#Keto_coach_Jack ‘s Sciency Thoughts
#PublicServiceAnnouncement – This post is about fasting and a new method of fasting. If what you are currently doing is working for you and you are happy, please don’t change it. If you want to try something different that may suit you better and may yield better results, please keep reading.
Fasting: Could there be a better way?
One of the most talked about topics in the keto world today is fasting or intermittent fasting (IF). There are definitely some well documented benefits to fasting, but there is more to the story than meets the eye and it is not a simple one-size-fits-all approach. I will get to the possible better way but you’ll have to be patient. I like to be detailed. Patience is a virtue.
In order to bring this all into context, I have to talk about a very important hormone and it’s one that often gets a bad rap. I’m talking about cortisol. People call it the stress hormone and, because it’s associated with stress, they assume it’s bad. It is actually very vital and when it doesn’t work properly it can put you in real danger.
One of cortisol’s primary purposes is to get a burst of energy into the system when it is needed, like when you’re being chased by a bear or getting through a very tough workout. This is sometimes referred to as the “fight or flight” response. How it accomplishes this, at least in the keto adapted person, is by telling the liver to pump glucose into the blood through gluconeogenesis (creation of new glucose either from glycerol from fat or from amino acids from protein). Now that I have brought cortisol into the fold, I will get into the whole mess of how it links to fasting and how we may be able to do it better. Remember how I said patience is a virtue? You need it with me. I’m long winded.
OK. Here is the meat of it all: Cortisol has a natural rhythm and response. It spikes at given times and for a certain reason. At least, for a hormonally balanced individual it does. The first time of day it spikes is as soon as you wake up. It does this to help you wake up and have energy to start your day, and then tapers off and becomes lowest at night so you can go to sleep. If cortisol spikes first thing in the morning, this means we have higher blood sugar in the morning. If we have higher blood sugar we also will have higher insulin.
Fasting is characterized by having consistently low blood sugar and therefore low insulin. If we fast from 7pm until noon the next day, when cortisol spikes in the morning (and then spikes blood sugar and insulin), technically we are physiologically breaking the fast when we wake up and not actually fasting for a full 17 hours as intended.
If your blood sugar and, in turn, insulin is spiked in the morning anyway, wouldn’t it be pertinent to take advantage of that natural spike by eating a nice breakfast and having the insulin clear all of the energy at the same time? You aren’t technically fasting anymore anyway, so eating at this time will be taking advantage of the already high insulin response and could open up a better way to fast. If your natural cortisol rhythm is high in the morning and tapers off throughout the day, maybe it would be better to fast from the afternoon until the natural cortisol spike in the morning. Hormonally speaking, this seems like the most metabolically sound method. Would this not better manage insulin and therefore make for a better fasting experience? I think so.
So here is my theory:
The typical fasting method is fasting from say 7pm until 12pm the next day. This is 17 hours, but if you wake at 7am, you are spiking your cortisol and thus insulin and therefore are physiologically breaking your fast. Essentially you are fasting from 7pm until 7am. This is only 12 hours rather than the 17 that was originally intended.
#keto_coach_Jack ’s approach would be this:
Fast from 2pm until you wake up the following day. Say that is 7am. Providing you don’t work out or get chased by a bear in that time frame, you will have a full 17 hour fast. Eat when you wake up and take advantage of that already spiked insulin.
#IfitAintBrokeDontFixit – Again, if you are happy with the traditional way you are fasting, keep doing it! If you are curious to see if there may be a better way for you, please feel free to try this. Am I guaranteeing that this will work wonders? There are no guarantees. Its just my sciency thoughts.
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