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Intermittent Fasting: Should You Do It?

Intermittent fasting has grown into quite the mainstream eating tactic in recent years. It’s one of the top health trends right beside vegan, gluten-free, paleo & keto. Fasting has been shown to combat many signs of aging by reducing oxidative stress and giving your digestive tract some critical time to redial. In general, it enhances the immune system, endocrine system, and your body's response to stress in a variety of ways.

To start off, what is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?

Simply put, it is consuming calories during a specific period of the day while fasting the rest. This means no calories during the fasting period because they will stimulate a metabolic response.

To be clear, IF is not a diet. It is a continuous lifestyle choice. That means in order to see significant results, you must cultivate adherence.

Most people, including myself, prefer the 16:8 protocol instead of the 5:2. The 5:2 style consists of 5 days where you eat any time of day, then minimize calories significantly (~500 calories) for the other 2 days of the week.

In 16:8 you will eat your meals during an 8-hour period then fast the remaining 16 hours. For example, you could eat your last meal at 8pm.... sleep.... wake.... then, when noon strikes the clock, you can pile up your plate again! I find this the easiest one to adapt to because you basically sleep through roughly half of the fasting period.

IF is a solid strategy for fat loss because the increased satiety during the short eating window. This will get you to chow on less calories because the hormone ghrelin, I like to call growlin, decreases significantly. This hormone is the “I’m hungry af” hormone. It tells your brain when you need to eat.

This lessens harmful food cravings—making intermittent fasting perfectly suitable for someone trying to lose some stubborn fat and boost endogenous ketone production for a lil’ energy boost.

Unfortunately, our western culture constantly forms a plethora of false ideas on health and wellness, many of which turn out to be total pseudoscience, or what I consider "bro science."

The media spews out lies upon lies on how to properly eat to boost energy and longevity. It's best to not accept information on the streets, on YouTube, or from your doctor without doing the nitty-gritty research yourself.

Assumptions can be toxic, and in the absence of complete information, you must fill in the blanks yourself. You fill in the blanks with your own interpretation of what you have heard—not based on the objective truth. The key is to not believe all you hear until you read the cold hard facts first (via peer-reviewed clinical trials on PubMed), or perhaps testing it out yourself.

For instance, I'll have conversations that ignite questions like, "Shouldn't you spread 5 meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism up?" or "Don't you lose muscle mass if you go without food for that long?" or even a (wonderful) girl will say with complete and utter seriousness, "I don't lift weights because it will make me bulky."

No way! That‘s some utter silly nonsense!

I'm sure some jacked, vein-poppin’ Muscle-Milk-dude, that appears to be a laboratory chemical-loaded test tube, endorsed this non-scientific logic.

Yeah, I know... I need to divert away from these negative connotations. This efficacious dude, with no background in human nutrition, physiology, or science in-general, posted a brief article on Bodybuilding.com talking all about eating constantly throughout the day... so he's definitely a super reliable source.

Alas, back to the real talk.

The most burdening part of this discussion is how most of the long-term IF studies are conducted on rodents.

The research clearly displays the amazing benefits of intermittent fasting. From improved insulin sensitivity, weight loss, better blood pressure and cholesterol, fasting is changing lives. Well, rats‘ lives.

Although these rodents have been used for decades in research to test the effects of certain foods, supplements, and drugs—they simply aren't human. Therefore different results will emerge.

However, according to the National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a study "found that modest weight losses of 5%-10% [from IF] have been associated with significant improvements in cardiovascular disease risk factors (ie, decreased HbA1C levels, reduced blood pressure, increase in HDL cholesterol, decreased plasma triglycerides) in patients with Type II Diabetes" (Furmli).

Even though this study is far from statistically significant (n<40), because it used a measly three diabetic male patients, it tells us that massive improvements can occur in some individual’s health biomarkers.

Patient 1 had type 2 diabetes for 25 years, patient 2 for 20 years, and patient 3 for 10 years. That's a long time chowing down on Little Debbie donuts and Hostess cupcakes (harsh, I know).

Then, one day, they sign away at a study to follow a 24-hour alternating day fast for over a month.  

One patient subjectively reported that the "fasting was ‘easy’ and [he] does not have the carbohydrate cravings he once had before he started the diet, and he also experienced higher energy levels.”

Adjusting to this fasting concept day-in and day-out offers adequate glycemic control. If you can maintain healthy blood sugar, all other biomarkers will adjust to a healthy level accordingly. This leads to healthier food cravings (you’ll want that hummus and broccoli over the cookies), fat loss (preserved muscle), improved brain function, and balanced hormones. Your precious microbiome will love you too. You might as well go with your gut!

With all these benefits... there must be some backlashes to IF, right?

The only well-known harm relates to women enacting this lifestyle-eating approach, and go figure, it's a study on rats.

Basically, the female rats experienced an odd hypothalamic reaction from the calorie restriction over the course of 3 weeks. This caused a variety of reproductive hormonal issues relating to Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH). When these hormones "cannot communicate with the ovaries, you run the risk of irregular periods, infertility, poor bone health and other health effects" (Coyle).

But... there hasn't been any comparative studies with actual human beings...yet. That just goes to show correlation does not equal causation. To avoid this negative response, I recommend you ladies out there just shorten the fasting period to 11-13 hours and/or have fewer fasting days in the week. That way you'll reap the benefits of us lucky guys.

Whether it's a good idea for a woman to fast depends on a number of factors.

What is your age? Why are you fasting? What are your goals? Are you active or quite sedentary? Do you have a history of hormone issues? Are you planning for pregnancy anytime soon?

These are critical questions, because no woman should be subjected to fast because I’m promoting it, or some other health fanatic is. The research has mainly been done on men, therefore it’s in your best interest (ladies) to experiment with your unique physiology. IF will take some trial and error. Test it out for several weeks, if that makes you feel like complete crap, then shorten the time or skip it completely. Go with intuition.

My Conclusion

I have been utilizing intermittent fasting since the beginning of 2018. Being a college student, it has no doubt increased my productivity and made schedule changes much more fluent.

I personally eat my last meal (~1500-2300 calories) around 9-10pm filled with healthy fats from avocados, nuts/seeds, and oils in conjunction with a hefty amount of protein acquired through lean sources of organs, beans, lentils, fatty fish, or grass-fed meat. Or, if I’m feelin nifty, I’ll sometimes opt for a collagen, bone broth protein, greens, and berry smoothie.

I also typically enjoy devouring all of my carbohydrates, from sweet potatos to steel-cut oats, during this final huzzah. With a cyclical keto approach I can earn that perfectly-timed glycogen restoration after an intense evening weight-lifting session. To enhance the fasting and systematic detox protocol, I recommend that you sauce in a big handful of dark leafy greens and a full-spectrum of fiber- and phytochemical-rich veggies.

Okay now my following meal will be around 1-2pm (12-16 hours thereafter) which will consist of something lighter around 500-1000 calories.

Most individuals do not experience muscle atrophy until well over 3 days of fasting but it depends how much fat the person is hauling around.

Fat cells will always be targeted as a primary source of fuel in a fasted state—well before any muscle tissue (ketosis drives this phenomenon). This is your body's way of maintaining equilibrium, or homeostasis.

If your body targeted muscle proteins after 14-16 hours... we'd be in a heap of trouble. I base my understanding of health and wellness on modern science and ancient wisdom. Our ancestors went HOURS and HOURS, even DAYS, scavenging for food.

Take it way back thousands of years and there's no way we woke up (with cortisol at its peak) to a sugary bowl of cereal, a plate of scrambled eggs, and grease-drenched bacon slices (yummmm). This stat alone shows that intermittent fasting is ingrained in most human being's blood.

In the morning, my breakfast consists of two big glasses of pure, quenching H2O tied with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. This kickstarts the digestive system and can blunt your hunger for the day.

Then, an hour or two after waking, I will grind fresh organic coffee beans, dump the grounds in my French press, and prepare 1-2 cups of supreme bean for a focused day ahead. Coffee does cause an extremely minimal enzymatic response by the liver; however, I don't consider it pernicious. This jammin' java also lifts your mood & boosts metabolism... just try not to exceed 3-4 cups per day to avoid draining your adrenal glands.

If you aren't big on the plain bitter bean without the use of sugar or creamer, then you can opt for black, green, or herbal tea which are fine n' dandy alternatives.

I also love sipping on some sparkling water (i.e. S.Pellegrino) to ward off hunger signals and a quenching thirst. These types of natural waters also contain trace amounts of minerals, which is perfectly suitable when in a fasted state.

During the holiday season, I save all my calories for the big-bash dinner at family celebrations to avoid overeating those days. Massive Christmas dinners become that much more satisfying and jubilating—absolutely no regrets afterwards.

Load the plate with turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, roasted brussels sprouts, and complete my taste buds' euphoria with a slice or two of pumpkin pie.

Intermittent fasting allows one to eat big fulfilling, savory meals without any negative consequences. Oh, fun fact: your body can absorb well over 30g of protein in one meal. That's just another myth being thrown around.

I highly recommend intermittent fasting based on an anecdotal standpoint since early 2018. It has allowed me to live an energized and driven lifestyle.

The one setback is the adjusting period. People think I am crazy when I mention that I do IF daily because they are so accustomed to their constant eating and can't imagine going over 8 hours without some food!

For optimal progress, I recommend starting with 10 hours fasted, then 11, 12., and so on... Once you surpass the stomach barks at 16 hours, you'll realize you can even prolong it to 18 or 20 hours with no problem! Patience and mental grit is key.

If you truly want change, don't think of the end result, such as the imaginary lean, vibrant-skinned you.

Think of the present you.

Think of the daily development and progress.

You have all to gain, and nothing to lose (besides fat).


Coyle, D., APD. (2018, July 22). Intermittent Fasting For Women: A Beginner's Guide. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/intermittent-fasting-for-women#effects-on-women

Furmli, S. (2018, October 09). Therapeutic use of intermittent fasting for people with type 2 diabetes as an alternative to insulin. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6194375/

Tello, M. (2018, June 26). Intermittent fasting: Surprising update. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/intermittent-fasting-surprising-update-2018062914156

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