Intermittent Fasting

      143 Comments on Intermittent Fasting

I’ve been reading and hearing about the supposed benefits of intermittent fasting for some time now. Several bloggers I follow have recommended intermittent fasting, including Mark Sisson, Richard Nikoley, and Dr. Mike Eades. Richard (of the Free the Animal blog) in particular seems to have good success with IF. 

I never tried it, however, for the simple reason that going 24 hours or more without eating sounded rather awful. Whenever I tried very-low calorie diets, I was usually halfway to miserable by bedtime on the first day … cranky, mentally foggy, and waaaay hungry. I remember trying to get by on Slim-Fast for breakfast and lunch, only to find my hands shaking by mid-afternoon. I would be counting the minutes until dinner, when I could eat a real meal.

Of course, I tried those low-calorie diets back when I was living primarily on carbohydrates and had conditioned myself to be a sugar-burner. Now that I’m on a low-carb diet and have conditioned my body to depend primarily on fat for fuel, I often skip breakfast anyway just because I’m not hungry yet. So when I recently listened to a podcast about intermittent fasting, it occurred to me that I could probably try a 24-hour fast now without feeling miserable.

It so happened that I slept late on Wednesday, and by the time I finished dealing with emails, DVD orders, blog comments, and a couple of phone calls with clients, it was already 2:00 p.m. My last meal had been some sliced turkey at midnight, so if I could just go without eating for another 10 hours, I’d have a 24-hour fast under my belt.

I haven’t read up on intermittent fasting nearly as much as Mike Eades or Richard Nikoley, but from what I understand, the benefits are largely hormonal. Insulin levels come down, while both glucagon and human growth hormone go up. Some body-builders claim intermittent fasting not only makes them leaner, but stronger, thanks to the human growth hormone.

So, what the heck, I decided to push on through until midnight without eating. (I did, however, start the day with my usual big cup of coffee. You don’t want to be anywhere near me if I don’t get my morning coffee.)

The biggest surprise was how easy it was. I felt a few “Feed me, Seymour!” grumbles around dinnertime, but they passed. No mental fog, no shakes, no sudden urges to beat my children. I can only assume my body was doing a good job of mobilizing fatty acids and ketones for fuel.

I considered going to bed without eating, but decided 24 hours was good enough for my first fast. I ate some turkey and a handful of almonds at midnight.  (My wife, a dedicated bargain shopper, bought turkeys on sale before Christmas and froze them. I believe we’ll be having a roasted turkey once per month until the Fourth of July.)

My first fast was so painless, I decided to try a 36-hour fast next. On Saturday night, I indulged in some red wine, cheese, and two big handfuls of mixed nuts while watching “Band of Brothers” on DVD. As is often the case when I eat a late-night meal, I wasn’t hungry at all on Sunday morning. I didn’t have plans for the day other than reading and watching the football playoffs, so it seemed like a good choice for an all-day fast.

Once again, I was surprised at how painless it was. Curious as to why I didn’t have the shakes or feel light-headed, I checked my blood glucose around 6:00 PM and was surprised see it was around 95. It’s usually in the 85-90 range when I wake up in the morning. Apparently my body was adjusting with no trouble.

From an evolutionary standpoint, it all makes sense, of course. Paleolithic hunters almost certainly had to go without eating now and then, and if missing a few meals meant their hands were too shaky to toss a spear accurately, they’d miss quite a few more. We’re almost certainly well adapted to intermittent fasting, at least if what we eat day-to-day doesn’t mess up our ability to mobilize body fat for fuel when we need it. I couldn’t get by on Slim-Fast because I was an insulin-resistant sugar-burner consuming little cans of liquid sugar for meals.  Not enough sugar to get me through the day, and I couldn’t release fatty acids quickly enough to make up the difference.

I went to bed after midnight and slept like a rock. I was hungry when I woke up this morning, but the feeling went away after my first big cup of black coffee. I finally began to feel really and truly hungry around noon, which was the 36-hour mark. Fortunately, my wife had saved a ribeye steak from the dinner she served the girls last night. I ate about half the steak and a cup of her delicious chili, which is light on the beans and heavy on the ground beef.

I don’t know if I’ll ultimately continue intermittent fasting once per week, twice per week, or get bored with it altogether and stop. But since it was nowhere near as difficult as I anticipated, I’ll give it a shot for now. I’ll keep you posted on the results.

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143 thoughts on “Intermittent Fasting

  1. Richard Nikoley

    Hey Jimmy, that’s great to hear. Hell, given what I’ve been hearing on your pcasts about grassfed beef, no sweets, etc., you’re gonna have to change the name of your enterprise to “Livin La Vida Paleoish.” 🙂

    Best wishes to you and our host Tom for 2011.

    Reply
  2. Sarah

    I might give this a shot too. I’m usually one to skip breakfast too and keep running until late afternoon on a big coffee with heavy cream. I notice that when I control my carbs, hunger is a lot easier to handle and goes away a lot faster. Not to mention it’ll save a bit on food bills and dishes and cooking time =P

    If I ever needed proof carbs make us hungry, the ease with which I able to complete a fast after going low-carb would be it.

    Reply
  3. Richard Nikoley

    Good writeup, Tom, and glad you got past the “fear” of going hungry.

    To answer one commenter above about my own progression, I initially began fasting because ot Art’s blog. This was late 2007. My very first fast was from noon one day to about 8pm the next, 32 hours in total with a workout at the 28-hr mark.

    Over the holidays I read ESE and began going 2, 24-32 hour fasts per week, always noon to dinner the next day, with a workout around 4pm. For a good while I was dropping an average of 2 pounds per week while getting stronger in the gym.

    Once I got down to 180 I began to ease up and would sometimes do one 24-hr fast per week, sometimes not. It was only this spring/summer when I began to use Martin’s method of every day fasting. I go from around 8pm to noon the next day. Very easy. Really, it’s not like really fasting at all.

    But, once I get to my goal I’ll probably go to a less regimented deal, more random. I kinda miss doing the 24-30 to sometimes 36 hr fasts.

    The pictures you posted of your progress with IF were quite convincing.

    Reply
  4. Rocky

    I’ve been using intermittent fasting to help restore the health of my glucose metabolism. As with many people here, I would never have been able to fast while on a carb-based diet. It took retraining my body to effectively metabolize fat before I could comfortably skip meals. My longest fast is three days (water fast) and at the worst, my hunger pangs were no stronger than the “It’s 1:00 pm and my lunch is one hour late…” pangs of my carb days.

    I’ve worked out extensively during a fast and experienced no light headedness or drops in blood sugar. Every day that I plan a fast I also pack food to have with me, just in case, but I’ve yet to need it.

    For those people struggling to heal an abused pancreas and increase insulin sensitivity, I think responsible fasting is a very useful tool.

    Like a previous poster said, it’s also useful to compress one’s “eating day” into a shorter period. Most carb-laden people graze like herbivores, effectively eating from 7 or 8 am until 9 or 10 pm, remaining in a glucose elevated, post-prandial state during that entire time.

    If one is an impending type 2 diabetic, there’s a lot of damage being done during post-prandial periods. Obviously, eating well minimizes just how high post-prandial glucose levels go, but for some people with higher levels of beta cell damage, even a healthy low-carb meal can make controlling post-prandial blood glucose levels very difficult. For most people, impending type 2 diabetics especially, compressing one’s food intake to 8 hours per day (e.g., 11 am to 7 pm) gives the body considerably more time to heal, every single day.

    (As an aside, the healing that occurs with fasting is further evidence that telling impending type-2 diabetics that they should eat small, frequent meals is usually misguided and only ensures that they spend the majority of their day with elevated glucose levels. Of course, this advice is only necessary because the same sources are recommending carb-based foods that are an aggressive threat to effective blood sugar control. Then again, maybe they’re right in advising diabetics to eat small frequent meals: when you’re eating poison, small doses are probably better than large ones.)

    I guess there’s a reason carnivores in nature kill, eat, then stop eating, while herbivores eat all day.

    Reply
  5. Jimmy Moore

    I too thought IF was goofy, but I’ve been doing it for about a week and a half ending my meals around midday and then not eating until late the next morning. AMAZING results so far that I’ll be sharing soon.

    Looking forward to that post.

    Reply
  6. Walter

    I’ve found that when I’m paleo/low carb I can easily fast for 24 hours. When consuming moderate/high carbs I can’t. I typically have one or two meals a day.

    I think intermitant implies random. I find it easiest/most natural to fast after over-eating (by accident or design) on the day before the fast. Then it just happens.

    That sounds like what would’ve happened in nature.

    Reply
  7. Ricardo

    Hey Tom just wanted to know what you thought of the benefits associated with fasting

    That’s pretty much what I saw in the few articles I read. I haven’t done any extensive reading on the topic, but I’ll let my results be my guide.

    Reply
  8. Michelle B.

    Great post Tom,

    Great minds think alike because I have been interested in IF and decided to do one yesterday since I was home yesterday from work (it snowed in North Carolina) and surprisingly, I was not hungry and I felt very energized. After reading your post I will definitely continue to do it again.

    I also dropped 2 pounds in one day. Maybe this is what I needed to break my plateau and get the rest of my weight off.

    Richard Nikoley credits IF with helping him shed those last pounds. I hope it works for you too.

    Reply
  9. RobR

    I’ve fasted a few times while being a carbosaurus. It wasn’t pretty.

    I went 14 days on only water when I was a vegan in 2007. (Beats how I started the diet…nothing but grapenuts and soymilk… Fathead got me with that scene)

    The first 4 days are pretty bad. Moodiness, Hunger, Weakness especially upon waking. After that I was rarely hungry, probably in a state of ketosis / lipolysis at that point, the only problem I had was occassional moodiness and dehydration upon waking.

    I did IF for about 2 weeks when I was a raw vegan eating nothing but fruit and veges.Not as easy to keep up as the pure water fasting. I was eating a lot of dates at the time which were a real kick to the pancreas…

    I accidentally have fasted lately on LC.. I have so little appetite some days, my calorie count goes way way down if I’m not exercising, and somedays I just don’t eat. If I’m not eating dairy its nearly impossible to keep my calorie count above 1500 if I’m not exercising.

    For what its worth fasting makes food taste fantastic the next time you eat. Even if you’re at your ideal weight I recommend trying it once in a while for this purpose. Its almost disappointing to eat when I’m not fasting, the food doesn’t taste nearly as good and my hunger isn’t as strong.

    You might also want to test your sense of smell. Once I go about 24-36 hours I can smell wildly well when I go outside. It seems like all of my senses really perk up when I’ve gone a while without eating.

    I definitely noticed how good food tasted after 36 hours.

    Reply
  10. Howard

    The “three squares a day” comes from agricultural times, and naturally as you experienced, Tom, if you’re eating carbs you must eat more often. Over the past few thousand years societies have defined that as normal. I eat once a day and I don’t consider it fasting–I consider that normal for those of us eating mostly animal fat and protein. I do have coffee, but limit caffeine to one cup in the morning because of the adrenal thing–the rest of the day it’s decaf. I’d lay bets, though, that the reports of adrenal problems in low carbers have been overblown by nay sayers.

    When hunger came and went at mealtimes, it occurred to me the hunger was probably partly a conditioned response.

    Reply
  11. Richard Nikoley

    Hey Jimmy, that’s great to hear. Hell, given what I’ve been hearing on your pcasts about grassfed beef, no sweets, etc., you’re gonna have to change the name of your enterprise to “Livin La Vida Paleoish.” 🙂

    Best wishes to you and our host Tom for 2011.

    Reply
  12. Walter

    I’ve found that when I’m paleo/low carb I can easily fast for 24 hours. When consuming moderate/high carbs I can’t. I typically have one or two meals a day.

    I think intermitant implies random. I find it easiest/most natural to fast after over-eating (by accident or design) on the day before the fast. Then it just happens.

    That sounds like what would’ve happened in nature.

    Reply
  13. J. Stanton

    Another benefit of fasting is a big boost in ghrelin levels.

    Ghrelin enhances learning and memory — in fact, it is “essential for cognitive adaptation to changing environments and the process of learning.” So if you can retrain yourself (through low-carb eating) to metabolize fat well enough not to crash into hypoglycemia, you’ll find hunger can be a major productivity boost.

    See: http://www.gnolls.org/79/i-am-a-ghrelin-addict/

    Reply
  14. J. Stanton

    FYI Tom: The “saturated fat and testosterone levels” study can be found here:

    Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise
    http://jap.physiology.org/cgi/content/full/82/1/49

    “Significant correlations were observed between preexercise T and percent energy protein (r = -0.71), percent energy fat (r = 0.72), saturated fatty acids (g · 1,000 kcal-1 · day-1; r = 0.77), monounsaturated fatty acids (g · 1,000 kcal-1 · day-1; r = 0.79), the polyunsaturated fat-to-saturated fat ratio (r = -0.63), and the protein-to-carbohydrate ratio (r = -0.59). There were no significant correlations observed between any nutritional variables and preexercise C or the absolute increase in T and C after exercise.”

    Thanks for the link. I bookmarked this one. And here’s all I needed to know:

    Raben et al. (24) reported a significant decrease in resting T concentrations and an attenuation in the exercise-induced increase in T in male endurance athletes who switched from a meat-rich diet to a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet.

    Reply
  15. Ricardo

    Hey Tom just wanted to know what you thought of the benefits associated with fasting

    That’s pretty much what I saw in the few articles I read. I haven’t done any extensive reading on the topic, but I’ll let my results be my guide.

    Reply
  16. Richard Tamesis, M.D.

    Is there a standard definition of what constitutes IF in terms of time between meals? Would eating two meals a day 12 hours apart (breakfast and dinner) constitute IF or do you need at least 18 hours between meals (dinner and the following day’s lunch).

    I’d guess it depends on who is defining the term. The few IF articles I checked define a fast as lasting at least 24 hours, but as you’ve noticed in comments, some people routinely limit their meals to an 8-hour span, creating a 16-hour fast daily.

    Reply
  17. MrMox

    You can all read the book written by Weston A Price here:

    http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200251h.html

    I see that it is often quoted in low carb forums. He was a racist (like many scientists at that time) but it is a very interesting book.

    I can tell you all that in Sweden the low carb diets are getting massive attention now – a new book has been published and it is the number one best seller.

    I met Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt from Sweden on last year’s low-carb cruise. He spoke about the dietary revolution in Sweden. Let’s hope we import that to the U.S. along with Volvos.

    Reply
  18. Merope

    Great post! I also currently do this, à la Martin Berkhan. Although, he seems to combine building muscle and IF, and I’m going for a weight-loss phase before starting to build, more the way Lyle McDonald advocates it, since I’m not now eating enough to build much muscle, at least I think I won’t be able to. I’m definitely losing weight, and my “eating window” establishes itself automatically, all I have to do is one, not eat breakfast (the easiest, my crazy neighbour reacts to “smells” from my kitchen in the morning like I’ve started a rave party at six o’ clock anyway), and two, *remember* to eat enough in the evening…
    Oh, and, a typo on post #8 response, BTW

    I make a lot of typos in my responses to comments.

    Reply
  19. Sarah

    Hey Tom, random question.

    Where did you hear a link between saturated fat and testosterone levels?

    It was way back when I started working on Fat Head. Can’t remember the source and the article is no doubt sitting in a box somewhere. There are articles about diet and testosterone online, however. Here are some I found via Google:

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/271407-diet-to-increase-testosterone-levels/

    Notice they just HAD to warn about eating too much saturated fat in that one.

    http://stronglifts.com/cholesterol-saturated-fat-how-many-eggs-daily/

    http://www.healthy-metabolism-thru-nutrition.com/raising-testosterone-levels.html

    Reply
  20. Jakounezumi

    Although I only fairly recently was acquainted with the term IF I’ve pretty much done it most of my life, if for no other reason than that I’ve found cooking and eating a bit of a bother unless really hungry, eating more than once a day was, and still is a fairly uncommon event.

    The biggest difference though, for me at least, would have to be how I perceive hunger. Before LC the surest sign that I was hungry was how I started taking people’s heads off for no reason at all, and/or starting to feel nauseous and headachy. That doesn’t happen anymore, for which people in my general vicinity are eternally grateful. Hunger now is more a matter of feeling.. kind of … hollow, like I am AWARE that I probably should eat something, and I can eat fairly impressive amounts of food when I do. Still I do try to remember to eat once a day.

    I once lived with a woman who had the take-off-their-heads response to hunger. I’d sometimes end up sliding half a sandwich under the bedroom door before opening it.

    Reply
  21. J. Stanton

    Another benefit of fasting is a big boost in ghrelin levels.

    Ghrelin enhances learning and memory — in fact, it is “essential for cognitive adaptation to changing environments and the process of learning.” So if you can retrain yourself (through low-carb eating) to metabolize fat well enough not to crash into hypoglycemia, you’ll find hunger can be a major productivity boost.

    See: http://www.gnolls.org/79/i-am-a-ghrelin-addict/

    Reply
  22. J. Stanton

    FYI Tom: The “saturated fat and testosterone levels” study can be found here:

    Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise
    http://jap.physiology.org/cgi/content/full/82/1/49

    “Significant correlations were observed between preexercise T and percent energy protein (r = -0.71), percent energy fat (r = 0.72), saturated fatty acids (g · 1,000 kcal-1 · day-1; r = 0.77), monounsaturated fatty acids (g · 1,000 kcal-1 · day-1; r = 0.79), the polyunsaturated fat-to-saturated fat ratio (r = -0.63), and the protein-to-carbohydrate ratio (r = -0.59). There were no significant correlations observed between any nutritional variables and preexercise C or the absolute increase in T and C after exercise.”

    Thanks for the link. I bookmarked this one. And here’s all I needed to know:

    Raben et al. (24) reported a significant decrease in resting T concentrations and an attenuation in the exercise-induced increase in T in male endurance athletes who switched from a meat-rich diet to a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet.

    Reply
  23. Richard Tamesis, M.D.

    Is there a standard definition of what constitutes IF in terms of time between meals? Would eating two meals a day 12 hours apart (breakfast and dinner) constitute IF or do you need at least 18 hours between meals (dinner and the following day’s lunch).

    I’d guess it depends on who is defining the term. The few IF articles I checked define a fast as lasting at least 24 hours, but as you’ve noticed in comments, some people routinely limit their meals to an 8-hour span, creating a 16-hour fast daily.

    Reply
  24. MrMox

    You can all read the book written by Weston A Price here:

    http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200251h.html

    I see that it is often quoted in low carb forums. He was a racist (like many scientists at that time) but it is a very interesting book.

    I can tell you all that in Sweden the low carb diets are getting massive attention now – a new book has been published and it is the number one best seller.

    I met Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt from Sweden on last year’s low-carb cruise. He spoke about the dietary revolution in Sweden. Let’s hope we import that to the U.S. along with Volvos.

    Reply
  25. Merope

    Great post! I also currently do this, à la Martin Berkhan. Although, he seems to combine building muscle and IF, and I’m going for a weight-loss phase before starting to build, more the way Lyle McDonald advocates it, since I’m not now eating enough to build much muscle, at least I think I won’t be able to. I’m definitely losing weight, and my “eating window” establishes itself automatically, all I have to do is one, not eat breakfast (the easiest, my crazy neighbour reacts to “smells” from my kitchen in the morning like I’ve started a rave party at six o’ clock anyway), and two, *remember* to eat enough in the evening…
    Oh, and, a typo on post #8 response, BTW

    I make a lot of typos in my responses to comments.

    Reply
  26. Eric Lepine

    I too have to vouch for Mr. Berkhan’s approach here, gracieuseté de Richard Nikoley. It is by far the easiest method (if you don’t eat breakfast and eat your last meal of the day around 8pm, you get 16-hour fasting window every day) and for me, as for Martin, it has allowed my mind to think about food a bit less 😉

    Reply
  27. Jakounezumi

    Although I only fairly recently was acquainted with the term IF I’ve pretty much done it most of my life, if for no other reason than that I’ve found cooking and eating a bit of a bother unless really hungry, eating more than once a day was, and still is a fairly uncommon event.

    The biggest difference though, for me at least, would have to be how I perceive hunger. Before LC the surest sign that I was hungry was how I started taking people’s heads off for no reason at all, and/or starting to feel nauseous and headachy. That doesn’t happen anymore, for which people in my general vicinity are eternally grateful. Hunger now is more a matter of feeling.. kind of … hollow, like I am AWARE that I probably should eat something, and I can eat fairly impressive amounts of food when I do. Still I do try to remember to eat once a day.

    I once lived with a woman who had the take-off-their-heads response to hunger. I’d sometimes end up sliding half a sandwich under the bedroom door before opening it.

    Reply
  28. Marc

    Being doing Martin Berkhan’s method for a while now and for me it is way the best method of cutting calories. I really don’t have too many problems getting my first meal of the day at around 7.00PM and if I were to do the accepted 6 meals a day of about 400 calories I think i’d be ready to kill after a couple of days. Fasted workouts are no problem either.

    Reply
  29. Shaun

    Just four short months ago I was a slave to eating and training. My days went something like this: 6 am High-carb snack. 6.15 1 hour run with the dogs 7.30 High-carb breakfast 8am 2 hours on the kayak (with obligatory high-carb snack on any little island we came across). 11 am Another healthy high-carb snack before starting work where I’d constantly be snacking on those energy giving foods for athletes. In total, I’d say I was eating 8 times a day(yep, firm in my belief I was keeping my metabolism nice and high like all good athletes should, grazing like a muscular horse rather than stuffing myself like a fat bear).

    After work I’d spend 30 mins doing intense boxing circuits, burpees challenges etc. before walking the dogs for an hour or two. And I got fat! Yes, not just a little chubby but really fat. Then, thank God, I happened across Kurt Harris’ site, then Robb Wolf, then Tom Naughton and, now, 3 months into a Paleo way of living I trust my appetite and I fast naturally. I have my life back and I limit myself to one activity a day(and often I do nothing which was not an option with my former outlook.

    I realize I’m not saying anything new here, but by cutting out carbs and knocking 70 % of my previous exercise regime on the head I no longer have any of my arthritic pains, I’ve completely resculpted my body, I am never hungry, no tooth pain, I can enjoy lie-ins without the need to pound the streets to burn calories…

    The ridiculous thing is I used to be a personal trainer brought up in the good old ways of exercise more and follow the food pyramid. It wasn’t until my own metabolism got busted up that I had to reappraise everything I thought I knew. A sincere thanks, Tom, for the info you put up here (and in the movie). Now I just need a version in Spanish because I am having zero luck convincing people here that conventional wisdom is a crock.

    Isn’t it amazing how a change in diet can fix almost everything that’s wrong? Let’s hope Gary Taubes’ new book is a best seller and the publisher is inspired to release a Spanish version.

    Reply
  30. Kicking Carbs to the Curb

    I can’t do IF. For some reason, low carb pushes my blood sugar low and I cannot skip meals.

    Although I do forget to eat sometimes due to the appetite suppression of ketosis. But then it ends in hypoglycemia that leaves me feeling like homicide is an appropriate choice if it will result in a meal.

    M

    If you feel awful, I say listen to your body and don’t do it.

    Reply
  31. Boosh

    I wonder how fasting would affect me. I have ADHD and maintaining a balance is critical to getting through the day. The brain consumes 20% of the body’s energy and ADHD brains [race car brains] might take even more energy.

    I’m curious to try fasting, but I’m always so damn hungry! I have been doing the paleo-thing for about a week and I’m loving the change in my body already. Maybe after I’m on it a bit longer I’ll try intermittent fasting.

    You may need more time to adjust before trying IF.

    Reply
  32. Renee

    I went on a cruise with some friends this past summer, and for breakfast every morning I’d load my plate up with eggs, bacon or sausage, etc. from the buffet. My friends ate “heart-healthy-whole-grain” cereals, croissants, sugary yogurt, etc. If one of them ate a hard boiled egg, she wouldn’t eat the egg yolk. (More for me — I ate their egg yolks!)
    Anyway, after a breakfast like this, I would be raring to go, and come lunch time, would not be hungry at all. In fact, had I been on my own, I would have skipped lunches, and possibly dinner, too. But I was with five carb-fueled gals who not only were ravenous by noon (this, with breakfast at 9:30 or 10!!) but would want to interrupt our explorations to find snacks mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
    Eventually they noticed I wasn’t controlled by my hunger like they were.
    “I just don’t understand how you can’t be hungry yet,” they’d say.
    So I’d tell them I wasn’t hungry because I’d eaten a breakfast of fat and protein, which is much more satiating.
    “I ate a good breakfast, too!” they’d say. “I had whole grain cereal!”
    At which point I had to wonder what it would take to overcome their cognitive dissonance. If you are hungry two hours later on your diet, and I can eat once per day on mine…???? Anyone? Anyone?

    I was at an all-day meeting with a software client some time ago. They sent out for lunch, so I had a chicken salad. Their IT guy had a sandwich and chips. Around 3:30, he said, “We have to finish this up tomorrow. I’m brain-fried.” I think he was experiencing a blood-sugar drop. I could’ve kept going for hours.

    Reply
  33. Al Fedoruk

    I have tried a couple of IFs as well. When I was a sugar burner, going a whole day without food was unthinkable. Being in a situation where food would not be available would make me nervous — better bring a ‘granola bar’.

    It is surprisingly easy when low-carbing. No shakes, no dizziness, no “Must. Eat. Now.” I commute to work by bicycle and I am even able to ride with no lack of energy (it is uphill both ways). There is a feeling of hunger, but it is easily ignorable hunger.

    I have started wondering about the usual diet advice to eat 5, 6 or more small meals per day. That is, never let yourself get hungry. If one is on a low-fat diet doing that (and even a low-carb diet) then it seems to be a recipe for keeping the body running on sugar and never touching the fat stores, because insulin levels will stay elevated all day long.

    I agree. Eating all day doesn’t make sense from an evolutionary perspective either.

    Reply
  34. joe_mama

    If you’re lds(mormon), we do this once a month. The idea being, you fast for two meals, and the money you would have spent on the meals, you donate to charity. Definitely not as hard as it sounds, once the initial hunger passes, you’re usually fine the rest of the fast.

    Reply
  35. Eric Lepine

    I too have to vouch for Mr. Berkhan’s approach here, gracieuseté de Richard Nikoley. It is by far the easiest method (if you don’t eat breakfast and eat your last meal of the day around 8pm, you get 16-hour fasting window every day) and for me, as for Martin, it has allowed my mind to think about food a bit less 😉

    Reply
  36. Matthew

    Hi Tom, its good see more people become more aware of intermittent fasting. I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for about a year and half now. In combination with a diet lower in refined carbs (my fiancee makes amazing french toast and Chilean empanadas), I’ve maintained my weight while improving my metabolic panel (LDL down, HDL up, triglycerides way down).

    I also have to say I appreciate your edutainment efforts on fathead and it has helped inspire me to do my own experiment with a ketogenic diet combined with intermittent fasting:

    http://www.geekbeast.com/the-experiment/

    Thanks to intermittent fasting my entry into ketosis was a lot easier than what is described for most people. I’m already shocked with how stable and high my energy levels have become along with the clarity of thought when my brain is running on ketones.

    That looks like an interesting experiment. Keep us posted.

    Reply
  37. Marc

    Being doing Martin Berkhan’s method for a while now and for me it is way the best method of cutting calories. I really don’t have too many problems getting my first meal of the day at around 7.00PM and if I were to do the accepted 6 meals a day of about 400 calories I think i’d be ready to kill after a couple of days. Fasted workouts are no problem either.

    Reply
  38. Shaun

    Just four short months ago I was a slave to eating and training. My days went something like this: 6 am High-carb snack. 6.15 1 hour run with the dogs 7.30 High-carb breakfast 8am 2 hours on the kayak (with obligatory high-carb snack on any little island we came across). 11 am Another healthy high-carb snack before starting work where I’d constantly be snacking on those energy giving foods for athletes. In total, I’d say I was eating 8 times a day(yep, firm in my belief I was keeping my metabolism nice and high like all good athletes should, grazing like a muscular horse rather than stuffing myself like a fat bear).

    After work I’d spend 30 mins doing intense boxing circuits, burpees challenges etc. before walking the dogs for an hour or two. And I got fat! Yes, not just a little chubby but really fat. Then, thank God, I happened across Kurt Harris’ site, then Robb Wolf, then Tom Naughton and, now, 3 months into a Paleo way of living I trust my appetite and I fast naturally. I have my life back and I limit myself to one activity a day(and often I do nothing which was not an option with my former outlook.

    I realize I’m not saying anything new here, but by cutting out carbs and knocking 70 % of my previous exercise regime on the head I no longer have any of my arthritic pains, I’ve completely resculpted my body, I am never hungry, no tooth pain, I can enjoy lie-ins without the need to pound the streets to burn calories…

    The ridiculous thing is I used to be a personal trainer brought up in the good old ways of exercise more and follow the food pyramid. It wasn’t until my own metabolism got busted up that I had to reappraise everything I thought I knew. A sincere thanks, Tom, for the info you put up here (and in the movie). Now I just need a version in Spanish because I am having zero luck convincing people here that conventional wisdom is a crock.

    Isn’t it amazing how a change in diet can fix almost everything that’s wrong? Let’s hope Gary Taubes’ new book is a best seller and the publisher is inspired to release a Spanish version.

    Reply
  39. Galina L.

    I was playing with the idea of IF myself for a while. It reminds me how it took me 3 years to start low-carbing. I thought it would be impossible. Started at least 2 times and stopped due to a migraine. You know how always hungry people feel. Now am happily in ketosis most of the time and should be ready for a next step. You provided your readers with a very good strategy – oversleep first. Second clue from people who responded – breakfast is not sacred. Do you mind to tell how do you have your coffee?

    I used to drink it with cream, but now I’ve switched to black coffee.

    Reply
  40. Kicking Carbs to the Curb

    I can’t do IF. For some reason, low carb pushes my blood sugar low and I cannot skip meals.

    Although I do forget to eat sometimes due to the appetite suppression of ketosis. But then it ends in hypoglycemia that leaves me feeling like homicide is an appropriate choice if it will result in a meal.

    M

    If you feel awful, I say listen to your body and don’t do it.

    Reply
  41. Boosh

    I wonder how fasting would affect me. I have ADHD and maintaining a balance is critical to getting through the day. The brain consumes 20% of the body’s energy and ADHD brains [race car brains] might take even more energy.

    I’m curious to try fasting, but I’m always so damn hungry! I have been doing the paleo-thing for about a week and I’m loving the change in my body already. Maybe after I’m on it a bit longer I’ll try intermittent fasting.

    You may need more time to adjust before trying IF.

    Reply
  42. Renee

    I went on a cruise with some friends this past summer, and for breakfast every morning I’d load my plate up with eggs, bacon or sausage, etc. from the buffet. My friends ate “heart-healthy-whole-grain” cereals, croissants, sugary yogurt, etc. If one of them ate a hard boiled egg, she wouldn’t eat the egg yolk. (More for me — I ate their egg yolks!)
    Anyway, after a breakfast like this, I would be raring to go, and come lunch time, would not be hungry at all. In fact, had I been on my own, I would have skipped lunches, and possibly dinner, too. But I was with five carb-fueled gals who not only were ravenous by noon (this, with breakfast at 9:30 or 10!!) but would want to interrupt our explorations to find snacks mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
    Eventually they noticed I wasn’t controlled by my hunger like they were.
    “I just don’t understand how you can’t be hungry yet,” they’d say.
    So I’d tell them I wasn’t hungry because I’d eaten a breakfast of fat and protein, which is much more satiating.
    “I ate a good breakfast, too!” they’d say. “I had whole grain cereal!”
    At which point I had to wonder what it would take to overcome their cognitive dissonance. If you are hungry two hours later on your diet, and I can eat once per day on mine…???? Anyone? Anyone?

    I was at an all-day meeting with a software client some time ago. They sent out for lunch, so I had a chicken salad. Their IT guy had a sandwich and chips. Around 3:30, he said, “We have to finish this up tomorrow. I’m brain-fried.” I think he was experiencing a blood-sugar drop. I could’ve kept going for hours.

    Reply
  43. Al Fedoruk

    I have tried a couple of IFs as well. When I was a sugar burner, going a whole day without food was unthinkable. Being in a situation where food would not be available would make me nervous — better bring a ‘granola bar’.

    It is surprisingly easy when low-carbing. No shakes, no dizziness, no “Must. Eat. Now.” I commute to work by bicycle and I am even able to ride with no lack of energy (it is uphill both ways). There is a feeling of hunger, but it is easily ignorable hunger.

    I have started wondering about the usual diet advice to eat 5, 6 or more small meals per day. That is, never let yourself get hungry. If one is on a low-fat diet doing that (and even a low-carb diet) then it seems to be a recipe for keeping the body running on sugar and never touching the fat stores, because insulin levels will stay elevated all day long.

    I agree. Eating all day doesn’t make sense from an evolutionary perspective either.

    Reply
  44. joe_mama

    If you’re lds(mormon), we do this once a month. The idea being, you fast for two meals, and the money you would have spent on the meals, you donate to charity. Definitely not as hard as it sounds, once the initial hunger passes, you’re usually fine the rest of the fast.

    Reply
  45. Matthew

    Hi Tom, its good see more people become more aware of intermittent fasting. I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for about a year and half now. In combination with a diet lower in refined carbs (my fiancee makes amazing french toast and Chilean empanadas), I’ve maintained my weight while improving my metabolic panel (LDL down, HDL up, triglycerides way down).

    I also have to say I appreciate your edutainment efforts on fathead and it has helped inspire me to do my own experiment with a ketogenic diet combined with intermittent fasting:

    http://www.geekbeast.com/the-experiment/

    Thanks to intermittent fasting my entry into ketosis was a lot easier than what is described for most people. I’m already shocked with how stable and high my energy levels have become along with the clarity of thought when my brain is running on ketones.

    That looks like an interesting experiment. Keep us posted.

    Reply
  46. Galina L.

    Do you think that we shouldn’t use a sugar substitute during IF? I think we shouldn’t but hope it is OK.

    I haven’t seen anything pro or con.

    Reply
  47. Galina L.

    I was playing with the idea of IF myself for a while. It reminds me how it took me 3 years to start low-carbing. I thought it would be impossible. Started at least 2 times and stopped due to a migraine. You know how always hungry people feel. Now am happily in ketosis most of the time and should be ready for a next step. You provided your readers with a very good strategy – oversleep first. Second clue from people who responded – breakfast is not sacred. Do you mind to tell how do you have your coffee?

    I used to drink it with cream, but now I’ve switched to black coffee.

    Reply

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