Fasting has been used for thousands of years to heal and strengthen the body in a variety of ways, physically, mentally and spiritually. When a person fasts, the body is forced to use glucose and stored body fat for energy. As the fast continues, the use of stored fat for energy causes the body to go into ketosis. These ketones become the main source of energy for both the brain and the body.
What are ketones?
Ketones are chemicals made in the liver. They are produced when there isn’t enough of the hormone insulin in the body to turn sugar (or glucose) into energy. The another source of energy is fat, so if there isn’t enough sugar, the body then goes onto using fat. Your liver turns this fat into ketones, ketoacids, and sends them into the bloodstream where the muscles and other tissues can use them for fuel/energy. This occurs during the night or whilst fasting and it is one of the most efficient ways to loose weight, even for those that have had problems to shift those pounds for a long time, because the fat that had been stored, gets utilised during fasting.
Intermittent fasting is most popular for weight loss. 16:8 or 18:6 (eating window 8 or 6 hrs respectively). In a person which is relatively healthy (not a diabetic), ketone production is the body’s normal adaptation to starvation. Blood sugar levels never get too high, because the production is regulated by just the right balance of insulin, glucagon and other hormones. The exception here are individuals who have diabetes where high level of ketones can be dangerous. If you do have a medical condition, please discuss fasting with your doctor first.
TYPES OF FASTING (as according to Mindy Pelz) 1. intermittent – 13-15 hours without food, great way to start fasting. 2. autophagy – the process of autophagy starts at 17 hrs without food and is great for brain and hormonal health 3. gut reset fast – 24 hrs of fasting, at this point we can reboot our gut! 4. fat burner fast – 36 hrs of fasting, when we hit this mark our body starts to burn stored fat – great for those that struggle to loose weight 5. happiness fast – 48 hrs of fasting and you literary reset dopamine receptor sites in the brain 6. immune reset fast – 3 day water fast, which was very popular by Dr. Valter Longo. He found that after 72 hrs of fasting new white blood cells and stem cells are formed.
In addition to body fat and glucose, the body will begin to use sick and damaged cells for energy, or they will be removed from the body altogether. As these cells are disposed of, healthy new cells are formed, which includes infection-fighting white blood cells. This process leads many to believe fasting helps strengthen the immune system.
Resistance to toxins. Studies indicate fasting for 48-120 hours can activate pathways that stimulate a cellular resistance to stress and toxins in both humans and mice. Researchers concluded the longer fasts are more effective than shorter fasts or calorie restriction due to the body’s need to switch to burning fat and ketones after glycogen stores in the body have been depleted.
Decrease disease risks. Intermittent fasting has been shown to assist the immune system in decreasing the progression of increasing blood sugar levels and improving cardiovascular health. Studies on lab mice found that fasting also increased longevity, reduced disease, and improved overall health.
Decrease age-related diseases. As people age, their immune system functionality tends to decline. Per various studies, fasting may have the potential to prevent many age-related diseases, including autoimmune illness. Researchers believe this is accomplished by possibly delaying the ageing process.
Organic, mould free black coffee is great during a fast, as well as electrolytes in water.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ‘BREAKING’ YOUR FAST
It is almost as important as the fast itself – that when you stop fasting, you make sure you eat a very nutritious food – for example a good fat like avocado or nuts, fermented products are also great (kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, miso, etc.). To prepare your body for fasting, it is crucial to lay the fundamentals, ie. nutritious foods prior to give your body all it needs to get through the fast ‘easy’! Electrolytes get used up during fast so it is important to replenish those not just outside the fast but also during. Adding a good quality organic salt to your water whilst fasting will help with the sodium aspect. You can also add potassium and magnesium.
LIKE WITH ANYTHING NEW – take slow steps to get used to fasting and remember that if it isn’t something that works for you, that’s ok.
Every person is unique and has to find their own way – what works for them best.
In females particularly, it is important to fast in accordance with your cycle (big NO is to fasting the week prior to the period).
I tend to do one longer fast (24 hrs) once a week or every other week and the rest of the time I mostly do intermittent fast (14-16 hrs), but if I have a dinner out with friends for example, I move my fast to another day. It has to fit into my lifestyle rather than me trying to fit into the fasting lifestyle – I have done that mistake before and ended up so out of balance with my eating that made me very unhappy and frustrated.
It is all about BALANCE.
This is not a medical advice.Please consult your doctor for advice if you have any underlying conditions before you fast.