If after reading last week’s blog you’ve tried the low-net-carb-diet this week I will help you kick it up by a notch by integrating peak fasting. But let’s start with the concept of intermittent fasting.
If you recall, I blogged about ditching carb loading a couple of weeks ago. Consuming carbs on a daily basis this is in a sense a bit like carb loading. If you constantly supply your body with carbs which are converted into glycogen, you’ll never run out of glycogen as a primary source of energy. And therefore your liver will never tap into your fast cells as primary source of fuel. This is of the main reasons why many people struggle with losing weight (or fat).
Intermittent fasting can change that, because when you’re not supplying the body with food, once the liver runs out of glycogen as fuel it start using glycogen stored in our fat cells. To reach this point you don’t need extended periods of fasting. In fact, I do not recommend long periods of fasting.
This brings me to peak fasting, which is a type of intermittent fasting but unlike other types of intermittent fasting it is done daily (excluding days off due to social and other commitments).
What does peak fasting involve?
It’s quite simple. You stop eating three hours before going to bed and refrain from having anything apart from water until the next meal (usually between 13 to 18 hours later). Deciding the exact length of the daily fast is based on measuring your blood sugar, starting 12 hours after your last meal, every 30 minutes until you notice that your blood sugar has risen dramatically. This is an indication that it’s time to break the fast and eat. You don’t need to do this every day, just a couple of times to determine how long after your last meal your blood sugar level peaks. So if for example you find that it peaks after 13 hours, you should normally fast for 13 hours daily (from after dinner and until breakfast). I’ve been peak fasting for a few years now, on average 5-6 days every week. Sometimes I take a short break if I’m on holiday. In the first couple of days you may feel a bit light headed until your body gets used to the new regime but after that it’s going to be smooth sailing. After all, we’re not birds, we don’t need to peck or eat every awaken hour of our day.
Is this for you? Well, if you’re overweight and/or have symptoms of insulin and leptin resistance (such as hypertension, high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes) continue peak fasting until your insulin/leptin resistance improves and your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight or diabetes normalises.
So there are several ways you can go about it.
You could do as I do and peak fast almost every day. It appears that there is a long-term benefit to continue Peak Fasting indefinitely along with a low-net-carb, moderate-protein, and high-quality fat diet. There is ample evidence that suggests this may be one of the most powerful ways to slow down the aging process as well as prevent most chronic degenerative diseases.
If you don’t want to do it indefinitely but you want to lose, say 20kg, you peak fast for 6 months and after that you can go back to ‘normal’ eating but with a ‘maintenance’ programme where you occasionally peak fast whenever your markers start sliding.
Another option is to intermittently fast for say one month, a couple of times a year, as a form of maintenance. Another strategy you can try is exercising while in a fasted state (i.e., before having breakfast). There’s evidence that fasting before aerobic training leads to reductions in both body weight and body fat (liver has to find it’s glycogen from fat cells), while eating before a workout decreases only body weight.
But exercising on an empty tummy is a subject for another blog.
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