Monday, January 2, 2017


 This is the beginning of anything you want. Page 1 of 365. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018!

The Eat - Stop - Eat method or Intermittent Fasting  should be our lifestyle. It actually mimics the eating habits of our ancestors who did not have access to food at any time. Recent studies suggest that the human body was designed to function alternatively through periods with plenty of food and periods with no food. Without fasting, our health status is affected -  this is demonstrated  by the modern lifestyle, when too frequent eating triggers numerous chronic diseases and obesity which became endemic in the last decades. Eating continuously during a day, without skipping any meal determines the body to use carbohydrates as the main fuel and impairs the burning of the fat deposits for producing energy. On the other side - when not busy with processing the ingested food, our body is healing and repairing itself.
Though very controversial, intermittent fasting is becoming highly popular these days due to its multiple benefits on health and longevity.

What is Intermittent Fasting? 
A type of scheduled eating plan, consisting of the restriction of the normal daily eating to a limited window of hours without cutting calories. 
There are many forms of intermittent fasting. Here are the most popular:

1. The 16/8 Method

The 16/8 Method involves fasting every day for 14-16 hours, and restricting the daily “eating window” to 8-10 hours.
Within the eating window, you can fit in 2, 3 or more meals.
This method is also known as the Leangains Protocol, and was popularized by fitness expert Martin Berkhan.
Doing this method of fasting can actually be as simple as not eating anything after dinner, and skipping breakfast.
Water, coffee and other non-caloric beverages are recommended during the fast, this can help reduce hunger levels.
For women shorter fasting intervals are recommended, 14-15 hours.
It is very important to eat healthy food during your eating window. Eating junk food or an excessive amount of calories will compromise the benefits of the intermittent fasting.

2. The 5:2 Diet  

The 5:2 diet involves eating normally 5 days of the week, while restricting to 500-600 the amount of calories on 2 days of the week.
This diet is also called the Fast diet, and was popularized by British doctor and journalist Michael Mosley.
On the fasting days, it is recommended that women eat 500 calories, and men 600 calories.

 3. Eat - Stop - Eat 

Eat-Stop-Eat involves a 24-hour fast, either once or twice per week.
This method was popularized by fitness expert Brad Pilon, and has been quite popular for a few years.
Water, coffee and other non-caloric beverages are allowed during the fast, but no solid food.
A full 24-hour fast can be fairly difficult for many people.

4. Alternate-Day Fasting 

Alternate-Day fasting means fasting every other day.
There are several different versions of this. Some of them allow about 500 calories during the fasting days.
A full fast every other day seems rather extreme, so it is not recommended for beginners.

5. The Warrior Diet 

The Warrior Diet was popularized by fitness expert Ori Hofmekler.
It involves eating small amounts of raw fruits  and vegetables during the day, then eating a big meal at night.
Basically, you 'fast' all day and 'celebrate' at night within a 4 hour eating window.
The Warrior Diet was one of the first popular diets to include a form of intermittent fasting.

6. Spontaneous Meal Skipping 

Another option is to simply skip meals from time to time, when you don’t feel hungry or are too busy to cook and eat.
Skipping 1 or 2 meals when you feel so is basically a spontaneous intermittent fast.

My favorite method is the 16/8 method; it is my lifestyle for more than 2 years now. I also work out first thing early in the morning, after the morning meditation and before eating anything. Coffee and water with lemon maintain satiety. My energy level is very high during the whole day.

Research in nutrition, anti aging medicine, endocrinology and other areas has proven the effects of the intermittent fasting:
  • helps regulating Insulin sensitivity, important for our health; poor Insulin sensitivity causes type 2 diabetes.
  • HGH - Human Growth Hormone levels may increase up to 5 fold during fasting periods; high levels of HGH favor fat burning and muscle gain.
  • normalises the levels of the 'hunger hormones' - Ghrelin and Leptin
  • helps to suppress inflammation processes and can reduce oxidative stress
  • lowers triglycerides levels
  • induces cellular repair processes 
  • determines beneficial changes in genes related to longevity 
  • short term fasting increases the metabolic rate by 3,6-14%, contributing to weight loss 
  • by improving blood pressure and reducing blood levels of sugar, triglycerides, cholesteroland inflammatory markers, intermittent fasting significantly lowers the risk for developing  heart diseases.
  • fasting triggers autophagy - a cellular 'waste removal' metabolic process that protects the human body against severe diseases (malignant diseases, Alzheimer disease,etc.)
  • studies done on animals indicate that fasting may help in preventing cancer through the numerous beneficial effects on the metabolism; human studies showed that it can decrease the side reactions of chemotherapy.
  • several studies in rats have shown that intermittent fasting may increase the growth of new neurons, which should have benefits for the brain function; it also protects the brain from damage.
  • last and most exciting - intermittent fasting could extend the lifespan; in one of the studies, rats that fasted every other day lived 83% longer than rats who did not fast. Very promissing!

These are the effects of the intermittent fasting proven by animal studies. But what about us, humans? Is the human body programmed for a low meal frequency? Only a few experimental studies have been coducted on human subjects, they led to controversial reactions.

A very interesting aspect is the association of intermittent fasting with exercise. It has been shown that working out when in a fasted state, 'on an empty stomach', has multiple beneficial effects on health and fitness. Dr. Mercola suggests that it could be the key "to keep the body biologically young". The easiest way to do this is exercising first thing in the morning, before eating breakfast.

The combination of fasting and physical exercise increases the impact of cellular factors and catalysts, forcing the breakdown of fat and glycogen for energy. 

Gender is another important factor in human and animal studies. Female-specific responses to fasting raise an interesting scientific phenomenon. Researchers have been finding evidence that there is indeed a compromise  between fertility and longevity of organisms.
The same genes that promote human longevity may trigger biological mechanisms that suppress female reproductive capacity.

If you decide to try this out, keep in mind: Calories count and food quality is crucial!

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