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The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

To understand the benefits of intermittent fasting and being in a state of ketosis, it is important to understand what those look like, and how to go about both. Fasting and intermittent fasting can help anyone trying to improve their overall health.

All of this has to do with insulin levels. We want to try and eliminate or lower the amount of insulin present in our system. High insulin and high glucose levels are pro-inflammatory, meaning that maintaining a state where you have large amounts of glucose and insulin in your body can put you in a state of chronic inflammation.

Insulin, Glucose, and Inflammation

Chronic inflammation can have a lot of effects on your body. So when you eat something like a bagel, your glucose goes up. Insulin attaches to the cell wall, allowing glucose to enter the cell and start producing energy.

Because insulin is so pro-inflammatory, we actually don't really want to use glucose as a fuel source. It is better to be in a ketogenic state, where our bodies use fats as the source for fuel. Think of using fats for fuel like driving a Tesla: they are very efficient and fairly clean. Using glucose, on the other hand, is similar to driving a diesel engine. This is why ketogenic and paleo diets, as well as fasting, are critical for your recovery.

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Living in a state of chronic inflammation brought about by high insulin levels can cause the following problems:
  • Metabolic syndrome

  • Infection

  • Arthritis

  • Brain problems

  • Breathing problems

  • Gut issues

  • Cancer

  • Joint issues

  • Eye problems

  • Cardiovascular problems

  • Issues with your gums

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

Clinically, when people come to me having issues with chronic inflammation (or many of the other issues listed above) and I look at their labs, they typically have high insulin, high glucose, and other high inflammatory markers.

The Importance of Diet

The first step is to examine the patient’s diet and try to get them into eating habits that are as anti-inflammatory as possible. All foods can be reduced to a mixture of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. When you eat carbohydrates, you have a major spike in insulin, which again promotes inflammation.

This means foods such as bagels, pasta, bread, white or yellow potatoes, or other foods high in carbohydrates cause a sudden glucose and insulin spike.

Proteins, on the other hand, result in a significantly lower insulin spike. There is still a noticeable increase in insulin, but not nearly as much.

When you eat fats, there is hardly any insulin increase. This means a ketogenic, paleo, or otherwise high-fat diet is going to go a long way toward reducing inflammation.

When I say to eat fats, I’m not talking about McDonald’s or other fast foods or junk foods. I mean good, healthy fats, such as those from fish, avocados, or eggs. These help decrease insulin levels, decrease glucose levels, and thus lower your insulin spikes. The result is a significantly lower amount of inflammation.

Intermittent Fasting

So how does fasting play into this?

There are several benefits of fasting, especially related to autophagy, or your body’s way of clearing out dead or damaged cells. As you might imagine, this is very, very important.

All systems of your body create debris. Autophagy is your body’s way of removing that debris. When you are fasting, your body begins to look to these dead or damaged cells as a source of energy, since they are the proverbial “weakest link.” Anything weak or not of any use is processed and utilized for energy production.

So by cleaning the system, by purging it of bad material, we can provide a better, much more clean environment for our bodies to function. This also raises ketones, which are used for energy, and are a much cleaner food source. It benefits the brain and the gut, and it turns off bad genes in the process.

A lot of energy is used just to digest food. So if you are eating five, six, seven, or more times a day, there is a lot of energy that goes just to digesting the food. When we are fasting, we don’t digest, so our body can devote that energy more towards healing. We want to divert those calories towards processes like hormone optimization, resetting microbes, gut influences, and more.

Intermittent fasting can:

- Boost metabolism

- Increase lifespan

- Decrease oxidative stress

- Reduce waste

There are many more benefits, and the research is becoming more and more clear that fasting is critical.

Insulin and Fasting

This fasting can be for periods of 24 or 32 hours. It can be hard at first, but once it becomes a part of your lifestyle, and you get into it, you’ll be doing fine. The hardest part is getting over that mental block that plagues people.