It's not what you eat but how often

I’m 24-hours into a 3-day fast. When I want to learn about something, I dive into it. Today was reading all about fasting and blood glucose levels.

I had listened to Dr. Jason Fung on a podcast and read some of his articles in the past on fasting so I dug them back up. Doing so led me down the rabbit hole, I went through almost of all his work on Medium. There were many highlights.

One of the biggest ones was what you eat may not matter as much as how often you eat.

Dr. Fung is a big advocate for treating patients with metabolic diseases with extended periods of fasting.

I don’t know enough about the biochemistry of how things work to explain why (Dr. Fung has plenty of work on this). But read the snippet below.

Outtake from  Does Fasting Burn Muscle?  by Dr Jason Fung.

Outtake from Does Fasting Burn Muscle? by Dr Jason Fung.

Think about it. If all diseases related to age end up being diseases of excess, is food part of that excess?

The body has two states, fed and fasted. In the fed state, the body releases takes in glucose and amino acids to the liver and releases insulin to tell the rest of the body to start storying extra energy, either as glucose in the muscles or as fat (for later).

Having a hormone which leads to fat gain is good. 10,000 years ago, food may have been in short supply when we needed it, so storing some of the excess food we gathered/hunted would make sense.

In the fasted state, less insulin is secreted as the body starts to move from using glucose as the primary energy source to fat as the primary energy source.

So what?

Eating too often leads to being in a fed state too often. Being in a fed state too often means more insulin is released than required, means more glucose is stored as fat and the body is in a continual state of excess.

The fix?

Reduce how often you eat.

Reducing how often you eat through extended fasting or time restricted feeding (eating for 8-hours per day and fasting the other 16) allows the body to clear itself of excess, thus, potentially leading to longer term health benefits.

I’m going to continue digging more into the benefits of fasting as well as ways to measure them. Currently, I’m tracking my blood glucose levels via blood glucose monitors. I’ll write more about this in a few days.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in health, do yourself a favour and check out Jason’s work. If it doesn’t benefit you directly, it’ll probably be worth sharing with someone you know.

Please note: I’m not a doctor. I’m only curious to how the body works and to try and understand it better, I’m sharing what I’ve learned. Do your research before you try anything new.