A Beginner's Guide to Fasting: How to Utilize and Hack an Intermittent Fast
What is fasting?
In a nut shell, fasting is the act of not consuming food for a lengthy period of time. Wait...we know what you're thinking, but hear us out for a minute. Before you panic, let's explore how fasting has shaped sacred parts of our lives.
Several religions regard fasting as a way to get closer to God by eliminating distracting human needs like hunger and sex. Some Christians fast to enhance their focus during prayer. Muslims fast during various times of the year, especially Ramadan, which acts as a unifying spiritual exercise. More recently, many prominent members of the alternative health community such as BulletProof exec Dave Asprey advocate for calculated approaches to fasting. But why?
Modern research supports numerous biological benefits associated with fasting, including weight loss and regulation of hormones. When done properly, fasting can open our bodies to increased mental performance and longevity. But we get it; it's natural to fear fasting, as it might trigger you to feel like you're starving. But in reality, when supplemented with a healthy diet, fasting actually helps to eliminate hunger. So buckle up and brace yourself for this knowledge bomb we're about to drop!
What are the benefits?
Some of the other possible benefits of fasting include the following:
- increased longevity (clinical research shows that fasting increases lifespan of mice by 15-20%)
- weight loss (while maintaining muscle mass)
- improved blood pressure
- regulating blood sugar
- reduced triglycerides (stored fat)
- Increased cognitive ability
Whether you're looking to lose weight, regulate blood sugar, improve cognitive functioning or lower your risk for heart disease, engaging in some form of fasting several times per week can provide amazing benefits. For example, one of the most important benefits of fasting is its ability to be protective against cardiovascular incidences. This is partly due to the natural increase of adiponectin, a protein that is secreted by fat tissue that aids in the prevention ischemic events such as strokes and heart attacks. This finding is crucial for those who maintain lower levels of adiponectin such as obese people. Considering that conditions such as obesity and cardiovascular issues are on the rise, the benefits of fasting are exceptionally important for those affected by said conditions.
In fact, adiponectin has been identified as an "independent risk factor" for cardiovascular disease, meaning that low adiponectin levels are directly related to cardiovascular disease regardless of other factors such as obesity, age, etc. One of the ways that adiponectin is cardio-protective is because it appears to modulate inflammation, which is a key contributing factor to heart attacks and strokes.
Adiponectin also seems to aid the promotion of insulin-sensitivity (preventing diabetes), decreasing obesity, and increasing HDL cholesterol (the "good cholesterol"). If you're not fully convinced to try your hand at fasting just yet, the good news is that you can "hack" your way to fasting by doing it intermittently.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting comprises of fasting for 16 hours and having an eating window of 8 hours daily. You can hack your 16 hour fast by drinking fatty coffee (grass-fed butter and coconut oil) made famous by the previously mentioned acclaimed biohacker Dave Asprey. This kind of hack tricks your body into thinking that it's still fasting; this is because fatty coffee doesn't have any significant effect on your blood sugar.
It's important to note that you won't be consuming this coffee during the 8-hour eating window. The purpose is to use the fatty coffee during the 16-hour fasting period. For instance, say you don't eat for 2 hours before you go to sleep, then you sleep for 8 hours and wake up craving a cup of coffee. Drinking fatty coffee on the 11th hour of your fast will provide you with enough fuel to make it to the 16-hour mark without negating the health benefits. You'll be able to feel full and get brain fuel from grass-fed butter and coconut oil while not breaking your fast. This is revolutionary because drinking fatty coffee helps elimination that feeling of deprivation many fear will be triggered when fasting.
Back in episode 14 of our podcast, we broke down how much a fatty coffee breakfast would cost daily and came up with a sexy total of 89 cents. So basically, loading up your morning cup of Joe with a couple of fatty friends is cheap and satiating enough to help those 16 hours fly by successfully!
Try it out and let us know what you think!*
How to make this fatty coffee:
- 1 cup of hot coffee
-1-2 tsp coconut oil
-1-2 tsp grass-fed butter
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy (about 10 seconds)
*If you have any questions, submit them here!