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To Fast or Not to Fast

Author: Rebecca Carden October 28, 2016

We get so many questions from you as to whether you should fast or not to fast so let’s chew the fat on it.

Fasting in general is absolutely good for us otherwise we wouldn’t be offering Juice Cleanses on our menu!

Allowing the body a break from digestion stimulates what’s called Autopaghy which is hugely beneficial for everyone. Autopaghy is the body’s process of utilizing debris that doesn’t serve the body or dysfunctional cells. We’re talking about bits of tissue and cells that might be compromised or dangerous. Our body actually begins to eat them up for energy and recycles them!

How amazing is that? And by the way this has been proven by Yoshinori Ohsumi, a cellular biologist from Japan and Nobel Prize Winner for his work in this field.

So what this means theoretically is that by fasting, our body can get rid of malfunctioning tissue or cells from our body by breaking them down for energy conversion. It’s a method our body uses for ‘spring cleaning’.  

When you fast, several things happen in your body on the cellular and molecular level.

Your body changes hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible.

Your cells initiate important repair processes, and change the expression of genes.

The levels of growth hormone skyrocket, increasing as much as 5-fold. This has benefits for fat loss and muscle gain, to name a few.

Insulin sensitivity improves and levels of insulin drop dramatically. Lower insulin levels make stored body fat more accessible.

There are changes in the function of genes related to longevity and protection against disease.

Intermittent fasting increases a brain hormone called BDNF, and may aid the growth of new nerve cells. It may also protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

We’re pretty sure that all of the above are all the reasons you need to begin incorporating fasting into your lifestyle.

Women however, need to be careful.

Women are extremely sensitive to signals of starvation. If the body senses starvation, it will kick up production of hunger hormones AND store fat to protect us.

Therefore, when you break the fast, you may experience insatiable hunger. It’s our body’s way of protecting a potential fetus (even when we’re not pregnant). Many of us try to ignore those hunger cues then fail and binge later, but follow that up with fasting again. Guess what? All that can halt ovulation.

Intermittent fasting can throw off hormonal balance for women and cause fertility problems which is why gentle fasting may be more appropriate and a better option for many of us.

Gentle fasting might look like this- 

Having dinner at 6pm and don’t eat again until 10am the next morning gives you a 16 hour fast. It doesn’t impact on your lifestyle too much because you are asleep for most of it which means those hunger pains will be mostly not present.

Pretty easy right? If that’s going to help us be stronger, leaner, feel better and live longer…. why wouldn’t you!

To fast or not to fast really comes down to the individual and how sensitive they are to calorie restriction, it also comes down to our genetics. It’s crucial that we pay attention to our bodies and listen out for the cues that fasting might not be working for you and needs some modification.

On saying that though, fasting in some kind of capacity IS very beneficial for everybody, it’s just finding a version that works for your body type.

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