The 'Anti-diet' - Fasting

The 'Anti-diet' - Fasting

For decades the food industry has told us to cut calories, eat less, and move more. Yet, Type 2 diabetes and obesity rates soar.

It is not a case of society not listening or not trying. It is simply a case of the food industry being completely wrong.

Why do you think the food industry pushed the 'low-fat', 'low-calorie' fad for so long? Because low-fat, low-calorie food is cheap to produce, has a long shelf-life, and is highly addictive and non-satiating!

In today's blog, I will tell you about the not so new 'anti-diet' known as fasting.

What is Fasting? 

Fasting is simply not eating. 

For example, you finish dinner at 8 pm, you go to bed, you sleep, you wake up and drink water, tea, or black coffee, you eat breakfast (breaking your fast) at 10 am and continue eating when hungry throughout the day until 8 pm and repeat. You have just fasted for 14 hours and fed for 10. This is one type of fasting.

Fasting can be anywhere from 12 hours to weeks (a little excessive in my opinion). 

Why Does it Work?

When we eat our body produces insulin. Increased levels of insulin cause our body to store food energy as fat. When we fast our levels of insulin decrease and we burn our body fat as fuel. This is why we don't die in our sleep - because the body is using our fat stores as energy to keep us alive. If you are eating from the moment you wake until the moment you sleep, you're essentially telling your body to keep storing food energy as fat.

The Benefits of Fasting

  • Promotes fat loss
  • Improves insulin sensitivity
  • Improves metabolism
  • Improves gut health
  • Promotes longevity
  • Improves hunger and mindful eating
  • Improves cravings for whole foods
  • Improves mental clarity and brain function
  • Improves immune system
  • Reverses diabetes
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves allergies
  • Rest for digestive organs
  • Improves cellular regeneration and repair
  • It's free
  • Time-saving (I get 30 minutes of extra sleep in the morning by having a later breakfast) 

How to Fast

Fasts can be various lengths and the beauty of fasting is it is so flexible. You can fast daily or a few times a week. If it's the Christmas holidays, don't worry about fasting, just enjoy yourself and make up for it the next week! 

These graphs below demonstrate how different proportions of fasting versus eating influence weight management:

Each pie graph represents a 24 hour day. Fasting allows you to decide which window you want to feed and which window you want to fast, so it means you no longer have to choose between your nutritional goals and your social life.

Fasting is not recommended for people who are underweight, pregnant, breastfeeding or under the age of 18. 

Controlling Hunger

Fasting can be difficult especially if you have never done it before and if you usually consume a higher carbohydrate diet. The best ways to control hunger are...

  • Drink water
  • Stay busy
  • Drink coffee or tea
  • Don't tell anybody who is not supportive of your fasting
  • Start small (12 hours every few days) and gradually increase
  • Trial it for one month
  • Don't binge after fasting
  • Eat highly satiating foods between fasts such as healthy fats and protein

I usually fast from 8 pm until 10 am most days. Most of my time fasting is spent sleeping and I always make sure to go to bed comfortably full and break my fast with a meal high in fats and protein. I am still able to train hard when fasting because I don't do an extended fast. 

This is my go-to recipe if I'm still hungry after dinner:

 ~ 1x frozen banana (magnesium to help with sleep)
 ~ 1x scoop of Inline Protein Powder (protein for satiety, lean muscle mass, amino acids for recovery)
 ~ 1 TBSP peanut butter (fat for satiety and hormone function)
 ~ 1 TBSP chia seeds (omega-3, calcium, iron, fiber, antioxidants)
Put all ingredients in the blender and whizz.
 ~ coconut water (healthy fats, hydration, nutrients)
Added until desired consistency is achieved.

 

Calorie Restriction vs. Fasting

Your body really doesn't have a way to measure calories. If you ate 100 calories of biscuits versus 100 calories of broccoli your body will respond entirely different the moment the food goes in your mouth. Biscuits will cause a surge in insulin which makes your body store this food energy as fat. Broccoli will create a very low increase in insulin and your body is provided with nutrients and minerals. 

Calorie restricting diets address the question of 'what to eat' whereas fasting addresses the question of 'when to eat'.

"The cycle of life is feast and fast. It's not constant deprivation". 

So if you're keen, experiment with fasting! 



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