American Parkour Forum

Fitness and Training => General Fitness => Diet => Topic started by: Jmoye on December 24, 2008, 08:04:08 PM

Title: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Jmoye 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?
 
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Chris Salvato 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.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Steve Low on December 25, 2008, 12:39:44 AM
Nice summary.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Travis Graves 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...
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: KC Parsons 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.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: KC Parsons 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.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Tyler Morita 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...
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: KC Parsons 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.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Tyler Morita 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.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Jmoye 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.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: KC Parsons 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.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: tombb 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.

Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Tyler Morita 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!
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Tyler Morita 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!
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Jmoye 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. :)
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Tyler Morita 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...
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: tombb 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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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).

Quote
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.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Tyler Morita 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!
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: tombb 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.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Steve Low on December 25, 2008, 09:50:18 PM
http://www.performancemenu.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=4
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 25, 2008, 09:59:22 PM
Did not read this whole thread, sorry...

Its more than just a "break" for your digestive system.  It lets your body sort all of its nutrients out thoroughly.  Muscles get replenished glycogen, liver may go into a glycogen deficit -- insulin sensitivity is modulated favorably and increases in pulsatile GH is shown.

All more advanced questions have probably been answered on PMenu -- so you can search the link that steve posted.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: tombb on December 26, 2008, 09:23:18 AM
Muscles get replenished glycogen, liver may go into a glycogen deficit

I am sure this is what Chris meant, but just to clarify, you -don't- have muscles replenish in glycogen AND liver go into glycogen deficit.

Rather, both muscles and liver go into glycogen deficit, as they convert it into glucose (mostly to sustain your brain which will not work on fat energy). Eventually you might even create some glucose from other substrates like proteins (gluconeogenesis), but never so much to stimulate insulin-induced glycogenesis in the absence of nutrients.

After you resume eating, a healthy insulin response replenishes both liver and muscles with newly synthesized glycogen.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 26, 2008, 01:27:40 PM
was kind of rushed, but yeh...

muscles and liver start using glycogen.  In order of priority, these tissues get the mobilized glycogen (among others, but I am being simplest):
1) Brain
2) Muscles
3) Liver

In short, the lack of food allows your body to hit a "steady state", in theory.  This is where you see a lot of the benefits come about as opposed to just some "time off" for your intestines. GI Tract and digestive system capillary beds.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Alec Furtado on December 26, 2008, 03:47:54 PM
[...]

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. [...]

I've always been told that your body will go after your muscle before fat if it needs energy.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Bret [Soundcrafter] on December 26, 2008, 04:28:18 PM

I've always been told that your body will go after your muscle before fat if it needs energy.

I'd read this too, as a reason why "missing a meal is worse than eating poorly." Thoughts?
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: tombb on December 26, 2008, 04:38:56 PM
[...]

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. [...]

I've always been told that your body will go after your muscle before fat if it needs energy.
It usually uses both fat and proteins at the same time if you are really short of energy.
Exercise and hormones (and other chemicals) however modulate the proportion between these various energy pathways.

Basically your body tries to figure out which situation you are in. If you were stuck at the bottom of a well (no exercise and no food), your best hope for survival would be for your body to remove excess energy consumption (dismantle muscle for energy), reduce your metabolism, and keep fat as long as possible to keep you alive and insulated longer with the smallest energy cost until you are free again.
If instead you were the predator trying to chase after the prey without ever catching it (exercise but not much food), then your best hope for survival would be to invest in muscle even at the cost of some fat, and actually increase your metabolism so you can actually catch your prey and get some food.

But yes essentially if you reduce calories for long periods or do longer fasting you are always going to end up with less muscle mass than if you just ate the whole time, but if you do it in a well timed and well thought-out way you can lose a lot of excess fat and still end up with more muscle than when you started.
Bodybuilders often use two phases, one with high calories for building as much mass as possible, and one with reduced calories a few months before a competition to reduce bodyfat. During this phase they exercise but their goal is mostly to try to maintain their gains despite the lower calories, rather than trying to increase them further.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 26, 2008, 05:11:37 PM
The body was actually not meant to eat 6 times a day....when you think about it from an evolutionary standpoint, 6 meals a day consistently makes almost no sense.

Our bodies can go for a pretty decently long time...like a day or two...before you can enter this "starvation mode"
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Alec Furtado on December 26, 2008, 05:17:38 PM
K cool. This sounds like something to try, although I don't think I would do well since I'm surrounded by crap (candy, cookies... it's the holidays of course) and would probably end up sneaking some... I'm thinking I'll go for it in college when I have full control over what I eat. I eat well now anyway so no worries until then.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 26, 2008, 05:20:31 PM
if you are surrounded by crap, fasting may actually be worth a try.  If you are disciplined and say, "I am not eating until 3 PM" then the crap is actually not too hard to resist -- and when u do eat you kind of make sure you eat good food not crap.  I would suggest trying it first before saying its too hard.  If it doesn't work, try it again later.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Steve Low on December 26, 2008, 05:25:45 PM
If you ARE eating crap though..... IFOC -- IF on crap -- doesn't work. May actually work worse than eating your 6 meals a day from the experiences I've seen.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Dan Frank on December 26, 2008, 06:12:54 PM
Wow. I'd like to know how you guys know so much about all of this.  :o

But anyway, I'm totally inspired to have more self-control. I'm definitely going to do some fasts sometime soon (believe me, I'll get a date down asap; I know what happens when I don't do things immediately.)
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Bret [Soundcrafter] on December 26, 2008, 06:52:55 PM
A couple points from a study (http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/86/1/7)

Quote
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes were measured in each of the 3 published human studies of ADF (36-38; Table 2Go). Evidence from these trials suggests that ADF [Alternate-Day Fasting] does not alter fasting concentrations of glucose but may beneficially modulate other indexes of diabetes risk, such as insulin sensitivity. Specifically, Halberg et al (38) observed that, when normal-weight persons fasted for 20-h periods (fast day) and then ate their habitual diet ad libitum on alternate days (feast day), the insulin-mediated glucose uptake increased after 2 wk of intervention, as measured by using the euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp technique. These results are supported by a study conducted by Heilbronn et al (36), which found that, after 3 wk of ADF, insulin response to a test meal was reduced, which implied improved insulin sensitivity. It is interesting that this effect on insulin sensitivity occurred only in male subjects (36).

Reaffirming that males benefit more from IF.

Quote
On the other hand, overall fat oxidation was shown to increase by an average of 15 g/d over the course of the trial, according to indirect calorimetry. The authors also observed a positive correlation between fat oxidation and weight loss, which suggested that those subjects with a greater ability to oxidize fat may have lost more weight (37). Thus, whether the weight loss noted is a result of ADF may depend on a person's ability to oxidize fat.

So here, the benefits are pointed out, but only the extent of them varies from person to person.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Alec Furtado on December 26, 2008, 07:04:50 PM
Those phrases are too esoteric for me. :-\

if you are surrounded by crap, fasting may actually be worth a try.  If you are disciplined and say, "I am not eating until 3 PM" then the crap is actually not too hard to resist -- and when u do eat you kind of make sure you eat good food not crap.  I would suggest trying it first before saying its too hard.  If it doesn't work, try it again later.
Yea... I found what really helps actually is just to keep my water bottle with me. I think I just like to have something no matter what it is. 'Course then I gotta take a piss every 10 minutes but I'd say it's still better :D

I'm wondrin' if that "oral fixation" is because I used to chew gum 24/7 (Stride FTW!) and I ran out and was too lazy to get more. Even though I ran out like... months ago... :P


Now just expanding a bit, what are the "safe" ages for stuff like this? I know religions that call for fasting that don't say people under and over a certain age should participate.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Bret [Soundcrafter] on December 26, 2008, 07:18:04 PM
Alec:The first statement just says that men are better than women.

KIDDING.

It basically just reinforces what Chris said about insulin sensitivity.

The second suggests that IF assists weight loss.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Alec Furtado on December 26, 2008, 07:26:43 PM
Augh sorry lol and the insulin sensitivity is what again? I'm gonna guess that it's good but what happens? You're more sensitive so your body makes less when you need it so any spikes will be lower? = less sluggishness & = less to be converted to fat?


If whatever I just brainstormed is true... how would you know that your body will make less instead of making the same amount and totally getting owned by insulin since it's kind of less tolerant...
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Bret [Soundcrafter] on December 26, 2008, 07:34:01 PM
I can't entirely answer that.

Higher sensitivity = less to get the same effect, so yes, relatively 'high' insulin levels would be lower overall, I believe.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: tombb on December 26, 2008, 07:42:01 PM
Augh sorry lol and the insulin sensitivity is what again? I'm gonna guess that it's good but what happens? You're more sensitive so your body makes less when you need it so any spikes will be lower? = less sluggishness & = less to be converted to fat?


If whatever I just brainstormed is true... how would you know that your body will make less instead of making the same amount and totally getting owned by insulin since it's kind of less tolerant...
Not exactly Alec.
Insulin Sensitivity is good because poor diet and lack of exercise cause the opposite effect, insulin resistance, which means basically you have a weaker response to normal levels of insulin and stop getting all the good effects of insulin. From there you can have fat molecules released into your bloodstream, elevated glucose, and your muscles don't get replentished with energy as efficiently as when they were responsive to insulin and you basically go toward type2 diabetes (all bad things).

Remember, Insulin is a very good anabolic hormone. Every time you need to have nutrients like aminoacids/protein and/or energy shuttled into your muscle, insulin helps you do that. It also keeps you energetic and healthy.
You never feel sluggish because of insulin itself, you feel sluggish because things (including insulin levels) are out of balance.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 26, 2008, 07:46:58 PM
Insulin is like money -- not the root of all evil -- its good that you have it when you need it -- but too much of it constantly flowing just leads to trouble...especially when you "run out" (for lack of a better analogy) and become diabetic.

If you are insulin sensitive you are actually more prone to crashing in today's societies because anything that is starchy/sugary will cause your blood sugar to rocket up a ton higher than it is used to causing a massive spike in insulin which lowers blood sugar causing your brain to be like "wtf is going on here" -- but that just means the foods most of us consume in today's society are the problem (pastas, breads, etc).


Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Alissa J. Bratz on December 26, 2008, 07:52:07 PM
Okay, I skimmed this, but I'm very glad it's here because tomorrow when I'm back in my routine and fresh I want to read it through carefully. I have wondered for a very long time how to fast appropriately but haven't really taken the time to do the research. Part of this is because I'm scared to try fasting. As a recovered anorexic/bulimic this stuff seems awfully scary to me.

Some days I find that I "fast" naturally simply by being too busy or too preoccupied to eat, and there are no adverse effects until suddenly I get this huge surge of hunger and I either go into a hypoglycemic state or I go straight for the crap. However this is usually because (I'm guessing) I'm already in a stressed period of my life (which is making me forget to eat anyhow) and have already been on a crap diet for a while. Life stress and crap diet usually go hand in hand for me. :P Arguably the hypoglycemic state is better because I have a system for dealing with that which involves consumption of juice or fruit followed by a protein source (usually yogurt or cheese) until I feel balanced again. This assumes, of course, that I catch myself at a point before the very thought of food makes me queasy. (Seems like a design flaw to me: when blood sugar gets so low that someone is dizzy, let's make food seem icky... wth is that about???) But as this is accidental fasting it's beside the point.

I have never tried to fast thoughtfully and intentionally before, although the idea has always intrigued me. It's good to see that there are noted differences between men and women for fasting. I wonder why this is (my guess is that all that childbearing evolutionary business has to do with it), and also where I could find studies that support a sensible fasting plan/system for women.

I will have to read this thread more carefully, and do some googling to find out about fasting for women. Good info in here. Thanks guys!
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 26, 2008, 08:04:22 PM
Muse -- before you google look at these two sites:

The IF Life Resources section - Articles, Studies and Recommended Reading
http://www.theiflife.com/resources/

Performance Menu Fasting Forum - Steve posted this earlier
http://www.performancemenu.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=4

The forum would be a good place to ask questions on female fasting -- or do a search there.

I would think, evolutionarily, women would not be fasting as much.  Males would go out and hunt/fish and be active during the day and get the majority of meals while only being able to carry little or no food along with them for most of the day.  Women would eat and prepare food pretty regularly as a result while feeding and preparing food for the children and rest of the camp.  This would mean males would adapt more favorably to fasting whereas women would not...and there is data and experiences that support this :)
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: tombb on December 26, 2008, 08:22:06 PM
Muse, I would say in your case just try easing into and testing it gradually and with a clear plan in mind to avoid doing things off of some remnant of old bad patterns.

If you are healthy, and if you precede it with very good eating and fitness and are driven by a clear plan and not by compulsions, your body will normally be very capable of going through at least a day without food, and this without ever feeling lightheaded, tired, hypoglycemic etc. It's really not a big deal for a healthy person.

If you are not healthy however those types of symptoms are something you need to listen to carefully and get them checked before attempting it again, because they shouldn't really be happening.

One way to ease into it might be to have just something like herbal tea with a little sugar on the very first try (so basically no solid food but still having some glucose circulating in case your body doesn't switch gears too efficiently yet) and then just remove the sugar if everything else is going well.

I am not sure about any possible lingering problem from previous anorexia/bulimia so I would check with a doctor, not just about his opinion but also about what blood tests he would recommend to check things up, and I don't know if this could cause problems from a psychological point of view recovering from those conditions so again you might want to check on that stuff with experts on that (e.g., normally a glass of wine is not a big deal, but obviously not for a recovering alchoolic).  It's probably not the same here and it could be no problem at all, I'm just saying you might want to check on that to be on the safe side.

About food seeming icky when you are dizzy from low blood sugar, your body is full of generalized responses that are not always perfect. I would imagine evolutionarily that one is a nice response for being dizzy from accidental poison, in which case it's a good idea to stop eating, and the low sugar thing has been less of an issue in comparison.

And about the difference in fasting with females vs males, just take some testosterone, problem solved... - just kidding :P
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Alissa J. Bratz on December 26, 2008, 09:41:31 PM
I would think, evolutionarily, women would not be fasting as much.  Males would go out and hunt/fish and be active during the day and get the majority of meals while only being able to carry little or no food along with them for most of the day.  Women would eat and prepare food pretty regularly as a result while feeding and preparing food for the children and rest of the camp.  This would mean males would adapt more favorably to fasting whereas women would not...and there is data and experiences that support this :)

I figured as much. :)

Muse -- before you google look at these two sites:

The IF Life Resources section - Articles, Studies and Recommended Reading
http://www.theiflife.com/resources/

Performance Menu Fasting Forum - Steve posted this earlier
http://www.performancemenu.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=4

The forum would be a good place to ask questions on female fasting -- or do a search there.

Thanks. The links just made me more confused. Or rather, they weren't terribly informative at first glance. Basically what I got out of it was that eating natural foods, eating protein, avoiding stress, and getting adequate sleep are very healthy and good for weight loss/muscle gain. These are things I understand and do (or try to do) already.

It also talked about the fasting as being either for a stretch of time daily (a la Warrior Diet) or for a full day 1-2x/week, and that one should experiment with these kinds of fasts to see what works, listen to the body, make changes when things don't work, etc. All the usual stuff we hear when we are trying something new with our bodies. But it didn't really tell me anything that could help me go about starting an IF program, aside from just eating clean and then deciding one day to fast, and see how it works, and going from there. I also thought I read that on fast days one could eat as much healthy food as one wanted, which, if I'm already eating healthy, how is that a fast day? Maybe I misread.

If I interpreted the information correctly it sounds like IF is simply choosing to be a little on the hungry side in a regular, controlled, thoughtful way; basically divorcing oneself from the idea of "mealtimes," or from eating simply because it is "lunch time" (or dinner time or whatever).

I eat when I'm hungry and don't eat when I'm not, for the most part, even if it happens to be a "mealtime" if I am not hungry I won't eat. Sometimes I feel "hunger signals" but I also kind of feel "polluted" so I will opt for just some tea or a glass of milk or a piece of fruit and then be done with it. Whatever will take the edge off. So I don't know if that's fasting or not.

I was very concerned reading about how fasting can aggravate depression and similar issues. I have depression and try to be mindful of how diet/exercise affects that (mainly because I don't want to go on meds for it), so that made me even more wary. (Boy I am just airing all my baggage in this thread!) :P

With all of that, plus the information that fasting seems to be less effective for women, plus my history of anorexia/bulimia, I'm guessing that IF isn't the right thing for me, although I can see how it would work for other people.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 26, 2008, 09:55:16 PM
It may or may not be the right thing for you -- however, I would still suggest you try it at least 3 times, in a few different ways (that is, so long as you are not in fear of it causing an anorexia relapse, or something of that nature..)  Some women really benefit from fasts so i wouldn't dismiss it without trying.

The Fasting 101 article is a bit too vague for my liking -- the best resources that are there is a list of some studies and headlines related to IF which people may find useful.  Searching "fasting" on pubmed can give you some bad results since most studies fast their rodents...its results can be the equivalent of googling "sex traits"...a benign search that may put porn into every other line.


I would recommend trying a *mindful* 14 hour fast.  This is really easy to do.  If you stop eating at 9 PM, by lunchtime (11 AM) the next day, you have fasted for 14 hours.  See how you like it - this is the equivalent of missing breakfast.  If you don't notice adverse effects (aside form hunger pangs..) do another day with NO FAST then try a 15 hour fast.  See how that treats you.

The biggest problem I have seen are people "jumping into the frey".  Starting out with a fast every day for 19 hours will make you feel like garbage...but starting with a 14 hour fast 2-3x a week then increasing the durations of the fast from 14 p to 18 or 19 hours will actually feel great.  After my 24 hour fasts, I feel like a champion and usually perform AS GOOD or BETTER at the gym than being unfasted - but that is just my experience.

A 24 hour fast for me is hard though -- i need to plan them on a day when I am busy.  If I am busy it's not a problem -- if I am just sitting at my desk i find myself just thinking about food all the time.  15 hour fasts used to do this to me, as well...now I can fast for 15 hours without many hunger pangs.

In short, start slow and build your way up into it.  I don't recommend 24 hour fasts to those just starting.  Definitely try a small fast and see how it treats you.  I think you misinterpreted what was said because the idea of a fast is to eat as much food as you want...since you are fasted, the satiety signals are less muddled.  It is really a great way to get in touch with your body, if nothing else.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Muhammad on December 27, 2008, 11:56:56 AM
I have some experience with this (maybe not for the same reasons as you guys) but I can share what I have discovered. I am required to fast at a minimum 30 consecutive days every year, with alternate day and/or intermittent fasting highly recommended for extra reward. The big 30 day fast every year is the one that is not optional, so I've been doing it every year for the last 8 years. It is not a total fast, but more like a restricted window type of fasting, where one does not eat or drink anything between the hours of pre-dawn and sunset.

During these times, I conducted my regular parkour training which was approximately 2 or three hours per day, several days per week (usually five). What I was surprised to find was that the thirst, hunger and fatigue normally associated with fasting would completely disappear while I was training. I never suffered any loss of energy or ability when training and fasting at the same time, in fact the otherwise seemed to be true. I didn't feel weighed down by food and digestion. My training sessions would end at sunset, which was the time I was allowed to break my fast. When I stopped training to go break my fast I would then become very hungry. Food would taste much better, and my stomach was shrunken after a few days of this so I got full very quickly.. usually after eating just a small amount I became full.

I have never noticed any negative side effects from fasting, however after about 20 days consecutive of the type of fasting I have described, I do notice my energy levels gradually decreasing and I begin to sleep frequently if I don't have something to do to keep me busy. My training has never suffered due to this.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: tombb on December 27, 2008, 12:43:28 PM
I have a friend who does that, although he wakes up early just to eat right before the forbidden window and then eat as soon as it's allowed again so it's really not all that different from having breakfast, skipping lunch and having a late dinner :P

But one big difference from doing it for health reasons is the forbidding of drinks (water), which from health reasons is not a good idea.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Muhammad on December 27, 2008, 01:55:33 PM
it's really not all that different from having breakfast, skipping lunch and having a late dinner

That depends on what part of the world you are in, and what time of year it is. You have to consider that the length of time between first light and sunset can vary greatly depending on your location and season. By the end of 30 days, you will be feeling it, trust me. Try it some time and you will see what I'm talking about.

Yes, the small meal before fasting begins is highly recommended. As for doing without drinks, it has never posed a problem for me, not even during training. Your body somehow finds a way to manage. There are approximately 1.6 billion people worldwide who do this type of fasting every single year, in all types of weather conditions and climates, working under all types of occupations.. and they have been successfully doing it this way for the past 1429 years. So far so good :)
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: tombb on December 27, 2008, 02:09:33 PM
Well yes, you won't die or anything from not drinking for 12 hours.

The point I was making is that in terms of fasting purely for health reasons, you would always be better not depriving yourself with water during a fast, as being properly hydrated would help you in every respect, including detoxing, metabolic changes etc.

It's like deciding stop doing any physical exercise and training for a year. You can definitely do it and still be ok, many people do it and have done it for thousands of years without even trying, but health-wise you would be better off with some sort of routine physical activity.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Eric Kropp on December 27, 2008, 06:48:36 PM
Quick Question:

If I were to fast from the time I woke up to when I came home from school, would I still be able to see weight loss?

My biggest downfall diet wise is at school because there are virtually NO healthy options.  Could I still lose weight if my fasting window would be from when i got home to say 9?
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 27, 2008, 07:07:13 PM
Give us hours of the day. Do you mean stop eating at 9 PM and then start eating again at 4 PM?  19 Hours sounds like an awfully long time to fast if you are just getting started.  If this is what you want to do to start I would suggest not doing this more than 2x a week to start while your body gets used to it.

Fasting is a great tool to use for weight loss, imho.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Alissa J. Bratz on December 27, 2008, 07:49:58 PM
I disagree with your assessment that there are absolutely NO healthy options. There are always healthy options. If indeed it is true that your school only offers junk food, you do have the option of packing your own lunch and bringing your healthy options with you.

This, of course, is neither here nor there with regards to fasting, but I wanted to mention it because I find absolute statements of this sort worrisome. You *always* have healthy options. They may not always be convenient options, but they do exist all the same.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Eric Kropp on December 27, 2008, 08:55:33 PM
Give us hours of the day. Do you mean stop eating at 9 PM and then start eating again at 4 PM?  19 Hours sounds like an awfully long time to fast if you are just getting started.  If this is what you want to do to start I would suggest not doing this more than 2x a week to start while your body gets used to it.

Fasting is a great tool to use for weight loss, imho.

I would be eating breakfast and then not eating from about 7 am to 3 pm from monday-friday.  Is this safe?
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 28, 2008, 07:33:34 AM
Thats not even a 12 hour fast -- i doubt you would see any real benefit from it hormonally -- it might be easier on you if you can only eat crap but instead of being hungry all day why don't you just pack your lunch in the morning instead of making breakfast...then skip breakfast and eat at lunch.

9 PM to 12 Noon is a 15 hour fast.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Muhammad on December 28, 2008, 08:43:32 AM
Here's some very ancient quotations I came across regarding food and fasting that might be of interest:

"No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any son of Adam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it must be, then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath." [Ahmad, At-Tirmidhee, An-Nasaa'ee, Ibn Maajah - hadeeth saheeh.]

Ibn Masaweh, a doctor, said after reading this narration:
"If the people only used these words, they would avoid many diseases and maladies and the clinics and pharmacies would be idle."

Another doctor, Al-Harith ibn Kalada said:

"That which has killed mankind is the introduction of food on top of food before it has been digested."
As for spiritual benefits: humbleness of heart, strength of understanding, lessening of the lower desires, lessening of personal opinions and anger, while overeating induces the opposites of all of those.

Al-Hasan Al-Basree said:

"O, son of Adam, eat with one third of your stomach and drink with one third and leave one third of your stomach to breathe so that you may think."

Ibn Umar: A man said to Ibn Umar:

"Shouldn't I bring you some jawarish?" Ibn Umar said: "What is that?" He said: "Something which aids in digesting your food after you eat." Ibn Umar said: "I have not eaten to being full for four months. That is not because I am not able to do so, but I was with a group of people who were hungry more than they were full."

Not reaching your goals: Muhammad ibn Wasi said:

"Whoever eats little will understand and make others understand and will be clear and humble. Overeating weighs a person down and keeps him from much of what he wants [to accomplish]."

Al-Hasan Al-Basree:

"The test of Adam, peace be upon him, was food and it is your test until the Day of Judgment."

And, it used to be said:

"Whoever takes control of his stomach gets control of all good deeds."

And:

"Wisdom does not reside in a full stomach."

Ash-Shaafi'ee said:

"I have not filled myself in sixteen years because filling oneself makes the body heavy, removes clear understanding, induces sleep and makes one weak for worship."

Also:

"Food for one is enough for two and food for two is enough for three and food for three is enough for four."

Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Eric Kropp on December 28, 2008, 10:05:09 AM
Thats not even a 12 hour fast -- i doubt you would see any real benefit from it hormonally -- it might be easier on you if you can only eat crap but instead of being hungry all day why don't you just pack your lunch in the morning instead of making breakfast...then skip breakfast and eat at lunch.

9 PM to 12 Noon is a 15 hour fast.

So basically I want to squeeze my meals in the 9 hour eating window, and then fast the rest of the time?  Will I still be able to see weight loss?
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: tombb on December 28, 2008, 10:58:50 AM
Thats not even a 12 hour fast -- i doubt you would see any real benefit from it hormonally -- it might be easier on you if you can only eat crap but instead of being hungry all day why don't you just pack your lunch in the morning instead of making breakfast...then skip breakfast and eat at lunch.

9 PM to 12 Noon is a 15 hour fast.

So basically I want to squeeze my meals in the 9 hour eating window, and then fast the rest of the time?  Will I still be able to see weight loss?
Eric, are you trying hard to lose weight? Is that your primary goal and are you willing to sacrifice some muscle growth for that? Have you tried eating well and exercising and nothing worked?

If you are not in such a hurry to lose weight at all costs, it sounds like in your case you would be better off just making sure you reduce your calories a bit and exercise/train to burn a bit more, while still maintaining a decent spread of meals, which will let you lose weight gradually but steadily and in a healthy way.

You -could- also do occasional fasting, or even as people mentioned here just take some part of each day without food, but depending on your goals you really want to look at what you currently feel more comfortable with and what makes it easier.

If you just skip lunch as you suggest, but you end up feeling like eating more afterwards, then you would be better off actually carrying some healthy food (say some yogurt etc) with you instead and not try to do the skip a meal thing, because in your setting it seems more like a bad habit and being less organized with meal-planning than a well-thought-out diet strategy.

If instead you were taking 6 meals a day and were getting sick of food and found that skipping lunch was actually easier on you (and say you don't really get hungry skipping meals), then go for it, but again that's still different than the occasional longer fast I was describing and a bit more about a strategy that works for you in helping you eat less, a bit like say making sure you don't go to the food store hungry.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Eric Kropp on December 28, 2008, 12:30:19 PM
Thats not even a 12 hour fast -- i doubt you would see any real benefit from it hormonally -- it might be easier on you if you can only eat crap but instead of being hungry all day why don't you just pack your lunch in the morning instead of making breakfast...then skip breakfast and eat at lunch.

9 PM to 12 Noon is a 15 hour fast.

So basically I want to squeeze my meals in the 9 hour eating window, and then fast the rest of the time?  Will I still be able to see weight loss?
Eric, are you trying hard to lose weight? Is that your primary goal and are you willing to sacrifice some muscle growth for that? Have you tried eating well and exercising and nothing worked?

If you are not in such a hurry to lose weight at all costs, it sounds like in your case you would be better off just making sure you reduce your calories a bit and exercise/train to burn a bit more, while still maintaining a decent spread of meals, which will let you lose weight gradually but steadily and in a healthy way.

You -could- also do occasional fasting, or even as people mentioned here just take some part of each day without food, but depending on your goals you really want to look at what you currently feel more comfortable with and what makes it easier.

If you just skip lunch as you suggest, but you end up feeling like eating more afterwards, then you would be better off actually carrying some healthy food (say some yogurt etc) with you instead and not try to do the skip a meal thing, because in your setting it seems more like a bad habit and being less organized with meal-planning than a well-thought-out diet strategy.

If instead you were taking 6 meals a day and were getting sick of food and found that skipping lunch was actually easier on you (and say you don't really get hungry skipping meals), then go for it, but again that's still different than the occasional longer fast I was describing and a bit more about a strategy that works for you in helping you eat less, a bit like say making sure you don't go to the food store hungry.


I think I'll try the 15 hour fasts for 2 weeks, and if I don't notice any changes then I'll just go back to a normal eating schedule.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 28, 2008, 06:16:31 PM
Fasting makes cutting calories easier, imho, because you are only hungry half of the day instead of ALL day, if you plan things right...but thats just in my experience and opinion.

The only way to make sure you lose fat is to cut your calories and eat high quality foods.  Staying away from spiking insulin helps too.  Fasting is just another tool to make sure that you achieve these micro-goals (cutting calories) to reach your macro-goal (weight loss)
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Eric Kropp on December 29, 2008, 12:19:02 PM
Yeah I think that with the extra time without food, it would help me to plan better choices food wise when I'm able to eat.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Spencer B on December 30, 2008, 05:38:52 PM
Is this healthy for adolescents? I have already been experimenting with this, and I have found to be a good exercise in willpower, and I did feel full after eating less. I felt fine, but I stopped for a the last couple days because I was worried about my health.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 30, 2008, 07:35:47 PM
Preface: I am not a medical professional.

I would not foresee any problems with adolescents fasting at all so long as their overall caloric intake is satisfactory for their growth.  That is, whether or not you fast, you may need between 3000-6000 calories in a day (or more, depending on genetics) to grow/develop optimally.  So long as you get these calories in your eating window, it shouldn't be a problem.

A 24 hour fast once a month should be good for people of all ages, save for infants and the very young, I would think.

Then again, this whole post is speculation since I know almost nothing on the importance of adolescent eating habits.  This is more of a "my 2¢" post than a post of the facts...
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Alissa J. Bratz on December 30, 2008, 09:27:48 PM
Preface: I am not a medical professional.

I disagree, Chris. I see teenagers every single day and they are growing so much, and there is so much going on with them, they have to be fueling that. I would imagine a thoughtful, mindful, controlled fast isn't that big a deal once in a while (I think your once a month suggestion is a good one), but I would caution against fasting in general for adolescents. The only exception I can think of would be for, say, an adolescent who is nearing the end of his/her growth window. But even then, boys especially have been known to have a "second growth spurt" in their 20s, even after their growth has slowed and even stabilized at the end of their teens (I have heard this anecdotally only; there may be studies out there but I don't know).

The other exception for controlled fasting, more often than occasionally, would be if the teen was obese, but then only under the supervision of a doctor.

Seriously, they're like a plague of locusts between 12 & 18. If adults ate like they do, they'd be huge. The teens (generally) aren't, so that food has to be going somewhere. It's going towards growing.

Again this is all anecdotal from my observations of teens, and just me disagreeing with Chris. Your best bet is to discuss this question with your doctor. I'm not saying don't fast, I'm just saying continue to be smart about it (as evidenced by your posting the question in the first place). Sounds like your head is on straight in any case. :)
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: tombb on December 30, 2008, 09:42:31 PM
For growing periods especially, you are really better off eating regularly and in a healthy way.
If you are afraid you might accidentally overeat and gain a few pounds, you can always lose it later.
But you can't recover so easily from stunted growth, and that does happen from eating poorly during developmental stages (puberty, infancy etc). For example, a newborn baby is much better off eating every few hours than doing fasting.

Remember, growth hormone etc are all secreted when you are eating well, fasting only has an effect on this because people can occasionally get offbalance from things like overeating and a fast is a nice way to reset your sensitivity to food in stimulating GH.  Your body definitely wouldn't want to make GH and try to grow if there was no food :P

Besides you often have different alternation of growth between upper and lower body and even sometimes between left and right, so going through periods of reduced nutrition and fasting during growth spurs is a possible recipe for getting your body grow more asymmetric than it should be.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 30, 2008, 09:46:43 PM
Well I am a bit confused by your response.  All the data I have seen shows that it doesn't matter when you get your calories for growth -- just that you get them all.  The fasted state helped hormones and other factors.  If you get the same calories (in a really extreme case, 12000 calories in 9 hours or 12000 calories in 17 hours) it should be the same, if not more beneficial if youngsters get the same hormonal benefits as adults.

This makes the assumption that the hormonal response is favorable in adolescents as it is in adults.  Also, this assumes that it is actually possible to get all of your calories in a smaller eating window...not to mention telling a kid who is 12 years old to "not eat" at certain times of day which subjects them to a high level of social pressures from their peers (not to mention the stress associated with that).  This also assumes that there is nothing else unknown in the equation (which is probably a terrible assumption to make).

At this stage of the game, if you were my adolescent child, I would not encourage you to fast simply because I don't know the factors of fasting and how these factors effect your age-group.

I am open minded (and optimistic) that if fasting was presented to adolescents or animals/humans that are still developing there may be some really good benefits.  However, I don't think this data actually exists...and it would not be worth the risk at this level of my knowledge (or maybe this level of knowledge that the community has on fasting as a whole)
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Spencer B on December 30, 2008, 09:52:54 PM
Hmm... Conflicting views from the people who's opinions hold the most clout... (And the most paragraphs  :P) Well yes, I do eat a lot, but I only need about 3000-ish calories a day, maybe around 4000, but no more than that. If it helps these are my current 'stats'

Male
15 1/2
161-ish #'s
5'11"
12% BF (Approx.)

I want to get down to about 9-10 percent bodyfat, but I can't change my diet because of some problems right now. This and I really like the prospect of hormonal control/regulation. (Angst SUCKS!!
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 30, 2008, 09:57:26 PM
Hmm... Conflicting views from the two people who's opinions hold the most clout... Well yes, I do eat a lot, but I only need about 3000-ish calories a day, maybe around 4000, but no more than that. If it helps these are my current 'stats'

Male
15 1/2
161-ish #'s
5'11"
12% BF (Approx.)

I want to get down to about 9-10 percent bodyfat, but I can't change my diet because of some problems right now. This and I really like the prospect of hormonal control/regulation. (Angst SUCKS!!

How are our views conflicting?  Even though I still think fasting has promising potential to be beneficial, I do concede that i would not recommend it based on the lack of data/experimentation with that population (adolescents and youths) -- and it is a very hard demographic to quantify in studies with a small population...simply too much is going on in the developing body.

I also hate to disappoint you, but you are 15 years old.  Controlling your hormones is going to be pretty tough :P  Your body is pretty well wired to pump crazy amounts of hormones through your body well beyond your control.  Enjoy the ride and take advantage of it by staying active!  You can make some pretty ridiculous gains at this part of your life...I wish I had taken advantage of it. :)
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Alissa J. Bratz on December 30, 2008, 10:03:23 PM
Actually, Chris, there should be some data on teens and fasting; if not hard medical/scientific data, then at least anecdotal data. Huge populations of people fast for religious reasons all over the world, teens included. Those people seem to do just fine, health and growth wise.

Spencer, the hormonal control you would get from fasting may or may not affect your emotions/moods (if I'm reading your post correctly). I don't know how all the biochemistry works but I'm sure it's complex enough that it wouldn't be a one-to-one thing. That said, I know from personal experience that a good, healthy diet can work wonders on chemical imbalances that affect mood/depression, etc. so if that's a concern of yours (I'm assuming some stuff from your post, my assumptions may not be accurate so take it FWIW), it could be worth looking into how to use diet to help with that too. As to how fasting affects things in that vein, I can't say except that for me personally (and my own body/brain chemistry), fasting is a BAAAD idea for my moods.

How did you arrive at your needed calorie intake? There are calculations you can do figure the exact amount you need. That said, looking at your stats, you are (IMO) actually underweight. And 12% BF is pretty good. I bet if you focused on gaining muscle weight, your BF% would go down naturally in the process, and the pounds you would put on (which you need, IMO, just looking at the numbers) would be muscle.

Any of the experts care to weigh in on that?

Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Spencer B on December 30, 2008, 10:41:26 PM
It's a general estimate, but thinking about it, just today I ate about 3550 clories, and I will probably have another meal of at least 500 calories by the end of tonight...

I didn't mean to say conflicting, at least not to be interpreted that way... Like you were sayings two things that seemed to be kind of at odds...

Muse, Before my first day of serious Parkour training/conditioning, I was out of shape not seriously, but on a potentially bad path (I would say I was at least 16% BF). I was 5' 6-8" and weighed in at 154. However since then, in my just over 6 months of training, I have gained well over twenty pounds of muscle (Stretch marks to prove it  ;D). Now calculating that would mean that your theory/idea is correct, otherwise 15 or so pounds disappear there. My problem is what happens after all that muscle is gained, and that excess fat doesn't want to budge. However reading these makes me think twice about dropping my BF%, at least until I get a little older.

I don't know if you can describe it as depression... Well maybe you can... Does frustration, endless wonderings/musings about life, purpose, and society that produce no answers + the sadness= Depression?

Also... You're saying I should gain weight?! If I gained weight I would either start looking like a bodybuilder, or my BF% would go up, which is exactly what I want to avoid... Or maybe I'm lacking muscle density...
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Alec Furtado on December 30, 2008, 10:48:18 PM
I don't know if you can describe it as depression... Well maybe you can... Does frustration, endless wonderings/musings about life, purpose, and society that produce no answers + the sadness= Depression?
If it does, then I would say I was depressed. I went through all that same stuff and it still comes up on me every once in a while (I'm 17 btw). I think it's just hormones and random crap that happens in life. I adopted the phrase "Shit happens" and began to stop worrying about the little things because they end up just running you in circles looking for purpose. Just live. Also, keep yourself occupied so that it's even harder for the thoughts to come up. This sounds more appropriate for a new thread though.

At least that's just my personal experience.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: tombb on December 30, 2008, 10:51:25 PM
Muse,
There isn't any controlled data on people doing fasting while young because you can't impose things like that just for the sake of experiments.  Imagine setting up two groups of teenagers normalized for everything else (already hard enough), then you make one group eat less, and find that they are all a bit less developed/shorter/etc than the other group, then all you can do is sit down and wait for the lawsuits.
For people doing it for religious reasons while teenagers as you mentioned what's missing is the corresponding control (a group equal in all other relevant respects except fasting during adolescence) to draw conclusions, basically those people might have gotten a little taller or more developed if they didn't fast during puberty but you don't have a baseline to compare. And with statistical studies after the fact you can't really separate coincidences based on other factors (genetics, other cultural activities, etc) from actual effects of fasting (plus the way people do it can vary a lot which makes it harder to draw conclusions). Still, even from those social-science-like studies you can see the impact of better nutrition in the on-average higher stature of kids compared to their parents.
You can do those more controlled tests with animal studies however, and that's one of the reasons we know that nutrition is critical at those stages, and if your body is already decided on growing it will take advantage of any extra nutrition and translate that into additional growth.
As far as the biochemistry of it, all those good hormones are again stimulated by the amount of nutrients available, and if you don't have enough good fat around for example your body will just stop making them and stunt you in many ways (look for example at the effects of eating disorders on teenage girls menstrual cycle, although that's obviously a more extreme case).


Anyways, I concur with Chris we are not giving conflicting opinions, because as they say the devil is in the details, we are simply pointing out potential advantages in normal situations (e.g., well-controlled fasting that is done for good reasons and with a plan) and risks in more specific situations (depriving yourself of potentially healthy nutrients when it's not even called for and where it -could- have long-term, irreparable effects), and then saying whether we think it's worth it in a specific situation.
In the case of growing periods we are just being a lot more cautious because, well, you don't get two shots at puberty, you mess it up and you don't get a chance to do it over.  So then while I might normally say "you're not going to die or anything from just skipping meals", in this situation I would ask "can you be sure that this is not going to impair your growth in some way, especially when you are not doing frequent tests to make sure you are not going overboard in any one direction?" And more importantly, is it worth it taking that potential risk in your case?

Which brings me to my view of the specifics:

Spencer,
In your case I think you are looking at this as a quick patch which is not even really needed rather than focusing first on things that are more important. First off you mentioned you don't have much control on your nutrition and that's why you are considering this.  I think you should focus on getting a bit more control of that and eating as healthy as you can first instead.  Second, as Chris said, you shouldn't worry about trying to control your hormones. Chances are, even if you had ways to control them you are more likely to mess things up in major ways.
And third, 12% bodyfat is not a bad thing for your situation, you should focus on other goals and let your already low teenager bodyfat% fluctuate accordingly to help you grow well and remain healthy.
If you are eating well, training well and developing well it will go to its ideal level on its own.

-And-, if you are using things like emotions and body image rather than planning, knowledge and logic to choose your diet, you are going down a much more dangerous path, because those things tend to get more and more distorted rather than remaining impartial and based on solid results and physiology.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Spencer B on December 30, 2008, 11:16:11 PM
Tombb body image wasn't the big reason I wanted to try this. I'm more than fine with my body image, however It felt like the fat was slowing my progress, and both my parents have quite a large amount of bodyfat. I don't know if they're obese, but they're probably borderline. (But they also smoke and are in generally horrible all around shape)

Emotion as an indicator... Well, I guess you could say I was using it like that, but that's not to say there's no tact involved. Everything I do, I think it out very clearly in advance.

My diet isn't too horrible, it's just that I can't really change it at the moment. It's mostly milk right now, really, I drank a half a gallon today.


Alec

In a weird, twisted way, I kinda' like it. It puts everything into perspective for me and lets me explore who I am as a person. Of course that doesn't mean I like it all the time...
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Alissa J. Bratz on December 30, 2008, 11:42:59 PM
Tom, I agree it couldn't be done with humans because of the lawsuits ("We're going to starve these teenagers and see what happens!" I can see the picket lines now). I was just saying that you can look at millions of teens who fast for religious reasons and not see any specific pattern of detriment. Granted, there are so many other factors there that could muddle the data as you said. However what's significant about that data isn't that they necessarily show that controlled fasting is necessarily good for teens. What those data potentially show is that controlled fasting is not necessarily detrimental for teens. It's likely not ideal, sure; but there are a million degrees of separation between "ideal" and "detrimental."

But that is neither here nor there.

Spencer, depression is more than just feeling sad and confused, frustrated, wondering what it all means. It is those things, for sure; but the issue is that it's when those things interfere with your ability to live your life--like if you were missing work or school because of it, or if it was negatively impacting your personal relationships. Those feelings you describe are normal for *every* teenager; they will probably fluctuate like that until your early to mid-20s at best (and they may crop up throughout your life as you experience life changes). It's normal and healthy for you to reflect on those feelings and how you relate to them and how you are going to address them. It's when it becomes an interference with your participation in your own life that it becomes something that may require a doctor and/or therapists' help, or, barring that, an awareness of it coupled with some sincere and disciplined lifestyle changes to regulate your brain chemistry.

However a good healthy diet and regular exercise will help with these things whether they are just the normal teen blues or whether they are indicative of "clinical" depression.

Like Tom said, and like I said in my earlier post, if you focus on getting strong, the BF% will take care of itself. It takes a LOT of work to "look like a bodybuilder." Unless you are working out for hours a day and eating bajillions of calories in protein, and basically making it your full-time job, you won't look like a bodybuilder. You will get muscles, for sure, and you will look strong and you may get bigger and "beefier" looking, but there is a huge difference between this (http://www.griffith.edu.au/sport/profiles/img/damian_01.jpg) and this (http://www.bodybuilder-photos.com/galleries/2003/2003-11_dorian-yates-grand-prix/images/bodybuilder_b-IMG_0017.jpg).

If you've read the sticky articles in here, about starting strength, and how to construct your workout, etc; and you follow those, you will be fine. Trust me.

I can see that you have your parents as an example of what not to do, if they're heavier and they smoke. You are at the perfect point in your life to turn that around and lay down awesome habits for a healthy life.

I think your real issue here is that you're at the mercy of your parents' grocery shopping. It may be helpful (in another thread, perhaps, since we're getting off-topic here) to post what kinds of foods are normally in your house and available (and also what kinds of foods are offered in your school's lunch program), and let us take a look and see where you can maximize what foods are available to you.

:)

Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 31, 2008, 08:22:27 AM
One thing I want to address is that fasting is **not** starving yourself.  It is reducing your eating window down so that your body is "fasted" and you see hormonal benefits.  Some people mix this with caloric restriction because it is easier and you are not feeling so hungry all the time -- just feeling hungry while you are fasting.  There are plenty of people (like me) who fast a few days a week with a restricted eating window but still try to get the same caloric intake in that shorter period of time.

Fasting is *not* in-and-of-itself a calorically restricted diet.

The reason I am opposed to it in children/adolescents, at this stage, is because evolutionarily it doesn't make sense.  Most male children, throughout history, stood with their mothers until they were 15-18.  Most female children *and* adults, throughout history, may have never even left their camp (which is the theory as to why females do not benefit from fasting as much as males.) Does this mean that fasting does not work for young males?  No, it may very well work.  But we KNOW you can develop normally without fasting and we don't know what may or may not happen with someone who is that age if they do decide to fast...its an equation I would rather not think about, either, because there are just so many variables.

As far as advice for you, spencer, I would say that Muse and Tom are right for *everyone* on this board, not just adolescents.  Focus on improving your performance and putting a TON of effort into your workouts.  If you do this, then you will not only get the body you want but you will be ungodly strong which both will build confidence and your adolescent musings won't be as...depressing.

As far as your mood, it is something most people go through (thus the incredibly high rate of teenage suicide).  Its 10% what happens/what you are thinking and 90% how you react to it.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Spencer B on December 31, 2008, 03:59:03 PM
Well, more great advice from great people. I get it. It's too much of a gamble to recommend for my age group. I will just eat and train normally.

Also, Muse, I already kinda look like the guy in the first picture, only my L-sits aren't that good, and my forearms are larger. I really think I'm just lacking muscle density... It's probably in my legs, cause I can barely squat 10#'s more than my bodyweight, and I only recently fixed my deadlift form, but, I can get at least my bodyweight.

Thanks for the advice everybody, I really feel like I've learned some things here.
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: jgoldsney on January 28, 2009, 08:29:24 AM
Well even though this is my first post I am not a Shill or some spam bot trying to flog something.

I was looking at a body weight exersize site which had a parkour section which lead to youtube and then to this site.

Was reading through the threads and spotted this one and had to chime in. I skimmed this thread and didn't see anyone else mention this but if it is a repeat of information sorry. First off I say hats off to everyone for discussing this even if you didn't agree with it. I mentioned this on a fitness board not too long ago and was promptly banned with no warning because I was promoting something "unhealthy" ::)

There is a really excellent e-book on intermitant fasting called Eat Stop Eat. The author recomends fasting for a 24 hr period twice or three times a week. Now I am not a Doctor or health guru but it seemed to me that the information was logical and he backs his thoughts up with good sources. Google it and I am sure you will be able to find a download somewhere. ;D

I was on this routine for 3 weeks or so but came down with a wicked cold (gotta love having toddlers in the house...they are like germ cruse missles) I stopped following the system to recover but I will be going back on it starting this sunday.

The biggest "duh" moment for me was when I realized that the 24 hr period can be adjusted to what ever works for you. Personaly I would fast Sunday lunch to Monday lunch and Thursday supper to Friday supper. I usually have a large Sunday dinner so was well fueled and it was easy to go to lunch on Monday. Usually have friends over or go out for supper on Friday so I have something to focus on to get me through that period. All in all I felt better when I was doing my fasting.

Just some food for thought....(no pun intended)  :D
Title: Re: Intermittent Fasting
Post by: Chris Salvato on January 28, 2009, 03:10:54 PM
I haven't read Eat Stop Eat yet...but I hear it is very good.

I think you just convinced me to read it :P