Coach Jack Explains why fasting is better than caloric restriction
As far as we have come in our understanding of why insulin is the driving factor in weight there are still those that keep insisting on starving themselves calorically, eating several teeny tiny meals a day and wondering why they are not seeing success.
While I am not the biggest fan of fasting, if done right, it is much more effective than caloric restriction. Keep in mind it has to be done right and cannot be done everyday. We need times of feasting to keep the body from going into a state of malnourishment from lack of vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids (protein).
Here are two scenarios that I hope will make sense.
A person with a Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) of 2500 calories is the subject for both:
Caloric restriction (eating at a deficit or CICO):
This person decides they want to eat 3 meals a day and a snack at 1500 cals (1,000 calorie deficit)
Breakfast – Every time you eat you spike insulin no matter what you eat. It just is what it is. While insulin is up you aren’t using fat for energy. All they are getting for energy is the calories they ate for this meal.
Lunch – Again we are spiking insulin so no fat is liberated fro energy while insulin is up and in all likely hood the insulin from breakfast has just come down so we didn’t get any fat usage or at least not any significant time under a low insulin state.
Dinner – Again insulin is spiked. Like lunch we didn’t get any benefit of low insulin so no fat, or very little fat got liberated for energy.
Snack – Same story. Spiking insulin so as to not allow fat utilization.
At the end of the day our poor friend used 1500 (maybe 1600 since he may have had a small time under low insulin between meals) calories for the whole day while his actual need is 2500 cals? Where did he get this extra energy from if insulin was always up? It didn’t come from anywhere. It can’t.
This is what causes metabolic slowdown. The body needs energy and the demands aren’t being met due to chronically elevated insulin. In order to for you to survive the body has to forego various processes that require energy so as it can keep the energy ingested for vital processes like beating the heart and functioning of the brain. It will forgo things like hair and nails and body heat. You get cold and hungry and crank and bald. Sounds like fun right.
Fasting from Breakfast to Breakfast (24 hour fast)
Our friend decides today he is going to have a nice ketogenic breakfast consisting of 5g of carbs, 20g of protein and 60g of fat the fast for the rest of the day. He still have a need of 2500 cals so lets look at what happens.
Breakfast – Insulin spikes so energy is only available from food ingested.
Lunch – Insulin has dropped since breakfast but since there is no additional energy doing in, insulin stays low and fat is free to be released from fat cells to provide whatever energy is required. No problems.
Dinner – Since our friend has yet to eat again, insulin is still low and fat is flowing from cells and satisfying whatever energy requirements are needed.
Snack – what snack? Low insulin so fat is his snack.
So this guy only ate 650 cals today but since he kept insulin low, the body does exactly what it is supposed to and uses that backup fuel source to meet the requirements. He didn’t starve or lack any fuel because we have a near unlimited resource at our disposal. So long as insulin is low that is.
I hope this all made sense. It did to me. 🙂
Again, keep in mind that if you do this everyday, the body will catch up to you. It is pretty vital that we get in our various vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids (protein) that is required to make all the important metabolic processes happen within the body so doing this chronically will not lead to greater success but greater chances of slowing other metabolic processes down.
Remember that feasting is more important than fasting so while it may be a tool in the arsenal it shouldn’t be the only one.