On this blog, we talk quite a lot about eliminating hunger- by way of eating of course. We have loads of great, tasty, economical and practical recipes over the years. However today I want to touch on a new trend that is taking the world by storm and holds a lot of potential to actually curb cravings or at the very least, our ability to control them. In this post you will learn all about fasting to curb cravings lose weight and fight aging. My dears, the phenomenon of which I write is called Intermittent Fasting.
Intermittent fasting is simply alternating between periods of eating and abstaining from food. In other words, it is cycling between periods of eating (feasting) and fasting. The idea behind intermittent fasting is to reduce overall calorie consumption, ideally resulting in weight loss or optimal weight management. Essentially, it is a way of life that encompasses missing specific meals, from one to three meals per day. This method of pattern eating is not a diet per se, but simply an eating schedule that could involve any diet. Different followers of the way of life engage in different diets with some on paleo, low carb, ketogenic high fat diets as well as more balanced diets while others may engage in low fat diets. Intermittent Fasting has long been touted by world renown holistic food guru, Dr. Joseph Mercola.
An expert in the protocol, Dr Mercola says “Intermittent fasting is by far the most effective way I know of to shed unwanted fat and eliminate your sugar cravings. Since most of us are carrying excess fat we just can’t seem to burn, this is a really important benefit. When sugar is not needed as a primary fuel, your body will also not crave it as much when your sugar stores run low.”
I know that many of us who have strong sugar cravings crave sweets at the end of the day or at times in the day when energy runs low and stressors run high. It seems therefore that the double whammy of increasing energy as well as cutting out night eating is a huge benefit of intermittent fasting.
Normally, if we take into consideration that most people aim for 8 hours of sleep at night, we generally have roughly 8 hours of fasting and 16 hours of eating during a 24-hour period. Intermittent fasting extends those normal fasting hours and restricts hours of consumption especially of foods. Fasting is usually 12:12 , 16:8 and some even go as far as a 23:1 fast with only one hour of eating in a 24 hour period. There are also some who practice alternative days of full fasting in which they eat normally every other day and fast for the alternate days for the entire 24-hour period. Often zero or low calorie drinks are allowed during fasting hours.
Fasting has existed for centuries for religious reasons. Over the past 80 years, science has been increasing adding to the body of knowledge that confirms that there are many benefits for fasting. According to Dr. Mercola, these include:
- “Normalising insulin and leptin sensitivity, and boosting energy efficiency: One of the primary mechanisms that makes intermittent fasting so beneficial for health is related to its impact on your insulin sensitivity.
- While sugar is a source of energy for your body, it also promotes insulin resistance when consumed in the amounts found in our modern processed junk food diets. Insulin resistance, in turn, is a primary driver of chronic disease—from heart diseaseto cancer. Intermittent fasting helps reset your body to use fat as its primary fuel. Mounting evidence confirms that when your body becomes adapted to burning FAT instead of sugar as its primary fuel, you dramatically reduce your risk of chronic disease
- Normalising ghrelin, also known as “the hunger hormone”
- Promoting human growth hormone (HGH) production. Research has shown fasting can raise HGH by as much as 1,300 percent in women, and 2,000 percent in men. This plays an important part in health, fitness, and slowing the aging process. HGH is also a fat-burning hormone, which helps explain why fasting is so effective for weight loss
- Lowering triglyceride levels and improving other biomarkers of disease
- Reducing oxidative stress: Fasting decreases the accumulation of oxidative radicals in the cell. It thereby prevents oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids associated with aging and disease
- There’s also plenty of research showing that fasting has a beneficial impact on longevity in animals. There are a number of mechanisms contributing to this effect. Normalizing insulin sensitivity is a major one, but fasting also inhibits the mTOR pathway, which plays an important part in driving the aging process.”
Fasting to curb cravings lose weight and fight aging
- Watch the documentary Eat, Fast and Live Longerby British author and journalist Dr. Michael Mosley.
- Do your research and explore whether this could be an option for you. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor and dietician and operate under their supervision to ensure your safety.
- Running tests before starting is key to gauge results and monitor your health
- Intermittent fasting is not safe or recommended for those with adrenal fatigue, stress disorders or pregnant or breastfeeding women.
- Consider less extreme options like the 5:2 days per week protocol with 2 days of fasting per week consuming 600 calories on those days and eat normally on the other days.
- Start off with simply skipping breakfast and have a bulletproof coffee instead. This is coffee brewed your favourite way with 1 tablespoon of grass fed butter (like Kerrygold) and 1 tablespoon cold pressed coconut oil or MCT oil. You may add stevia to sweeten. Blend in a blender to emulsify the fat and liquid and drink quickly. This will also give you a boost in energy, a few calories and keep hunger at bay.