Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Big 5 Weight Loss Myths

By Matthew Schafer
Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved

One of the problems with a lot of the common information that's regurgitated is that some of it is true, but only true in certain situations, or if you only use certain definitions. There are a lot of things that are only true if you use a very narrow look at research findings, and it gets even worse when you consider that most of the common fitness knowledge out there comes not from real scientists doing real unbiased research, but rather from companies hired by the food and fitness industry to conduct "scientific" studies meant solely to provide evidence that their products work as advertised.

One of the incredibly misleading things these research companies do when conducting a fat loss or muscle building study is to only use healthy people between the ages of 18 and 25. What people don't realize is that people in these age ranges are so hopped up on human growth hormone and other natural growth mechanisms that nearly any fitness program will produce results. The "scientists" make these young people take whatever muscle building or weight loss product they are testing and then put them on a reduced calorie diet and make them go and work out a couple days a week, usually with a personal trainer, and guess what... all of the 20 year olds who ate less and exercised lost fat and gained muscle... so the new product must work! This is incredibly misleading to the general public but it is these kinds of tests that that are paid to engineer a specific outcome that produces most of the fitness and weight loss knowledge the "experts" are spouting today.
Two of my favorite nutrition experts are Brad Pilon and Dr. Jason Fung. Dr. Fung is a medical doctor whose work with patients with type 2 diabetes caused him to thoroughly examine how the body gains and loses weight and how things like hormones effect it, and Brad Pilon worked as a research and development manager for one of the largest supplement companies in the world and ended up leaving in disgust over the amount of corruption in the industry. Over and over he saw supplement companies coming out with new products and then buying test results from labs to prove that the new product worked. Being an industry insider with the education and experience to understand the actual scientific studies being done, he has devoted his life to help people understand the garbage spewed out by the fitness industry. A good deal of the information that follows comes from reading his books (as well as the education I received in becoming a Certified Personal Trainer, CPT, and Certified Fitness Nutritionist, CFN) and then double checking his sources which he happily gives and encourages you to check.

Here are five of the most common myths that everybody is regurgitating and the actual scientific truth behind them. It should be noted that the information I give here is assuming you are perfectly healthy. There are some illnesses that cause the various systems in your body to act abnormally and either speed up or slow down your metabolism.

"Myth #1: If you don't eat regularly you go into starvation mode and your body eats itself, or it stores each and everything you eat because it thinks food is no longer available."

Truth: There is a degree of truth to this the truth as it applies to losing weight is that your body is not stupid or suicidal, if you have body fat to burn your body will burn it before it starts to consume lean tissue. Also, this myth takes a very short sighted look at how your body works. When you look at weight loss you shouldn't measure it day to day, but rather, at a minimum, week to week.
Your body weight fluctuates day to day with your level of hydration so it is very hard to draw reliable conclusions about weight loss on a daily basis. You might step on the scale in the morning and see that you gained two pounds when in reality you lost one pound of fat but drank an abnormally large amount of water the previous day or consumed a very large amount of sodium. Remember, the typical bottle of water is a pint, and "a pint is a pound the world around." If you weigh yourself and then drink a standard bottle of water and step back on the scale you will have gained one pound but not gotten any fatter.

If you look at results week to week you have enough data to actually draw a conclusion. Let's say for the sake of argument that on Monday your body does freak out and end up storing more of what you eat as fat than what it normally would. When your body gets done freaking out things will go back to normal and everything will even out. So even if it does freak out on Monday, by Friday or Saturday it will have evened out. So if you do go through periods where you don't consume as much you MIGHT store more of the little amount you do eat, but if that does happen it will all even out over time, AND your body will still break down and consume body fat if it needs to. "Starvation mode", as it is commonly talked about in the fitness industry, is largely a myth.

The only time you will go into actual starvation mode is if you are completely out of excess body fat or if you are unable to access your body’s fat storage to use it as fuel. If you go up to a starving person in Africa and give him a cheeseburger, because he is actually starving, his body will store everything it can and he will only defecate a small portion of it. It is important to understand that, in a healthy person, PROLONGED FASTING LEADING TO KETOSIS is what happens when a person doesn't have an ample supply of calories in the bloodstream, muscle cells, or liver to meet its needs and starts breaking down stored body fat for energy, STARVING it what happens AFTER you run out of excess body fat and your body is forced to start breaking down lean tissue for energy to survive.
The only other way your body will store an abnormally high amount of something is if you give it something it hasn't had in a long time. For example, a lot of people who did the Atkins's diet and restricted carbohydrates binged on carbohydrates when they stopped the program. Since their bodies hadn't had carbohydrates in a long time when their bodies detected them it stockpiled them and this led to heart attacks in some cases.

The typical American has enough body fat to feed their body for 4 to 5 days. This means that if the typical American stopped eating on Monday their body would have enough fat stored to feed it until at least Thursday or Friday. On Thursday or Friday when their excess fat stores are depleted, only then does the body go into "starvation mode" and consume lean tissue.

Think about it this way, our caveman predecessors went through frequent periods of not having any food available.  If they were unable to eat for a day or two do you think their body would freak out and keep hold of their stored fat and start burning their muscle tissue and organ tissue for energy?  No, if it did they would have all died and none of us would be here today.  In times where you don’t have food your body will try to protect your lean tissue and use your fat tissue as fuel, after all that is what it is there for.

If you have more body fat than the typical American then you can last even longer. A morbidly obese person weighing over 300 lbs. can go several months surviving off of body fat until it is all depleted and the person needs to consume lean tissue.

This is another problem with studies regarding fasting. If a lab is doing a study on the effects of fasting they choose typical fairly healthy subjects who are fairly skinny. These skinny people only have enough body fat to last them a few days before they start to starve, and so the conclusion is made that fasting is bad for you after a very short period of time. The truth for a healthy person is that fasting can be very beneficial, and for a healthy person fasting, especially intermittent fasting, can be a very effective way to lose excess body fat.

Myth #2: "If you're dieting you need to focus on eating protein because protein builds muscle and burns fat."

Truth: Protein, carbohydrates, and fat are the three primary macro-nutrients (source of calories) and they don't cancel each other out like a game of rock, paper, scissors. Consuming protein CAN support fat loss in three ways. The first way is that protein CAN support muscle growth (if the necessary calories are there and if muscle growth is stimulated through work or damage) and since muscle cells require more calories than fat cells to survive the more muscle you have the more calories you burn overall. However, it should be noted that a pound of muscle requires between 6 to 13 calories a day to stay alive (based on current findings) so even if you put on an extra 20 pounds of muscle you only up your daily caloric need by between 120 and 260 calories a day, which is a fairly small amount.

The second benefit protein CAN offer fat loss is by extending digestion time. Fats and carbohydrates normally exit the stomach in under an hour once consumed, but by eating protein with the fat and carbohydrates you can offer the body something more time consuming to break down and it will be 3 to 4 hours until the last of that meal leaves the stomach. Where this CAN be of benefit is that by eating protein you can get your stomach to release food to your body over a longer period of time and this can keep your blood sugar from spiking and help it stay more level. More on this in Myth 3.

The third way is that protein is harder for your body to break down so it requires you to burn more energy to process it. I've heard claims that due to the increased amount of energy required to digest protein eating a large protein filled breakfast was the same as jogging 3 to 4 miles in terms of energy expenditure, but the problem with this is that while it does take more energy to process protein it doesn't necessarily equate to fat loss. What determines fat loss is how many calories you consume in a 24 hour period or a one week period vs. your total expenditure. Eating more protein can increase your TEF (explained in myth 3) and, when combined with the amounts of your BMR and AI (also explained in myth 3) can lead to an increase in fat loss, but it not the actual protein itself that is responsible for the burning of any extra fat that could possibly result.

One place where this myth comes from is a misguided notion of what protein is and does, and also there have been studies done that you could read as supporting this myth. Studies have looked at the weight loss of people who ate higher and lesser amounts of protein in their diet and most have found that the more protein people eat the more fat they tend to lose. The problem is that if you look at the studies closely you'll see that those eating more protein filled up on protein rich food and as a result they ate far less carbohydrates and fat and consumed less calories total. It is the decrease in the consumption of carbohydrates, fat, and calories in general that lead to the weight loss.

The last thing I'll say about this is that there is nothing wrong with eating a high protein diet while trying to lose weight and there is evidence to suggest it may be a good idea. Did the increased protein consumption in the studies mentioned above make the participants feel fuller faster and make them feel fuller longer? Yes it did. Is there evidence to suggest that eating more protein while trying to lose fat is a good idea? Yes, provided you eat less carbohydrates and fat leading to you consuming fewer calories than you need each day.

So protein CAN have an effect that supports your efforts to eat less, and protein CAN have an effect that supports your overall weight loss goals. Protein, however, in and of itself does not build muscle nor burn fat.

Myth #3: "To lose weight you need to eat 4 small meals a day," or "5 small meals a day," or "6 small meals a day," or "7 small meals," or "eat every 3 to 4 hours all day long." Or, "Eating frequently stokes the furnace and revs up your metabolism so you need to eat all day long." Or, "If you don't eat every 3 to 4 hours you'll go into starvation mode and Satan will come up from the depths of hell and claim your soul in his fiery grip."

Truth: Ok, I was a bit dramatic on the last one but I'm just trying to match the adamancy in which these notions are held as gospel by the fitness and weight loss industry. When people find out that I only eat one or two meals a day and I'm a firm believer in intermittent fasting people look at me like they're trying to figure out how I'm still alive. This is a good example of the fact that if you repeat something enough times people will start to regard it as true..

We've already talked about the nonsense of "starvation mode" so let's talk about the necessity of eating multiple small meals all day long.

First it should be mentioned that the studies that tested this method for weight loss defined a "meal" as anything consumed, liquid or solid, that was over 45 calories. So the studies that looked at this method of numerous small meals didn't have people stop and eat a traditional meal 5 or 6 times a day. They would eat three traditional meals a day and have two or three meals that might have consisted of a small handful of nuts or even a low calorie beverage. That being said let's look at the nuts and bolts of this theory.

If you eat a "meal" consisting of at least one exchange (for the purpose of this paper let’s say that exchange means "serving") of each protein, carbohydrates, and fat it will take 3 to 4 hours to leave your stomach, and if you repeat this every 3 to 4 hours your body will be digesting food all the waking hours of the day. By doing this you will achieve two benefits; firstly by having the food leave your stomach slowly you MIGHT prevent a spike in insulin levels and since insulin is a hormone that tells your body to store energy, by not having a spike you will have less of a signal to store the food you just ate. Lower insulin levels means less of the food you just ate will be stored as fat and it will either be burned for energy or passed through you and end up in the toilet.

The second benefit is that by doling out food slowly you will keep your blood sugar fairly level all day. If your blood sugar goes above 120 milligrams per deciliter you will have an insulin surge and if your blood sugar goes below 80 milligrams per deciliter you will feel hungry. So the thought is that by keeping your blood sugar between 80 to 120 milligrams per deciliter you will store less of what you eat and feel less hungry.

It sounds good, but is it good? We'll it isn't bad.

If you like eating this way then you should absolutely continue, but it just isn't necessary. The actual benefits of this type of diet are more behavioral than physiological. Many people find that by focusing on set pre-planned meals they think about eating less and find that they can stick to a diet better. People tend to find that since they are eating several times a day they are less hungry, but is that because their blood sugar is kept level or is because they're constantly eating? Is it both?
There is nothing wrong with this but it just isn't the weight loss law the "experts" claim that it to be nor does it necessarily have the benefits they claim it does.

We already know that the "experts" are wrong when they claim that if you don't eat several small meals a day you'll go into "starvation mode" and the world will end, but they also claim that eating this way boosts your metabolism. They say that your metabolism is like a furnace and you need to keep feeding the furnace to keep your metabolism going and burn calories. Is this true? Yes and no (but, in context, mostly no).

There is no end of things that are supposed to "boost your metabolism" so let's look at your metabolism. Metabolism is the process where your body builds things and tears things down to keep you alive. How the term is used in the fitness industry is to mean the rate at which you burn calories. This is a very narrow definition of metabolism but it is the one that we will use.

In using this definition, there are three things that regulate how many calories you burn a day (again, assuming you are healthy). Those things are your basal metabolic rate (BMR), your activity index (AI), and the thermogenic effect of food (TEF). What this all means is that your body spends energy on only three things: 1.) running the bodily functions that keep you alive, 2.) making you move, and 3.) digesting the food you eat and processing it into energy.

Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is how many calories it takes to do nothing more than run your body and keep you alive for 24 hours. If you were in a coma it is how many calories you'd burn in a day. It is not taking into account anything other than keeping you alive.

Your activity index (AI) is all the movements you make in a day. It is all the movements an average person makes just living, such as yawning and walking, plus any extra exercise like deliberate running, playing sports, or going to the gym.

The thermogenic effect of food (TEF) is the energy it takes to digest and process everything you eat, and we've already talked about this a little when we discussed protein.

Those three elements make up your metabolism and determine how many calories you burn in a day. Most of the things that are supposed to boost your metabolism (like pills) merely make your heart beat faster and increase your AI. Eating more protein will slightly increase your TEF.

So where in this math does eating 6 meals a day speed anything up? Taking a set amount of food and consuming it in 6 meals versus just 3 doesn't affect your BMR, and since it is the exact same amount of food it doesn't really affect your AI or TEF either.

The way they get away with saying that eating increases metabolism is because "truth-in-weight-loss police" don't exist, and because in a very small way it does. If you eat something your body has to digest it and it does take energy so you are metabolizing something and for those minutes your net energy expenditure does increase, but in a way that is not necessarily meaningful.

Your metabolism is going all day long and does not stop until you die. Since your body spends most of your energy on your BMR, just keeping you alive, the most meaningful way to increase or decrease it is to weigh more or less so it has more or less of you to keep alive.

This is also why eating less, consuming fewer calories, and controlling your insulin is the secret to losing weight. If you run on a treadmill for an hour and burn 300 calories you just spent an awful lot of energy, an hour of your time, and now your body MIGHT have 300 calories to make up. But, if instead of going to the gym you look at what you eat in a day and decide to switch to diet soda and eat two fewer muffins during the day the small effort you just made could cut out 800 calories from your diet.

If you need 1500 calories a day to stay alive, you burned another 350 by moving all day long, and another 120 by digesting food that means you need 1950 calories for that day. If by cutting out the muffins and soda you only took in 1150 your body has to come up with the missing 800 calories because math is math. Since a pound of fat contains roughly 3500 calories, if you did that for 7 days you'd lose just over a pound and a half (assuming hormones don’t get in the way, more on that later).

While very beneficial, exercise is not a very effective way to lose fat. You can go to the gym and kill yourself every day but until you eat less than what you need you won't really lose fat. The main benefit exercise has, in terms of weight loss, is in "body reshaping". Through exercise you can build muscles and develop a strong toned figure that fat loss can uncover.

One thing that should be mentioned before this myth is closed is that through most of human existence man only ate once, maybe twice, a day. There is no actual need to eat three times a day and that we do it today is merely a social convention. For thousands of years people have hunted and foraged all day long, expending a lot of energy, and then at the end of the day they'd sit around and eat a very large meal and did just fine.

The Spartan Army, one of the most effective military forces in history, ate just one meal a day. They would march and train and fight all day and then gather shortly before going to bed and eat a very fatty stew containing animal blood to make it taste bad.

A lot of people try to muddy the water to sell products and uncover fat loss secrets but you still can't escape the simple truth that fat loss comes down to math and biology: calories in versus calories out combined with controlling insulin, which means eating less.

NOTE: Just so there is no confusion I'm not saying eating several small meals during the day is bad, the fact is that many people do get benefits from it. Eating small items all day long and having all meals pre-planned does help a lot of people not overeat and stick to their diet. If you are sensitive to low blood sugar then this manner of eating is probably ideal for you. There are a lot of benefits to eating this way; my point is that it isn't the grand necessity the fitness industry makes it out to be.

While it can help you stick to a diet, consume less calories, and feel less hunger it doesn't "super charge" your metabolism and burn more calories versus eating everything in one sitting. While it is technically true that every time you eat something it does increase your metabolism for a little while, the rise in metabolism occurs simply because you're asking your body to do more work. It is the same rise in metabolism you'd experience if you got out of a chair and walked across the room, since you're now asking your body to do more work compared to when you were sitting in a chair.

If you eat 1500 calories of food and it takes your body 130 calories of energy to digest and process it, it doesn't matter if you eat that food all at once or in small amounts throughout the day, your body will still expend 130 calories to digest and process that food.

Myth #4: You shouldn't eat just before going to bed because since your body doesn't need the energy while you're sleeping, you will just store everything as fat.

Truth: This is a very wide spread myth that is and isn't a myth. I first heard it years ago watching a documentary on sumo wrestlers who would eat a large meal and then take a nap afterwards because they believed "sleep after eating builds bulk".

First, you do need energy while you are sleeping. While you sleep your body is still hard at work keeping you alive and healthy. There are even experts who suggest that you should eat a small meal right before going to bed to keep your blood sugar level while you sleep.

It is true that you will store more of what you eat because when you are asleep there is little to do with all the extra energy you just put in your body. A far greater amount of what you just ate will be stored as fat, however for most people it will even out once you wake up and start the next day.

If you need 2000 calories per day to maintain your current weight and you consume 1000 in the morning and then the other 1000 just before going to sleep you will still have consumed 2000 for that day. Sure, because you didn't consume the full 2000 calories during the day at the exact time your body needed it your body pulled what it needed from energy stored in your cells, but then it put what it didn't need back when you next ate. Again, look at your weight not day by day but rather week to week. 

Many people have noticed that if they don't eat before going to sleep they do in fact lose weight. Myself, I've noticed that if I don't eat after 7pm I can easily lose weight but the reason is because I'm in the habit of consuming more calories later at night combined with the fact I’m giving myself a 12-16 hour period of fasting which helps spike my human growth hormone and control my insulin.

Myth #5: A calorie is a calorie and that it doesn’t matter what you eat as long as you reduce your calories.

Truth: The truth of the matter is that not all calories are equal and your body does react differently to different things you eat.  Simply reducing the number of calories you eat is only a portion of the solution because you also have to control your insulin or you’ll be fighting a losing battle.

As we’ve discussed above, insulin is a hormone your body secretes in response to consuming sugar (carbohydrates) and when insulin enters your blood it allows your body to store the sugars in your cells as energy.  The problem with not controlling your insulin levels when you’re trying to lose weight is twofold, first insulin represses the effect of the hormone leptin.

Leptin is called the “satiety hormone” because it tells your brain that you’re full and turns off your hunger.  Leptin is produced in your fat cells and when a certain amount enters your bloodstream your brain, specifically your hypothalamus, detects it and creates the feeling of being satisfied.  Both insulin and leptin are two of the key hormones that regulate the balance of fat in your body but the problem is that when insulin is high your hypothalamus is unable to accurately gauge the level of leptin in your bloodstream interfering with its effects and preventing you from feeling full and satisfied.

In other words high insulin levels can prevent you from feeling full and satisfied and keep you feeling hungry despite how much you’ve eaten.  Not only that since your brain is expecting to detect high amounts of leptin but it doesn’t is assumes you haven’t eaten enough and can strengthen your hunger signals regardless of how much you’ve eaten.

In addition, since your brain makes you crave foods that contain the nutrients you’re lacking, if it not detecting enough lepton if often thinks you don’t have enough sugar or carbohydrates in your system so it can make you crave fatty and unhealthy foods.  This can create a vicious cycle since it is sugar (which carbohydrates get broken down into) that makes insulin levels spike you can eat a bag of candy consuming a lot of sugar and then causing your insulin to spike and then the high amounts of insulin can block the reception of lepton in your brain causing your brain to think you don’t have enough sugar in your system, because it can’t detect it, and it can make you crave more sugar.

The second problem with not controlling your insulin levels in you want to lose weight is that insulin not only allows you to store energy in your cells but elevated levels of insulin prevent you from pulling energy out of your cells.   Let’s say you determine that you need to consume 2,000 calories a day to maintain your weight so you figure you’ll consume 500 less calories a day so at the end of the week you’ll lose one pound of weight.  Thinking that a calorie is a calorie you decide it doesn’t matter where the calories come from so you decide that you’ll get your 1,500 calories that day from chocolate cake.

Since the cake is nothing but sugar and carbohydrates it is going to create a massive spike in your insulin levels so most of that cake is going to get stored as fat.  Then the high levels of insulin can prevent your body from detecting the leptin in your blood stream so you can feel very hungry and even crave more sugar.  The big problem comes when your body needs that 500 calories you didn’t consume that day to maintain your weight.  What does it do?

First, it’s going to use any glucose found in your bloodstream and then it will use glucose stored in your liver.  However, the problem comes when you’ve done this for a couple days and you’re all out of stored glucose in your liver.  Normally, since your body needs additional energy it would just pull it out of your fat cells and burn the fat as energy but if you have high insulin levels your body can’t access that fat.  When your body can’t access your fat storage it will have to take energy from where it can access it and that often means protein which means breaking down muscle or other tissue you actually want to keep.

The other thing that happens when your body wants to break down stored fat for energy but can’t access it is that it figures that it doesn’t have enough stored fat so since it thinks it doesn’t have enough energy in will both increase hunger, to get you to consume more energy, and reduce the amount of energy it uses to conserve what it does have.  

Your body will end up slowing bodily functions in an effort to conserve energy so you’ll find that you’re suddenly tired, weak, have a problem concentrating, and pretty much just want to lay down.  Since your body is actually doing less your BMR will actually go down which means that you’ll be burning less calories!

So it doesn’t matter if you eat less calories, if you don’t manage your insulin you won’t lose fat and can actually end up being more hungry, losing muscle, feeling tired and horrible, and actually slowing your metabolism.  However, if you consume foods that cause a very minimal rise in insulin levels now your brain will be able to detect leptin so you’ll feel full and your body will be able to access your fat stores so you’ll maintain most of your muscle (some lean mass will always be lost when you’re losing weight) and the energy to make up your caloric deficit will primarily come from your stored fat which is what you want. 

You can do a low-glycemic diet which is eating only foods that have a very low insulin response and many people have had great success with that or you can do my favorite method of reducing your weight which is prolonged or intermittent fasting.

The reason that fasting is great and has been widely practiced for thousands of years is that when go a period of about 16-18 hours without eating you burn through all the energy in your bloodstream making your body have to access stored energy.  First it will go to the sugar you have stored in your liver but within 24 to 36 hours without eating that will be depleted and your body will start pulling fat out of your fat stores and your body will go to almost exclusively running itself by burning off your fat.

Since you’re not eating anything you have zero insulin response so your body is fully able to access all your fat stores and since you have so much fat being processed in your system your leptin levels skyrocket and you don’t feel hungry at all.  During prolonged fasts people say that feel hungry for the first 1 to 3 days and when day for hits their hunger suddenly vanishes and they’re not hungry at all for the rest of the fast.  That is because on day 4 your body has burned through your sugar stores in your liver and is running itself on stored body fat and now your leptin really kicks in.

Also your human growth hormone rises dramatically during at fast which gives you energy and preserves your lean tissue.  While regardless of what kind of weight loss program you do some protein will always be broken down every day fasting is hands down the method that preserves most of your muscle and other lean tissue.  After your fast is done since your human growth hormone levels are so high once you do start eating again your body will take what you eat and use it to start building new muscle tissue right away.

The other hormone that increases during fasting is noradrenaline which gives you a big boost of energy.  This is why people on fast suddenly, usually around day 4, feel a big surge of energy and during their fast they feel great, are not hungry, and are full of energy.  Their body has all the energy they need since they’re freely burning their stored body fat and since they’re full of leptin, human growth hormone, and noradrenaline they have very high energy levels and think very clearly.

In fact, while fasting was used in ancient times as a method of both weight loss and healing it was mostly used as a means of brining clarity of mind.  Most religions advocated fasting because it brought a feeling of wellbeing, high energy, and mental clarity which helped them make better decisions.  Many prominent scholars actually fasted when they worked on important works to take advantage of the increased mental clarity and the increase free time they now has since they didn’t have to bother with meals.

On longer fasts you should supplement with vitamins since you have fat soluble vitamins that will dissolved into your stored fat and released when that fat is pulled out but you also have water soluble vitamins that can only be dissolved in water so if they aren’t needed they are disposed of in your urine.  On prolonged fasts a good multivitamin should be taken daily that gives you your water soluble vitamins like vitamin C, B complex vitamins, and magnesium.  Actually since magnesium is so important and it is estimated about 80% of people are deficient in it I recommend you take a good multivitamin and a separate magnesium supplement daily, getting 400mg of magnesium per day for women and 600mg a day for men is optimal plus a little more if you have a lot of stress and anxiety since your body burns magnesium dealing with stress and anxiety.

Most people don’t do a prolonged fast but rather do intermittent fasting.  Intermittent fasting is normally don’t in one of two ways, either fasting from all day long every other day or perhaps one or two days a week and eating a healthy diet on your off days, or working in 24 hours of fasting a couple days a week.

By far the most popular method of fasting is to fast from dinner to dinner so that you get your fasting in but still eat every day.  The way this is done is that on Monday you’d stop eating after dinner and not eat again until dinner time on Tuesday.  In this way you’d put in a roughly 24 hour period where you didn’t eat so you’d still get the benefits of fasting with that calorie reduction and insulin suppression, but you can eat dinner every day and still be social.  Done one or twice a week can have a dramatic effect on your weight loss.  To get the biggest result you should stick to foods with a low glycemic index during your eating periods to avoid high insulin levels.
Doing a low carb or ketogenic diet where you get primarily protein and fat, no sugar, and a very low amount of carbohydrates is also very beneficial.  While fat and protein do have some, albeit a very small, effect in rising insulin levels you do still get 71% of the insulin lowering results that you would get during a fasting (after all nothing is better for keeping insulin low then just not eating).  Ketogenic diets are very effective in lowering weight and burning body fat since they allow you to freely access your body fat stores when you need them you just have to make sure you can maintain them.  Some people love them and other people say they have a far easier time simply fasting ad not eating anything then they do eating but restricting carbs.

You might be wondering why you haven’t heard about the benefits of fasting before and that is because there is no money in it.  The food industry is one of the largest and most powerful in the world and the last thing they want you to do is eat less food.  Therefore they try to convince you that eating too much isn’t the problem you just need to buy special diet food from them and then even eat more food to lose weight by eating 5-6 times a day.  Only in America, the land controlled by lobbyists, would the “experts” tell you that you lose weight you have to eat more and more often.

If you want to learn more about how to do intermittent fasting or about the scientific evidence on the benefits of fasting I recommend the book “Eat Stop Eat” by Brad Pilon or “Complete Guide to Fasting” by Dr. Jason Fung, M.D.


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