Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Retrospective #493: Why fasting is soooo easy!

I know. It doesn’t ring true. It sounds, literally, incredible. But it IS true, as I’ll explain. I wouldn’t lie to you. My credibility with my regular readers is too important for me to squander it.
But first, let’s address the thinking that questions this assertion. On hearing this, a person thinks and maybe asks, “Don’t you get hungry? How’s your energy level? Do you feel okay? My answers are: “No, I don’t get hungry,” and “my energy level is very high.” In fact, I feel pumped, sometimes euphoric, almost manic. “I actually feel better than okay. I feel great!” And no, I’m not “Tony the Tiger.”
Why then do people ask those questions? Because it’s common sense, and we’ve all experienced it. If you eat less on a “balanced” (carbohydrate-based) diet, you are going t0 be hungry when you don’t eat! And if you don’t “feed your body” (by mouth), your body will slow down! And as your metabolism slows, you will have less energy and you will feel weak. You may even feel unwell. That’s all very logical and true. Yes, but notice the big “if.”
This “if” clause contains the phrase “balanced carb-based diet.” Eating less with that diet will produce the effects described above because you are starving your body of needed energy. It is being starved because it is unable to access your body’s fat stores. However, your body is designed 1) to be fed by mouth when food is available and 2) to be fed from fat stores when food is not available, for example, when fasting. There’s only one problem. For your     body to work like that naturally, a switch is needed to turn on the body’s fat fuel source. Here’s how the switch works.
When you eat carbohydrates, your blood insulin level rises. Your body secretes insulin to carry energy (glucose) from the digested/absorbed carbs in your blood to your cells. Insulin then opens the “door” for the energy to be taken up. Then, when the level of glucose in your blood drops, your insulin level also drops. Insulin is thus the switch. Low insulin signals the liver to switch from burning carbs for energy to burning your body fat stores.
So, in a normal metabolism, when your energy from the carbs you ate and have stored is expended, and your blood glucose level drops, your blood insulin level also drops and your body switches to burning body fat for energy. It does this without your feeling hungry, without slowing down your metabolism, and without making you feel unwell. The reason that all this is true should now be obvious: Your body IS still being fed…FED BY OWN YOUR BODY FAT.
You will be fed at the level your body needs for your activity level. You could run a marathon! This energy balance – called homeostasis – will be met by the liver breaking up triglycerides (body fat) as needed. You will be in energy balance so long as you have fat to burn and you don’t eat too many carbs.
Another way to lower both blood glucose and blood insulin is fasting. It is especially effective for people with a disregulated glucose metabolism, e.g. those with Insulin Resistance (Type 2 diabetics and Pre-diabetics). When we don’t eat, blood glucose and blood insulin go down and good things happen: 1) we burn body fat for energy without slowing down our metabolic rate, 2) we lose weight without hunger because our body is being fed at the cellular level by body fat, 3) ketone bodies, a byproduct of fat (triglyceride) breakdown, feed the brain, and 4) while fasting, out bodies gather up and use cellular debris (autophagy) and 5) oxidize (burn up) old cells (apoptosis). These renewal processes provide great benefit. It is also hypothesized that burning omental (visceral) fat, including fatty liver and pancreatic fat cells, beta cells (erroneously considered to be ”burned out”) begin to function normally again.
I’ve been a Type 2 for diabetic 34 years. So, what happens when I eat Very Low Carb with Intermittent Fasting? I lose weight, my glucose metabolism stabilizes, and I’m never hungry because I’m a fat burner. I have loads of energy, I save money on food (and medicines), and I feel “pumped.” What’s not to like about those outcomes?

Your doctor will love it too. A year ago, my A1c was 5.0%. My cholesterol panel is “to die for.” No statins. “Blood pressure of a teenager,” the nurse said.” When you’re not hungry all the time, fasting really is soooo easy.

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