Category: Fasting

What Might Fasting Insulin Predict About Health?

In the comment section of my recent Definitive Guide to Blood Sugar, someone asked about fasting insulin. What does it predict? Is it the preeminent health marker? Does it actually cause harm, or is it just an indicator? Great questions and a great idea, I thought. Let’s do it. Let’s dig in.

It looks like it’s all true. Elevated insulin is both a direct cause of certain unwanted health conditions and an indicator of several other unwanted health conditions.

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Dear Mark: OMAD for Women, Low-Carb Glucose Testing, and Carb Limit When Fasting

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions taken from last week’s post on the power of pairing low-carb with fasting. First, do I have any advice for a woman who’s struggling to see results eating one meal a day? Second, how does low-carb interact with the different types of glucose tests you can take? And third, what are my thoughts on carb limits when fasting? Is lower always better? Is there a carb threshold after which fasting stops working so well?

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Weekly Link Love – Edition 65

Research of the Week
Blue-blocking glasses improve mania patients’ sleep quality.

The human landscape of ancient Africa looked a lot different 3000 years ago.

Without changing caloric intake, time-restricted eating improves metabolic health.

Ramadan-style fasting (30 days of 14-hour fasts, from dawn to sunset) activates proteins related to cancer protection, glucose regulation, fat burning, cognitive function, and immune function.

In Danes, taking fish oil was associated with larger testicles and better sperm parameters.

Women who take the birth control pill tend to have smaller hypothalamuses.

Grass-fed beef is darker, firmer, and less acidic than grain-fed beef.

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Benefits of Pairing Low-Carb Eating with Intermittent Fasting for Health and Weight Loss

Most of the low-carbers I know end up experimenting with intermittent fasting at some point in their journey, and most of the IFers I know end up drifting toward low-carb eating as time wears on.

Why?

Is it just a case of overlapping interests? Is it because when you stumble upon one big lie perpetrated by the experts—that cutting carbs will give you heart disease and leave your brain starving for energy/you must eat 6-8 small meals a day or else risk “starvation mode” and “slow metabolism”—you start questioning all the other advice they give?

It might be some of that. But a big reason why intermittent fasting and low-carb eating tend to converge is that they are synergistic. Doing one makes the other work better, and vice versa.

What are the benefits? What are the synergies?

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Intermittent Fasting: How It Works, Reasons to Try It & Considerations for Athletes

It’s curious how not eating can spark so many questions and debates. A practice born out of necessity for our ancestors, fasting for long stretches happened when weather or circumstance hampered hunting and gathering, or for shorter periods while on the hunt or foraging.

As food has become readily available and abundant in many countries, our near-constant state of food arousal can dull the hormonal drivers that regulate appetite and, ironically, lead us to want to counteract the overabundance with some restriction. When we eat too much too often, we get the natural inclination to push back from the table and vow not to consume another bite for a (possibly long) while.

Fasting, particularly intermittent fasting, is gaining popularity now as a weight loss and weight management tool. As some celebrities proclaim that intermittent fasting is one of their “secrets” to their hard Hollywood-worthy bods, more and more people will be keen to latch on. We compiled a list of our greatest hits on fasting and intermittent fasting to provide education and context around how intermittent fasting works, reasons you may want to try it, reasons you may not want to try it, and considerations for athletes who want to fast.

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When Does Fasting Cross the Line?

A little while back, Mark posted an article about 14 scenarios in which intermittent fasting (IF) might be just the ticket. We got some requests for a follow-up about times when IF might not be advised.

Mark has already written about cautions for women and athletes specifically. I’ll link those at the bottom. More generally, it’s important that anyone considering IF make sure that they are in a good place physically and mentally to handle the additional stress of IF.

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