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Fasting and its effects on Gut Flora

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  • Fasting and its effects on Gut Flora

    As anybody read anything on what fasting does to your gut flora? I have a personal theory that fasting or eating super low calorie (maybe 500 cals) for a day or maybe a day and a half can lead to killing your gut flora. Then, you would need to add fermented foods as well as prebiotics to stimulate their growth again. I don't know if this is fact... I'm basing this off rough thoughts of my own experiences. Does anyone have information to back this up? Gut flora eats food that we eat. If they don't have any food........

    FYI I 'fast' occasionally if I'm not hungry, or I don't have food at the house and I'm lazy. Occasionally, I'll be lazy, sleepy, and awake at a time when stores aren't open. If I go 24 hours without much to show for it other than what I had stocked in the fridge, this is where problems may or may not arise... back to the question ^^^
    Last edited by wiltondeportes; 05-11-2011, 03:05 PM.

  • #2
    I believe that is correct, but you don't need probiotics, you simply need to gradually increase food intake after the end of the fast.

    However a 1-2 day Intermittent Fast doesn't kill gut flora, you have quite of bit of "crap" still in the chamber (GI tract) to last you a day or two. For Example, I ate 4oz of Walnuts Sunday, I have had 0 nuts or seeds since then. I've consumed about 1200-1900 calories through two meals each day this week. This morning I have a perfect bowel movement in a timespan on 60seconds and record low amount of toilet paper needed (its been that way since I moved to Primal, with BMs every 2-3 days) that was one long continuous strand but had the appearence of a nutty (but not hard) 12" long granola bar.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Ideal Peace View Post
      I believe that is correct, but you don't need probiotics, you simply need to gradually increase food intake after the end of the fast.

      However a 1-2 day Intermittent Fast doesn't kill gut flora, you have quite of bit of "crap" still in the chamber (GI tract) to last you a day or two. For Example, I ate 4oz of Walnuts Sunday, I have had 0 nuts or seeds since then. I've consumed about 1200-1900 calories through two meals each day this week. This morning I have a perfect bowel movement in a timespan on 60seconds and record low amount of toilet paper needed (its been that way since I moved to Primal, with BMs every 2-3 days) that was one long continuous strand but had the appearence of a nutty (but not hard) 12" long granola bar.
      Oh ok. Interesting. So what could potentially kill gut flora? Eating a ton in a short period of time? After getting back from the store after a recent fast, I ate a pound of bison burger, 3/4 pound of bison liver, 4 eggs, 2 sweet potatoes, an onion, and a stalk of broccoli in a matter of about 2-3 hours. Eating too much fructose? I ate a couple chocolate bars last night. Not eating a certain 'thing'? Thoughts?
      Last edited by wiltondeportes; 05-11-2011, 03:26 PM.

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      • #4
        Average gut transit time is about 48-72 hours, so you'd need to eat nothing but water or glucose (which is completely absorbed in the small intestine) for that length of time. Certainly avoid fibre and starch, because those aren't broken down completely (or at all) in the small intestine.

        But in most healthy people gut flora is very stable, because your intestines continuously produces mucous on which the gut bacteria can feed. So there isn't any way to completely starve all gut flora. A very severe course of antibiotics would kill them though.
        "Thanks to the combination of meat, calcium-rich leaf foods, and a vigorous life, the early hunter-gatherers were robust, with strong skeletons, jaws, and teeth." - Harold McGee, On Food And Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

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        • #5
          If I ate that much protein at once, I would need some digestive assistance! In any case, I drink about 3-4 oz of kombucha with every meat meal.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Dragonfly View Post
            If I ate that much protein at once, I would need some digestive assistance! In any case, I drink about 3-4 oz of kombucha with every meat meal.
            Well, I haven't pooped much since...I think most of it was absorbed.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Doddibot View Post
              Average gut transit time is about 48-72 hours, so you'd need to eat nothing but water or glucose (which is completely absorbed in the small intestine) for that length of time. Certainly avoid fibre and starch, because those aren't broken down completely (or at all) in the small intestine.

              But in most healthy people gut flora is very stable, because your intestines continuously produces mucous on which the gut bacteria can feed. So there isn't any way to completely starve all gut flora. A very severe course of antibiotics would kill them though.
              Thanks for the reply. What do you mean avoid fiber and starch?

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              • #8
                It's been a while since I read it, but Ann Louise Gittleman talks about this in The Fast Track One-Day Detox Diet. I think it's 7 days leading up to a one day fast an then 3 days which has you adding probiotics (foods and supps) to re-populate. She doesn't recommend fasting very often or very long but there are definately conflicting opinions on this. I'd be interested to hear Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride's opinion on this, I think she's one of the best on gut flora.... (GAPS diet)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by julie-a View Post
                  It's been a while since I read it, but Ann Louise Gittleman talks about this in The Fast Track One-Day Detox Diet. I think it's 7 days leading up to a one day fast an then 3 days which has you adding probiotics (foods and supps) to re-populate. She doesn't recommend fasting very often or very long but there are definately conflicting opinions on this. I'd be interested to hear Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride's opinion on this, I think she's one of the best on gut flora.... (GAPS diet)
                  I think this is a generic programme - you do the detox, then probiotics as she probably believes everyone needs them if trying to lose weight and then on to the rest of the programme.

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                  • #10
                    It's a generic program, but it's based on her research and she believes that fasting does do damage to your gut flora and needs to be paid special attention to after fasting.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wiltondeportes View Post
                      Oh ok. Interesting. So what could potentially kill gut flora? Eating a ton in a short period of time? After getting back from the store after a recent fast, I ate a pound of bison burger, 3/4 pound of bison liver, 4 eggs, 2 sweet potatoes, an onion, and a stalk of broccoli in a matter of about 2-3 hours. Eating too much fructose? I ate a couple chocolate bars last night. Not eating a certain 'thing'? Thoughts?
                      What are you calling a fast? I did a 15 day water fast last month, and broke it with a 8oz Rueben (without the bread), and a dinner consisting of a 12oz steak and buttered veggies. It had no effect on my bowel movement, (went out like normal 48 hours later), no constipation or diarrhea.

                      In fact last summer I did 24 days, and you stop Bowel movements all together (at least for me) on day 8. The importance of probiotics is way overstated because of companies like GlaxoSmithKline (who makes Alli's "crap producing drug's" best friend, Align a "probiotic"). You're colon is infiltrated with bacteria the moment it is developed while in the womb, they are very hardy bacteria and protozoa can repopulate themselves in health adults even after the harshest of famines. If you're diet is good, I wouldn't worry about it.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ideal Peace View Post
                        What are you calling a fast? I did a 15 day water fast last month, and broke it with a 8oz Rueben (without the bread), and a dinner consisting of a 12oz steak and buttered veggies. It had no effect on my bowel movement, (went out like normal 48 hours later), no constipation or diarrhea.

                        In fact last summer I did 24 days, and you stop Bowel movements all together (at least for me) on day 8. The importance of probiotics is way overstated because of companies like GlaxoSmithKline (who makes Alli's "crap producing drug's" best friend, Align a "probiotic"). You're colon is infiltrated with bacteria the moment it is developed while in the womb, they are very hardy bacteria and protozoa can repopulate themselves in health adults even after the harshest of famines. If you're diet is good, I wouldn't worry about it.
                        I'm really not about any long term fast like that. My fasting only consists of waiting until I am hungry to eat, being too lazy to go to the store, or not being able to go to the store since they are closed. I run into the last two if I'm not careful since I basically eat animal, animal products, and vegetables (I guess most of us here do too).

                        I felt like something wasn't working in my absorption yesterday, so I was taking a guess on the flora being the problem and asking for ideas. It wasn't a huge deal for me personally. I'd just like to know what it was that I did that caused me to feel the way I did at the start of the thread.

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                        • #13
                          edit: I figured it out. Adrenal fatigue because I'm trying to change my sleep schedule.
                          Last edited by wiltondeportes; 05-11-2011, 08:17 PM.

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                          • #14
                            I pretty Michael know nothing myself, but the Perfect Health Diet have written quite a lot on it.

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