From strength, muscle, movement, mind…back to nutrition. This time I would like to dive a little into ‘intermittent fasting’ and why it is not new to us.
a) Elevated levels of blood sugar/glucose/insulin ages us quickly and bring all sort of problems like T2 diabetes
b) 80% is epigenome and 20% is genetics meaning we can make what we like to make of ourselves.
c) Studies done on animals showed longer life for those who ate less.
There are several more benefits that scientific community claims. But I would stick to a few that have made sense to me and whatever I have read on the subject supports these notions:
a) The cells (responsible machinery) do good with periods of rest
b) Autophagy – helps digest misfolded proteins in the body
c) Low levels of glucose makes our brain cells sensitive to insulin and helps suck the glucose out of blood stream which is brilliant.
Note: Concept of fasting in India is ancient and its amazing how it relates to today’s science. The caveat though is – fasting should be fasting and not munching your so called ‘approved’ foods. Our ancestors skipped meals completely…literally survived on water on their fasting days. Intermittent fasting was a routine as we ate twice a day. Walked a lot (energy expenditure), worked harder with no luxury, and ate simple food – unadulterated or least processed #ancientscience
Result: Life without diseases and medicine.
a) Intermittent fasting can do good. It could be anytime however, to me it is more logical to skip breakfast (adding it to sleep time). Even though a subset from scientific community believes 16 hours of intermittent fasting is optimal for benefits but I beg to differ. It can’t be same for everyone or for that matter, we can not have a fixed rule pertaining to our metabolic demands. It is individuals metabolism, habits, work, situation/condition etc. that are to be considered before defining a timeline. Physiology in humans is very flexible and so is hormonal interactions/production. So I do not consider a thumb rule for 16 hours! I do 12, sometimes 14, could be 16 on some days, but I never starve myself especially if am studying. I eat heavy breakfast on days when I feel very hungry. No fixed rule.
b) Fasting is fasting even if you fast on Tuesday or thursday or any other God’s day for you. Do not eat anything. Skip meals completely. Sugar in your tea is food so do not replace not eating with sweet tea. Or at least skip one meal.
Are you listening ‘Navratra special’ thali eaters!!
c) There is always environmental factors that effect our appetite. Respect those. We do not get fat in couple of days. Neither we can’t repair our metabolic machinery in a day or two.
d) Food is a food. Do not live under the impression that special fasting foods available today does make you fast. NO…fasting is not eating anything! Period. We ‘break-the-fast’ every time we eat and god is watching you if its for him 🙂
Interesting: the days I feel very hungry in the morning are days when I have put in hours of study in something serious that drained my brain. Like today. Just like how exercise help us burn calories and makes us hungry; it seems brains consumption (usually 20% of total) of calories increases significantly when we stress it. Whereas I would normally exercise in fasted state and it doesn’t effect my energy levels; however, hunger after a good brain workout, is ucontrollable for me. For now at least. Will study it in more depth.
Ques: Should I kill my appetite on such days and carry on with fasting? Or should I eat?
Ans: My take today is eat ’cause unlike other days, this day my brain is not able to over-ride the hunger hormone ‘Ghrelin’ because it is highly active.
Give body what it requires. By all means cheat the mind/body on days when you can…but do not fool around. Will study more on the subject, but for now, I continue to eat when I feel hungry with intermittent bouts of fasting days, squeezed in my routine.
Advise: Treat food as food. It doesn’t matter whether it is a pack of potato chips sold as ‘fasting food’ or some other food; it is food/calories. It breaks our fast. So how about getting clever at it? How about having a proper fast (even in the name of God) that can benefit our health instead of pleasing your mind or god alone? My advise is only pertaining to how you go about fasting and asking you to fast. People who do or like to try can look at this as an understanding on how fasting works.
Here is how I would see:
Fast 1: Skip a meal completely and do not eat anything. Intermittent fasting.
Fast 2: Skip two subsequent meals and do not eat anything in between. Fasting
Fast 3: Just like our Yogi’s, fast entire day or two, but do not eat anything in between. Long fasting.
I can only manage ‘first’ for now because of my training and study routine. You study what suits you and apply. And if you decide to take this route then make sure you skip everything from Day 1. This way you will never develop a habit of eating in between and that, inadvertently, will take care of your health. Human mind has humongous capabilities….