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Thread: Fasting and its effects on Gut Flora page

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    wiltondeportes's Avatar
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    Fasting and its effects on Gut Flora

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    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 at 03:05 PM.

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    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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    Quote 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 at 03:26 PM.

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    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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    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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    Quote 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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    wiltondeportes's Avatar
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    Quote 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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    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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    Quote 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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    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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