Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Skipping meals and Cortisol Increase?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Skipping meals and Cortisol Increase?

    I'm currently doing some research on cortisol because I think my levels are all messed up. A few of the articles that I've read have mentioned that missing a meal will raise cortisol levels. I can't say that any of the sources are particularly trustworthy though so I was wondering if anyone here is well educated on Cortisol and would know what the effects of say, IF'ing would be on Cortisol levels.

  • #2
    If you're new to IFing and you experience the shakes, lightheadedness, plummeting energy or even panic, then yes, maybe your cortisol goes up. The thing is that those articles tend to be written by those who never practice IF and who take data from studies done on other people who don't practice IF.
    You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

    Comment


    • #3
      In general, it does appear that cortisol is raised during fasting, although this effect is blunted in individuals eating a high-fat diet. This rise in cortisol is accompanied by a rise in growth hormone and testosterone. Upon feeding, the cortisol levels return to below the non-fasting baseline, HGH returns to roughly baseline (some studies say just above, but I'm not sure there's any real effect), and testosterone remains moderately elevated.

      Don't fool yourself, IF is stressful on the body. It is, however, a moderate and intermittent stressor which provokes an adaptive response. This is what you're shooting for.
      Give me liberty. Exploration of other options will be vigorously discouraged.

      Wondering something sciencey? Ask me in my Ask a Biochemist Thread

      Comment


      • #4
        Not sure about cortisol. I think if I were hungry during an IF, I'd be raising stress levels, however, ketosis means I'm not hungry and IF is a natural by-product of that. In addition I hit the spiritual thing, often meditating through hunger pangs if they do occur. Overall, I think it's worse for my body to eat 24/7 like I used to. It's kinda like coffee. They say coffee raises cortisol, but I'm of the personal opinion that I'm way more stressed if I do NOT have my every-morning coffee.
        Melissa Fritcher - 330/252/150
        http://lessofmimi.wordpress.com
        Trample the weak, hurdle the dead.

        Comment


        • #5
          http://theleansaloon.com/2010/06/26/...gy-regulation/ :-)
          On a mission to help others master movement, build unbreakable strength, & eat MORE food (can't beat that.) Weekly fitness, health & nutrition articles at indulgentfitness.com.

          Comment


          • #6
            In some studies fasting drops cortisol levels:

            Cortisol, which is also known as the "stress hormone", was significantly lower in the fasting group (7.2 micrograms/dL) than in the control group (14.1 micrograms/dL). In other words, eating one big dinner instead of the usual three meals cut cortisol levels almost by half.
            And Dr. Eades:
            I finally pulled the study to which you referred only to find that I had already read it. I wouldn’t worry too much about the changes in blood pressure: they were minor to say the least. I don’t know why the BP went up in the study group. In virtually all other papers I’ve read, BP goes down with intermittent fasting, which makes sense when you think about it. In this study, LDL went up a little as well, but there is a rationale for that. Since triglycerides went down and HDL went up, it’s pretty clear that the LDL pattern shifted from a smaller, denser particle size to a larger, fluffier one, which is a good thing. And in this study, cortisol levels dropped markedly with the shift to once daily eating. Anything that drops cortisol levels is good. So, all in all, I believe this study does nothing but bolster the idea that longer intervals between meals and/or skipping meals is a more healthful approach to eating...

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Molecular Grokologist View Post
              Don't fool yourself, IF is stressful on the body. It is, however, a moderate and intermittent stressor which provokes an adaptive response. This is what you're shooting for.
              I'm reprogramming my genes.

              Comment


              • #8
                Here's a look at my personal experience with IF. I thought it may be helpful. Sorry it's so long!

                I am fairly new to PB eating. Gave up wheat in early May, mostly in an attempt to curb my Coke addiction. It helped with all sugar cravings, even more than I could have imagined. Then I began reading Mark's PB book, and by the second week of June, my husband and I had decided to do a 30 day challenge.

                Prior to that time, I had practiced IF on and off for over a year, sometimes fasting for as long as 24 hours, but mostly in the 14-16 hr range. In my pre-primal days, I would almost always break my fast with something sugary, be it fruit, bread or even a coke (yeah, I know...). Because I was eating and drinking so many carbs, I often noticed a VERY empty feeling in my stomach about 12 hours in, and sometimes I would just ride it out, but sometimes I would just eat. I also noticed that I would get pretty cranky at times during my fasts--no doubt from sugar crashes.

                My observation with IF while eating high carb is that while it did help me maintain and not gain as much as I might have otherwise, it never helped me get rid of my belly fat. The muffin top stuck around in spite of my IF'ing. That seems to indicate there might have been some high levels of cortisol going on, combined with the effects of the HFCS in the Coke going straight to my liver (Mercola writes pretty extensively about this on his site).

                NOW that I am almost strictly primal (90-95%), my body seems to be way more in touch with when it is OK to IF and when it needs food. For example, Sunday was a high fat, high calorie day for me. I ate when I was hungry, which seemed to be a lot that day. In fact I was wondering if my fat/calorie intake might be too high, since I'm trying to lose fat.

                The next morning, I woke up intending to eat a light breakfast before going to the gym, but I just wasn't hungry. At this point 12 hours had passed since the previous night's meal. Instead of eating, I packed up my breakfast and took it to the gym, intending to eat after my workout. I did some light swimming, a beginning level weight workout, some yoga and some walking, all totaling about 1.5 hrs of movement.

                15 hours in, I still was not hungry, and I did not experience that EMPTY feeling, nor did I have the shakes or mental fog which might indicate cortisol release. I just wasn't hungry. 17 hours in, I finally got hungry. I started in on my lunch/breakfast: 6 deviled egg halves, 1/2 cup blueberries, 3/4 cup carrots. I was sure I would devour that and want more. I got through half of it and realized I was full. I put it aside and finished it a few hours later. My snack around 6pm was about an ounce of macadamias, and I just was not hungry for dinner, so I snacked on some raspberries I foraged on the roadside and called it a day. I guess I was still tanked up from the previous day's fat intake.

                Today, I got up and was not hungry immediately (I've never been much of a morning eater). I did a few things around the house and thought I might be in for another IF morning, but then about an hour after getting up I started to feel shaky. The feeling did not go away, so I ate breakfast and then went for an easy swim.

                I guess my point is, and hopefully this will be helpful after all I've written, my point is that my body just TELLS me when I need to eat now, whereas before PB it seemed like an act of will to IF. The key here does seem to be that you would precede an IF day with adequate fat/calorie intake, and that if you are going into it with a caloric deficit, or with a high carb binge from the night before, your body will put up more resistance.

                If you are new to PB and IF, it may be better just to focus on lowering the carbs and increasing the fats/proteins for a while, and then once your body makes that adjustment, slowly introduce the IF with a 12-14 hour fast. That's how my husband did it, and it has helped him. Changing from high carb to PB is stressful on your body without throwing in the IF element, and if you are looking to do it out of a desire to lose weight quickly, just be patient and give the primal eating time to take hold. Also, if your cortisol levels are already messed up, give your body time to reset some of your other hormone levels, particularly insulin, which I believe has an effect on cortisol as well.

                Again, this is my personal experience. Hope it helps.

                oh and p.s. I was down 2.5 lb on the scale at the gym after that "fat binge" on Sunday. Go figure
                Mermaid

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Molecular Grokologist View Post
                  In general, it does appear that cortisol is raised during fasting, although this effect is blunted in individuals eating a high-fat diet. This rise in cortisol is accompanied by a rise in growth hormone and testosterone. Upon feeding, the cortisol levels return to below the non-fasting baseline, HGH returns to roughly baseline (some studies say just above, but I'm not sure there's any real effect), and testosterone remains moderately elevated.

                  Don't fool yourself, IF is stressful on the body. It is, however, a moderate and intermittent stressor which provokes an adaptive response. This is what you're shooting for.
                  What would be a good range to get IF benefits while avoiding potential muscle loss due to the supposedly increase in cortisol then?
                  ¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><((((º> ¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><((((º>¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><((((º>¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><(( ((º>
                  ><((((º> ¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><((((º>¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><((((º>¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><(( ((º>

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    IF for a person eating SAD would be very stressful indeed.

                    im 20 hours in on a 24 hour fast. i feel hunger, yes, but none of the frantic, im-going-to-faint, stressful insanity that would suggest significantly raised cortisol levels. Yesterday I ate an entire duck. If your body is used to recieving clean protein and fat as its fuel, then the IF will be very pleasant.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      @ rphlslv

                      I'm afraid that's a question for someone with a more detailed knowledge of the IF literature than I if you want specifics. Muscle wasting, however, does not tend to occur for some time. The body prefers to eat unnecessary proteins and organelles (autophagy) first, and the hormones that go up along with the cortisol are anabolic, counteracting its effects. IF as it is practiced by most everybody in the paleo/primal community is unlikely to provoke significant muscle wasting except in the case of people who perform extremely intense workouts (hi, Crossfit) fasted. I'm not certain that it's a bad idea, of course, but I am suspicious.
                      Give me liberty. Exploration of other options will be vigorously discouraged.

                      Wondering something sciencey? Ask me in my Ask a Biochemist Thread

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Molecular Grokologist View Post
                        @ rphlslv

                        IF as it is practiced by most everybody in the paleo/primal community is unlikely to provoke significant muscle wasting except in the case of people who perform extremely intense workouts (hi, Crossfit) fasted. I'm not certain that it's a bad idea, of course, but I am suspicious.
                        I had been suspicious in the past, too.

                        But I just completed a CrossFit workout, 18 hours into my fast. I haven't eaten, and probably won't eat for another hour, as I'm not near a duck or an antelope.

                        Anyway, I regularly perform MetCon workouts around 14 to 16 hours into my fasts. No problem with muscle wastage, as the existent of muscle mass is mostly based on gene expression triggered by mechanical demands (exercise), not by short-term calorie intake. As long as the average calorie intake over time meets basic biological needs, you shouldn't worry about muscle wasting -- workouts or not.

                        Best,
                        Johnny

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I had been lifting on an empty stomach (18+ hours) for the past 6 months and that was probably the single worst mistake I've made.
                          ¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><((((º> ¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><((((º>¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><((((º>¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><(( ((º>
                          ><((((º> ¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><((((º>¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><((((º>¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><(( ((º>

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I know this is an old thread; however, after reading Mark's post yesterday about Fasting and Cortisol I thought I would bring it back around (vs. starting a new thread).

                            Below is the blurb from yesterday's post by Mark that I'm referencing:
                            You should have cortisol under control. Fasting boosts cortisol, which is not a problem in healthy folks, but in those with cortisol disregulation (think belly fat, think the skinny fat look, lack of sleep, overtraining, chronic cardio, the incessant need for coffee to keep eyes open, persistent low-grade stress) it can be disastrous. If you know you have a cortisol issue (that is, you’re actually monitoring it clinically) or even if you just suspect you do (maybe you notice the creep of belly fat accumulation, more so than in other areas), fasting may not be right for you. Get the problem handled (get more sleep, stop overtraining, stop following politics) and you’ll probably be able to reap the benefits of IF.
                            I have been 80-90% primal for almost 6 weeks now, slowly working my way up (no grains at all and limiting my starches, trying to keep carbs lower than 50, etc.).... I have not tried any intentional IFs yet; however, I have skipped lunch or dinner here and there (tired, not hungry, too busy, etc.). I "suspect" I have a cortisol issue, I have put on 75% of my weight in my belly over the last 2-3 years and I'm always mentally exhausted. Short of quitting my job (which I would love to do, but not realistic right now) what other ways can I attempt to handle this issue??

                            I do light walking and some free weights a few days a week, but there are days that I'm too mentally exhausted after work to do anything besides go straight to sleep.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Black out your windows sleep for 9 to 12 hours a day for as many days as you can. Once you feel "good" Dial in a wake up time, and just go to sleep when tired.
                              If your food is fast, maybe you should fast.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X