Author Topic: Intermittent Fasting  (Read 13230 times)

Offline Jmoye

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Intermittent Fasting
« on: December 24, 2008, 08:04:08 PM »
I did a quick search and didn't find any recent discussion on intermittent fasting, so I thought I would go ahead and throw it out there for anyone looking for alternative eating methods.

I've recently started intermittent fasting, been going for about 4 weeks now. Before this I was doing strict paleo, 5-6 small meals a day. I kept on this for months, and I did in fact see results. Eventually, though, these results plateaued and I was getting frustrated, bored, and sick of food. Well, I am very glad I found intermittent fasting. In the first 2 weeks I started seeing a difference. I've lost inches around my waste and feel great.

Brief concept:

The execution of intermittent fasting is just like it sounds. Fasting in somewhat irregular intervals. There are many ways to do it but basically they either involve having a smaller eating window throughout the day, or eating one day and nothing else for 24 hours. I have been mixing it up a little, alternating between a smaller eating window and eating a full day with a 24 hour fast after. I mostly do the smaller eating window though, eating between the hours of 12-6pm, and I have really enjoyed it so far.

My experience on it:

Intermittent fasting(IF) has made me feel a lot more free every day. No longer does my day revolve around food. I don't have to waste time in the morning on breakfast. I don't have to stop whatever I'm doing to eat, and it is liberating. Another benefit I have found is that there isn't as much temptation. For me it is easier to not cheat with this method. Also, I don't know about anyone else, but I like to feel full after eating. Not stuffed, but satisfied. When I ate every 3 hours or so I was rarely satisfied after a "meal" (if you can call it that) and that made it much easier to overeat on subsequent meals. Not to mention trying to time eating with pre and post workout, agh it was such a hassle.

I can't possibly do the topic of IF justice, so if you are looking for an eating plan, sick of your current diet, or if you're just curious about IF, check out this site http://www.theiflife.com for more information. This site explains all the science and methods behind intermittent fasting.

It might not be for everyone, but the key to healthy eating is finding a diet you can stick to; IF works for me (so far), and maybe it can work for you.

Anyone else have experience with IF? Thoughts?
 

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2008, 11:36:49 PM »
Terrific post.  You summed up the nuts and bolts on www.theiflife.com very quickly in a few short paragraphs.

I used to eat paleo too, but 3-6 meals a day, just whenever i felt like it.  I pretty much always ate to satisfaction or to the feeling of eating way too much food (i was doing the gallon of milk a day on SS...)  so when I stopped that and switched to IF i noticed immediate weight loss results (which was the goal) and found that I enjoyed my day a lot more.

I do maybe a single 24 hour fast a month and fast maybe 4-6 days a week depending on how I feel for anywhere between 14 and 19 hours..usually around 16 hours.  I find it liberating and I enjoy it very much!

There are a lot of benefits of caloric restriction and fasting -- the more research that is done on it, the more benefits are discovered.  There are no studies that i know about that show any adverse effects of fasting or caloric restriction :)  Like most other aspects of nutrition it is grossly understudied....but i definitely enjoy my life on it :)

EDIT:  It is worth noting, however, that women typically respond a bit worse than men to fasting.  If you are a woman and want to try fasting, it may take you a bit longer to adjust to the lifestyle or it may not produce the same results for you that is does in most people from what I have read.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2008, 11:56:27 PM by Chris Salvato »

Offline Steve Low

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2008, 12:39:44 AM »
Nice summary.
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Offline Travis Graves

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2008, 07:19:11 AM »
Interesting, for the past few months I've been doing 24 hour fasts at least once a month just because I felt it helped my digestive system catch up with itself and kind of "reset". I'm glad there's some basis to it...
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Offline KC Parsons

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2008, 11:02:50 AM »
I've found it helps when your diet starts to slip.
If you can control yourself to eat nothing at all, you can then take that and control yourself better to not eat the bad things.

It also, like Travis said, kind of gives you a day (assuming you're doing a full day fast) to go to a 'reset'.

Then, when you're extra hungry, you're less likely to eat out of appetite and more likely to eat wholesome foods, even if you don't enjoy the taste as much.

Offline KC Parsons

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2008, 11:51:57 AM »
I've been experimenting with IF for the last 2 weeks or so after I learned more about it from Charles Moreland and KC Parsons in Rochester and so far I've liked it quite a bit. When first starting, I found myself to be crankier than normal on my fast days, but my body started adjusting after I fixating it in my head that I'm not going to eat until a certain time. I'm not going to get into the health benefits, but mentally its great for learning more about yourself. You learn there is a big difference between hunger and appetite. I'm able to plan my meals out more for the next day, rather than eating whatever is easiest. Its also much better on my wallet.
I'd recommend IF for anyone, especially during the holidays when we all tend to eat crap with our families.

Not to mention for days like Thanksgiving and Christmas where you know you're going to be eating big, you can fast the day before hand to, in a way, 'make up for it'.
It's very very useful.

Offline Tyler Morita

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2008, 01:00:20 PM »
This sounds so dangerous! Avoiding breakfast, spiking your blood sugar, throwing your metabolism constant curve-balls...  There's really no negative effects to intermittent fasting?  No energy reduction?  No reduction in ability to build muscle?  no mood effects?  I guess I should read through that site...

Offline KC Parsons

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2008, 01:14:08 PM »
What's wrong with skipping breakfast? Who told you that's bad?


You actually do the opposite of spiking your blood sugar, IF includes improving food quality as well as changing your eating times.


Regularity doesn't mean optimal diet. I'm not sure where you got the notion that "throwing your metabolism a curve ball" was even possible/ is a bad thing.


Effects of IF actually do include muscle retention, along with theiflife supporting better workour habits to avoid this.


It seems like your ideas are based on commonly accepted advice and hearsay.

Offline Tyler Morita

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2008, 02:05:19 PM »
Let's say food quality and 'average' caloric intake are constant between the two methods (6 daily meals vs IF).

There's tons of people who say never to skip breakfast!  "Most important meal of the day" is a pretty common phrase.  From personal experience, skipping my usual breakfast high in protein, moderate in carbs and fats (based on about 2000cal/day, over 4-8 meals), leaves me feeling drained, lethargic, and generally useless all day.  If I eat a good breakfast, I'm stronger, faster, smarter, and more energetic.  Can you provide evidence to state otherwise?

How do you avoid spiking your blood sugar on an IF schedule?  You eat a huge meal, blood sugar and glucose peaks.  Your body metabolizes it, blood sugar level begins to drop.  Without an input of more food, your blood sugar will continue to drop...and energy levels along with it.  Can you point to a study that shows why spiking and dropping glucose levels is beneficial?  That seems highly counter-intuitive.

when I say 'throwing your metabolism a curveball,' I'm referring again to the spiking a dropping of available nutrients in your body.  Your metabolism can't continue at a high rate (high fat oxidation, high energy production) if you don't give it fuel.  Why would you want to spike and drop your metabolism?  Wouldn't you want to keep your metabolism as high as possible at all times, to promote fatburning, muscle building, and energy production?

I read through most of that site, and it contains no scientific evidence that I found.  The support for IF seems to be primarily the convenience of not eating often, as well as the psychological implications, forcing you to pay more attention to what you eat when you do eat, causing you to eat healthier, and the right amounts (can't over-eat if you can't fit more than 1500 calories in your stomach at a time, and that's your only meal)

The articles I read in the resources section of the site seemed pretty fishy.  A lot of guess-work, a lot of relyance on articles 40+ years old, and a lot of loosely performed studies (ad-lib diet is cited often....) with no controls.  If you find a really solid article, please point it out.

I have a hypothesis.  The effects of IF on longevity, muscle retention, and energy levels is due to the amount of attention the dieter is forced to pay to what he/she eats.  Therefore, the person will be eating healthier, while still averaging the proper amount of calories, the effects of nutrient loading then starving unconsidered.

Offline Jmoye

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2008, 03:17:25 PM »
I'm not going to claim to be an expert on the subject of fasting or nutrition and I will be going off the top of my head with my responses.

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There's tons of people who say never to skip breakfast!  "Most important meal of the day" is a pretty common phrase.  From personal experience, skipping my usual breakfast high in protein, moderate in carbs and fats (based on about 2000cal/day, over 4-8 meals), leaves me feeling drained, lethargic, and generally useless all day.  If I eat a good breakfast, I'm stronger, faster, smarter, and more energetic.  Can you provide evidence to state otherwise?

The reason I have read from some fasting guides for feeling crappy in the morning without breakfast is because after 8 hours of sleep with no intake of food your body is in heavy detox mode. Detox in itself can cause you to feel bad because your body is burning toxins for fuel. So when you eat breakfast, you break the fast, detox stops, and you feel better. So do you want to stop detox to feel better? This page http://www.theiflife.com/2008/05/21/why-you-shouldnt-eat-breakfastagain/ also describes the benefits of no breakfast in relation to the SNS and PSNS (which admittedly I don't know much about).  Not to mention a lot of it can be in your head. If you think you'll feel terrible not eating breakfast, you probably will.

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How do you avoid spiking your blood sugar on an IF schedule?  You eat a huge meal, blood sugar and glucose peaks.  Your body metabolizes it, blood sugar level begins to drop.  Without an input of more food, your blood sugar will continue to drop...and energy levels along with it.  Can you point to a study that shows why spiking and dropping glucose levels is beneficial?  That seems highly counter-intuitive.

Firstly, you'll obviously want to control blood sugar with eating proper low glycemic foods. But blood sugar raising is inevitable. But with fasting, your blood sugar has time to go back down to normal baseline levels. Whereas eating every 3 hours your blood sugar will be in a constant, slightly elevated state. So would you rather have constantly higher-than-normal blood sugar (leading to insulin resistance) or short periods of higher-than-normal blood sugar followed by a long period at baseline levels. Now if you come off the fast on high sugar foods then yeah you're going to feel it a lot, but sugar is just bad all around so this doesn't ONLY apply to IF. I wish I could find the video I saw that explained this much better than I can.

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when I say 'throwing your metabolism a curveball,' I'm referring again to the spiking a dropping of available nutrients in your body.  Your metabolism can't continue at a high rate (high fat oxidation, high energy production) if you don't give it fuel.  Why would you want to spike and drop your metabolism?  Wouldn't you want to keep your metabolism as high as possible at all times, to promote fatburning, muscle building, and energy production?

http://www.theiflife.com/2008/11/05/eating-more-meals-does-not-speed-up-your-metabolism/

They quote 3 studies on that page that show there is no correlation between meal frequency and energy balance. And "amount of food eaten, but not the pattern with which it is ingested, has a major influence on energy balance during mild food restriction."

I like this quote on the breakfast page in regards to metabolism changes: "People are so paranoid nowadays that they will starve themselves if they skip breakfast or it will crush their metabolism….that is so untrue…as your metabolism requires many many days of low intake to even start to slow down. To think one meal can cause your metabolism to come to a screeching hault or all your muscle will be destroyed, is science based on comic book research (or just reading too many bodybuilding and fitness magazines…which are owned by supplement companies who want you to eat 6x a day and buy all their shakes and bars)."

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I have a hypothesis.  The effects of IF on longevity, muscle retention, and energy levels is due to the amount of attention the dieter is forced to pay to what he/she eats.  Therefore, the person will be eating healthier, while still averaging the proper amount of calories, the effects of nutrient loading then starving unconsidered.

Maybe you're right. But even if that is all IF amounts to, it's just another way to be healthy.

Here is one of the studies done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/86/1/7.

Offline KC Parsons

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2008, 04:13:14 PM »
Yeah, general idea is to have the same average caloric intake, but spacing meals differently. It also doesn't have to be this way, though. IF has manyyyy different protocols.

There are all sorts of people that quote breakfast being crucial and most important. It's incredibly common. Incredibly. This doesn't make it true. In fact, you're coming out of a fast (hence the name), and can use this potential to lose fat. Glucose in the blood stream is minimal if any, and stored glycogen is lower and easy to drain to push into oxidative phosphorylative energy pathway and start burning fat through everyday activity.
Most breakfasts are way too carb-heavy, intentional or not. They're commonly responsible for the crashes midday. The carbs in the morning tend to be higher in GI and snuck into foods many perceive as healthy. your personal experience is not credible as a source to base generalizations on. I don't know the conditions you missed breakfast on, but those could have a negative impact. The reason you seem to feel great is probably due to the carbohydrates' initial effect on blood sugar to the brain.
Going without breakfast does not mean you'll feel the opposite however. The energy is different. It's slow when you first wake up, but picks up and sustains through the day with no interruptions (unless you eat). Also, you referenced eating multiple meals a day, but why?  This doesn't "keep the metabolic furnace burning" like it's claimed to do.

Just because you haven't eaten doesn't mean the next morsel of food is going to be rushed uncontrollably into the blood stream and cause a huge sugar spike and hurl your metabolism to hell. As long as you're eating proportionally like you should be, and eating quality sources of food, your system won't spike.

Your body has a perfectly fine source of energy: fat cells. You don't need to give it fuel, it's already there. By constantly eating, you actually promote fat storage, not its use. Eating more doesn't mean muscle building, either. That's another topic completely.


IF has psychophysical effects like you said, but also promotes physiological benefits, too. Fat loss, insulin sensitivity, hormonal control, maximizing food's potential, bodily detoxification.... Remember, it's when you eat that makes what you eat matter.

PS: going without food for 20 hours is not starvation.

Offline tombb

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2008, 04:21:14 PM »
Tyler,
fasting for short periods of time has many positive effects on your body, and doing it correctly prevents problems that might arise if you do things to extremes.

You mention a lot of people say "breakfast is the most important meal of the day". It really doesn't matter how many people say something. What really matters is why they say it and in what context.
It's true that this thread didn't mention reasons and explanations for this, basically it was a summary not of the why but of the how and conclusions or personal experiences.  And it's possible that some people on either side might append incorrect reasoning (like hasty generalizations from coincidences) as justifications instead of the solid and well understood scientific reasons for why occasional fasting can be good for you.  But there are very clear and non-fishy reasons of why it's a good idea to occasionally add longer periods of no food (I usually still take things like vitamins and hot drinks like herbal tea) to your diet and exercise rotation (I usually do it on some days off from training and when I am not already sore or recovering from strenuous workouts).


So let me give you my overview/explanation of the general reasons why occasional fasting is a good idea (I didn't read the site mentioned in this post so I am not sure if anything was mentioned there too).

You are basically trying to reach a balance between multiple goals:
-getting high quality nutrients in sufficient amounts
-maintaining proper levels of hormons, appetite, energy balance
-recovering, detoxing and giving rest to various systems in your body

Because of this, you are already alternating between intaking food and decently long periods of fasting (usually the 8-12 hours between dinner and breakfast while you sleep).

So think of the issue as whether it's ok or even useful to sometimes fast for longer than those ~12 hours to something like say 24hrs once a week.
The answer is yes, for many reasons.

Let's consider the extremes first, will something terrible happen if you just drink something like water or tea for those extra 12 additional hours? No. You're not going to explode or anything. Similarly would you be better off being able to eat continuously even through the night? Not really, that goes against giving a rest to your digestive system. You are basically sacrificing one goal to try to max out a bit more another, like gaining weight as fast as possible even at the cost of feeling stuffed all the times.

Now, the most contested aspect seems to be the part about maintaining proper energy balance, appetite etc. Many of these seem slippery-slope arguments, making analogies to something like yoyo-dieting (completely different thing) and saying that your appetite and hormones would go out of whack, and you will actually gain weight. Those are all fears that don't have a scientific basis.

In reality, there are several mechanisms occurring during fasting that help you stabilize hormones and appetite, and continuous eating to extremes actually destabilizes them more. Your body tends to adapt to continuous signals and ignore them or require higher and higher levels to receive a response. Appetite can get messed up by having your stomach always stretched, so giving it an occasional longer break can really help you feel full sooner in response to food, or enjoy your food more while consuming smaller amounts.

You are also more responsive to hormones of all kinds (including those associated to energy balance) if you take occasional cyclic breaks (you even do that for anabolic hormones, and occasional fasting does that for things like insulin).

Insulin spiking in particular is something you really shouldn't worry about. It happens all the times even just by eating proteins (even without any carbs or fat), since that is an anabolic hormone with many roles in your body. The fasting just like exercise actually increases your insulin sensitivity so your body needs to produce less in order to get a response, and as everything it's a well-balanced mechanism (throughout evolution being without food for a while was actually a very common event, so responses to it are well regulated).

Admittedly, on occasions when you have a slightly longer fasting, you are not going to gain as much weight, but essentially the trade-offs are more than worth it, and the alternation is worth building in your schedule.
The very small amount of healthy tissue wasting and catabolic activity is more than offset by the nice resetting and stronger future responses to naturally secreted anabolic hormones, and generally that catabolic activity really does act as detox and as activation of a few healthy alternative pathways like using us your liver and muscle glycogen as well as fat and later generate new glycogen when you resume eating again.


Offline Tyler Morita

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2008, 04:25:25 PM »
I'm not going to claim to be an expert on the subject of fasting or nutrition and I will be going off the top of my head with my responses.
Awesome, I'm going off of prior knowledge and experience too.

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The reason I have read from some fasting guides for feeling crappy in the morning without breakfast is because after 8 hours of sleep with no intake of food your body is in heavy detox mode. Detox in itself can cause you to feel bad because your body is burning toxins for fuel.
Sorry, this is incorrect.  You cannot use toxins for fuel.  You can use carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and alcohols.  Detox, as that article describes it, is probably more accurately referred to as 'your body continuing biological processes (digestion, metabolism) without additional nutrient input'.  This results in the evacuation of 'spent' nutrients (could be called toxins, because they're no longer good for you), or de-tox.

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So when you eat breakfast, you break the fast, detox stops, and you feel better. So do you want to stop detox to feel better? This page http://www.theiflife.com/2008/05/21/why-you-shouldnt-eat-breakfastagain/ also describes the benefits of no breakfast in relation to the SNS and PSNS (which admittedly I don't know much about).  Not to mention a lot of it can be in your head. If you think you'll feel terrible not eating breakfast, you probably will.
That article refers to people who eat extremely poorly.  People who don't understand proper nutrition would indeed be better off not eating those 1200 calories of starches and saturated fats in the morning.  The article describes, rather, how to eat properly, and how to avoid over-eating...which is what, I think, it's referring to when it talks about setting your body in a PSNS state.  That article actually SUPPORTS eating a good breakfast, and SUPPORTS a diet high in protein, and SUPPORTS reduced calorie food intake (regardless of the scheduling).
Quote from: Why You Shouldn't Eat Breakfast...Again
Morning meals must be carefully designed not to suppress the SNS and its highly energetic state. Minimizing morning food intake to fruits, veggie soup or small amounts of fresh light protein foods, such as poached or boiled eggs, plain yogurt, or white cheese, will maintain the body in an undereating phase, while promoting the SNS with its energy producing properties.

*Note: Athletes who exercise in the morning should turn breakfast into a post-exercise recovery meal. Such meals should consist of small amounts of fresh protein plus carbs such as yogurt and banana, eggs plus a bowl of oatmeal, or cottage cheese with berries.

An insulin spike is necessary for effectively finalizing the anabolic actions of GH and IGF1 after exercise. Nonetheless, after the initial recovery meal, it’s highly recommended to maintain the body in an undereating phase by minimizing daily carb intake in the following meals. Applying small protein meals (minimum carbs) every couple of hours will keep sustaining the SNS during the daily hours while providing amino acids for protein synthesis in the muscle tissues, promoting a long lasting anabolic effect after exercise.
This article is PROMOTING a healthy morning meal (post workout, if you workout in the am) AS WELL AS maintaining reduced caloric intake throughout the day with many smaller protein rich meals.[/quote]

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Firstly, you'll obviously want to control blood sugar with eating proper low glycemic foods. But blood sugar raising is inevitable. But with fasting, your blood sugar has time to go back down to normal baseline levels. Whereas eating every 3 hours your blood sugar will be in a constant, slightly elevated state. So would you rather have constantly higher-than-normal blood sugar (leading to insulin resistance) or short periods of higher-than-normal blood sugar followed by a long period at baseline levels. Now if you come off the fast on high sugar foods then yeah you're going to feel it a lot, but sugar is just bad all around so this doesn't ONLY apply to IF. I wish I could find the video I saw that explained this much better than I can.
'blood sugar' is not from eating candy bars and table sugar.  It's from eating any source of calories.  protein and fats included.  Are you implying that a "normal/base-line blood sugar' is that of a person in a state of starvation?  I disagree, and submit that a 'normal or base-line' blood sugar level is one resultant from a diet that matches your basal metabolic rate.  For most, that's 1200-1800 calories per day.  I agree that having a higher-than-normal blood sugar (and drastic blood sugar spikes and depressions...gorging on candy, then fasting) will lead to insulin resistance (and diebetes), which has been shown to occur in people with extremely poor diets and sedentary lifestyles.

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http://www.theiflife.com/2008/11/05/eating-more-meals-does-not-speed-up-your-metabolism/
They quote 3 studies on that page that show there is no correlation between meal frequency and energy balance. And "amount of food eaten, but not the pattern with which it is ingested, has a major influence on energy balance during mild food restriction."
That entire article is comic-book science.  It offers no support, no evidence, and is full of opinion and accusation.  The studies cited don't support the claim made.  That said, it supports BOTH the IF diet, and the restricted calorie diet...it simply makes the point that people eat too much.

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I like this quote on the breakfast page in regards to metabolism changes: "People are so paranoid nowadays that they will starve themselves if they skip breakfast or it will crush their metabolism….that is so untrue…as your metabolism requires many many days of low intake to even start to slow down. To think one meal can cause your metabolism to come to a screeching hault or all your muscle will be destroyed, is science based on comic book research (or just reading too many bodybuilding and fitness magazines…which are owned by supplement companies who want you to eat 6x a day and buy all their shakes and bars)."
A good example of claims based on opinion, with no support.  Also, the author is clearly biased against eating 6x per day without offering support.  It does make a good point though, that skipping one or two meals won't kill your metabolism (but it will drop your glucose levels).

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Maybe you're right. But even if that is all IF amounts to, it's just another way to be healthy.
I agree!  If following this lifestyle works for you, and helps you eat healthy, by all means!  All I see is red flags...and my current diet is working wonders for me.

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Here is one of the studies done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/86/1/7.
This article states that the health benefits of IF are 'comparable to' that of a reduced calorie diet like mine.  I'm not sure what comparable means, and they certainly don't say it's better.  It does say some interesting things about the effects of an IF diet in people with type 2 diabetes....hmm...

Awesome conversation man!

Offline Tyler Morita

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2008, 04:42:47 PM »
Most breakfasts are way too carb-heavy, intentional or not. They're commonly responsible for the crashes midday. The carbs in the morning tend to be higher in GI and snuck into foods many perceive as healthy.
I agree, and am aware of my diet, and eat accordingly.  My breakfast generally consists of 3 eggs, a glass of whole milk, a single slice of home-made uber-bread, and a piece of fruit.  I sometimes add a protein shake (20-30g whey protein), if I worked out in the morning (before breakfast) or I plan on strenuous activity mid-day.
 
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Also, you referenced eating multiple meals a day, but why?  This doesn't "keep the metabolic furnace burning" like it's claimed to do.
  It does indeed keep my metabolism up...just not any more (apparently) than a fasting regimine, assuming I get the same average caloric intake.  I eat many small meals throughout the day because it fits my lifestyle, has helped me eat much healthier, and (I guess placebo...?) has helped me to maintain higher energy levels, improved mood, and faster muscle/skill gains.

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Your body has a perfectly fine source of energy: fat cells. You don't need to give it fuel, it's already there. By constantly eating, you actually promote fat storage, not its use. Eating more doesn't mean muscle building, either. That's another topic completely.
Fat cells are an excellent source of energy!  3500 calories per pound, actually.  But what happens when you hit 0% body fat?  What determines fat burning or fat gaining is caloric intake vs caloric output...I AM constantly eating, and I consume about 1800-2200 calories per day, on average.  I burn 2600-3500 per day, on average.  By constantly eating, I am promoting fat burning, not storage.

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IF has psychophysical effects like you said, but also promotes physiological benefits, too. Fat loss, insulin sensitivity, hormonal control, maximizing food's potential, bodily detoxification.... Remember, it's when you eat that makes what you eat matter.
can you support these claims?

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PS: going without food for 20 hours is not starvation.
It sure feels like it to me!

Offline Jmoye

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2008, 04:57:17 PM »
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What determines fat burning or fat gaining is caloric intake vs caloric output

Hormones play a huge part as well. The idea behind IF is that it puts you in a better hormonal state for fat loss (lower insulin, higher glucagon, higher GH, lower cortisol)

EDIT: I just noticed the research page on the IF website. http://www.theiflife.com/resources/research-studies/

I haven't gone through the studies myself, but there they are if you want to skim through. I guess I like experimenting with my body and seeing what works through experience. We'll see how it is in the next few months. :)
« Last Edit: December 25, 2008, 05:00:48 PM by Jmoye »

Offline Tyler Morita

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2008, 04:58:59 PM »
So let me give you my overview/explanation of the general reasons why occasional fasting is a good idea (I didn't read the site mentioned in this post so I am not sure if anything was mentioned there too).

You are basically trying to reach a balance between multiple goals:
-getting high quality nutrients in sufficient amounts
-maintaining proper levels of hormons, appetite, energy balance
-recovering, detoxing and giving rest to various systems in your body

Because of this, you are already alternating between intaking food and decently long periods of fasting (usually the 8-12 hours between dinner and breakfast while you sleep).
A worthwhile note...my personal diet consists of a large portion of cottage cheese (slow-digesting casein proteins) with a good dose of fiber, and a colon cleanser that has the effect of slowing digestion. This leaves me with a long-lasting, slow-digesting source of protein and fiber, that keeps me fed throughout the night.  No 8-hour period of fasting.

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Let's consider the extremes first, will something terrible happen if you just drink something like water or tea for those extra 12 additional hours? No. You're not going to explode or anything. Similarly would you be better off being able to eat continuously even through the night? Not really, that goes against giving a rest to your digestive system. You are basically sacrificing one goal to try to max out a bit more another, like gaining weight as fast as possible even at the cost of feeling stuffed all the times.
why should you give your digestive system a rest?  I never have before (intentionally), and my digestive system works great (except yogurt gives me gas....lol).

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In reality, there are several mechanisms occurring during fasting that help you stabilize hormones and appetite, and continuous eating to extremes actually destabilizes them more. Your body tends to adapt to continuous signals and ignore them or require higher and higher levels to receive a response. Appetite can get messed up by having your stomach always stretched, so giving it an occasional longer break can really help you feel full sooner in response to food, or enjoy your food more while consuming smaller amounts.
My stomach is never stretched.  Constantly eating, and averaging <2000 cal. per day means I'm rarely eating more than the volume of a piece of fruit or half a sandwich at a time. More than that and I would feel totally stuffed.  My friends look at me weird when I eat at their place, and only take tiny ass servings and claim to be stuffed...lol

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You are also more responsive to hormones of all kinds (including those associated to energy balance) if you take occasional cyclic breaks (you even do that for anabolic hormones, and occasional fasting does that for things like insulin).
Interesting idea, and the first thing that's made me consider an occasional fast...I get more drunk if I only drink once every couple weeks...I get more loopy if I only smoke once in a great while...Would I be more energetic after eating if I deprived my body of food for a period first?  Still sounds dangerous...

Offline tombb

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2008, 05:40:44 PM »
So let me give you my overview/explanation of the general reasons why occasional fasting is a good idea (I didn't read the site mentioned in this post so I am not sure if anything was mentioned there too).

You are basically trying to reach a balance between multiple goals:
-getting high quality nutrients in sufficient amounts
-maintaining proper levels of hormons, appetite, energy balance
-recovering, detoxing and giving rest to various systems in your body

Because of this, you are already alternating between intaking food and decently long periods of fasting (usually the 8-12 hours between dinner and breakfast while you sleep).
A worthwhile note...my personal diet consists of a large portion of cottage cheese (slow-digesting casein proteins) with a good dose of fiber, and a colon cleanser that has the effect of slowing digestion. This leaves me with a long-lasting, slow-digesting source of protein and fiber, that keeps me fed throughout the night.  No 8-hour period of fasting.
I do that too actually (I use pure casein proteins and sometimes normal fat-free or 2% cheese, I personally can't stand cottage cheese taste and consistency).  It's a very good idea especially if you are working on building muscle and recovering.
But the point that I was making is that most people do have more or less those 8 hours of fasting.
The idea again is not that eating well with frequent meals is bad, not at all, that is good too.  It's just that occasional fasting has also many advantages that you would be missing out on if you did that routine continuously without ever alternating anything else in between.

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Let's consider the extremes first, will something terrible happen if you just drink something like water or tea for those extra 12 additional hours? No. You're not going to explode or anything. Similarly would you be better off being able to eat continuously even through the night? Not really, that goes against giving a rest to your digestive system. You are basically sacrificing one goal to try to max out a bit more another, like gaining weight as fast as possible even at the cost of feeling stuffed all the times.
why should you give your digestive system a rest?  I never have before (intentionally), and my digestive system works great (except yogurt gives me gas....lol).
Again I would say you don't -need- to give your digestive system a break, but it can be beneficial to do it.  Just think of it as some other things that are nice to do occasionally, like say a sauna or a massage or rotating in a different exercise program or even a few extra days of rest away from exercise etc. 
Don't get me wrong, your digestive system could be working perfectly well without ever fasting especially if you are eating perfectly. On the other hand it's also possible that it might get a bit out of whack despite your best intentions, and in those cases something like a brief fast can make it easier to recover.
It's a bit like in training, where you could accidentally overtrain and not realize it, so rotating in a few extra days of rest tends to be very useful in general and even more so when you are potentially overtrained.

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In reality, there are several mechanisms occurring during fasting that help you stabilize hormones and appetite, and continuous eating to extremes actually destabilizes them more. Your body tends to adapt to continuous signals and ignore them or require higher and higher levels to receive a response. Appetite can get messed up by having your stomach always stretched, so giving it an occasional longer break can really help you feel full sooner in response to food, or enjoy your food more while consuming smaller amounts.
My stomach is never stretched.  Constantly eating, and averaging <2000 cal. per day means I'm rarely eating more than the volume of a piece of fruit or half a sandwich at a time. More than that and I would feel totally stuffed.  My friends look at me weird when I eat at their place, and only take tiny ass servings and claim to be stuffed...lol
Well again that's a sign everything is working fairly well with your diet and you already got used to smaller portions just from your diet and caloric restriction.  It can however be a problem for other people who don't currently have a good diet, and an occasional fasting can be easier to try and get that effect for those who are still trying to work on figuring out their ideal diet.
Again in my view it's sort of a quick occasional catch-up and self-check solution that can make you realize if you have problems and help you resolve them (lack of appetite, too much appetite, digestive problems, metabolic problems etc).

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You are also more responsive to hormones of all kinds (including those associated to energy balance) if you take occasional cyclic breaks (you even do that for anabolic hormones, and occasional fasting does that for things like insulin).
Interesting idea, and the first thing that's made me consider an occasional fast...I get more drunk if I only drink once every couple weeks...I get more loopy if I only smoke once in a great while...Would I be more energetic after eating if I deprived my body of food for a period first?  Still sounds dangerous...
Being energetic is a funny thing, the morbidly obese guy eating 5000 calories on his couch is not feeling very energetic despite having more calories than he could possibly need. On the other hand the skinny mouse (or person) that is fed a bit less food than they need is generally hyper and full of energy.  It sort of makes sense if you think of it in terms of evolution and long-term survival, if you are hungry you need to be full of energy and hyper to find food (at least for the first 2-3 weeks), and if you are overfed you can instead relax for a while.
If you feel low-energy from just doing something for 24hrs, that's not usually a real reflection of the energy available to you, just that somehow your metabolism is not quite switching properly yet.
Basically you really don't deprive yourself in the real sense of the word by just doing one day of no food, you just temporarily switch gears, and it's really in no way dangerous for normal people (if you were in the wild again this would be a fairly common occurrence).
In general, even on much longer fasts (which are not what I am recommending in general) people might actually feel a bit off on the first 1-3 days and after that they feel again full of energy (and also find themselves really enjoying TV channels like the food network a lot more :P).

In general what I think you'll probably experience if you tried this would be possibly better appetite and enjoyment of food and more energy, rather than less.  You don't have to include it in your diet but it can definitely be a good idea to rotate it in occasionally as I mentioned as a self-check and normalizing rest day.

Offline Tyler Morita

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2008, 06:24:24 PM »
Tombb, awesome!  +1 to you, sir.

I HATE cottage cheese too, but I choke it down anyways for the casein.  What do you use for your casein source? I'd love to cut the daily bowl of pig vomit out of my diet...

I really like how you present the idea of an occasional fast.  maybe once a month, a 24 hour break from food might be really good for detox and a 'digestive reset'...and one day of fasting per month certainly wouldn't hurt me.

The intermittent fasting thing still scares me, and doesn't make a ton of sense...if I want to be active and building muscle every day, I need to keep my body well fueled.  I will definitely try adding an occasional fast to my 'diet' though, I can see how that could potentially help me.  I'll try this in the near future, and report back!

Offline tombb

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2008, 07:03:45 PM »
Tombb, awesome!  +1 to you, sir.

I HATE cottage cheese too, but I choke it down anyways for the casein.  What do you use for your casein source? I'd love to cut the daily bowl of pig vomit out of my diet...
Well as I mentioned there's cheap protein powder that's pure casein, any is good, I just know of things like "Optimum Nutrition 100% casein protein" (about $1 for every ~30g of pure casein protein which is very cheap compared to real food). Or there are even more mixed protein powders with a mix of fast- and slow-digesting proteins.
Otherwise occasionally I have things like 2% provolone cheese, although that's more expensive and still has a decent amount of fat (but tastes great to me). There is fat free cheese (things like kraft slices) but it's not very solid at room temperature and doesn't taste all that great by itself so I usually have it with things like cucumbers and other vegetables to add flavor.

I really like how you present the idea of an occasional fast.  maybe once a month, a 24 hour break from food might be really good for detox and a 'digestive reset'...and one day of fasting per month certainly wouldn't hurt me.

The intermittent fasting thing still scares me, and doesn't make a ton of sense...if I want to be active and building muscle every day, I need to keep my body well fueled.  I will definitely try adding an occasional fast to my 'diet' though, I can see how that could potentially help me.  I'll try this in the near future, and report back!
Good to hear you're considering the idea a bit more, I would definitely agree normally if you want to build muscle you want to keep a steady stream of proteins and nutrients and this is something you occasionally rotate in to shake things up a bit for the better. There might be other ways to do this and other reasons (as I mentioned I don't know what that site people linked says exactly or whether I would agree with everything there) but that's one way I definitely recommend over others.

One thing that's important to separate is the difference between absolutely optimal and good enough can often be much smaller than we imagine. For example people can still build a lot of muscle even with a somewhat spotty and imperfect diet, it's sort of an application of the law of diminishing results.  The plus side of that is that if at times you can't optimize everything, you really don't need to be afraid of losing quite so much in terms of your progress.

If you try, I would again suggest you do it more on a rest day when you don't have a lot of muscle soreness and recovery to do and when you are not doing a lot of exercise, and still drink a normal amount of water (or say tea) during that day.

Offline Steve Low

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Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #19 on: December 25, 2008, 09:50:18 PM »
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