Intermittent fasting is the NEW buzz word in town. Just like YOGA was a few years ago in USA. So what is it and does it work and is it worth the hype!!!.
For starters, its nothing new, our grandparents knew it all along. Due to our inferiority drenched, pseudo-liberal west aping cheap mentality, we discarded and despised their “ORTHODOX and STUPID” habit of NOT EATING anything on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Turns out, just the way they were right about “Desi Ghee”, they are right here too, Science is finally catching up with UNBELIEVABLE and UNQUESTIONABLE correlation between LONG, Healthy life and NOT EATING.
SO let me break down this article into 03 parts. First we shall describe, what exactly is Intermittent fasting. Then we shall look at our sculptures and how our sages declared its correlation with health IoNS ago and finally we look at the latest research and science catching up to it.
WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING.
Three meals a day is a strange modern invention. Our ancestors who were hunter-gatherers had no such comforts. They ate when they were successful in procuring a meal and slept hungry when not. This implied an inherent stressor in the body which kept diseases at bay. As Nasim taleb suggests, A way to antifragility is to introduce stressors in the system which keeps it robust, As the saying goes, whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
Opposite of that is a body without stressors and comfort of 3 meals a day. (actually, 05 if you follow American Diabetes Association). With zero stressors, your body structure is 01 push away from losing immunity to myriad of metabolic diseases and complications. Intermittent fasting is a way of introducing that stressor and allowing the body to heal itself from the excesses of processed, crappy chemical food we ingest.
There are numerous ways of doing it, I am aware of the following.
This is the most common way people get introduced to the concept without getting overwhelmed by it.
Just randomly you start missing a meal. A typical way would be, let’s say you don’t eat breakfast on Monday, Skip a lunch on Tuesday and maybe a dinner on Friday. No deliberation, just randomly skipping a meal. This way you get acclimatized to the process and also bust the myth that Your body will starve if you don’t eat regularly. FACT is, OUR BODY is well equipped to handle long periods of famine, let alone missing one or two meals from time to time.
The 16/8 method.
This is the beginner’s method after you have gained confidence with your meal skipping endeavors. You basically fast for 16 hours everyday and eat your 02-03 meals in the remaining 8 hour window (feeding window)
So let’s say you eat breakfast/lunch (call what you may) at 12:00 PM and eat your dinner at 7:00 PM and then again break the fast next day at 12:00 PM.
This method is also known as the Leangains protocol and was popularized by fitness expert Martin Berkhan.
The 5:2 Method.
This is what grandma use to do. 02 days of NOT EATING anything every week. Just make sure there is a GAP between 02 days otherwise it becomes a little daunting.
There are NO hard and fast rules. “NO FAST RULES IN FAST”. If you can, you should go without food in these 02 days, else restrict yourself to 500-600 calories.
ON OFF ON Off Method.
This one would have 03 days in a week where you would NOT eat anything. So lets say Tuesday, Thursday and a Saturday. Because it is tougher than the previous option, you can give yourself the liberty to drink coffee and SUGAR FREE 0 cal beverages and a 500 calorie meal.
This is not for the faint-hearted. But an Ultimate aim of ALL serious aspirants. It was popularized by fitness expert Ori Hofmekler. Essentially you eat 01 meal in the entire 24 hours close to 7:00 PM. To ease yourself into it, in initial days you can have fruits and veggies (small quantity) in the morning.
Important Note: If you are doing this to reduce weight, break the fast with Low carb food else the entire purpose of fasting would go waste with 01 sitting of chips and soda.
INDIAN Ayurveda has an age-old saying,
एक बार खाये योगी दो बार खाये भोगी तीन बार खाये रोगी ? ।
For the sake of example, look at the in-depth work that has gone in our ancestors “rituals”
In Hindus, Ekadashi(the eleventh day of the fortnight in lunar calendar) is considered the best day for fasting to detoxify oneself, The instruction is to eat a balanced, lunch on the previous day and take only water, lemonade for the rest of the day. To avoid mineral drainage, even water is allowed only in limited quantity on Ekadashi, and next day(Dwadashi—the 12th day), you need to gulp down lemon juice.
Body is forced to burn FAT on fasting day and vitamin C intake through lemon juice helps it drain out all the toxins released by the melting of the long deposited fat.
Likewise, Ramzan fasting in Islam, Easter fasting in Christianity, and navratri and Karthik fastings for Hindus coincide to a time when you need to re-organize your body.
Ofcourse Science idiots can mock it, its only 40-50 years later they would realize the significance of choosing the right days for doing it.
I was reading this book, I AM THAT by Nisargatta Maharaj and while that book is about Vedanta and man’s search of reality, out of the blue without any context, Nisargadatta mocked at this foreigner devotee emphasizing the irony of wanting to live long and gorging on food. It is such a simple heuristic he says, your longevity is inversely proportionate to how much/often you eat.
This is what Sadhguru has to say on this
Let me add my bit to this video, through personal experience and experimentation, I can vouch for this. When you fast, you become more energetic and lose the need and will to sleep in the afternoon.
It all starts on mice (guinea pigs).
in the 1930s, Cornell University nutritionist Clive McCay discovered that rats subjected to stringent daily dieting from an early age lived longer and were less likely to develop cancer and other diseases as they aged, compared with animals that ate at will.
In a 2003 mouse study overseen by Mark Mattson, head of the National Institute on Aging’s neuroscience laboratory, mice that fasted regularly were healthier by some measures than mice subjected to continuous calorie restriction; they had lower levels of insulin and glucose in their blood, for example, which signified increased sensitivity to insulin and a reduced risk of diabetes.
Nassim Nicholas taleb is a fan of Intermittent fasting as it fits with his life philosophy of becoming anti-fragile by introducing stressors and intermittent fasting acts in part as a form of mild stress that continually revs up cellular defenses against molecular damage.
Stress that leads to better health is known as hormesis.
Read this research paper where they put eleven obese people with type 2 diabetes on a crash diet of 600 calories a day, and after a mere one week, blood glucose levels had become normal, as did triglycerides.
Normal insulin sensitivity and beta cell function was achieved, indicating
that these people had essentially been cured of diabetes. WHAT THE FUCK!!!!
Do you know that in WW II, Russia went through hell and there was starvation and famine, one side effect of that catastrophe was that no. of reported cases for diabetes and cardiac arrests decreased by 2/3rd. When you don’t eat, you don’t fuck the metabolism.
Here is Mike Mutzel A guy I follow on twitter going under a full-body MRIs unveiling the “difference between us carb eating 3 meal a day mortals and OMAD + KETO.
Those of you who listened carefully to Peter Attia Podcast I posted the other day must have heard of ANTI-Ageing drug called RAPAMYCIN.
The anti-aging drug rapamycin, which extends life in lab animals, works by deactivating mTOR. Guess What, Intermittent fasting induces Autophagy which does the same thing.
My conclusion, Intermittent fasting is not a fad or a simple hack to lose weight or burn fat for bodybuilders. It is a way of life. A way of reversing the ageing process, A way of putting diseases into remission. A way to live a healthy disease free active life.
Books you should read to know more.
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