We’ve long been told that eating little and often could be the key to keeping our energy levels stable, but what about the alternative?
Fasting is quickly (excuse the pun!) becoming a popular option for people looking to improve their overall health and also lose weight.
The benefits of intermittent fasting in particular are never-ending, and it’s not as difficult to introduce into your everyday life as you may think.
Steve Katasi of AdapNation is a nutritionist and spoke to us about the benefits of intermittent fasting, including the physiological ones.
“It is completely natural and evolutionarily consistent for humans to experience prolonged periods without food,” Steve explained. “It’s our survival advantage to store energy in the form of body fat and to tap into it between feeds.
“We’ve evolved to be metabolically flexible, meaning we can efficiently and effectively switch between blood glucose, dietary fat and stored body fat as needed.”
He continued: “Today, however, we are too dependant on a constant stream of glucose from carb-heavy diets, which causes blood glucose dis-regulation and difficulty in leveraging stored body fat.
“This means that many people have a biological urge to eat frequently, because their glucose levels have crashed shortly after eating, and they need an urgent energy top up as their body fat is metabolically unavailable.”
Explaining the downsides to this, Steve said it can lead to insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, type 2 diabetes and more broadly metabolic syndrome.
“Moreover, always being in a fed state, especially with a diet high in refined carbs, means your body is stuck in growth mode.
“Cancers need fuel and an anabolic environment in which to proliferate. If you remove the fuel, these malfunctioning cancer cells would be gracefully destroyed by a spring cleaning process in the body called autophagy,” he added.
“Fasting, which in essence is about extending the periods between your meals, is a powerful evolutionarily consistent way of maintaining metabolic flexibility and allowing for regular spring cleaning of our damaged, old or malfunctioning cells.
“You need not be dogmatic and rigid with a particular fasting protocol, as the body is designed to be flexible,” Steve revealed.
Types of fasting:
- Intermittent Fasting – The most common is 16:8. You compress your 2-3 meals within an eight hour window, say 12-8pm.
- One Meal A Day – For those that enjoy big nutrient-dense meals, they eat just once a day – effectively a 24 hour fast.
- Multi-day Fasts – Typically 2-3 days, but can be safely extended to 4-5 days. Used as a metabolic reset or as a quarterly longevity practice.