5

votes

What are the benefits of Fasting? and what should one know before doing it?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 29, 2010 at 5:48 PM

What are the benefits of Fasting? and what should one know before doing it?

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 14, 2011
at 09:12 PM

Also this might be worth looking into: http://www.physorg.com/news127481173.html

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 14, 2011
at 09:10 PM

http://www.physorg.com/news151928423.html I think the longevity claims may not be true.

C53665c3f012fa1ede91033b08a8a6e7

(2269)

on August 01, 2010
at 12:59 PM

Interesting idea. What do you typically eat during the window and how much? A gorge-fest or an average (to us) meal?

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 30, 2010
at 09:40 PM

Eva: fasting is a widespread tradition, across religions, indiginous peoples, HG's etc. Fasting is an integral part of so called 'paleo re-enactment'

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 30, 2010
at 09:37 PM

Alan: I would disagree about caloric deficit for weight loss. In theory sure, but there is no reliable way to calculate intake or expenditure.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:21 PM

Actually, I get that same benefit from just eating paleo. Interesting how it varies from person to person.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:18 PM

Tattooedchef, no, what I meant was the studies were done with people on SAD so we don't know if it was the break from grains and crappy food that helped them or if fasting would help paleo eaters just as much. I am not advocating eating SAD. I am saying we need research on paleo eaters and fasting, not just SAD eaters and fasting.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:16 PM

Alan, some people do not lose weight on fasting. The fasting makes them hungry enough to pig out the meals they do eat. If it works for some, great, but I think paleo eating itself is more reliable. And we really don't know how much the paleo fasted. If they were organized and stored food, it may have been not often at all that they fasted. If you are hungry, the most natural thing in the world is to eat. Why do you think nature made the hunger mechanism? It is not because eating is bad for you!

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:13 PM

Ambimorth, that is exactly my point. I have asked this question to some of the paleo gurus but they had not response for me at all. MIght be useful for some people for weight loss, but what if you don't have weight to lose and your insulin sensitivity is already in a good range? Plus we don't really understand that downsides or upsides of fasting that well so I think it is a big question mark.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:10 PM

I don't think the parachutes analogy is accurate at all. The benefits of fasting are not easily seen. It may work for some but not others and we don't really know the mechanisms behind it that much.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on July 30, 2010
at 02:20 PM

It's a good point, Eva, that the studies are on SAD eaters. The mechanisms involved seem to be those also achieved on a ketogenic diet, more so than just grain removal. So the question of whether there is an additional benefit with IF on a ketogenic diet is relevant. Anecdotes from LC forums resound that there often is, at least in terms of weight loss. For now it may be a case for personal experimentation.

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on July 30, 2010
at 12:28 PM

I love two eggs shaken with cream as a post workout fast breaker.

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on July 30, 2010
at 12:25 PM

All the Paleo "gurus", Mark Sisson, Kurt Harris, Robb Wolf, Dr Loren Cordain, Richard Nikoley, Danny Roddy, etc etc all are huge fans of IF. I think IF goes hand in hand with the Paleo lifestyle. Kicking the SAD is only the first step. There are more studies on fasting that could be read in a lifetime, go for it.

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on July 30, 2010
at 12:12 PM

? Losing weight requires a calorie deficit. No question. What better way to achieve that calorie restriction than with intermittent fasting? Fasting is as old as mankind and is the perfect way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on July 30, 2010
at 11:49 AM

From what I gathered in my readings I saw that the benefit was switching your metabolism to a fat burning state. Martin talks about a certain timeframe which is the most beneficial in this. Dr Eades also tweeted a link about IF related to gaining the benefits of calorie restriction (increased lifespan) without the pain (depression and anxiety from not getting enough calories)

1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on July 30, 2010
at 08:57 AM

Me too - I'm simply saying there is some evidence out there. @Chris, I love the parachutes comment

8347d512bca9b034d53da40dab8cd21c

(2517)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:48 AM

@Chris: I should have clarified -- I would not recommend it as an automatic go-to source for dropping weight. Yes, you're going to lose some, but it shouldn't be regarded as a "magic bullet" for weight loss. @Eva: I personally wouldn't use fasting as an antidote for unhealthy eating. I'm unsure if that's what you think I said.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:40 AM

The prob with the studies is they are all done with people on the SAD. I wonder if paleo eating might not accomplish the same thing without fasting. Maybe the benefits of fasting have to do with the avoidance of constant grain intake? I am keeping my eyes open for more info on potential mechanisms and also would like to see studies on fasting for those already on paleo.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:35 AM

Personally, I think it's much healthier to eat paleo and not fast than to eat whatever potentially unhealthy stuff and then make up for it by fasting.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:25 AM

Fasting has been shown to help rats live longer, but only certain protocols of fasting. Too much or too little did not work. Rats are not people. I would like to see more evidence personally.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on July 29, 2010
at 10:37 PM

(Scroll down just a little to see his before and after.)

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on July 29, 2010
at 10:37 PM

(Scroll own just a little to see his before and after.)

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on July 29, 2010
at 10:36 PM

Tell that to Dave Ward: http://retireddieter.com/about/

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 29, 2010
at 08:52 PM

http://www.leangains.com/search/label/Benefits%20of%20intermittent%20fasting

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 29, 2010
at 08:35 PM

Why would you not recommend fasting for dropping weight?

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 29, 2010
at 08:33 PM

There have never been any studies demonstrating the effectiveness of parachutes.

1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on July 29, 2010
at 07:53 PM

Depends on the level of proof you're looking for. Slowing of the ageing process is fairly well documented now, especially in animal trials.

  • 7879b2ef602a92de5729a2e44a40d7b0

    asked by

    (45)
  • Views
    4.3K
  • Last Activity
    1426D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

9 Answers

5
90776a24cf6fe35d7610386e71304030

on July 30, 2010
at 12:20 PM

I suggest reading Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon, he goes over the science of fasting for fat-reduction quite thoroughly. Personally I find it to be VERY effective. I don't count calories or carbs, but I eat in three hour windows and fast 24 hours (so basically I'll eat from 9am-12pm, the next day 12-3pm, the next 3-6pm, then a full 39 hour fast, then reset back to 9am-12pm). So I do a very extreme version of it, which is closer to the Warrior Diet idea. The energy is amazing, first of all, and the fat-loss is more than I've ever experienced in such a short period of time. I'm also making sure I have adequate nutrition in those 3 hours. For me, it's a lot easier than being low-carb constantly - I would rather eat all the fruit and veg I wanted if I felt like it without worrying about gaining weight back or plateauing. Much easier time being paleo when I fast too, because when I fast I find that I become "disinterested" in food. I noticed that yesterday actually, I was hanging out with a bunch of people gorging on pizza and cheesecake, and walked by several bakeries and Italian restaurants. Normally that would be my own brand of torture, but it just... Doesn't bother me anymore. I'm immune :P

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:21 PM

Actually, I get that same benefit from just eating paleo. Interesting how it varies from person to person.

C53665c3f012fa1ede91033b08a8a6e7

(2269)

on August 01, 2010
at 12:59 PM

Interesting idea. What do you typically eat during the window and how much? A gorge-fest or an average (to us) meal?

1
0242b468fe1c97997749db416c92e7ed

(4528)

on January 14, 2011
at 04:17 PM

I just completed my second 24-hour water/tea fast, and I thought I'd share my experience so far. Disclosure: I've been lacto-paleo for over two years, and have become extremely frustrated with my lack of weight loss during that time. I'm not severely overweight - I'm 5' 9" and about 145 lbs/size 8-10, but I'm most certainly what you'd call "over-fat." Don't get me wrong - I feel fantastic on a paleo-style diet and know too much to ever go back to CW - but I would be lying if I didn't admit that I've been disappointed that (aside from the initial water weight loss) I can't seem to budge these stubborn fat stores.

Enter fasting. I rarely eat breakfast during the work week, and generally only eat two meals a day anyway, so I've kinda been practicing IF all along. On a whim, I decided to take it to the next level - to try skipping dinner one night, and not eat again until lunch the following day. I was pleasantly surprised at how pain-free my dinnerless evening was, and that night, I slept like a rock. The next morning, I felt light, but not not hungry at all. I had a few cups of tea throughout the morning, and by 2 p.m. (when my fast was scheduled to end) I still didn't feel any strong urges to eat. So I held out until dinner, roughly 4 and a half hours later. No sweat! More than anything, I was shocked by the level of energy I seemed to have during the fast. I never felt weak or tired or dizzy (things I was kinda expecting) - on the contrary, I felt like I could have leapt tall buildings in a single bound. I had doubted whether I would be able to exercise (Slow Burn-style free weights) while fasting, but I think I would have been hard pressed NOT to exercise. Just crazy amounts of energy.

Bonus: This morning, I noticed that my jeans are significantly looser. SOLD!

I intend to do one to two 24-hour fasts a week from now on. It's ridiculously easy, and I love the way they make me feel. For anyone who's curious about fasting, I highly recommend you try it. I like the idea of working up to a 24-hour fast in stages - I imagine that if I'd been accustomed to eating a big breakfast every morning, 24 hours cold turkey may have been a different experience.

1
1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on July 29, 2010
at 07:17 PM

Have you checked out leangains.com? Lots of info there.

The only thing is it is a TON of information. I haven't personally waded through it all so if anyone has and could post a synopsis I am interested too

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:40 AM

The prob with the studies is they are all done with people on the SAD. I wonder if paleo eating might not accomplish the same thing without fasting. Maybe the benefits of fasting have to do with the avoidance of constant grain intake? I am keeping my eyes open for more info on potential mechanisms and also would like to see studies on fasting for those already on paleo.

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on July 30, 2010
at 12:25 PM

All the Paleo "gurus", Mark Sisson, Kurt Harris, Robb Wolf, Dr Loren Cordain, Richard Nikoley, Danny Roddy, etc etc all are huge fans of IF. I think IF goes hand in hand with the Paleo lifestyle. Kicking the SAD is only the first step. There are more studies on fasting that could be read in a lifetime, go for it.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:13 PM

Ambimorth, that is exactly my point. I have asked this question to some of the paleo gurus but they had not response for me at all. MIght be useful for some people for weight loss, but what if you don't have weight to lose and your insulin sensitivity is already in a good range? Plus we don't really understand that downsides or upsides of fasting that well so I think it is a big question mark.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on July 30, 2010
at 02:20 PM

It's a good point, Eva, that the studies are on SAD eaters. The mechanisms involved seem to be those also achieved on a ketogenic diet, more so than just grain removal. So the question of whether there is an additional benefit with IF on a ketogenic diet is relevant. Anecdotes from LC forums resound that there often is, at least in terms of weight loss. For now it may be a case for personal experimentation.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on July 30, 2010
at 11:49 AM

From what I gathered in my readings I saw that the benefit was switching your metabolism to a fat burning state. Martin talks about a certain timeframe which is the most beneficial in this. Dr Eades also tweeted a link about IF related to gaining the benefits of calorie restriction (increased lifespan) without the pain (depression and anxiety from not getting enough calories)

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 29, 2010
at 08:52 PM

http://www.leangains.com/search/label/Benefits%20of%20intermittent%20fasting

1
35a9207254408c6907f7082640c7bfaa

(822)

on July 29, 2010
at 05:55 PM

It's not really proven that there are any benefits, especially if you're not trying to lose weight. There is some evidence that the stress it causes our cells is beneficial and that it causes them to start recycling junk proteins, but a lot of that is still very speculative. Obviously to the extent that it causes you to lose weight if you are overweight there will be benefits, but those are because you lost the weight, not because you fasted specifically.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:25 AM

Fasting has been shown to help rats live longer, but only certain protocols of fasting. Too much or too little did not work. Rats are not people. I would like to see more evidence personally.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:10 PM

I don't think the parachutes analogy is accurate at all. The benefits of fasting are not easily seen. It may work for some but not others and we don't really know the mechanisms behind it that much.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 30, 2010
at 09:40 PM

Eva: fasting is a widespread tradition, across religions, indiginous peoples, HG's etc. Fasting is an integral part of so called 'paleo re-enactment'

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 29, 2010
at 08:33 PM

There have never been any studies demonstrating the effectiveness of parachutes.

1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on July 30, 2010
at 08:57 AM

Me too - I'm simply saying there is some evidence out there. @Chris, I love the parachutes comment

1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on July 29, 2010
at 07:53 PM

Depends on the level of proof you're looking for. Slowing of the ageing process is fairly well documented now, especially in animal trials.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 14, 2011
at 09:10 PM

http://www.physorg.com/news151928423.html I think the longevity claims may not be true.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 14, 2011
at 09:12 PM

Also this might be worth looking into: http://www.physorg.com/news127481173.html

0
50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 14, 2011
at 05:53 PM

I have been practiving IF for a few month now in the form of a feeding window. I eat between noon and 8pm daily thus, giving me a 16 hrs fast. I personally have noticed a lot of positives. Weight loss, increased energy, ease of schedule, more free time, mental clarity, increased focus, food tastes so much better when I do eat (almost a euphoric feeling). Also, I absolutely prefer working out and playing soccer (couple times a week) in the fasted state.

This way has worked for me. If you wanted to try it, I would just skip a meal and see how you do. If it works, and you like it, you can always add time to the fast. Just make sure that when you do eat, you eat enough calories. I have noticed that I rarely get hungry anymore, so I have to remind myself to fuel up.

Good Luck :)

0
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:33 AM

Fasting has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity or at least the sensitivity was higher right after the fast. And this was in people eating the whatever normal maybe SAD type diet. But fasting might be something to explore with a bit especially for those with poor resting blood sugars.

Personally, I would suggest people first adapt fully to paleo, which may take up to 3 months to really settle in. Once you are fully comfortable and have sorted out any probs with paleo eating, adapting to less sugar, etc. And are sleeping well and feeling good all day. Then is the time to think about fasting, and do it gradually. You should not be making yourself feel miserable with fasting. It's not supposed to be about suffering.

THere are times and days when I just don't feel that hungry anyway, and those I find are good days for me to skip a meal or two. So I don't really plan it personally. I just go with what the body says. If it's meal time and you are not hungry, why not skip it! But first make you are healthy and balanced. Skipping meals can be a big stress on the body if not done right and not done when you are ready for it. I think many things about paleo are highly safe, but I think fasting is something that should be approached very carefully for any people that are not totally healthy.
-Eva

0
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on July 29, 2010
at 10:32 PM

I've posted some links to pro-IF studies here in this thread.

0
1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 29, 2010
at 08:51 PM

To me, the best part about fasting is reducing the amount of time you spend eating and preparing food, while at the same time taking control of your hunger.

The key seems to be loading up on nutrient and fat dense foods during your eating window. One of my favorite 'recipies' is:

  1. A pound of ground buffalo with some assortment of vegetables and spices, along with an avocado and lots of sour cream.
  2. 500g fage total + berries to taste
  3. Heavy whipping cream (maybe with some ice cream, maybe i just drink it)

Also, learning to fast is a gradual process. If you are excessively hungry, break the fast with an egg and two or three slices of bacon.

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on July 30, 2010
at 12:28 PM

I love two eggs shaken with cream as a post workout fast breaker.

0
8347d512bca9b034d53da40dab8cd21c

on July 29, 2010
at 08:27 PM

It's been my understanding that fasting (at least, intermittent fasting) causes your body to use fat stores as energy rather than using food as energy, but not at great length. I've done it and have had positive results, with the exception that I usually do IF at night, and drink iced black coffee or water during the fast. I also know when I start feeling serious hunger pains that it's probably the right time to eat something light and not cram food in my face to make up for what I haven't eaten.

You will lose a little weight, perhaps, but I would DEFINITELY NOT rely on fasting as a way to drop pounds. Nothing good will come of that.

8347d512bca9b034d53da40dab8cd21c

(2517)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:48 AM

@Chris: I should have clarified -- I would not recommend it as an automatic go-to source for dropping weight. Yes, you're going to lose some, but it shouldn't be regarded as a "magic bullet" for weight loss. @Eva: I personally wouldn't use fasting as an antidote for unhealthy eating. I'm unsure if that's what you think I said.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 30, 2010
at 09:37 PM

Alan: I would disagree about caloric deficit for weight loss. In theory sure, but there is no reliable way to calculate intake or expenditure.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 29, 2010
at 08:35 PM

Why would you not recommend fasting for dropping weight?

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:35 AM

Personally, I think it's much healthier to eat paleo and not fast than to eat whatever potentially unhealthy stuff and then make up for it by fasting.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on July 29, 2010
at 10:37 PM

(Scroll down just a little to see his before and after.)

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on July 29, 2010
at 10:36 PM

Tell that to Dave Ward: http://retireddieter.com/about/

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on July 30, 2010
at 12:12 PM

? Losing weight requires a calorie deficit. No question. What better way to achieve that calorie restriction than with intermittent fasting? Fasting is as old as mankind and is the perfect way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on July 29, 2010
at 10:37 PM

(Scroll own just a little to see his before and after.)

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:18 PM

Tattooedchef, no, what I meant was the studies were done with people on SAD so we don't know if it was the break from grains and crappy food that helped them or if fasting would help paleo eaters just as much. I am not advocating eating SAD. I am saying we need research on paleo eaters and fasting, not just SAD eaters and fasting.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 30, 2010
at 04:16 PM

Alan, some people do not lose weight on fasting. The fasting makes them hungry enough to pig out the meals they do eat. If it works for some, great, but I think paleo eating itself is more reliable. And we really don't know how much the paleo fasted. If they were organized and stored food, it may have been not often at all that they fasted. If you are hungry, the most natural thing in the world is to eat. Why do you think nature made the hunger mechanism? It is not because eating is bad for you!

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!