By Sam Botica, Naturopath – The idea that rapid weight loss (less than 3 months) is bad for you, is now a myth. Fasting improves your healing response. It’s powerful and inexpensive.
It is the best way to lose fat.
It improves energy.
It decreases inflammation.
It regenerates your intestinal lining.
It improves insulin sensitivity.
It improves mental health.
So it’s good for any inflammation including obesity, diabetes, pain, gut issues and autoimmune disease to name a few. Obvious exceptions are in pregnancy, cachexia or eating disorders. Those with poor control of blood sugars, liver issues, adrenal dysfunction or who are greatly overweight should consult with a practitioner for guidance.
SOME COMMON MYTHS
Unnatural and unhealthy for the body.
Causes food cravings.
Causes muscle loss.
Decreases metabolism [it’s the opposite]
Not good for diabetes.
Causes eating disorders.
TYPES OF FASTING
There are many different types of fasting. For example; water only, bone broth, extended fasting, intermittent fasting and time restricted eating.
Many people have heard of the 5/2 diet made popular by Dr Michael Mosley some years ago. Backed by medical research we now know that eating healthily five days a week [ not pigging out on bread, pasta, rice and white potatoes ] and restricting calories to 800 for two days a week can lead to good reductions in body fat, insulin and chronic disease generally. On the two days of 800 calories you need to eat the right food and good quality protein, so an example might be;
Breakfast – two eggs
Lunch – veggie soup
Dinner – lots of veggies and palm sized portion of protein such as fish.
A simple type of fasting and a good way to start is ‘Time Restricted Eating’.
12 hour simple fast – nothing to eat, for example from 6pm to 6am.
16 hour fast – nothing to eat from 7pm-11am, so you are pushing brekky out to brunch at 11am or even midday. During the morning hydrate well with plenty of water as this helps to shut down the message to eat. This way you are eating two meals a day with a small snack like a piece of fruit or a small handful of nuts between lunch and dinner.
Time off from constant feeding allows the body to heal and repair and get into fat burning mode, where fat is mobilised into ketone bodies. This type of time restricted eating can be done three times a week to start with, then as you get used to it, can be extended to become your daily routine.
Any extended fasts should be eased in and out of, and if you have not done this before, get some guidance from your Naturopath.