Intermittent Fasting; for a healthy brain, healthy heart and much more!

Never heard about Intermittent fasting (IF)? Then it is really about time! IF is fasting intermittently; you do not eat anything for a longer period of time (how long you want, see later in this text how I like to apply it) you only drink. When you do not eat anything for a longer period of time, your body has the time to clean up all waste and to treat inflammations. Fasting is possibly the best way to combat inflammation (1) and can offer many benefits in many diseases. In addition, you can quickly lose weight and that can also be healthy (if handled correctly). Read a lot more interesting facts about fasting in this blog and learn how to do this in a healthy way!

In this blog you will learn:
– What happens in the body during fasting
– What are the benefits of fasting
– Investigate fasting in diseases
– Improvement of muscle building and fasting
– Different ways of application
– Is IF suitable for everyone?

What happens in the body during fasting?
The body will address tissues that the body does not need during the fast periods, such as adipose (= fat) tissues (7), digestive enzymes and certain other enzymes. In extreme fasting muscle fibers are addressed and you have to prevent that …
Normally glucose (sugar) is used for combustion. At the moment that the glucose stores are depleted, you are going to consume the non-essential tissues (ie fat).

Note: in naturopathy, fasting is considered to be a quick method for eliminating waste and improving the healing processes of the body.
A lot of food we eat in this modern world continuously causes an attack on our bodies. This can lead to diseases (1).

All disease starts in the gut – Hipocrates (370 BC)
(This is no longer true today, because other toxins and vaccines can also cause illness, but apparently this Greek doctor already knew what impact nutrition has on our health.)

Our body prefers the burning of glucose (carbohydrates). Good carbohydrates are important; they give us energy and are necessary for many chemical prosesses, so we do need carbohydrates! The problem is that we eat too much and often bad carbohydrates. Due to high levels of glucose in the body, fat burning will not be changed. Glucose is easier to burn and that is what causes a lot of people not being able to lose fat. Our body must switch into fat burning. When this happens, you get into ketosis.

Note: there are differences between different types of carbs; we have carbs in fruits and vegetables and we have carbs in junk food. To keep it clear in this article, I only talk about healthy carbs (foods that have benefits for out health).

Note: I used to be confused about foods a lot when I just started. Of course this is normal. A simple question you can ask yourself when we talk about healthy foods is: “did mother nature produce this product?” If the answer is no, then be careful with whatever it is that you want to cunsome.
Question 2: When a food-product has more then 10 ingredients, you should be careful as well! Olny if it is organic and you really know this can be trusted, then it is okay!

Is fasting good to keep full?
For me personally it is so easy to apply that I almost feel like I cheat on life. It is important that you learn to feel your body and eat intuitively. The hormone leptin also plays an important role.

IF reduces the feeling of hunger.
Leptin is known as the satiety hormone. The leptin level drops when you are hungry and rises when you are satisfied. This hormone is produced by fat cells. People with overweight and obesity for this reason tend to circulate larger amounts of leptin in the body. A surplus can cause leptin resistance. This makes it more difficult to effectively eliminate feelings of hunger.
An 80-person study showed that less leptin was present in the body at night when they fasted (31).
Lower levels of leptin could mean that there is less leptin resistance, so that there is less hunger and this leads to possibly even more weight loss.

What is important?
The most important thing is that you learn to make healthy choices. This applies to both micro- and macronutrients. Would you like to learn more about this? Then you can let me tailor a diet plan and you will get all the important information you need. Contact me via info@hedydegraas.com. Read in this blog tips that you can apply now.

Number of tips for now:

1. Divide your meals well and keep a certain standard, for example the 50-35-15 rule. This means that you eat 50% carbohydrates per meal, 35% proteins and the rest (15%) comes from (healthy) fats.
2. Do not eat too much fruit; focus on vegetables. Make tasty salads. For taste use fresh and dried herbs, fresh lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and / or soy sauce (fermented and low in salt).
3. Choose easily digestible food: oatmeal, quinoa, rice, fusilini, meat, fish, eggs and almonds (these foods are easy to digest for most people). Some types of vegetables can cause problems, like lentels, chickpeas and different types of beans. Getting to know your body is an important aspect of learning to eat healthy. Do not over-rush things; step by step each day you will get there where you want to be!
4. Enjoy your healthy lifestyle! As you do this for a longer period of time, you never want to go back to unhealthy things! Love your body!

(read other articles I wrote about easy to digets vegetables, the good carbs, proteins; the buildingblocks of our body! and so much more!)

Do you have any questions? Please try to find your answer on my website! I really would love to answer all of you, but it is not always possible. I hope you understand! I try to create as much content as I can!

PS Do you have a lot of trouble with digestion and / or allergies for all kinds of foods? You then may suffer from leaky bowel syndrome (occurs in at least 80% of the population) or there is an imbalance in the gut bacteria. The good news is that there is a chance that you can recover from this. I wrote this article: “Important; learn about the leaky bowl syndrome”.

The miraculous benefits of intermittent fasting.

You might not expect it, but you get a lot of energy! It’s like that: every time during and after dinner your body has to work. The diet must be digested and this will require all kinds of inflammatory reactions (this is the natural course of events). By not eating for a while, you give your body a rest; you are calm inside and therefore you feel energetic from the outside! For this reason, unhealthy and overeating is also so energy-robbing. Stay with yourself, with your heart and your feelings. This helps to maintain your healthy lifestyle.

Prevent or restore IF and disease.

Applying IF to diseases has done a lot of research.

1. IF improves blood sugar levels
Frequent eating (2 to 3 hours between each meal) can indicates many fluctuations in blood sugar levels (when carbs are being over-consumed). As a result, type 2 diabetes can occur. The story behind this is that the pancreas must produce insulin every time after eating. This allows the pancreas to overwork and as a result no longer produce enough insulin. When this happens, people have to start injecting insulin. Know that type 2 diabetes can be reversible and can therefore also be prevented. Taking into account your blood sugar level and IF are probably the best methods to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

2. Fast for a healthy (er) heart
IF reduces the risk of developing heart disease. One study showed that fasting affected various components of the heart’s health. It increased good HDL cholesterol and reduced both bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (20).
In a study, it emerged that rats that had been left around the day were 66% more likely to survive a heart attack than rats with a ‘normal’ diet (21).
Fasting is an increase in the adiponectin protein (22). This protein is involved in fat and sugar metabolism and this can potentially be protective in heart disease and heart attack (23).

3. IF reduces inflammation
Inflammation always takes place in our body; they are chemical reactions. Always recovery takes place, new cells have to be created, something has to be cleaned up; our body never rests in that respect.
When there is too much inflammation and important substances can no longer be cleaned up, inflammation can become chronic. This can lead to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer and the diseases of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease (24,25,27).
This study showed that fasting reduces oxidative stress (caused by harmful chemical reactions) (28).

During this study, 50 people were observed during their Ramadan. During fasting, they had a reduced level of some inflammatory markers (26).

4. It keeps the brain healthy
In addition to keeping your heart healthy and warding off disease, some studies have shown that intermittent fasting protects the health of your brain. Oxidative stress causes the brain to age more quickly, making it more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and stroke. During freezing, free radicals generated by oxidative stress are cleared away (27). IF can also delay the progression of these neurodegenerative diseases (30).
One animal study showed that intermittent fasting improves cognitive function and protects against changes in memory and learning function compared to a control group. (29).

5. IF prolongs the lifespan.
Studies have been conducted on IF in animals. This showed that life expectancy is prolonged by fasting (2). This is not surprising given the range of benefits that fasting entails.

6. IF improves the possibility of muscle building
When you become more sensitive to insulin (4) than people with an unhealthy lifestyle and when you are more sensitive to insulin you better build muscle tissue (5).
PS many athletes are afraid of burning their muscle tissue. For some athletes this is possible, for example, for bodybuilders who are already low in fat, but many people do not have to be afraid that they switch to muscle burning. A lot has to be done here and especially if you have a higher percentage of fat, this does not happen just like that. If you are still scared … When your muscles are burning, this gives an iron taste in your mouth. So you can taste it when this happens.
Some types of people (ectomorphs) who have to do a lot of work to build up muscle tissue might break muscle faster than other types.

I have another study that proves that muscles are not addressed as quickly as the food industry wants us to believe (3).

Different ways of application IF

• The 5 hours per day eat-window. This is also known as the ‘fast 5 diet’. For example, you can choose to eat everything between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the afternoon. I would in any case advise against eating after 20.00, because after this time our system becomes calmer and the digestion slowly slows down. This can disturb your night’s sleep.

• Fast the day: with this form of intermittent fasting, a period of 24 hours of food is continuously alternated with a period of 24 hours of fasting.

• Fasting two days a week: with this diet, also known as the ‘5: 2 diet’, weekly for two consecutive days. You can eat during the fasting days, but the total caloric intake may not exceed 500 (women) or 600 (men) calories. The other five days you can eat anything you want.

• Moderate fasting: here one or a few days a week is fasted. During the fasting days you can eat, but the total daily calorie intake is very low. People who drink moderate fasting often only eat green smoothies during fasting days.

• One meal a day: this is what they call the Warrior diet. This way of IF is fastened every day and you eat only one meal a day. The rest of the day you only drink water and herbal tea. The people who apply this form of IF often take 30-60 minutes to eat.

• Six hours a day fast: This method is fastened from 10 am to 4 pm, or from noon to 6 pm.
As you can see, there are all kinds of possibilities and you can try to assess for yourself what suits you best. For example, if you want to follow the Warrior diet, be aware that your body gets a lot of nutrition in a short time. You have to be able to handle this and it is then the question whether it is right to start right away. It might be better to let your body get used to by starting with six hours of fasting, for example.

Is IF suitable for everyone?

Your basic diet must be good. Make sure you have enough nutrients in your body, because when your body is not in balance, your body cannot function properly and fasting may not make much sense.
People who use medication should first consult a doctor before they start.
In fact, you could see applying IF as a nice goal. Make sure you get your health in order first! How I started this, you can read in my blog: how I took the first steps towards a healthy(er) lifestyle.

When you know what you eat and when you eat healthy and as much as possible of course, then you will feel better and lose weight anyway.

PS and with self-love, we can do anything we want if we put our minds to it!

Written with so much love!

Hedy de Graas

(1) https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/health-wellness/professional.aspx?productid=1314
(2) Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA, March 2005
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15833943?dopt=Abstract
(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19776143
(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15833943?dopt=Abstract
(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16545079
(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19776143
(7) Obesity (Silver Spring). Author manuscript; available in PMC 2018 Apr 30. Flipping the Metabolic Switch: Understanding and Applying Health Benefits of Fasting Stephen D. Anton, 1 Keelin Moehl et al.

20 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23112824/
22 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19423320/
23 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19261992
24 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3492709/
25 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4549297/
26 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23244540/
27 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29874566
28 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20460146/
29 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23755298
30 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10858586
31 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3956913/