Wednesday, 13 April 2011

What will intermittent fasting do to me?

Before we discuss carbs and how many to consume and combining it with exercise, let’s completely get rid of carbohydrate quantities for today’s article and talk about intermittent fasting.

So we think that fasting is not good for the body and it depletes energy levels because we’ve seen many an anorexic girl who typically fasts herself. There’s a difference between intermittent fasting and chronic fasting though. Chronic would be incessantly depriving oneself of nutrients and would deplete brain size and ultimately have adverse effects on your body. Intermittent fasting – whereby one goes through periods of eating and not eating – is said to have completely inverse effects on the body and is viewed as extremely healthy.

What more can we learn about intermittent fasting? It’s linked to longevity and decreases the aging process. Furthermore, it has been proved that calorie restriction is beneficial for longevity although a calorie restricted diet at every meal is annoying and you’re probably liable to cheat since you’re never quite satiating yourself. This has been proved with animals as well as humans – and guess what, our Paleolithic ancestors were compelled to fast since they had no other choice. But they didn’t know when so it would be spontaneous – hence, I suggest maybe once a week fast for one, two or three meals randomly.

My own experience with fasting takes me back to my pre-paleo days when I tried to fast during Ramadan* and I just gave in to my sugar and carbohydrate cravings when I saw a McDonalds. Since then I completed a 20 hour fast with ease – maybe something to do with my decreased cravings and my increased satiety levels on the Paleo Diet. So if you’re new to the diet, fasting may be difficult at first but you’ll soon get the hang of it.

Personally I've heard Robb Wolf say to not fast for more than 16 hours at a time, Arthur de Vany may skip out one meal and I've read another guy fasted for 36 hours, so it depends on you and there are no restrictions, so go ahead and fast and see if you can hack it. Remember, you don’t know where that next meal is coming from.

*I’m not a Muslim by the way – I just thought it might be interesting to try a fast.

Here’s a picture of a paleolithic man which I quite like. Fasting was probably a regular occurrence in his life - his life was probably epitomized by fasting and times of great feast.