Destroying the propaganda
In the first part, we literally destroyed the myths that fasting slows your metabolism and put you in ‘starvation mode’, and that it makes you burn muscle mass when it’s actually extremely muscle sparing.
In this part we’ll look at the misbeliefs that fasting causes low blood sugar and that it will deprive the body of nutrients – when in fact your body fat is the perfect food and has all the nutrients you need.
If you’re indoctrinated with the bro-science of the fitness industry, the brainwashing propaganda from the food industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and parts of the “health care”-system, the following blog-post might be controversial for you – and your programming will probably fight it. But try to stay with me. Absorb the information and do your own research.
Those of us who actually have worked with thousands of clients for 25+ years and study health, longevity, nutrition and everything in between on a daily basis (and read studies, both new and especially older studies, that are not financially backed by the previous mentioned industries), know that the following information is tried and true.
Don’t be a slave or a shill to the food- and pharmaceutical industry! Drop the chains that are choking your brain and seek out the truth!
Misbelief #3 low blood sugar
Oh noes, I haven’t eated in 30 minutes. I feel my blood sugar crashing. Need to take my gym-selfie before passing out.
One of the most ridiculous things you can hear, even from people within the fitness industry that should know better, is when someone saying that they got low blood sugar because they haven’t eaten in a while or because they missed a meal. No, just no! Your blood sugar (blood glucose) does not plummet or jump around all over the place. You simply have a food addiction and you have habitually programmed yourself to eat multiple meals a day. It’s all mental and signs of addiction.
In reality, your blood sugar level is tightly monitored by the body as a part of metabolic homeostasis, and there are several mechanisms to keep it within the proper range. If not, you wouldn’t be able to function and you would ultimately lose consciousness.
During fasting, our body will start to break down glycogen in the liver to provide glucose. This is our short-term storage. This actually happens every night as you sleep to keep your blood sugar level normal and stable as you fast overnight.
If you fast for longer than 24 to 36 hours, glycogen stores become depleted. The liver will now manufacture glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis, using the glycerol from the breakdown of fat. In other words, we do not have to eat glucose, or anything else for that matter, to keep our blood sugar level within the normal range. As long as we have some body fat to break down, blood sugar will remain stable.
A related misconception is that our brain can only use glucose for energy. Human brains are very unique amongst animals, as it can use ketone bodies as a fuel source. Ketones are produced when fat is metabolized. Actually, ketones are the brain’s preferred energy source, and ketones are the reason why many feel extreme clear-headedness, heightened emotional well-being, and have more mental energy than usual.
Up to 75 percent of the brain’s energy requirements can be met by ketones. That means that glucose only provides a measly 25 percent of the brain’s energy requirements during a fast or a ketogenic diet – which is easily provided through gluconeogenesis.
This allows us to function optimally even when no food is available – and even prolonged fasting for months will not send blood sugar to low levels as long as we have fat on our bodies to be utilized as energy.
Misbelief 4: fasting deprives our body of nutrients
2008 – my first real experiments with intermittent fasting, 24 to 36-hour fasts and the ketogenic diet as a base.
Can you feel that fat on your tummy, on your hips, on your legs? That’s stored food. The perfect food.
Ever heard of calcium deposits? Kidney stones? Everyone has them in various amounts. They’re simply buildups of minerals – and guess what? Fasting breaks them down to be recycled and used instead of clogging you up.
In other words, if you’re overweight, you have all the nutrients you need for months and months stored in your body. Even if you’re athletic, you have more than enough for several extended fasts.
And for amino acids, that’s where autophagy comes in. Your body will start recycling damaged cells, scar tissue, damaged and/or unwanted skin (from rapid weight loss), and so on. It will provide all the protein you need – all while rebuilding your body from the inside out.
Also, during normal circumstances when we feed daily, our body generally lose both essential amino acids and essential fatty acids in urine and stool. During fasting, these losses are minimized as our body want to hang onto as much as possible of these necessary nutrients. Bowel movements decrease as there is no food going in, which in turn helps to prevent loss of protein in the stool.
Protein metabolism decreases during fasting as fasting is extremely muscle sparing, resulting in almost negligible nitrogen levels in the urine. By keeping essential nutrients in the body instead of excreting them, the body is able to recycle many of them during fasting – further extending the possible fasting window.
As you can see, our body is not some fragile and stupid construct. It is actually built in such a way that we can survive the hardest of hardships – a necessity for our species survival.
Also, while we might eventually run out of essential fatty acids and some vitamins, it will take a long time. How much we need of these essential nutrients are strongly exaggerated as a part of fear mongering. And most studies are performed on people following starvation/very low-calorie diets (vlcd) or on people who only fast a few non-consecutive days a week; not allowing for autophagy to really kick in. Remember, and as long as you eat something, you are not protected by the survival mechanics of fasting.
The only thing I recommend during a fast is electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, and maybe a little magnesium if you’re fasting for more than a week. Staying hydrated will make a fast a lot easier and there is no difference in results. Actually, doing a plain water fast is simply stupid as the water will flush out electrolytes, resulting in possible headaches, lower energy levels and less bodily strength. If you’re going for a dry fast, make sure you are loaded on electrolytes before you begin and it will be easier, and you will be able to go longer before it gets hard.
Even with my low body fat levels I can do extended dry fasts without any problems.
While fasting’s most obvious benefit is extremely efficient and rapid loss of body fat, there are a myriad of benefits beyond this – especially when it comes to cure “diseases”. Not long ago, it was common for people to fast for a certain period of time for health benefits. These periods were often referred to as “cleanses”, “purifications”, and “detoxifications”, since people believed that they would rid their bodies of toxins and heal them. They were actually absolutely right. And that is what I will cover in the next part. Until then, take care and seriously look into adopting a fasting lifestyle!