The beneficial effects of fasting have been known for thousands of years and have been regularly practiced throughout history. It is no coincidence that all major religions have made fasting mandatory. We can achieve a clearer mental state, an elevated mood, and a number of health-promoting and rejuvenating processes take place.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6]

Let’s see how fasting works and how it provides us with these exceptional health benefits.

Ways of Fasting

There are several ways to practice fasting: some people don’t eat on some days of the week following a certain pattern or restrict food for several days in a row. 

The most common approach is intermittent fasting, when people eat only in a certain time period of each day (e.g. 8 hours) and they are fasting in the remaining time (16 hours). When people do it for rejuvenation, they often fast for one or two weeks or even longer.

Note that the popular juice fasts have nothing to do with real fasting, the continuous carbohydrate intake will perfectly prevent most of the positive health effects of a the fast.

How Fasting Heals Your Body

Let’s see what happens when we’re fasting. If food is abundant, our body is not forced to work in an energy-efficient way and cells are often divided. Unfortunately, they can only divide a finite number of times,[7] so this is clearly not ideal for longevity. During fasting, cells are forced to divide less frequently, and they are trying to make the existing ones work better. This will also increase the effectiveness of the mitochondria, which are the powerhouses of the cells.[8],[9],[10]

However, there is still another magical thing that will happen: autophagy.[11] This is the body’s mechanism of getting rid of all the broken down, old cell machinery (organelles, proteins and cell membranes) and regenerating new, healthy cells.[12] It has major cleansing and rejuvenation effects and it’s accessible to everyone. Yoshinori Ohsumi received a Nobel Prize for this discovery in 2016.[13] There are also a number of beneficial hormonal changes that will help cell health, build muscles, and protect the nervous system and brain. These include increases in human growth hormone up to 1500-2000% over a longer fast, which is responsible for muscle building and general youth.[14]

Doing It the Right Way

It is very important that you fast in the correct way. When fasting properly, you should feel fresh and energized and generally have a good mood. If you feel sick or too hungry during a fast, it is a sign that your body is not ready for this and the opposite effect is achieved: you put too much stress on the system and unnecessarily elevate cortisol levels. When your body knows how to burn fat efficiently, you gain energy mainly from ketones during fasting, which has many anti-inflammatory and health-promoting effects.

This means that a healthy, rejuvenating fast can be only done when you are fat adapted. Your body will automatically switch to fat burning mode after the glycogen stores (the stored glucose) are depleted. To achieve all of these benefits the ketogenic diet will help you tremendously. It will train your body to easily switch to fat burning mode. 

The ketogenic diet combined with intermittent fasting is one of the most important things you can do for your health. The complete change of your diet and reaching fat adaptation is not an easy task, but I’m here to help you.

Do you fast regularly? How long was your longest fast? Tell me about your experience in the comments!

References

Categories: Fasting

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