Ryan Charles is a young professional living in New York City with a passion for a holistic approach to health and wellness. He focuses on simple strategies to maximize performance of mind and body with an emphasis on nutrition and movement.
Alright, so my closest compadres reading this already know that fasting is a huge part of my life. I want to take a brief dive into this and bring you up to speed on how it can be practiced, and what benefits you might find.
There are a handful of ways people implement fasting, or in this instance a time restricted feeding protocol. At its core, the goal is to spend AT LEAST 12 hours from your last calorie the night before, to the first one the following day. For many, that’s finishing dinner at 8:00 pm, and not consuming anything other than some water, black coffee/tea until AT LEAST 8:00 am.
The good work of Dr. Valter Longo and Sachin Panda have found that this works wonders on properly aligning your body’s circadian clock, which thereby promotes more balanced systems, and enhances healthy longevity (Research note below). Evidence also suggests you promote a more flexible metabolism. This means you train your body to rely not only on external sources of food and carbohydrates, but rather you train the system to leverage fat as an energy source in the interim.
The popularized practiced these days is a 16-8 split. This means you fast for 16 hours (with the exception of black coffee, water, or herbal tea) and eat within an 8-hour window. So instead of starting your food intake at 8:00 am, you hold off, and start at lunch time around 12:00 pm.
I find that the best way to approach this is a slow progression, with that minimum baseline of 12 hours as the default. There is no use in dogmatically deciding you’re going to fast for 16 hours every single day, when you haven’t slowly created an environment in your body to handle this shift.
So start with 12 hours, and slowly work your way up week by week. Level off between 14-16 hours to reap the benefits.
So on to the proposed benefits…
- Increased metabolic flexibility.
- Weight loss and muscle mass retention.
- Increase/maintain mitochondrial strength (the power generators of your cells.)
- Cellular Autophagy: Your cells mechanism to clean out old junky cells for the good ones.
- Increased levels of Human Growth Hormone.
- Greater sensitivity to insulin (Less blood sugar crashes and mid-day exhaustion.)
- Lower inflammation system wide.
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