Nutrology's Intermittent Fasting Plan


Nutrology's Intermittent Fasting Plan


What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Fasting (the act of going without food for a specified period of time) is one of the oldest and most widespread traditions in humanity’s existence. It has been used across the centuries for spiritual, political and health reasons. As far back as 370 BC, renowned physicians like Hippocrates would recommend fasting as a way to recover from a wide variety of health problems.

Over time, fasting has evolved to become intermittent fasting. Similar to fasting, it involves going without food. However, this form of fasting is far more controlled, with specific hours in which the fast is adhered to without fail.

It is not to be confused with starvation, which is the involuntary absence of food. With intermittent fasting, food is easily available but it is your own choice not to eat it.

In a world where food is always at your disposal, health problems related to excessive eating are constantly on the rise. The global rate of obesity is higher than ever, and with it comes a myriad of health issues that threaten human life every day. As one of the oldest forms of dietary management and intervention, intermittent fasting presents as a solution to so many of these problems.

There are several different types of intermittent fasting. Some of them include

  • The 16:8 fast - This has you fasting for 16 hours with an 8 hour eating window every day.
  • Alternate day fasting - Here, you fast for one day and eat normally on the next.
  • The 5:2 fast - This method involves eating normally for five days out of the week, and taking two days of the same week for fasting.

 

Benefits of intermittent fasting to lifestyle and fitness?

If fasting has been a well recommended eating pattern for centuries, then the benefits warrant some exploration. Intermittent fasting has been tested by numerous researchers and industry professionals who have found it to come with the following benefits.

  1. Fat loss and insulin control

Fat accumulates in the body as a result of an excess in the amount of food that can be used as energy to carry out all manner of activity. With each meal, the food is processed and turned into glycogen in the liver as your primary source of energy. However, glycogen reserves are limited. So once the liver has accumulated enough glycogen, then the rest is converted to fat and stored in the liver and various other fat deposits in the body.

The simple and most obvious benefit of intermittent fasting is the loss of excess fat in the body. Think of it this way; when you are not eating, you are in fact fasting. You don’t need to eat every time, but your body constantly requires the energy to function normally. When there is no readily available food (as is the case when you are intermittent fasting), then the body is forced to turn to its own stored energy reservoirs of fat in order to provide energy.

A study published in the peer reviewed medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine in 2017 is just one of many that found this to be true. Healthy obese adults found themselves experiencing a drop in weight from loss of body fat among many other benefits.

This change cannot be possible without the input of the hormones, which are the drivers of almost every single function within the body. The hormone insulin in particular, is a key player in fat storage and thus weight management. Every time you eat, insulin is released from your pancreas into your system. It then signals the body to store the broken down food in your bloodstream as glycogen and then as fat in various deposits in the body. In the reverse, when we fast, the levels of insulin go down, signaling the body to convert this fat into energy for us. Therefore the more insulin there is in your system, the more you stand to gain weight.

As famous nephrologist Dr. Jason Fung puts it, “Obesity is a hormonal, not a caloric imbalance”. The question should not be how to balance the calories that we consume; it should be how to control the levels of insulin in the body.

Treating your body energy stores as two separate compartment helps to visualize this very well. Consider glycogen as your refrigerator, and your fat deposits as your freezer. It is easy to access your glycogen stores for energy, but it takes more effort (in reducing insulin levels) to access your fat deposits for energy.

Intermittent fasting allows you to do this by delaying storage of glycogen. This allows insulin levels to drop and fat to be burned for energy.

 

  1. Muscle building

The common myth that usually surrounds intermittent fasting is that it will lead to muscle loss. It is simply not true, as a study of people who tried alternate day fasting for 70 days in 2010 found no loss of lean muscle mass.

Fasting in fact prompts the increase of the Human Growth Hormone, or HGH. It stimulates the growth of all the tissues present in the body, including muscle. A study of a patient in back in 1982 demonstrated this very well. As they fasted for 40 days, they experienced a spike in HGH from 0.73 to 9.86! That is an insane amount!

 

  • Autophagy for anti-aging

Did you know that intermittent fasting can actually reduce the rate at which you age? The phenomenon is referred to as autophagy. It means the body’s natural way of ridding itself of old, broken down components of a cell like organelles and cell membranes. It results in healthier cells, which allows the body to remain youthfully healthy by extension.

Fasting or deprivation of nutrients plays a key role in promoting autophagy, and it all has to do with the polar opposite hormone to insulin; glucagon. When insulin levels are high, glucagon levels decline. When insulin levels are low, glucagon levels rise. It is glucagon that actively stimulates the process of autophagy. Think of it like a kind of cleansing for your cells, that keeps them new and rejuvenated.

You get rid of old things before replacing them with the new. That is precisely what your body does through autophagy. Add to this the increase in HGH from fasting and now your cells regenerate much faster! It’s a two for one benefit!

5:2 intermittent fasting

With an understanding of the advantages that intermittent fasting or fasting in general can bring, the question remains; which is the best method?

While each method is unique in its execution, we at Nutrology recommend 5:2 intermittent fasting. It is not only easy to understand, but far easier to implement.

HOW IT WORKS

As mentioned previously, this method of intermittent fasting has 5 days of normal eating, with 2 full days of complete fasting. One full day of fasting is 24 hours long. This means that you will fast from dinner time today to dinner time on the following day.

Sample intermittent fasting week

Sunday dinner to Monday dinner

Normal eating

Monday dinner to Tuesday dinner

Normal eating

Tuesday dinner to Wednesday dinner

Normal eating

Wednesday dinner to Thursday dinner

Fasting

Thursday dinner to Friday dinner

Normal eating

Friday dinner to Saturday dinner

Normal eating

Saturday dinner to Sunday dinner

Fasting

 

When adhered to and practiced well, the 5:2 intermittent fasting protocol can be very effective. It is similar to alternate day fasting, except there are fewer fasting days in between.

Maximizing your fasting experience

While you are in the middle of your fasting experience, there are certain food items that you can consume to improve your body’s overall endurance. They can also make it easier to carry out certain activities during the day, even while you fast.

  1. Coffee, Yerba Mate and Green Tea to boost metabolism

As your body chooses to burn the stored fat deposits for energy, it is important to keep your rate of metabolism up. A fast metabolic rate means that this fat is burned much faster, further aiding in your weight loss efforts with intermittent fasting.

A regular cup of coffee has been found to offer a boost in metabolic rate by up to 11% as a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found back in 1989.

Yerba mate contains less caffeine than coffee, and has been found to improve the oxidation or burning of fat and energy expenditure.

Meanwhile, green tea contains Catechins that increase both energy expenditure and fat oxidation.

Make these your go to drinks and your fasting experience will prove to be more effective.

 

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Nothing helps your fast last longer than a longer lasting feeling of fullness. This is what you get from apple cider vinegar. An interesting study published in 1998 found that meals with added vinegar delayed the rate of stomach emptying. This keeps you feeling sated for longer, allowing you to better succeed in a fasting situation. If possible, incorporate apple cider into your meals to improve your fasting experience.

 

  • BCAA without artificial sweetening

Branched Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs are a muscle builder’s best friend. They help improve muscle growth and reduce fatigue during exercise. In a fasting situation, they can be beneficial in preventing muscle fatigue. After all, you need your body in top shape as it burns down fat.

Prioritize any BCAA without artificial sweeteners to prevent increasing insulin during your fast. Use it as a pre or intra workout addition ONLY if you intend to do a high intensity exercise routine on your fasting day!

Exercise during your fasting period

Is it okay to exercise while on intermittent fasting? After all, the body requires ready energy to function, and an empty stomach may not be beneficial to this. It is still very possible to exercise even while intermittent fasting, but there are some considerations that you must make.

Since your body mostly doesn’t have a steady supply of ready easily available energy, you should not attempt to do high intensity and high rep exercises. High intensity intervals lasting longer than 40 seconds will need ready fuel in the form of glycogen and carbs, which your body likely doesn’t have as you fast. Therefore these sorts of exercises are out of the question if you are fasting.

It is still possible to exercise even as you fast. Prioritize low intensity cardio exercises such as jogging or step aerobics. If you must do a high intensity workout, then stick to very low reps with more weights. Less than 8 reps per set are ideal, as they don’t push your body too hard and promote the use of ATP (energy in the cells of the body) for energy.

Breaking your fast

So you have successfully completed your 24 hour fasting period. Your body is now ready to receive nutrients, and what you feed it is crucial to your overall health and weight loss efforts.

Reintroduce the nutrients back into your body with easy to digest but nutrient rich foods. This gives your body less work to do as it absorbs all of the healthy nutrients that it needs.

Here at Nutrology, we pride ourselves in our collection of healthy foods that are easy to digest and highly nutritious.

Try out our PC-10 Micro-fine Chia, which are chia seeds in a microfine powder that is easy to digest and every bit as rich in healthy fiber, fat, protein, minerals and vitamins. You will appreciate the boost in Omega 3 which significantly reduces inflammation in the body.

Boost your muscle building efforts with our grass fed whey protein, which is very easily absorbed and immediately begins to build or maintain muscle. It also promotes natural BCAA production in the body. As a bonus, our grass fed whey protein also supports the production of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that prevents cell damage by combating free radicals.

Try out 5:2 intermittent fasting, and supplement your overall health pursuits with Nutrology’s own collection of natural healthy supplements.

REFERENCES

John F. Trepanowski, Cynthia M. Kroeger, Adrienne Barnosky et al., (2017): “Effect of Alternate-Day Fasting on Weight Loss, Weight Maintenance, and Cardioprotection Among Metabolically Healthy Obese Adults”. Retrieved from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2623528

Dr. Jason Fung, (2018): “My single best weight-loss tip”. Retrieved from https://www.dietdoctor.com/my-single-best-weight-loss-tip

Surabhi Bhutani, Monica C. Klempel, Reed A. Berger et al., (2012): “Improvements in Coronary Heart Disease Risk Indicators by AlternateDay Fasting Involve Adipose Tissue Modulations”. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1038/oby.2010.54

Peter R. Kerndt, James L. Naughton, Charles E. Driscoll et al., (1982): “Fasting: The History, Pathophysiology and Complications”. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1274154/

Abdul G. Dulloo, Claudette Duret, Dorothée Rohrer et al., (1999): “Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans”. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/70/6/1040/4729179

A.G. Dulloo, C.A. Geissler, T. Horton et al., (1989): “Normal caffeine consumption: influence on thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and postobese human volunteers”. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/49/1/44/4716276?redirectedFrom=fulltext

Liljeberg H, Björck I, (1998): “Delayed gastric emptying rate may explain improved glycaemia in healthy subjects to a starchy meal with added vinegar.” Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9630389

About the Author

Joanne Tull, former Fitness America, Fitness Canada and Fitness Universe finalist. Joanne is a Co-Founder of Nutrology, the naturally based sports nutrition company that has innovated clean label nutritional products used by thousands of athletes, including elites in the NFL, MLB, NHL and Professional Boxing. Having appeared on ESPN, Fox Sports and TSN after finishing a storied athletic career as a state champion, collegiate and national level gymnast. Joanne’s common sense approach to nutrition will educate and motivate people on how to live a healthy lifestyle while balancing career, kids and fitness goals.

 

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