Tag Archives: fasting

Practical Tips for Fasting From Dr. Fung

This guy had long spans of time between meals, perhaps days

This guy had long spans of time between meals, perhaps days

Yet another good post from DietDoctor! Why fast? Among many reasons is that fasting turns on autophagy, which helps clear the debris of daily living out of your cells, probably leading to longer life.

Click here for P.D. Mangan’s post on fasting and autophagy.

Dr. Fung at DietDoctor also warns about the danger of hypoglycemia for certain folks with diabetes. Read that part carefully.

Anyway, here are Dr. Fung’s top eight tips:

“Drink water: Start each morning with a full eight-ounce glass of water.

Stay busy: It’ll keep your mind off food. It often helps to choose a busy day at work for a fast day.

Drink coffee: Coffee is a mild appetite suppressant. Green tea, black tea, and bone broth may also help.Ride the waves: Hunger comes in waves; it is not continuous. When it hits, slowly drink a glass of water or a hot cup of coffee. Often by the time you’ve finished, your hunger will have passed.

Don’t tell anybody you are fasting: Most people will try to discourage you, as they do not understand the benefits. A close-knit support group is often beneficial, but telling everybody you know is not a good idea.

Give yourself one month: It takes time for your body to get used to fasting. The first few times you fast may be difficult, so be prepared. Don’t be discouraged. It will get easier.

Follow a nutritious diet on non-fast days: Intermittent fasting is not an excuse to eat whatever you like. During non-fasting days, stick to a nutritious diet low in sugars and refined carbohydrates.

Don’t binge: After fasting, pretend it never happened. Eat normally, as if you had never fasted.”

Source: More Practical Tips for Fasting – Diet Doctor

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: I don’t feature fasting in any of my books, but I’ve gradually come around to seeing the potential benefits.

Should You Try Intermittent Fasting?

Dietitian Brenna has some definite thoughts on it after her recent experiment.

I”ve done a couple 24-hour fasts in the last year (notes here and here).

Dietriffic’s Melanie Thomassian has a thoughtful post on fasting, too.

Steve Parker, M.D.

My Second 24-Hour Fast: Stay Busy To Make It Tolerable

Does this model fast to stay this skinny?

Does this model fast to stay this skinny?

I just finished my second-ever 24-hour fast. It went well, although not quite as easy as my first one in February. The novelty has worn off. I had more thoughts of food and eating this time.

Dietriffic dietitian Mel Thomassian spurred me to finally try fasting by summarizing what we know and don’t know about intermittent fasting and effects on health.

I had a brief pang of guilt about half way through this last fast when I realized I had just drunk 7.5 oz of Diet Coke. Then I remembered it had no calories, so I was OK as far as I’m concerned. I drink black coffee, too.

Here’s the mind game that get’s me through the fast. I eat my last meal, then sleep for seven hours. Next, I get up and putter around the house for a few hours, then head to the hospital for my 12-hour shift. So I’m not tempted by food at home, nor bombarded by food ads on TV for most of the 24 hours. It helps to be busy. Soon enough, the 24 hours is up and I break my fast.

I’m tempted to extend the fast longer, or try a physical work-out after a prolonged fast. It’s self-experimentation, not an obsession or eating disorder. A longer fast might be easier if my wife joined in. At this point she doesn’t even know I’ve done these two fasts.

The Fast Diet is pretty popular right now. Check out Dr. Yoni Freedhoff’s review.

Steve Parker, M.D.



My First Ever 24-Hour Fast

Mount Humphries as seen from Antelope Hill

Mount Humphries as seen from Antelope Hill.  My wife and I may climb it in a few months.  The Peak is 12,633 ft above sea level.

I just finished my first 24-hour fast.  It wasn’t bad.

Melanie Thomassian’s recent review of fasting was my motivation to give it a try.

I drank all the water and black coffee I wanted—that still qualifies as a fast in my view.  The closest I’d come in the past to a prolonged fast would be a gastrointestinal disorder involving nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  It’s easy to avoid food when you know it’s going to make you sick!

I didn’t experience any weakness, dizziness, lack of concentration or any other adverse effects, except possibly for some mild irritability.  The latter may instead have been due to my frustration with my work schedule.  I had misread my schedule and thought I had the day off.  Turns out I had to work a 12-hour shift after all.  I wasn’t happy about having to go in to the hospital.

Out of the 24 hours of fasting, I slept for 7.5 hours and worked a very busy shift for 12.  That helped keep my mind off food.  Craving for food didn’t start until the last two hours.

Another thing that may have helped me was that I usually eat less than the 130 grams a day of carbohydrate that your average dietitian says we need.  I eat more like 80–100 grams of digestible carb.  I’ve been as low as 20–30 grams for months on end.  So my metabolism is already geared up for living off energy from ketones and for producing blood glucose from body proteins and glycerol  (a product of body fat breakdown).

I don’t know if I’ll ever do it again, but I’m glad I did it once.


Is It Time To Start Fasting?

Dietriffic dietitian Melanie looked into fasting recently.  Some of her thoughts:

The main problem with this whole area of intermittent fasting, is that research in humans is severely lacking, and what I’ve found online is something I can only describe as ‘evangelism’ in support of this way of eating.

That’s not to say some of what is being said isn’t true, but much of it should be taken with a pinch of salt!

Anyhow, some of the research suggests intermittent fasting may lead to;

Many of these benefits are also commonly cited for calorie restriction and exercise, which seems a more natural way to achieve better health, without the downsides of periodic food deprivation (see here and here).

One group of researchers, however, were extremely enthusiastic about this whole idea of fasting, claiming;

Since May 2003 we have experimented with alternate day calorie restriction, one day consuming 20-50% of estimated daily caloric requirement and the next day ad lib eating, and have observed health benefits starting in as little as two weeks, in insulin resistance, asthma, seasonal allergies, infectious diseases of viral, bacterial and fungal origin (viral URI, recurrent bacterial tonsillitis, chronic sinusitis, periodontal disease), autoimmune disorder (rheumatoid arthritis), osteoarthritis, symptoms due to CNS inflammatory lesions (Tourette’s, Meniere’s) cardiac arrhythmias (PVCs, atrial fibrillation), menopause related hot flashes. We hypothesize that other many conditions would be delayed, prevented or improved, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, brain injury due to thrombotic stroke atherosclerosis, NIDDM, congestive heart failure.

For the last year I’ve batted around the idea of intermittent fasting but haven’t pulled the trigger.  If I do it, it’ll probably be for a 24-hour period.

Melanie’s a smart lady.  Read the rest.