4

votes

Is fasting an all-or-nothing deal?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 01, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Are the hormonal benefits of fasting shut off with any kind of caloric intake?

If I eat an apple during my fast, am I making the whole fast pointless or only slightly reversing its effects?

How about a cucumber?

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on June 02, 2012
at 02:39 PM

That post always confuses me. The guy ate like 900 calories *before dinner* and calls it a fast? I would simply call it a "ketosis inducing day" or something since that seems to be his main goal. So I agree with Don in this case, certainly not always :)

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on May 31, 2012
at 05:39 PM

Yeah go away wayne.

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on May 31, 2012
at 05:05 PM

It isn't ridiculous. The ridiculous thing might be calling it fasting when someone really means caloric restriction or detoxing. The problem isn't with the questions, it's with the very broadly used term "fasting." You're right, someone eating 2 TBSP isn't fasting, but it doesn't make their question about possible benefits ridiculous.

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on May 31, 2012
at 05:05 PM

It isn't ridiculous. The ridiculous thing might be calling it when someone really means caloric restriction or detoxing. The problem isn't with the questions, it's with the very broadly used term "fasting." You're right, someone eating 2 TBSP isn't fasting, but it doesn't make their question about possible benefits ridiculous.

9ffe43c6c5990ed710c7c49b12d6ee7f

on November 02, 2011
at 05:54 AM

I've wondered about this as well! Thanks for asking.

D72e9d21977363ea1850fa00555f151a

(891)

on November 01, 2011
at 09:23 PM

Nope, doesn't feel any different. I did eat 4oz of chicken once in the middle of my fast and that felt completely different. I got hungry and less productive.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on November 01, 2011
at 08:59 PM

It seems unlikely that there is an arbitrary point at which "fasting mode" shuts off. Does a strict fast feel different to you than a fast with that small amount of coconut milk?

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on November 01, 2011
at 08:54 PM

This is cool, but I'm specifically interested in the hormonal effects of fasting/calorie restriction, like increase in growth hormone levels.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on November 01, 2011
at 08:50 PM

And ben, I'm more concerned with the benefits of the fast than technical adherence to it.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on November 01, 2011
at 08:49 PM

Nance, thanks, I've noticed a similar feeling with fruits on a fast.

A2fe5bbd09c7804fd321e9e9a9f9d199

(1614)

on November 01, 2011
at 08:17 PM

even a kimchi sampler on a toothpic at a Korean market? the lady was insistent i try it

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on November 01, 2011
at 07:36 PM

fasting means not eating calories. period

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 01, 2011
at 07:36 PM

I've noticed that 1 or 2 mugs of coffee with heavy cream and a little honey gradually knock me out of high-energy-not-hungry mode, but it's very gradual and takes a few hours.

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9 Answers

4
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on November 01, 2011
at 07:48 PM

There are plenty of studies showing that alternate-day calorie restriction gives comparable benefits to alternate-day fasting or every day caloric restriction. For example, Improvements in LDL particle size and distribution by short-term alternate day modified fasting in obese adults, Modified alternate-day fasting and cardioprotection: relation to adipose tissue dynamics and dietary fat intake.

So, I wouldn't say it's all or nothing.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on November 01, 2011
at 08:54 PM

This is cool, but I'm specifically interested in the hormonal effects of fasting/calorie restriction, like increase in growth hormone levels.

3
68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on May 31, 2012
at 03:53 PM

This simply can't be answered with a yes or no. Think of it this way...

Why are you fasting?

If your answer to this is to get the benefits of kicking yourself into Ketosis and lose body fat, the fast itself is not important. What's important is that you get into fat-burning mode and are able to tap into your stored body fat. This can be accomplished mainly with the elimination of carbohydrate and even protein for a prolonged period of time, but isn't inhibited with fat. Therefore, a "fast" with some fat calories isn't going to be detrimental. As long as there is a deficit during the fast, you will see benefits.

If your answer to this is to detox or at least get that feeling of what I like to call "rebooting", the important thing isn't necessarily the Ketosis, but the clearing out of the bowels, improving digestion, cell regeneration and overall just giving the body a break. For me, I'm extremely active, I eat a good amount of calories from different sources and I'd say my digestive function is very good, but also constantly going. When I fast, I do it primarily to give this part of my body a break.

To me, these are two completely different reasons to fast. If your goal is specifically one or the other, that is going to alter the definition of what a "fast" is to you. Most people seem to want the benefits of both, and if that's the case, your best bet is to completely eliminate caloric intake entirely, and even go as far as not putting ANYTHING into your body that will need digesting or even cause the secretion of digestive juices or enzymes.

3
De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on November 02, 2011
at 06:56 PM

PHD mentions a ketogenic diet is what's important so a diet of coconut oil and leafy greens during the fast is ok.

3
D72e9d21977363ea1850fa00555f151a

on November 01, 2011
at 08:41 PM

I've read on Leangains that as long as you stay under 50 calories total during your fast, you're still in a "fasting" mode.

I have some coconut milk in my coffee and don't count that as breaking my fast.

D72e9d21977363ea1850fa00555f151a

(891)

on November 01, 2011
at 09:23 PM

Nope, doesn't feel any different. I did eat 4oz of chicken once in the middle of my fast and that felt completely different. I got hungry and less productive.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on November 01, 2011
at 08:59 PM

It seems unlikely that there is an arbitrary point at which "fasting mode" shuts off. Does a strict fast feel different to you than a fast with that small amount of coconut milk?

1
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on May 31, 2012
at 03:38 PM

I'm no expert, but everything I've read about the benefits of ketosis seems to mimic the biochemical and physiological effects of starvation. (Meaning that by going very low carb and high fat, you get the "benefits" of fasting/starvation without actually having to starve.)

So if you were fasting and had a little bit of pure fat, like a Tsp of coconut oil, butter, or cream here and there, I don't think you'd negate the benefits of fasting. It probably does more psychologically than physically, in terms of you feeling like you broke the fast or "cheated" or whatever.

There might be a point at which even pure fat would start affecting things though. I wouldn't go eating 4-5 tablespoons of fat and still call it a fast. I think, especially for people who are new to fasting, there's a psychological lesson in just proving to yourself that you can go x number of hours without food.

1
E7e7e1c856d4494d4a1b700b6869df90

(982)

on May 01, 2012
at 11:05 PM

Balor 123 and nutritionator your comments make sense to me. I see IF as a functional continuation of ketosis. One is always warned if you do not eat enough your body will begin to store rather than burn fuel (fat) as it thinks no fuel is available. thus..keep the food coming..eat fat to burn fat.

I have not researched IF to understand why this does not happen. Glucose carb restriction makes perfect sense to me. I do not know how long one can go with no fat intake (if no other) before the body responds by storing.

This seems contradictory to me [IF benefits] until I have a better understanding of how/when and why it works the way it does.

1
Cc7381bd787721575ea9198048132adb

on November 02, 2011
at 12:07 AM

I know Mat Lalonde mentioned on one of Robb Wolf's podcasts that he'll have coconut milk for breakfast to continue his protein/carb fast so it might have something to do with glucose restriction. I don't have any literature but Mat definitely knows his biochemistry. Worth looking into a bit more.

1
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 01, 2011
at 11:44 PM

Paul Jaminet makes a good case for the benefits of different kinds of fasts. Might be worth an experiment or two! Note: be sure to scroll down and read Paul's response in the comments to Don Matesz.

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on June 02, 2012
at 02:39 PM

That post always confuses me. The guy ate like 900 calories *before dinner* and calls it a fast? I would simply call it a "ketosis inducing day" or something since that seems to be his main goal. So I agree with Don in this case, certainly not always :)

0
01adafcb4dd4147c6af543f61eee60a8

on May 31, 2012
at 04:27 PM

Im trying to remain respectful but surely you must know what a fast is? Some of the questions here are getting ridiculous.

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on May 31, 2012
at 05:05 PM

It isn't ridiculous. The ridiculous thing might be calling it when someone really means caloric restriction or detoxing. The problem isn't with the questions, it's with the very broadly used term "fasting." You're right, someone eating 2 TBSP isn't fasting, but it doesn't make their question about possible benefits ridiculous.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on May 31, 2012
at 05:39 PM

Yeah go away wayne.

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on May 31, 2012
at 05:05 PM

It isn't ridiculous. The ridiculous thing might be calling it fasting when someone really means caloric restriction or detoxing. The problem isn't with the questions, it's with the very broadly used term "fasting." You're right, someone eating 2 TBSP isn't fasting, but it doesn't make their question about possible benefits ridiculous.

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