Could constant snacking be keeping you unhealthy, overweight, and sick all the time? Intermittent fasting might be the simplest way to upgrade your health.
Why Snacking Could Be Sabotaging Your Efforts
Most of us have followed the dietary dictum that to keep blood sugar stable throughout the day for better weight management and a higher metabolism, we should snack. We’ll sleep better at night if we snack before bedtime. We’ll be less likely to pig out at mealtimes if we snack. Snacking helps keep us from getting hangry.
Snacking is an ingrained part of our culture and snack foods have become a bazillion-dollar industry. But it turns out this advice to constantly crunch doesn’t take into account the body’s need to allow its systems to rest.
When You Eat Constantly
If you munch around the clock, you will constantly keep your body in a “fed” or anabolic state. This means your body will produce hormones, namely insulin, to signal that any extra calories consumed should be stored as fat.
If you remain in this anabolic state, you’ll gain weight. You may also get sick more often, experience mental fogginess and increased inflammation, and even end up with more plaque deposits in your arteries, says Dr. Thomas Cowan in his book, Human Heart, Cosmic Heart.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is getting attention for health benefits which may include increased weight loss, faster metabolism, reduced illness, stabilized blood sugar, and increased mental alertness. In a nutshell, it’s going without snacking for at least 12 hours.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
After 12 hours we run out of food to keep our blood sugar in the normal range, and we also run out of stored starch in our liver (glycogen). Next our hormonal state shifts into a catabolic state, activating a hormone called glucagon, which allows fat stores to be used for fuel. Yes!
As the catabolic state continues during fasting, blood flow shifts to our heart, brains, and muscles (possibly to prime us for finding more food). Inflammation is reduced, stored toxins are flushed from the fat cells, and the brain gets more alert and focused.
Dr. Cowan calls intermittent fasting “a powerful strategy to burn fat, lose weight, reverse diabetes, lower your blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and increase mental acuity … the single most effective antiaging strategy out there.”
How to Do It
Go for 12-18 hours without food, once a week, up to 6 days a week. That’s pretty much it. An early dinner, no snacking before going to bed, then eating later the next day (possibly skipping breakfast). If you get so hungry that you can’t stand it, apparently a spoonful of coconut oil won’t interfere with the desired catabolic state, so keep some on hand, just in case. Drink plenty of water too.
I’ve been taking a conservative approach, fasting for about 13 hours a few times a week. I notice a big difference in the way I feel when I do fast. I wake up feeling less groggy and sluggish and seem to have more energy. Giving my sensitive digestive system a chance to rest seems to help a lot too.
If You Get Sick All the Time, Try Intermittent Fasting
If you get plenty of rest and eat a decent diet (whole foods, healthy meats, plenty of fats) but you still get sick all the time, you might be feeding your body too often. Our bodies are so brilliant that they will do whatever it takes to keep us healthy. Sometimes that involves allowing us to get sick so we will stop eating long enough to spend time in that catabolic state. Intermittent fasting might save you the trouble of frequently getting sick.
The Thriftiest Health Strategy Ever
Intermittent fasting is so simple, yet has the potential to change your health dramatically for the better. With no monthly membership fee, no fancy workout equipment required, and less food eaten, it might also be the thriftiest health strategy ever dreamed up.