessly which helps seeing trends
- observe your moving average of 7 days
- eat just a light lunch (circa 500 kcal) every other day; it's easy to skip breakfast knowing there's going to be lunch soon and it's possible to skip dinner knowing "it's Eat Day tomorrow!"
- eat what you want on Eat Day but do it slowly, your body will quickly adapt to your fasts, the stomach will shrink and it's going to be easier to get full
- let people know you're losing weight and how, they will probably tell you you're more grumpy on Non-Eat Days
1. Maintaining a very low-carb diet (~20 net carbs spread out through the day, mostly from lemons) which I have sustained for a year so far. I occasionally cheat but not often as it takes me about 8 days to get back into ketosis after each cheat and never feels worth it after the fact
2. Exercising (weight lifting and cardio) 3 times per week
3. _Never_ eating anything with 'added sweetener', so pretty much no desserts of any kind. This includes 'neutral' sweeteners with no calories (e.g., monk fruit). It has been almost 2 years since I have eaten any kind of dessert and I very rarely miss them at this point
Doing the above, I feel amazing almost every day. I have no known bodily ailments, never get sick, have sustained energy levels all day, every day, and am my ideal weight with little fluctuation. The hardest part of sticking to my rules has been maneuvering through incessant social expectations and demands to eat particular foods, like breads, desserts, etc.
It's interesting to me that the author proposes skipping breakfast, which is generally considered to be "the most important meal of the day". Most folks say your smallest meal should be dinner, but I think for most of us, it's the biggest. You have more time for it, and you're worn out and hungry from the day. I do it all wrong; I eat 3 meals a day plus a few snacks, and after getting off work, doing a workout, going home, showering, prepping dinner, it seems like it's 9pm before dinner most days, and in bed within 90mins.
I actually did have a period where I probably stuck fairly close to the proposed schedule; for several years I didn't eat breakfast at all, because I was too lazy to bother. By 11:45 I'd be aching for food, and annoyed that my coworkers took forever to decide where to go. I started eating breakfast, and found that it delayed my hunger pangs by only 15 minutes -- that is to say, it was a habit, rather than purely food driven.
But I wasn't light back in the days when I was skipping breakfast, and I didn't gain weight when I started eating breakfast.
I think the key here is that you have to be skipping breakfast intentionally, as part of a method of restricting ourselves, of being mindful about what you eat. And you can do that in any number of ways.
Also, I think it is interesting that a lot of religions have a fasting component.
The first two weeks are the hardest (hunger pains during fasting hours). Afterwards, hunger pains still occasionally occur but are a lot less severe, and sipping a herbal tea is enough keep my mouth busy.
I also find that cheat days (pigging out due to social occasions) don't really mess up my cycle on following days, which I found very surprising.
The only problem I have is when doing lots of physical activity. This summer I'm working on my house and gardening a lot, so I need to be sure to pig out before my 4pm cutoff or I'll be at a super calorie deficit and make the labor miserable.
On a personal, one data point, level, when I go 12 to 14 hours a day without eating, I simply feel better. On a personal level I don’t so much care for the science because if I feel better, then intermittent fasting is a good thing to do.
On a scientific level, I participated in a Stanford fasting experiment where I used their app to record data. Also, there have been sufficient studies performed on the physical/biological benefits that I also believe in that.
All that said, if intermittent fasting is not your thing, I would expect that just getting exercise and eating a healthy diet is good enough.
So let's check a few boxes. Is promoting his own book. This is the WSJ not a medical journal. Mice are not a perfect analog to humans. One study is hilariously small at 69 women. The cancer study is from self reported information. He specializes in alternative medicine, including homeopathy.
Science VS covered this topic a while back. Click on the transcript to get all the references they used when building the episode.
There may be something to fasting diet and findings warrant further research. I am willing to wait until it is better understood.
>There may be something to fasting diet and findings warrant further research.
You do know Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine in 2016 for discovering and elucidating mechanisms underlying autophagy right? There isn't really any debate that Fasting/caloric restriction triggers autophagy only in mice not humans, or that autopaghy and its benefits are limited to mice.
What is your standard of proof?
I am not familiar with Dr. Ohsumi, but looking at a summary of his award in 2016 indicates his research for the genetic and chemical pathways of autophagy. The author of this article is the one linking fasting to autophagy.
My last statement is trying to state that there is room for additional research. Currently the impact (on many things, weight loss, cancer, heart health) of intermittent fasting isn't clear. This is the horrible wishy/washy statement that you get because there is a hypothesis that hasn't been proven/disproven. Personally, I'm ignoring IF until proven otherwise by larger human trials.
It may also just take time for you to work your way up to longer fasts.
I feel so much better and healthier now.
Longest stretch was probably 5 or 6 days. I'd lose 5 or 6 pounds.
Regular stretch was 2 or 3 days.
Big con: I did throw up a lot from keto flu. I recommend eating right away after that (slowly but solidly) then resume, drink heavily vitamin water (no sugar) and maybe and egg a day.
I've been 5'6" 125 lbs since I stopped getting taller in highschool and I'm 30 now.
Forgetting to eat in the morning because I work from home and get engrossed in what I do.
Anyone here relate?
Seriously though, cutting breakfast does seem like an easy way to do it! Eating in the morning is more of a habit than a need, plus it would be an easy way to cut calories too.
Protein also seems to be better at keeping satisfied after a meal, although that can be harder to do cooking at home if you don't do meat.
Sometimes only thing keeping me from eating every chocolate chip cookie in sight is that I am now lactose intolerant and even that wasn't enough motivation during my most sleepless days.
I used to do it on Saturdays, because then I could reduce my physical activity to an appropriate level - but lately I've been going to festivals, or going out with friends, and it was not doable. Try to find a way where it works well with your schedule. Also, it may be a good idea to be discreet about it, because coworkers, friends and family will pester you.
I eat one meal a day (OMAD), and have my normal meal at 5:30 or 6:00pm. I don't feel hungry all day unless someone puts food where I can see it and smell it. But it feels like a craving and not hunger, so I can skip it. If I eat like normal people do on a particular day, I'll feel hungry the next day when I go back to fasting. Then pretty much not again until I go off of it. It's very strange.
When I go off my diet, I can really feel the food that is in my system and it's not a good feeling. I feel much better fasted.
I started with IF a few weeks ago and skipped meal for 20 hours max. And I am wondering how people manage to skip good for five days or longer.
Due to other health issues and related sensitivities and metabolic problems I have gotten more serious about it and learning about the science, and thus moved to an 18:6 fasting schedule. I have continued to be very happy with the results and the lifestyle.
The book I'd absolutely recommend is The Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung (see an article by him on IF 101 here: https://www.dietdoctor.com/intermittent-fasting). I'd also recommend the Intensive Dietary Management program's various blog posts such as https://idmprogram.com/the-failure-of-the-calorie-theory-of-...
Not debatable though is if eating an apple for lunch means you're still fasting; you aren't.
If you're interested, the wikipedia page has several examples:
The only cited research is that: "Among 2,400 women with early-stage breast cancer who provided information on their eating rhythm, roughly 400 suffered from new tumors within seven years. But women who fasted for 13 hours nightly had 26% less risk of recurrence than the control group". Was this only difference between those two groups of women for seven years? Maybe those who were fasting has been doing for 7 years 100 other things and that was the reason they didn't get cancer? But "Fasting cures cancer" looks like a great headline. Clicks are coming.
Will we see in 3 months another article, also based on such vague research, claiming the opposite?
This kind of "science" and journalism contributes to general lack of trust in science. Eggs are bad, next week, eggs are good. Fat is bad. Fat is good. Cholesterol causes heart diseases. No it does not. Yes it does. Global warming? Phew, next week they will announce that global winter is coming. Doctors say vaccines are good and safe. Better be careful, those are the same guys who were paid to say that margarine is healthy and butter not, while it turned out the opposite...
Christ, some of these comments are indisguishable from pro-ana forum posts. "I starved myself for 7 days and I can think so clearly!"