6-8 small meals a day. Eating every 2 hours. You have to keep that metabolic furnace burning right? Well, maybe not. Science is now showing us that this accepted "truth" about nutrition might not be so great after all. Think about this for a second. What other animals eat continuously throughout the day? Cows, hippos, pandas? Name a cow that you have seen that has the type of physique you would want? Ok, now think about animals that eat once a day or once every couple days. Lions and other muscular predators. This is what we are trying to achieve. Toned muscle ready to pounce.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating style. It changes when you eat not what you eat. There are several different styles of intermittent fasting. Some styles fast once or twice a week for 24 hours (eat stop eat). Some for 16 hours a day (lean gains). Still others for 20-24 hours a day! (Which is what we recommend) This may seem unorthodox to some people. And it's not your fault. We as a culture have been fed a big lie. We are told that when we don't eat breakfast immediately upon waking and continue to eat throughout the day, we will suffer adverse effects. This simply isn't true. Lets look at who gains from you eating all day every day:
Large grocery store chains
Most supplement companies
Pharmaceutical companies (the real enemy)
How do they benefit? Well, eating more means buying more. You have to buy more whey protein and meal replacement shakes for convenience. Eating more also means getting fatter and other health issues. And lawyers love to sue for just about anything (problems with food, health issues). Do you really want to line the pockets of these people?
The problems with eating 6-8 meals a day
There are several issues with eating frequently throughout the day:
Decreased fat burning
Causes insulin spikes
Hunger actually INCREASES
Your cells become overworked and never get a break
Stress and hassle of all those meals
Here is a great video by Dr. John Douillard explaining the dangers of constant eating
That's right. Everything you have been taught about eating is now being proven wrong by the scientific community. Lets look at each danger individually to better understand whats going on.
Decreased Fat Burning
When you eat your body immediately starts breaking down the food for energy. So how is your body supposed to burn your excess fat stores if it has constant supply of food energy to burn. Answer: It can't. Your body needs time without food to burn it's unneeded fat stores. Here is a link to a study comparing traditional eating vs intermittent fasting. The group fasting lost way more body fat than the other group.
But doesn't eating 6-8 meals a day increase thermogenesis and increase metabolism? The simple answer is no. In 1997, the British Journal of medicine did a very thorough review of all related studies. There findings? There was no evidence that eating 6 meals a day increases metabolism, thermogenesis, or weight loss.
Insulin spikes and sensitivity
As a nation, we have become so accustomed to eating frequently that our bodies have become insulin resistant. What does this mean? It means that our bodies need to release more insulin to control our blood sugar levels. Constantly having high levels of insulin in the blood stream leads to heart attack, stroke, blood vessel damage, obesity, and even cancer.
The last thing you need when your trying to lose fat is feeling more hungry. Well science now shows that eating frequent meals actually increases hunger instead of blunting it. When you eat frequently your body becomes food dependent. When it doesn't receive this food you tend to get cranky and very hungry. No wonder people can't lose weight eating 6 times a day. Food dependency is a very real thing. It doesn't take a scientist to see restaurants packed at all hours of the day. It also doesn't take a genius to see your coworkers desk covered in snacks.
Cells are overworked and cannot get rid of toxins
When you eat your body releases insulin to shuttle nutrients to your cells. What happens when your cells simply don't need these excess nutrients? They get stored as fat. Not only that, your cells cannot perform an essential task for removing toxins. It's called autophagy. Your cells need time in order to perform this task. Without it, toxins can build up in your body making you very unhealthy. Here is a link to a study explaining how fasting actually induces autophagy.
Stress over preparing 6-8 meals (Supplement companies rejoice!)
So you have to wake up an hour early or stay up an hour later preparing your meals. Seems like this time could be spent better elsewhere. Want to know a little secret to why bodybuilders carry around Tupperware with a ton of meals? There protein synthesis is off the charts. They need to eat constantly or there muscles wont be able to sustain there huge size. The reason they can do this and you cant? Steroids! Ding Ding Ding we have a winner! A normal person cannot possibly follow the same routine as a bodybuilder on steroids. This is the same with weight training as well.
I couldn't imagine thinking about food this much. How would I ever get anything done. You don't need to put yourself through this much cortisol raising stress over your meals. This is where supplement companies come in. They take advantage of the fact preparing all this food is inconvenient. How do they do this? Meal replacement of course. Protein bars and shakes are a billion dollar industry. Why cook your own food when you can simple drink a shake?
Benefits of intermittent fasting
Increased fat burning (by alot)
Increased insulin sensitivity
Huge boost to HGH (Human Growth Hormone)
Mental clarity and focus increase
Body can detoxify
No stressing over preparing meals
Again, lets take a look at each benefit
Increased fat burning
When your body doesn't have food in it's digestive system to use for fuel it uses fat as its main source of fuel. Yes, contrary to popular believe your body doesn't immediately turn on itself and begin breaking down precious muscle tissue for fuel. Think about that for a second. We have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years just so we could die the moment we didn't have food? That's crazy. Our ancestors went days or even weeks without food. That is how we evolved. We are hunter gatherers. We would hunt all day or days even until we feasted on our next kill. How long would we have lasted if our bodies immediately turned to muscle for energy?
Increased insulin sensitivity
This is a no brainer. Less food in our systems means less insulin being released. Intermittent fasting actually increases insulin sensitivity. This requires our body to release less insulin to regulate blood sugar. This has three great benefits.
It lowers our chance of heart attack, stroke, and cancer.
It helps us not store as much body fat.
And finally it helps our blood sugar stay more level without spiking.
Not only that but when you eat and insulin is released it actually has a job to do besides storing fat. It shuttles nutrients that your freshly detoxified cells need. This makes the whole process streamlined which in turn makes you healthier.
Increased HGH (Human Growth Hormone) Production
Now we are getting to the meaty stuff! Yes, fasting actually skyrockets your body's HGH production. There is a study that actually shows a 2000% (yes two thousand percent) increase in HGH. Talk about mind boggling. Imagine if you ate only one meal every 20-24 hours? You would have more growth hormone than a Mr. Olympia contestant! The implecations of this are huge. Benefits of increased HGH:
Increased protein synthesis
Increased fat burning
Younger looking skin
Better sexual performance
Healthier organs. Especially kidneys, heart, and lungs
This with an elevated testosterone level (getting to that next) can dramatically change body composition and muscle mass.
Increased testosterone levels
Aha! You knew I would connect the two eventually. Yes, intermittent fasting can actually increase testosterone production. It actually does this through a combination of what we have already talked about. Elevated human growth hormone coupled with low insulin already increases testosterone. Intermittent fasting also lowers estrogen levels which, you guessed it, increases free testosterone. If that weren't enough already, fasting increases dopamine. This has been shown to increase testosterone and one of the fundamental reasons Prime Rut™ contains mucuna pruriens.
Increased mental clarity and focus
This is a big one. When your fasting and using fat for fuel your body goes into a state called ketosis. Your brain loves this state because it can use ketones way more efficiently than glucose for energy. What does this mean? Not only does it increase your brain cells autophagy (cleaning out toxins) but it improves your cognitive abilities significantly. Almost all people who start intermittent fasting claim to have a clearer state of mind. The term brain fog is used consistently to explain how they felt before fasting.
As if reacting quicker, hearing better, and thinking more clearly weren't enough. New evidence shows fasting could also slow down or even cure Alzheimers! Incredible.
Intermittent fasting kills hunger
Again, we know it may sound crazy but eating less frequently can actually make you less hungry. Your body produces a hormone called ghrelin. This hormone is released when your stomach is empty and signals the brain to say "I'm hungry". Every time you train your body to ignore hunger you become sensitized to it. This means you feel less hungry. Not only that, every time your body produces ghrelin it also produces HGH. And we all know how good that is. So more empty stomach means more ghrelin. The more ghrelin ignored means less hunger. Fasting + ghrelin + HGH + No hunger = win.
Your cells have a chance to detox
We already spoke about autophagy earlier. When you eat less frequently your cells have a chance to release toxins they have been storing and prepare for fresh nutrients to be delivered. And guess what? This can also have an increasing effect on testosterone. All the toxic chemicals your cells hold on to actually inhibit testosterone production. So disposing of these chemicals can actually increase testosterone levels.
Less stress over meal preparation and planning
This explains itself. When you don't waste hours of your day putting meals in Tupperware you have way less stress. With everything going on in our lives, worrying about when we are going to eat next seems really silly. That, and not having a duffel bag full of food makes our lives easier. We also answer less questions when people see us carrying around that ridiculous amount of food.
How to start intermittent fasting
The best thing about intermittent fasting? You can start right now! There are several different ways to begin fasting. It is up to you to decide which benefits you the most.
The simplest style is eat stop eat and its very easy. You simple fast one or two days per week. That's it. This way you get all of the benefits of intermittent fasting while keeping your life semi unchanged. This may be good for someone who has family dinners nightly or doesn't want to make any big changes to lifestyle.
The next way to fast is also extremely popular. It's called lean gains and it works great. You simply give yourself an 8 hour eating window everyday. So fast for 16 hours and all eating is done during the 8 hour window. The easiest way to do this is by skipping breakfast. That way your sleeping for most of the fasting time. Example:
Bed at 10pm. Get up at 7. First meal 2 pm. Done eating by 10pm.
You see this way your technically not eating for 7 hours. You have less time to think about being hungry or obsessing over food.
Last but certainly not least comes Warrior style fasting. This method was made popular via Ori Hofmekler and his book The Warrior Diet. It is very simple. You eat once a day. That's it. In his book the author describes the fasting in phases. During the under eating phase you can have a few nuts or low sugar fruit. And he means and extremely small amount. Anything over a couple hundred calories and you would lose the benefits of fasting. Then, preferably before bed, you would feast. During this one meal you would get all of your nutrients for the day.
Now this is the type of fasting Bold Buck Nutrition™ recommends. The HGH, autophage, testosterone, and insulin benefits are maximized during this type of intermittent fasting. If you really wan't to take your health and physique to the next level you could try this style of intermittent fasting with the steak and eggs diet. We call it Steak and Eggs Bold Buck Style. It is definitely not for the weak at heart. It was made for the dominant, by the dominant.
As you can see intermittent fasting has a ton a health benefits. Just the insulin sensitivity alone should make you want to try it. Again, with any change in diet, talk to your primary healthcare physician. Eating this way might bot be the best for everyone. Especially those with diabetes and hypoglycemia.
Until next time
Bold Buck Nutrition™