Intermittent fasting and the carnivore diet go hand-in-hand. By ingesting higher fat content on an all-meat diet, you are reaching a much higher degree of satiation than you would be if you eat eating a carbohydrate-rich diet. Fat has 9 calories per gram, while a carbohydrate has 4 calories per gram. Slamming a tasty ribeye steak is much more filling than eating the same weight in rice.
Us carnivores have very nutrient-dense and energy-packed meals, as we take our refueling very seriously. This leads many of us to skip breakfast, while another whole bunch of us also skip lunch. We don’t have to eat three meals a day because we don’t feel hungry all the time, so often we will inadvertently fast until the evening when it’s time for supper.
While I don’t recommend fasting on the carnivore diet for beginners, there has been lots of scientific research that shows the benefits of intermittent fasting. Here are some terrific benefits that can aid you on your quest to being healthy and physically fit.
1. Fasting Increases Fat Burning
When you are in a natural, fasted state, your body will look to see what available fuel sources it has to burn. The calories have to come from somewhere. When you are fat-adapted on the keto diet, your body will naturally prioritize the burning of fat cells.
The longest fasted state that people usually go through on a daily basis is their 8 hours of sleep every night. This is because as soon as they wake up, they shove donuts and sugary cereal down their gullets. As soon as this food enters the body, the body begins producing insulin, immediately reversing the fasted state you were in throughout your sleep.
By holding off of food intake for another few hours, you are optimizing your body’s fat-burning potential by allowing it enough time to eat through your undesirable belly chub. After a few days of getting into the routine, you will be surprised at how fast your body will adapt to having a lesser number of meals. You are training your body to rely on your stored fat cells, rather than keeping it constantly asking for more unneeded calories. A 2016 study showed that consuming all your daily calories in an 8-hour window can decrease fat mass while maintaining muscle mass. Want to get shredded? Skip breakfast.
Remember, one of the reasons we advocate an all-meat diet is because carbohydrate restriction regulates the adaptive response to fasting. The general absence of caloric intake itself doesn’t provoke the metabolic fasting response, the absence of carbs do!
2. FASTING REPAIRS YOUR CELLS
Autophagy, the body’s natural process of removing unnecessary or dysfunctional components of cells. This is waste management and disposal on an extremely micro scale. Autophagy is extraordinarily important to your health because it is what homeostasis depends on.
Homeostasis is obviously the state of having steady biological systems that keep you alive. What if I told you that one of the ways to keep neural homeostasis is to intermittently fast? This 2010 study found that short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy and that if this autophagy is disrupted, it can cause neurodegeneration. The degeneration of brain tissue doesn’t seem like a preferable state, so again: SKIP BREAKFAST AND LUNCH.
Last year, biologists at MIT also found last year that age-related loss of stem cell function can be reversed with a simple 24 hour fast. One of the senior authors of the study remarked: “Fasting has potential uses in any type of ailment that impinges on the intestine, such as infections or cancers.” The researchers acknowledged that when cells switched from carbs to fat as their fuel source, the “fatty acid oxidation enhanced their function significantly”. More evidence that not only fasting, but carbohydrate restriction is necessary for your overall health!
3. FASTING REDUCES INSULIN RESISTANCE
Remember kids, the purpose of insulin is to send this message to your body: “HEY, TAKE THE SUGAR OUT OF OUR BLOODSTREAM AND PUT IT INTO OUR CELLS”.
When on the standard, American, carb-filled diet, glucose is your body’s main source of fuel instead of ketone bodies. When your body develops a resistance to insulin, this means that the message the insulin sends is essentially being ignored, leading to an increased level of sugar in the blood. This reduces the ability of the cells to absorb and use blood sugar for energy.
At this point, you better hope your pancreas can keep up the insulin production because if not, say “Hello!” to your fresh new case of type 2 diabetes! We already know that muscles become more sensitive to insulin after exercise, and a healthy, active lifestyle can help with health markers for those with type 2 diabetes.
But how about if someone with type 2 diabetes decides to incorporate intermittent fasting? Check out this 2017 study: Effects of intermittent fasting on health markers in those with type 2 diabetes. The conclusion was: “The results from this pilot study indicate that short-term daily IF may be a safe, tolerable, dietary intervention in T2DM patients that may improve key outcomes including body weight, fasting glucose and postprandial variability.”
The good news is that if you are already past the prediabetic stage, there is still hope! START SKIPPING YOUR BREAKFAST AND LUNCH, KIDDO!
4. FASTING MAKES YOU HAPPIER
Transcendental mediation, yoga, proper sleep. Whatever it may be, people have different methods for coping with the stresses of everyday life and keeping themselves happy. Or at least keep themselves from becoming Michael Douglas in Falling Down.
But did you know that fasting has been linked to higher serotonin levels in the brain?
Fasting also apparently decreases depression symptoms and decreases anxiety scores in 80% of chronic pain patients after just a few days!
Another benefit when it comes to mental health: Fasting increases dopamine levels in the brain.
Fasting is going to give you a better mood, a better cognitive function, and a better life. I suppose you better start…
SKIPPING BREAKFAST AND LUNCH.
5. FASTING PREVENTS ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
Ever have a relative with Alzheimer’s disease? It’s some sad shit. My great grandmother had it and I would remember how she would hallucinate little girls walking around in her yard, and recall family members who never existed. Do you want to be that kind of person in your elderly years? I’m going to safely assume no, so follow my instructions and start fasting.
Remember #2 in this list, cellular repair? Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder. You are best able to fight off the demon of dementia by fasting. Super science man Mark Mattson at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine claims that fasting will help you fend off Alzheimer’s AND Parkinson’s! Damn right!
Mattson says: “From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense your brain should be functioning well when you haven’t been able to obtain food for a while.”
Here’s yet ANOTHER study that shows that fasting protects against the deterioration of cognitive function: Intermittent fasting may be an effective intervention to protect against age-related metabolic disturbances.
Instead of waking up tomorrow morning and indulging in your chocolate, poison-filled pop tarts, consider putting your inability to delay gratification on hold. It may just save your mental health!
Intermittent fasting works wonders, and is arguable the SIMPLEST and EASIEST tool to utilize to maximize your HEALTH, WELLNESS, and FITNESS.
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