Fasting – a necessary evil of survival not an intentional or necessary way of life.

Coach Jack discusses the idea that we are meant to fast.

We are not meant to fast. We are capable of fasting to save our lives in the event we cannot find food but at no time in history has an animal or humanoid purposely fasted. I am not talking about religious fasting as this is a fairly new idea in comparison to our millions of years of evolution.

I was listening to a podcast today and they were discussing fasting and it was stated that our ancestors would regularly go for 2-3 days without eating. While this may of happened on occasion, it was very unlikely that it happened much at all. If we look at the current hunter gather tribes, they have no trouble finding food daily. They have good hunting techniques and are effective foragers. Our ancestors were as well. Probably better. Also we have to remember that the animal population would have been far more dense for our ancestors than it is now. Even in the harsh climates of the north, the inuits do not go days without eating. It is actually easier to have a constant food supply in the winter as you could simply bury your food and have it preserved for later. Your world is a fridge.

The fact is that no animal or human would ever go days without eating given the choice before the invention of religion or modern day dieting invention. They would eat whenever they hunted and caught food. It would have been much easier then as well so they would have eaten often. Look at the native americans. They would hunt buffalo and run them off cliffs. Dozens at a time. This was how easy it was to get food. There was no shortage. No need to fast. We were built with the capability to do it for life saving purposes but it was never something that was intended to be a way of life.

It was also discussed that people didn’t eat meals. Well that is easily dismissed with a tiny bit of common sense. People wake up in the morning and unless they have been purposely skipping breakfast they wake up hungry with a natural sense that they should eat. Our ancestors would have been especially hungry since they typically didn’t eat after dark and would have had a long period of no food from dusk to dawn. They would wake and immediately go hunt. What do you imagine they would do with the food they gathered or caught? Of course, common sense dictates that they would bring it back and share with the tribe. Breakfast. How long is after breakfast do we typically get hungry? 4-5 hours? Well our ancestors wouldn’t actually wait for that, they would have been gathering and hunting most of the day at that time. There was little else to do and food gathering would have been the primary daily concern. By the time they were hungry again they would have likely already returned with more food. While they may not have eaten 3 meals, they definitely ate meals and it definitely would have been as a group. Meals were likely celebrated. Also a good thing to keep in mind is that getting too many calories or too little was not an issue like it is today. People spent their time being active and eating the right things. If we lived like this without all the processed and sugary foods we have today it would matter much less how much we eat or when we eat.

The point to be made in all of this is that fasting is not a weight loss solution or a healing methodology. It is a safety net to protect from death from starvation. It may have a healing effect on some people today but it is not because it has magical properties or because we are meant to do it. It is simply because we spend some time not eating garbage and giving our bodies a break from the constant hormonal games of dieting. Many experts believe now that the positive effects of fasting come from the protein restriction and not the complete absence of food all together. This makes sense when you consider that protein is well know to stimulate mTOR and a reduction of mTOR stimulation is pretty well documented in reduced aging and reduction in cancer risk. We can heal ourselves by eating real food in adequate amounts.

Fasting like anything else has to be maintained. If you want to use it for weight loss you will soon find you have to keep doing it and you have to keep upping the antee. As soon as you stop fasting any weight loss you experienced will creep back. I’ve seen this first hand with my extensive fasting tests I’ve done with myself and my clients. Once you start it you will see that soon enough a 24 hour fast doesn’t work as well as it once did so you need to do 36 hours. Then that isn’t working as well so you move to 72 hours. Before you know it you are fasting for a week a month or more. Soon enough even that has no effect. I just heard a very prominent keto duo talking about this. One of the two was fasting religiously for long periods with no weight loss. Look at Jimmy Moore. He fasts for 14 days at a time yet has been putting weight back on. Interesting is it not? If you think you can maintain a fasting protocol for the rest of your life then perhaps it may be feasible but like any other gimmick, it comes to an end with its effectiveness. The body is way to smart for these tricks. I for one cannot imagine doing that for the rest of my life.

There is some benefit to a 24 hour fast but beyond that, it is tiresome, unpleasant and has potential for negative side effects from stress response. No matter what anyone says fasting is a stressor. We don’t get more clear headed and feel stronger and more focused when fasting for any other reason than cortisol and epinephrin release. Stress hormones to help us be a bit faster and more focused for hunting. It is not us getting better because we are not eating. Speed also has this effect. I don’t see any gurus recommending this approach. Not always the best scenerio. It is an evolutionary response to keep us from starving to death. Not a fun and effective tool for weight loss.

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4 Replies to “Fasting – a necessary evil of survival not an intentional or necessary way of life.”

  1. I read in another post that eating breakfast until 2pm, then nothing until breakfast again a couple of days a week was good. Is that not the case?

    1. This is refering to short occasional fasting not an everyday thing or long term fasting. This particular post is talking about fasts beyond 24 hours. Ideally you want to eat 3 meals a day and it can be beneficial to throw in a day every few days where you stop eating before 2pm and have a longer period from 2pm to breakfast the next day to let insulin drop and allow more fat to burn but these days should not be every day.

  2. Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore wrote a book about fasting and IF. Also run a podcast about it. Their view on the topic clearly differs from yours. And they are experts. With all due respect

    1. They are experts because they wrote a book? OK. Anyone can write a book and anyone can have a podcast. It does not make you an expert. How many books on diets are there? Are they all experts? Have you looked at Jimmy Moore recently? He is not the first person I would take advice from as far as weight loss or management.

      Dr. Fung is an expert on Kidneys. All of his info on fasting is just theoretical. He is not an expert in fasting. He has theories on fasting. If you were at all familiar with Dr. Fung’s ACTUAL practice, he rarely fasts any one longer than 36 hours. The only longer fasts he does have to be directly monitored and only for very sever cases.

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