Why is it that some individuals believe fasting is normal and even necessary, while others believe it is unnatural and dangerous?
Here we will discuss about fasting for survival today. Is it harmful to fast? No, it’s totally safe if we’re talking about time-restricted fasting (intermittent fasting), in which we minimize the number of meals and eat them in a shorter period of time, or if we just fast for a few days. It’s much easier to eat in a smaller time window and eat fewer meals, and most people who try it and stick to it never go back since it’s so much easier and more convenient. You are not hungry. You are not required to cook all of the time. You save both time and money by doing so. It’s also really advantageous.
Although there are numerous health benefits to eating this way, is it absolutely necessary? Well, that depends on your definition of ideal health. It is not necessary if you accept that our current health model is normal, that we’re supposed to get sick around 50, get diabetes at 60, be on 12 different medications, and die after 20 – 30 years of relative dysfunction, but it is necessary if you want to feel as good as possible for as long as possible. Fasting and feasting are the most natural things that people can do because we’ve done it for as long as we’ve existed.
We didn’t have refrigerators back then. We didn’t have food buffets, and we didn’t eat five or six times a day. We ate once or twice, and that is what your genome, genetic material, and physiology were created for. And it’s just recently, even 50 years ago, that we really ate three times a day inside an eight to ten hour window, and this idea of eating six times a day and having early morning and late night snacks to never miss a meal is actually unhealthy, as more and more data shows.
Now, whenever we form a habit, we assume that’s how it works. So, most people nowadays believe that food provides energy, and that if we are short on energy, we should eat something, and when we do, we feel better, so we assume that food provided energy, but is this really the case? What makes us feel better? Is it true that the food we just ate gave us energy, or did something else happen? Actually, the food you eat quickly depletes your energy reserves. So, why do we feel more energized straight afterward, and why do we feel better? It’s because the meal stimulates brain chemistry and feeds into a reward circuit including a neurotransmitter called dopamine, and it’s because we’re addicted to it. We feel better now that we’ve had our fill.
So, here’s how it goes: We eat food, which stimulates taste buds, which send a signal to the brain, causing the brain to feel pleasure. The brain perceives this as pleasure because we’ve been given a reward, and it activates the dopamine reward system. And this happens in a matter of seconds, and then the brain says, “Hey, we’ve got stuff, we’ve got some raw materials, it’ll come a little later, but we’re good for now, so let’s start sending some signals to the liver,” because the liver stores carbohydrate in the form of glycogen, and now the liver starts breaking this glycogen down into glucose, which enters the bloodstream and is converted into energy.
So we enjoy pleasure and feel good, and then we acquire a tiny bit of blood sugar from previously stored energy rather than from the food we ate. Now, as this food enters your digestive tract, it causes a slight stretch, which stimulates some receptors in your GI tract that sense that there’s more stuff coming, that the volume is starting to fill out, and this signals more to the brain, and now the brain continues with the receptors in the liver, so all of these signal to the liver to continue breaking down glycogen because there’s more coming. And now, in addition to the immediate pleasure, the brain is also satisfied because it recognizes that there is enough here to secure our life. We have enough supplies now to last another day or two. And all of this happens in a couple of minutes, despite the fact that the food has nothing to do with the increased energy or pleasure, and the food is still in the stomach. So you’ll start breaking down a few glucose molecules in the food and a tiny bit of starch in a matter of seconds, but it’ll be a very small amount. No considerable amount, no significant percentage of this food has yet to enter the bloodstream. But, finally, this meal is digested, and the energy it provides is used in the moment, while the surplus is stored. However, this procedure takes two to four hours to complete, and it can take even longer in extreme cases. As I previously stated, some calories and a small amount of glucose will be absorbed gradually, but the most of this energy, the majority of this meal, will take several hours to break down.
So here’s the deal: if you have cravings or feel like eating something two hours later, it has nothing to do with your energy requirements. Your body does not require energy to function; this is not how it works. It’s a matter of habit if you feel that way. You’ve conditioned your mind to expect certain things at specific times, and you’re effectively using food as a drug. You’re attempting to alter your mood through food. But we’ve become so accustomed to eating all the time that suggesting that someone skip a meal will almost always elicit a reaction like this. And we have a slew of other motives to eat that have nothing to do with energy. We use things like waking up as justifications. I’ve just just awoken, so I’ll have to eat something. You can tell whether it’s lunch or dinner time. This is when I always eat. Maybe it’s because we passed the fridge and saw that it was stocked with food. Let’s get something to eat. They brought donuts to work, and I have to try one. I noticed a vending machine with items in it. I passed a fast food restaurant that had food inside. I was watching TV in the evening, and I get antsy if I don’t eat something while I’m watching, or simply in general, people eat when they’re bored, anxious, or frustrated. So these are all reasons why we eat that have nothing to do with a genuine energy requirement.
Another reason, which I am guilty of at times, is that we eat to avoid being hungry later. We all know it’ll be a long day, but what if I don’t eat and then am hungry later? As your body becomes more conditioned and accustomed, you’ll notice that this is no longer an issue. Then there are all of our fasting notions. We believe that if we skip a meal, we will become exhausted. We’ll become apathetic, which is true to some level, but it’s not because we’re lacking in energy; it’s because we’re missing out on our fix. We’ve taught our bodies to expect it and respond accordingly. We believe that if we skip an entire day, we will die. And what happens is that if you miraculously live for around 18 hours, you will experience these. And 18 hours isn’t as difficult as it seems because all it entails is that you ate dinner at six o’clock, skipped your evening meal, and skipped breakfast. That’s all; you’ve gone 18 hours, and your body has begun to undergo some intriguing changes. So you begin to break down glycogen because you have some stored energy, and you produce glucose from glycogen. One of your reserves is that.
Do you become tired because you have so many systems that give energy? Do you suffer from apathy? Do you ever feel foggy? Do you dissipate? No, since your body recognizes when you haven’t eaten and requires you to be able to get food. You must be active, attentive, and energetic. As a result, your body produces these hormones. The adrenaline helps you stay awake. It’s a stress hormone that makes people pay attention to you. It keeps you alert so you can pay attention to what’s going on around you. Cortisol is another hormone that delivers blood sugar by converting other sources of glucose into glucose so that you may keep your blood sugar constant and have some energy.
BDNF, or brain derived neurotrophic factor, is the next hormone. It’s a huge term with a lot of letters. All it implies is that it increases brain growth and plasticity, which means that it improves the brain’s ability to change and adapt. And if you can adapt to your surroundings better now, you can learn and survive better. At the same time, your body produces more growth hormone, which is necessary for the formation of new synapses, brain connections, and brain cells, but it also burns fat, providing you with an additional source of energy.
And now that you’re in the state you’ve been aiming for, you want to get rid of some of that body fat. At the same time, this growth hormone protects muscle by promoting muscular growth and preventing muscle breakdown, which is important because once you start getting energy from other sources, you don’t want to break down that muscle. We’re frequently informed that we’ll develop hypoglycemia, or dangerously low blood sugar, but will this happen? Well, you’ll have a modest drop in blood sugar, which means you’ll have less blood sugar than before, which is a positive thing. That’s what the majority of people want, but you’ll experience some discomfort in the process. You’ll probably have headaches and withdrawal symptoms since your body is used to one thing and you’re changing it, and whenever you change something, you’ll feel uncomfortable because that’s how the body works. And the most important reason is that you are carb dependent; your body has been trained to expect carbs to spike blood sugar and top off your blood sugar every few hours, and when it doesn’t, it becomes confused. It hasn’t learned to stabilize blood sugar in order to generate energy in other ways, and the only time you’ll get a dangerous hypoglycemia is if you’re a diabetic and you stop eating because the insulin is now there to process the incoming food, and if there’s no incoming food, the insulin will drop the blood sugar dangerously low. So if you’re on insulin, you should consult with someone who knows what they’re doing to advise you, or at the very least have a very firm understanding and watch very closely, but anytime you’ve been on insulin and stop eating, you should drop that insulin.
Once you’ve become used to intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating, you can go a little bit longer and skip a whole day, going 24 to 36 hours, maybe 42 hours, and your glycogen stores will be depleted. Because you’ve used up nearly all of your body’s stored carbohydrate, your body must now engage in gluconeogenesis. It will have to start producing glucose from other sources. And the main source will be glycerol, because you’re starting to burn fat, and with that comes a small molecule called glycerol, which you can convert to glucose. You’ll also convert some protein into glucose before you really get into fat burning. You’ll dip into your protein pool so you have some circulating protein from cells that break down from things already circulating in the bloodstream, and you’ll convert some of that into glucose at first.
Is it going to cause muscular breakdown? Well, you should realize that muscles are valuable because you’ll need them the next time you go on a food hunt. So your body progressively raises growth hormone, and the longer you fast, the more growth hormone you’ll have to save the muscles, since you’ll need them, and your body will get better at getting energy from other sources. So you get better at burning fat, and once that happens, you start producing ketones, which are a type of alternative fuel for the brain. As a result, your brain can now function perfectly at significantly lower glucose levels.
Another advantage is weight reduction and fat burning, which is the main reason why most people start doing it in the first place, and then they discover all the other advantages, but it all comes down to insulin, because we cannot burn fat when insulin levels are high. That fat is hidden; it isn’t visible, and it isn’t available to the body. And insulin levels rise mostly as a result of the carbs we consume and the frequency with which we consume them. So, if we eat six times a day like most people do, and none of this is to scale, It’s merely to show how things work. When we eat, insulin rises, then lowers, then rises, then reduces again, but it stays at a high level, and we push it higher and higher over time. Now, if we only fast for 24 hours, there is no reason for the body to create insulin because there is no food coming in during that period, thus it will decline. Then on day three, we went for 24 hours or a little more, and now we’re eating, and the curve looks completely different because we’re beginning from a lower point. And here’s the key distinction between eating while fasted and eating while fed. When you fast, your body is in balance and will burn fat some of the time, but when you eat in a fed state, you will never get into this fat burning mode. You’ll be able to access and burn that fat once your insulin levels drop low enough. So if you fast for a day, you will undoubtedly be in fat burning mode, and this will continue until you eat, at which point you will exit fat burning for just long enough to process and store the food, and if insulin is low, you will immediately return to fat burning mode.
On the other hand, if you eat when you’re hungry, you’ll never get near to that fat-burning zone. Because of the elevated insulin levels, fat is locked away, and everything you consume is either utilised or stored. And all of that energy, all of that surplus, is saved for a future famine that never arrives. Another significant benefit is autophagy, which is something that people learn about and profit from later on, even if they didn’t start for this reason. Autophagy means “self-eating,” and it is something that people learn about and benefit from later on, even if they didn’t start for this reason. Auto means “I” and phagy means “I eat.” It’s all about recycling or digesting materials that have accumulated in the body.
So, just as your body has organs, which are smaller components, cells have organelles, which are tiny little pieces within the cells. And as your body begins to digest some of these old ones, it begins to break them down, and you’re also breaking down damaged proteins, debris, and other items that have accumulated over time. It breaks down these proteins into smaller proteins, amino acids, and then releases them into the bloodstream, where they can be used most effectively. So the cells are effectively slimming down a bit, yet they get to stay alive and get rid of the old portions, but they don’t have the means to reconstruct things just yet. So what we have now is bone marrow, which if we wait a little longer, say three days, starts producing stem cells and replacement components for the things that have been lost, and these stem cells are basically baby cells, they’re very young, they’re juvenile. Then something amazing happens: the cell that sacrificed a small part of itself, which wasn’t actually sacrificed because you get rid of old things, tells the bone marrow that it wants a rain check. It says it gave up certain things so that the next time you refeed, when you have more resources and can really ramp up the manufacturing to refill these parts, it sends a signal saying “I want first dibs.” I’d like you to send me some of those stem cells to replace what I’ve given up. Consider the power of that: it’s giving up some old thing and getting some new stuff to replace it, so it’s revitalizing in a sense. Your cells become younger, and when your cells become younger, you live longer.
Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and lupus, which are all terrible and disabling, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, hypothyroidism, and multiple sclerosis, which often put individuals in wheelchairs, are all developing problems that can be alleviated. Fasting can assist with all of these issues. Part of it is because you’re replacing and rejuvenating your cells through autophagy, but fasting also reduces inflammation and allows you to start healing your leaky gut, which is a major cause of autoimmune disease. If your gut is leaky, pieces of food that shouldn’t be there get into circulation and end up in your bloodstream. They should be filtered out, but if the gut is leaky, they seep in and provoke immunological reactions, which can lead to autoimmunity. Fasting, on the other hand, allows the body to begin mending that gut because you’re not putting food in it all day.
Fasting can also aid with dementia, which is a major worry. So, when we fast, we diminish insulin resistance, and because the fuel, glucose, now has easier access to the brain, we can provide energy to the brain. Fasting reduces inflammation, and inflammation causes neuro-inflammation, which causes neuro-degeneration, which is what causes a lot of dementia. We can minimize protein debris in the brain, which is a characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease: protein buildup that doesn’t get cleaned up, and we can start cleaning up some of that debris through autophagy. In fact, until we enter an autophagic condition, the brain is terrible at clearing things up. The rest of the body can clean up after itself, but the brain can’t unless we enter autophagy. We also begin to burn fat and increase ketones, which provide additional fuel for the brain, allowing it to begin accomplishing new tasks.
Along with increased growth hormone, we raise brain derived neurotrophic factor, a miraculous grow that can start producing changes in the brain. As a result, all of these forces are quite powerful.
In fact, until we enter an autophagic condition, the brain is terrible at clearing things up. The rest of the body can clean up after itself, but the brain can’t unless we enter autophagy. We also begin to burn fat and increase ketones, which provide additional fuel for the brain, allowing it to begin accomplishing new tasks. Along with increased growth hormone, we raise brain derived neurotrophic factor, a miraculous grow that can start producing changes in the brain.
Fasting can lower your risk of heart attack by improving your cardiovascular health through all of the mechanisms we discussed earlier, such as autophagy, growth hormone, and reduced insulin. We are now dramatically reducing and reversing something called metabolic syndrome, as well as reducing inflammation and hypertension, which go hand in hand with metabolic syndrome.
We can also lower the chances of a stroke. Fasting has also been shown to be effective in preventing or even reversing cancer. So, when it comes to cancer, we must remember that cancer is made out of your own cells and body components. It isn’t something that comes from the outside and attacks you. There’s a mutation in your cells that causes them to detach and stop listening to the proper body functioning rules. So your body’s 40 trillion cells pay attention to one another and look after one another. They care about one another, but a cancer cell is simply someone who has stopped listening and paying attention to the others. It only wants to develop and hog all of the resources available to it, which results in a very high metabolic rate. It’s growing and turning things over at a higher rate than other cells, which means it’s using sugar. In fact, when they do cancer imaging, they inject individuals with radioactive sugar because they know that the cancer will eat up all of the sugar and light up on different sorts of scans. And if we fast, we stop the supply of sugar and substantially lower the supply of sugar, which reduces cancer while also strengthening the normal healthy cells, as we discussed previously. As a result, healthy cells now have an advantage over cancerous cells. Then we use autophagy self-eating to make it easier for autophagy processes to devour the cancer, which benefits normal cells even more because they have less competition.
Similarly, if you choose to have chemotherapy, the chemo will function better because it will be better able to attack the weakening cancer cells while having less of an effect on the stronger normal cells. So they’ve done some studies with fasting and chemotherapy, and they’ve found that it’s so advantageous that you have essentially no adverse effects or significantly fewer side effects from chemo when you fast. Many people have inquired about growth hormone since some studies imply that high amounts of growth hormone can increase cancer risk, but this is only true if the growth hormone is injected and is exogenous, meaning it comes from outside the body. We haven’t modified any of the other factors that normally cause growth hormone to be produced. So when we’re fasting, it causes less cancer or even cancer reversal, as we just discussed.
How is that? It’s because, while fasting results in increased growth hormone, which is technically a bad thing when it’s endogenous, meaning it’s created on the inside, it’s produced under conditions of extremely low insulin and very low protein, according to these research. So, given those settings, we now produce autophagy, and having more growth hormone is a completely good thing. We’re not accounting for insulin or protein when we inject it, and we’re not triggering autophagy; we’re just adding growth hormone to an already unhealthy scenario. And that’s just one more example of how things normally go wrong when we try to intervene, but things work out wonderfully when we allow natural processes take their course.