Intermittent fasting has taken the world by storm. No longer is it the province of fitness freaks. No longer do you get weird looks because you skipped the break room donuts. Now you’ve got grandmothers trying it and doctors recommending it. It’s here, the benefits are legion, and you’re interested. But how should you do it? Are there different types of intermittent fasting? Are there different benefits associated with the various flavors of IF? Thinking about fasting, reading about fasting, and reciting the benefits of fasting are all pointless if you don’t know how to go about doing it. First, the most fundamental concept central to all the flavors of intermittent fasting is not eating. Skipping meals, skipping entire days of meals, letting yourself get a little hungry. There’s no getting around that. It will happen. let’s go over the different variations of fasting. I’ll give a quick rundown. Each involves not eating for a period of time, unsurprisingly. A couple other rules that apply to all the given methods: Sleeping hours (provided you don’t sleep-eat) count as fasting hours. Eat well regardless. While some fasting plans tout their adherents’ ability to eat crappy food and still lose weight, I’m not interested in fasting solely as a weight loss method. Keep your food Primal as possible. Okay, on to the variations. Stay on track, no matter where you are! Instantly download your Guide to Dining Out 12:12, 16:8, 18:6, or 20:4 Intermittent Fasting As the names suggest, these breakdowns of intermittent fasting involves fasting for either 12, 16, 18, or 20 hours and taking in all of your food for the day over the remaining window of hours. How to find out which fasting length is the the best one for you? There’s only one way. You have to experiment. You can start with a 12:12 intermittent fast, which comes with the benefits of intermittent fasting and is easy to do for most people. You stop eating a couple of hours before bedtime, and delay breakfast a couple of hours after waking. If that works well, extend your fasting period the next day, and repeat until you find the eating and fasting pattern that feels good. Lots of diets have added more detail to the intermittent fasting model, but bare-bones intermittent fasting is simply a shorter feeding period. If you’ve heard of Leangains, Martin Berkhan’s incredibly popular fasting protocol, you’ve heard of 16:8 intermittent fasting. How does it work? A daily 16 hour fast during which you eat nothing containing calories. Coffee, tea, and other non-caloric fluids are fine. Some people get away with a little cream in their drink. A daily 8 hour eating window. Three days of weight training, ideally performed at the tail end of the fasting period. To improve performance and muscle protein synthesis, you have the option of consuming 10 grams of branched chain amino acids 10 minutes before the workout. Always eat high protein. On training days, eat more carbs and less fat. On rest days, eat … Continue reading “How to Intermittent Fast and Which Type of Fasting Is Right For You”
You’ve been keto for a few months now (or longer). You know what you’re doing. You feel good about where you are. You’re fat-adapted. You’ve got a slew of recipes under your belt, your gym performance has normalized, the keto-flu is a distant memory. And now, you’re looking to explore further. The natural next step is intermittent fasting.
But is it the right move?
Does intermittent fasting work if you’re keto?
The short answer is: Yes. Intermittent fasting works really, really well if you’re on a ketogenic diet.
Hi folks, today’s post comes from my friend Max Lugavere, New York Times best-selling author of Genius Foods and The Genius Life, which will be available for purchase on March 17, 2020. Max is a young guy, but he’s accomplished a lot so far, including an impressive bit of research and writing about longevity and how to age optimally with grace. I know you’ll enjoy Max diving into the weeds a bit about the nutrient sensors, proteins, and catalysts that may help us live long, healthy, thriving lives. This post comes from an excerpt from Max’s newest book The Genius Life.
From now until March 11, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. PST, enter for your chance to win a FREE copy of The Genius Life as well as Primal Kitchen salad dressings and Primal Sun. All you have to do is head over to Instagram, follow @marksdailyapple and @maxlugavere, and tag some friends in the comments of the giveaway post. Three winners will be selected and notified via DM. Good luck, and enjoy the excerpt.
When it comes to slowing down the clock, life extension is indeed possible. The catch? There are two: it involves calorie restriction, and it has only been successfully demonstrated in lab animals. Studying longevity in humans is a bit more challenging. We don’t sleep in labs, we live a lot longer, and we like to eat. (Correction: we love to eat.) So while most of us would happily opt for a 40 percent increase on our life spans like food-deprived lab rats seem to achieve, we need a better route to get there.1
Is intermittent fasting a good idea for people with thyroid issues?
It’s a common question. After all, we know that the thyroid gland is a sensitive barometer of overall caloric sufficiency in the body. If a fast sends a message of caloric insufficiency, and the body thinks “times are tough,” the thyroid may presumably down-regulate its function to slow down the metabolic rate and preserve energy and nutrients. Caution is justifiable.
Before I get into the meat of this post, let’s make one thing clear: You should stay active while fasting. You shouldn’t just sit around. You shouldn’t give up. It’s actually imperative that you exercise while fasting.
Everything we do, or don’t do, sends a message. If you stay sedentary during a fast, you’re telling your body several bad messages.
As the practice of eating one meal a day has grown in popularity, the questions have poured in. Foremost among them is some variation of the most basic: Is eating one meal a day a good idea? Is it safe? Is it smart? Should you do it? And on, and on. I’m not here to tell you whether you should or shouldn’t eat one meal a day. That’s a decision for you to make. What I can do is, if it’s something you’re leaning toward, give you some things to consider before trying and some tips for optimizing it. After all, one meal a day is relatively novel. Six to eight small meals a day is highly novel in the human experience, don’t get me wrong, and I would never advise something like that. But, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are relatively well-preserved across the spectrum of human traditions. Most populations eat at least twice a day. Although individual exceptions exist, few if any populations eat one meal a day in perpetuity. So, what are some things to consider? Don’t expect it be optimal for mass gain. When you’re trying to gain muscle mass, you need to eat. You need to eat more food than you’re used to eating. Calories in need to exceed calories out. Funnily enough, it’s during a phase of desired mass gain that calorie counting really begins to matter. Focusing on the quality of the food you eat is great for inadvertent calorie reduction and weight loss; emphasizing the quantity while maintaining the quality is usually required for desired weight gain. It’s really hard to eat enough food in one meal to gain weight. Lose fat while maintaining muscle, perhaps even making neuromuscular or efficiency-based strength gains? Sure. But very few get huge eating OMAD. If that’s your goal, OMAD every day might not be the best option. Focus on protein. Protein is the most essential nutrient, biologically-speaking. We can’t make it ourselves. We can only eat it or pull it from existing tissues. For the sake of your health, your physical function, and your aesthetics, you should do the former and avoid the latter. Protein is also incredibly filling. Your protein intake might not make the cut eating one meal a day. You might eat too little. Plus, recent evidence suggests that to maximize muscle gain, spreading your protein intake across four meals a day with around 0.4 g protein per kg of bodyweight per meal is the best or “optimal” method. That’s mostly based on studies in “normal” people, not “weirdos” eating grass-fed meat or going keto or (gasp) eating a single meal a day. I suspect there’s some level of adaptation in us “weirdos” that improves our ability to utilize all the protein. On paper, there’s a lot riding against you getting enough protein. In reality, you will absorb all the protein you eat, even if it’s a ton in a single sitting. The real trick is making sure you eat enough—that can be hard. Don’t … Continue reading “7 Tips and Considerations for Eating One Meal a Day”
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.