Intermitted Fasting

What you need to know about intermittent fasting.

Today’s article in we discuss the benefits of intermittent fasting. A brief history, how we became “the consumer culture” and some training tips.

Last article I share a summary about what happens when you fast. Your body opens 2 metabolic pathways that it will activate when no food is consumed.

These are gluconeogenesis and glyceroneogenesis, the two pathways after lipolysis. These pathways are reciprocally regulated by our body[1]. If glycolysis (sugar breakdown to glucose) is active when we eat our food, then the latter 2 pathways will stop.

A brief history of intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting isn’t new and it has existed since the dawn of time of human civilisation. We fasted for religious reasons, cultural celebration, health benefits and during times of famine[2]. 

From then it was ingrained well in human history for centuries up to the early 19th century. Today it is not uncommon to find these quotes still exist:

Everyone has a physician inside him or her; we just have to help it in its work.  The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.  Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food. But to eat when you are sick is to feed your sickness.

Hippocrates[4]

Instead of using medicine, rather, fast a day.

Plutarch[5]

I fast for greater physical and mental efficiency.

Plato[6]

The dose makes the poison. Fasting is the greatest remedy – the physician within.

Paracelsus[7]

The best of all medicines is resting and fasting.

Benjamin Franklin [8]

A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors.

Mark Twain [9]

The ancient Greeks, of course, were stout believers of fasting it is a shame today they’re facing the same obesity[11] epidemic as every other country. Unfortunately, their famed Mediterranian diet isn’t the answer[12]. Because many studies on their diet didn’t include the lifestyle and religious fasting of the Greek populace.

The ancient Greeks did not have an obesity problem until the influence of the Western Standard Diet. How would you know? It’s depicted in their statues of art. Just look at those abs!

If historic civilisation and prominent figures practised fasting where did we go wrong?

Good question, if step back and look at the big picture. I should say things went sideways during the early 19th century when a few well-meaning but misguided individuals made food based on grains. 

One of these prominent figures was Sylvester Graham[13] and the other was John Harvey Kellogg[14] – an astute follower of Graham. John’s original invention of the granola and corn flakes cereals were so hard and dry that these cracked people’s teeth.

They were so fibrous and processed that it will likely spike insulin levels and gave everyone gas. The hidden intention, after all, was to be an anaphrodisiac. Of course, with bouts of severe gastronomical upsets, the last thing people would worry about is their libido.

Things had gotten worst by the turn when William Kellogg the brother of John added sugar to these “cereals” to make them it more palatable. It then sprouted the cereal craze. Unfortunately, the creators of these cereals didn’t know what it did to our insulin levels until its discovery 14 years later[15].

Fast forward from that era modern research didn’t help either. The food and supplement industry gave every reason to us not to stop eating even as to go far as claiming “fasting will reduce your metabolism”, “your body will go into starvation mode when you fast”, “your muscles will catabolise when you fast” and etc.

In fact, short periods of fasting doesn’t affect metabolism[16] and in some cases increases it [17]. Muscle loss can be prevented if resistance training is added at some point during or after breaking fast.

So athletes and bodybuilders will be fine if their goal is to trim out stubborn fat.

There was a study done in the early 19th century by Weston Prince between different native cultures all over the world[18]. Prince found the natives that stick to their own diet have better teeth than those who consumed the Grain-based Western diet.

So why are we told these lies?

It was a misguided belief in the research on the thermic effect of food (Diet-induced thermogenesis, DIT [19]). DIT only affects 10%-15% of the energy expenditure in certain foods which isn’t enough to burn off in the standard sugar and insulin spiking grain-based diet. Besides, there is nothing sexy about fasting because food corporates, supplements and the like won’t be able to introduce their products to sell if we don’t buy.

If half of the population stop eating a meal for a few short days of time how much profit is lost?

Probably millions. 

Now you know that fasting is built within our biology as humans don’t you think it is time for you to restore that balance?

If you do its time to start your intermitted fasting training.

Intermitted fasting training.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post section are affiliate links. If you go through them to buy. I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality, reviews and personal experience. Not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether you decide to buy something is completely up to you. Thank you for your support.

Once you’re used to your 3 meals a day without snacking in between you’re ready to dip into intermitted fasting. We’re following the 16/8 hour fast. There are other fasting protocols which you can try but I find this is the most convenient.

Best meal to skip is actually breakfast.

Wait! Isn’t breakfast the most important meal of the day?

Yes, it is, but the word “breakfast” has lost its meaning from the early 19th century from the very words quoted from Kellogg.

You don’t want your first meal of the day to be a hormone destroying anaphrodisiac? No!?

Good!

You need a meal that keeps your metabolism and hormones in balance. That nutritious meal would be around lunchtime because most people think breakfast is bread, milk and cereal. When you “break fast” at lunch its usually from 1 pm till 9 pm. Many stores will be open around this time. By then you have plenty of options to pick your healthy foods. This 8-hour timeframe is most suited for office workers.

If you find this hard I suggest adjusting the 8-hour window according to your daily activities. Mine, for example, starts from 4 pm and ends at 12 am.

Again the rule of thumb of this intermitted fasting protocol is flexibility.

Staving off hunger while fasting.

Coffee

Coffee is one of the well-known beverages that suppresses appetite. Having a cuppa in the morning will reduce those hunger pangs well into lunchtime.

It also comes with good antioxidant properties, so when having a cuppa you’re doing good by neutralising free radicals. But when I say coffee it’s not the 3 in 1 coffee with added cream and sugar. It’s certainly not the Bullet Proof coffee that includes butter on it.

Black coffee is what I am talking about here and don’t add a teaspoon of sugar, cream or milk. You’ll break your fast.

Good coffee I recommend will be from Moccona, I find the taste not too bitter nor sourish when drinking it black. The Classic flavour is I highly recommend for now.

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Tea

If you’re allergic to coffee or not used to its taste the next best option for you would be tea. Like coffee, tea has antioxidant properties that will help on those nasty free radicals. However, you need to get quality tea for this to work and not the tea that comes in tea bags.

Good tasting quality tea comes from loose tea leaves. Tea bags contain the “dust and fannings” from broken tea leaves. Another factor to address for tea bags is their packaging. Some tea bags that look like mesh are actually made of plastic.

When placed into boiling water these bags won’t melt but could leak harmful phthalates into your tea. These are forms of phthalic acids added to plastics to make them flexible and durable.

Best to steep your tea in teapots made of glass, ceramic or stainless steel that have steel strainers in them. Drink tea on its own, with no sugar and milk added for optimal benefits.

The tea brand I recommend now would be T2 black tea loose leave variants, these are effective as green tea.

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Non-sugary gum

Chewing gum is another best way to keep those hunger pangs at bay. It serves as a good distraction. All gums are not created equal and most of them have too much-added sugars and flavourings in them.

The only chewing gum product I recommend that will keep your hunger in check with low enough cal/KJ that has little effect on your fasting protocol will be sugar-free chewing gums.

Do note that these gums serve as a crutch for your training on intermitted fasting. Just like your training wheels on your bicycle during your childhood. Do not rely on them as the label itself states its near 7 cal/28kJ each.

You will be better off with tea or black coffee with energy counts of 2 cal/8kJ per cup.

Unfortunately due to unmatched products on different countries on Amazon and no image links included from Amazon Australia I cannot include gum products here.

Keeping yourself busy

Another good way to stop thinking about your hunger for no cost is by keeping yourself busy. When a hunger pang strikes sometimes its good to take a small walk around the office/neighbourhood.

You could even try to fill in some paperwork, attend meetings, pay the bills or starting a conversation will take off your mind on food (p.s Don’t talk about food😉).

Furthering your knowledge on intermitted fasting.

Books which I recommend for further reading that will broaden your knowledge on diet and bring you closer to your health and fitness goals :

BooksDescription
I like the author of this book and he’s the influencer of the 24 hour fast protocol. He explains the scientific benefits of intermittent fasting and why we told to keep on eating. The author used to work in the suppliment industry for a number of years before he left and published the book “Eat Stop Eat”. If you like some science behind your reading this book is for you.
The creator of the 16/8 hour fast this was one of the books I have read when begining my intermittent fasting journey. Good storylike reading about the authors journey on getting his perfect 6 pack abs body. PS: He’s a nerd and a Public Health Science Major another reason to read this book. There will be scientific terms on body building and nutrition so don’t forget your propeller hat. 🤓

Joseph Tan is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com/amazon.com.au.

Well, this wraps it up for today’s article on intermitted fasting. If you like my article and training suggestions please don’t forget to share or comment below.

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Joseph is a professional web technologist turned fitness enthusiast after getting into health complications that landed him in the hospital many times.Vowing to invest as much time permit to keep himself healthy. He is currently combining technology to promote fitness and health to the community.

12 thoughts on “What you need to know about intermittent fasting.

  1. This is a very informative article and I was very interested in reading it so I could gain more knowledge as a person who just started fasting myself. I must agree I do feel better when my body has a little break from food.

    • Joseph says:

      Hi Stori,

      Thanks again for commenting, its good that you’re able to learn something to help you in your health and fitness journey.
      Do drop by again sometimes for more information on health and fitness.

      Joseph

  2. I really liked the content of your article. I feel like i shall consider 8 hr fasting a day. The hacks for fasting seems really helpful.

    • Joseph says:

      Hi Sujit,

      Thank you for commenting on my article and do drop by again to this site to learn more on health and fitness tips.

      Joseph

  3. Irma says:

    Great post!
    I find it easier to fast when I am eating low carb high fat. The fat keeps me full all night and well into the next day which makes it easier for me to fast.

    Thank you for providing the history of fasting. I know it is so much more healthful than eating six small meals a day. I never felt good when I was eating that way.

    • Joseph says:

      No worries Irma,

      Glad you can learn a few things about this post on intermitted fasting.
      Cheers,
      Joseph

  4. Derek Marshall says:

    Fasting is something that I find incredibly easy to do, but only under the condition that I have plenty of apetite suppressing coffee. The longest I have fasted for is 10 days – no solids, just coffee. Oddly though one of the side effects is a lack of sleep.

    I still have incredible amounts of energy, enough for 2hr intermediate to high intensity aerobic workouts daily. Definitely something in intermittent fasting and full on fasting.

    • Joseph says:

      HI Derek,

      Although coffee is a good beverage for suppressing hunger and burning fat. The only drawback is caffeine. You’re restless after the 10 days fast is because of caffeine and the body is trying to get its energy from fat. With no food ingested you have already tapped into 2 metabolic pathways as I have described in this article.

      If your objective is to shed stubborn fat you doing it well, but I should say 10 days fasting is too long with aerobic workouts daily. It’s better to have more salt from all the sweating to prevent muscle cramps.

      Cheers,
      Joseph

  5. Alisia says:

    This is a great post! Very informative. Intermittent fasting is an interesting concept and I think I might come around to it sometime!

    • Joseph says:

      Hi Alisia, thank you for the encouragement.

      Please return to this site for more health and fitness tips.

      Joseph

  6. Fred Ota says:

    Hey Joseph, I love how you re-tell the history, including the cereal.
    Adding the sugar definitely changed the lives of millions of people to non-communicable diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
    I like your post.
    Fred

    • Joseph says:

      Hi Fred,

      Thank you for your encouragement and support.

      Please drop by and visit again this site for more health and fitness tips.

      Joseph

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