Every other day fasting is eating normally for a day then fasting the whole day the next day in a repetitive manner. It can be combined with paleo, keto, low-carb, or whatever lifestyle best suits your metabolic nature. When implemented correctly, it does achieve impressive results. The problems with this type of intermittent fasting are that it’s too extreme, the week is 7 days so for instance one Saturday you’ll be fasting while the next you’ll not be, and last but not least, people tend to think fasting for a full day gives them the right to eat whatever they want on the previous day or on the following day.
Kindly do not let me lecture you about gluttony, my fellow humans. What it does to your metabolic health is as bad as what porn addiction does to your spirit. Sure, you fasted for so many hours, but that does NOT mean you can eat like you know what. Hint: oink! That will cancel out all the benefits of the fast and harm your metabolic health. To be able to get away with a whatever-you-can-eat meal or day, the fast must be substantially longer, a minimum of 5 days. That could be strict fasting or fasting-mimicking, which is what I recommend in my Smart Protocol. You don’t just get away with it; you get tremendous benefits, very similar to watching porn once per week. Life is about balance, my fellow humans.
Let’s get back to fasting. You can consume as much plain water and black coffee as you wish. Don’t add any sweeteners, and don’t add any creamers. Don’t add a squeeze of lemon to your water, and there’s no need for electrolyte supplements. Don’t overcomplicate a simple matter, just fast. Have a cup of tea with the artificial sweetener or a diet pop in between meals in your feeding window.
The goal is to simulate a natural state best, a built-in factory setting, if you will. Imagine an iPhone. Every app you add and every option you change, the more probable that the performance may suffer. Adding butter to coffee is disgusting. If it helps you initially to abide by the protocol, then sure go for it, but eventually, the training wheels should come off.
Muslims have been doing it every year for centuries during the month of Ramadan
The human body is much more than what triggers an insulin response. That rationale is pathetic, and most fasting advocates that resort to it wants to sell you a product. So no bone broth, BCAAs, coconut oil, MCT oil, butter, electrolyte supplements, and even coffee. If you can eventually take it out, I encourage you to do so. I can’t.
Avoiding water and all liquids, also known as dry fasting, is a subject of debate among the intermittent fasting community. In my opinion, it is perfectly safe, as Muslims have been doing it every year for centuries during the month of Ramadan. I have friends that dry fast two days a week all year long in addition to fasting Ramadan. Nobody I know has reported anything but benefits. If not for religious reasons, you can try it out a few times a year.
Women in childbearing years should start with shorter fasts, generally speaking. The complexity of the female reproductive system and the vast systemic effects of changing levels of hormones is still not completely understood. Hunger signals can be more intense than in men as body fat needs to remain at a higher percentage. The recommendation for women is to start with 12-14 hour fasts and work your way up.
“Calories in equals calories out” is just a model
Are you going to lose muscle? If you are a terrible partitioner, you will not only maintain muscles protein; you’ll build more muscle protein. The reason is improved nutrient partitioning. The nutrients needed were not appropriately delivered, and now they are. But it’s important to understand that what you eat is a primary factor here. If what you eat negatively affects the metabolic health/nutrient partitioning, you will lose muscle and gain fat regardless of “calories.”
By the way, no manual comes with humans. “Calories in equals calories out” is just a model based on the 1st law of thermodynamics. I’m not challenging the 1st law of thermodynamics; God forbid. I’m questioning the outdated model of burning foods in a calorimeter and the assumptions built on that. In bad partitioners, “calories in” becomes a secondary factor, with the partitioning efficiency topping the list. If you cannot deliver what you eat correctly, you cannot build muscle or lose fat. What you eat and when you eat supersedes in importance the number of calories consumed. So you see, “a calorie is a calorie” only works for excellent partitioners but less so the more your metabolic health slides down the Nutrient Partitioning Spectrum.
Another concern that comes up often is will the metabolism slow down and will fasting affect the thyroid. In reality, the effects of intermittent fasting on thyroidal output and the metabolism of the main thyroid hormones, T3 and T4, in target tissues were not studied enough. From personal experience and anecdotal reports from trusted friends, I can tell you that proper fasting protocols do not negatively affect metabolism. You see, metabolism is a misleading term; if, for example, the output of the thyroid does reduce while the efficiency of the transport and utilization of the thyroid hormones increase, you may end up with a heightened metabolism. Again I will tell you that nutrient partitioning comes first. The thyroid itself is pretty resilient unless a person suffers from an autoimmune malfunction, and fasting, especially if combined with keto or paleo, is known to help in autoimmune diseases.
How about supplements? Are those OK to take during the fasting hours, or will they break the fast? Those that come as a soft gel such as fish oil and others suspended in oil will technically break a fast. Although petite, they have a caloric effect no different than consuming an oil. The question is, why take them? For example, the benefits you get from a vitamin D soft gel that has the vitamin suspended in carrier oil is something you see long-term, so delay it until you break your fast. Water-soluble vitamins like multivitamins like B-complex and Vitamin C tablets have a negligible caloric value. They are OK if supplemented during fasting when you do an extended several-day fast. For a 16-hour or a 20-hour fast, you do not need to supplement during the fasting period; take your supplements with your meal/meals.
How about alcohol, is it allowed during the fasting hours? To answer the question, we need to take into consideration how the human body processes alcohol. Alcohol (Ethanol) is treated as a poison and is given priority over other macronutrients. Ethanol is assumed to provide energy per unit weight somewhere in between fats and carbohydrates. That is seven compared to 9 for fat and 4 Calories per gram for carbs. Ethanol converts into Acetaldehyde which is a potent toxin. By prioritizing using alcohol as an energy source, fat burning at the liver and the creation of essential cofactors are impeded. Alcohol will definitely break a fast, so if you want to have a drink, do it within your feeding window, preferably after you’ve eaten some food.
I hope this introduction has given you a solid perspective of what intermittent fasting is. Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool if applied correctly. Some blessed individuals do not need it, while for others, it is a must. The most obvious sign to know if fasting is for you is feeling tired or sleepy after breakfast. But, first, try to take out carbohydrates and lower protein in a keto style, and if that doesn’t resolve the issue, then fasting is the way to go, and my Smart Protocol is your salvation. The best way and probably the only way to reach your ideal body composition, the athletic version of you, and to keep it.
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