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Is Keto a good or bad diet for hypoglycemia?

But first of all what is hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia also called hypo is triggered when blood sugar levels fall under 4 mmol/L. Too much insulin or too little food can spark a hypo. In people with diabetes, the balance of insulin, food and physical activity sometimes isn’t right and blood glucose levels drop too low. That’s when you start feeling wobbly. But this is not limited only to people with diabetes. If your body is used to a high carbohydrate diet and you suddenly have a prolonged period of not eating anything or only not eating carbs (ketogenic diet) than you blood sugar levels can drop and you start feeling dizzy and not right.

Typical hypoglycemia symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Feeling weak
  • Elevated fasting blood sugar
  • Sugar and carb cravings
  • Feeling hangry
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Shakiness
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Hunger
  • Irritability or moodiness
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Headache

Most of this symptoms are also identifiers for the so called keto flu.

Hypoglycemia on ketogenic diet

It is completely normal to become hypoglycemic when you are starting the keto diet. The effect can last from a couple of days to a few weeks. It really depends if you already were insulin resistant and your typical diet before you started the keto diet. The standard American diet, high in simple sugars and processed foods, is notorious for causing problems with blood sugar regulation. However if blood sugar drops to far it can become dangerous so consulting a doctor is always advised. If you already know that you become hypoglycemic even when you have lunch a little bit later than usual it is advisable to start slowly and take some additional steps to ease the transition phase.

Hypoglycemia and insulin resistance

Reactive hypoglycemia symptoms which can occur in the early stages of insulin resistance, is characterized by low blood sugar symptoms like fatigue, weakness, dizziness and a sensation of hunger. If you already have developed insulin resistance or are in early stages it is advisable to do certain activities to reverse insulin resistance to reduce the hypoglycemia symptoms during the initial days of doing keto. There are ways how to naturally reverse early stages of insulin resistance.

Some risk factors for developing insulin resistance include:

  • Family history of diabetes
  • Diet high in refined carbohydrates
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Apple shape (more weight around your middle)
  • Polycystic ovaries (PCOS)
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • BMI greater than 29
  • Use of antidepressants (especially SSRIs)
  • Use of steroid medications

What can you do to reverse insulin resistance and reduce hypoglycemia before going on Keto diet

  • Lower your carbohydrate intake
  • Remove simple carbs and introduce more complex carbs
  • Start moving and exercising
  • Increase muscle mass
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Reduce stress
  • Stop smoking

What can I do to reduce hypoglycemia during Ketogenic diet

  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat a lot of low carb veggies to increase mineral intake
  • Make sure you eat enough fat
  • Supplement with MCT oil
  • Supplement with electrolytes

Look at this from the bright side, the longer you continue with the given diet, more adapted becomes your body and everything will become much easier. You have to understand that while the symptoms can vary from person to person, most people feel similar symptoms when starting with the ketogenic diet.

In general I think it is a good way to start the ketogenic diet with a 2 week period of intermittent fasting, followed by a 24h fast and then transitioning into full keto diet. You can read more about how to jump start and speed up your process of getting into ketosis.

Should I eat some sugar if my symptoms don’t go away?

So a natural response to low blood sugar would be, eat some sugar, but the thing is that our body is a complex machine and things are a little bit more complicated.

Let’s start with insulin

When you eat carbs, glucose is released into your bloodstream, and as a result your body releases insulin to bring down blood sugar levels. Now if you have any type of insulin resistance your body will secrete a large amount of insulin and you blood sugar levels will plummet to much.

So how can we escape this vicious cycle?

It turns out that insulin has a counterpart hormone called glucagon, and glucagon is triggered by high protein foods. So what it does is that it mobilizes and releases stored sugar from your liver and even from the muscles. You have this thing called glycogen; that’s stored sugar. Glucagon releases your stored glycogen to keep the sugars constant. So if you want to increase your blood sugar levels have a high protein snack, which will release glucagon which in effect will lower insulin and your blood sugar levels will increase.

I hope this article provided the information your were looking for.

 

Choosing The Most Suitable Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes

Fitness and diet supplements in the form of shakes have been quite popular for many years now. However, meal replacement shakes are a relatively new phenomenon that are widely misunderstood.

Many people think that they are no different to protein shakes that are commonly used in the fitness industry. In reality though, they are a lot more than that. And if you were to use a basic protein shake to replace a meal, then you could be doing more harm than good.

Meal replacement shakes (MRS) must offer all round, calorie controlled nutritional meal in the form of one single drink.

Most MRS come in convenient powdered form which can be mixed with water or milk. Some even come ready made so they can be thrown straight into your bag and are ready whenever you are.

When it comes to meal replacements, it is important that they provide all the essential nutrients that a well-balanced and healthy diet would provide. Essentially, they have to deliver:

  • Carbs
  • Protein
  • Healthy fats
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Fiber

MRS have been shown to be successful in reducing weight, especially as a tool to kick start your diet with easy to digest and nutrition packed meals. But it is important to remember that meal replacement shakes should be used as a short term tool as are not a substitute for a overall poor diet.

If you follow a strict vegan diet, then making sure you get all these nutrients in high quality form from plant based ingredients will be a top priority. To help you find the best quality products that will make your health, diet and fitness plans become reality, we have done some research into the most popular vegan meal replacement shakes.

The results are below, and you will definitely find a great option for your personal needs.

Our Top 5 Vegan Meal Replacement Recommendations

1 – Garden Of Life Organic Meal Replacement

If organic certification and high-quality ingredients is an absolute priority, then Garden of Life is your go to product. Yes, it’s not the cheapest replacement smoothie available, but quality does come at a price.

One of the main nutrients your body will need during a fitness diet is protein. With each serving containing 28 grams of very easy to digest plant proteins, you should have your daily needs satisfied. Even when you’re in training.

One problem with meal replacements is that you can still crave food. And when you give in to your cravings then you can quickly overload on nutrients and your diet plan can be ruined.

To help reduce those cravings to a minimum, this product contains ashwagandha and 36% of your daily fiber needs. This will sufficiently suppress hunger for several hours until it’s time for your next meal or snack.

You will also be able to choose from 4 different flavors including original, coffee, vanilla and chocolate. Once you realize how well this shake works it’s a good idea to stock up on a few different tastes to provide a bit of diversity in your day.

The only real downside is that it can take a couple of days to get used to the slightly grainy and chalky texture. However, using a blender can make it a lot smoother and more appetizing.

Pros:

  • 28 grams of plant protein per serving
  • Organic Ashwagandha added to help reduce food cravings
  • Each serving provides 36% of daily fiber needs
  • Available in 4 flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Coffee, Original
  • Certified gluten free and 100% organic

Cons:

  • Slight grainy texture takes getting used to
  • Coffee flavor can be very strong

Click for price

2 – Vega Essentials Nutritional Shake

Vega Essentials is another leading brand in the food supplements market targeting vegans. They are known for their very high quality products and pay very close attention to ensuring a full certified organic product.

This particular shake comes with everything you could wish for. First of all it contains 20 grams of plant based protein. The main source used is pea and hemp protein as well as flaxseed which makes it very easy to digest at the same time.

To give you the full benefit of a balanced meal substitution it also contains plenty of dried leafy greens, veg and fruit. The result is a significant boost in your daily mineral, Omega 3 and vitamin intake. Ideal for a first thing in the morning shake.

With 3 flavors to choose from you can provide a bit ore diversity to your taste buds, especially if you plan taking this for longer periods of time. This will help you stick to a diet much more easily.

The main downsides to this option are that the flavorings can be a bit on the sweet side, but a bit of almond milk can help with that. Also, you might want to consider using a blender to fully dissolve it to avoid gritty textures.

Pros:

  • 20 grams of plant protein per serving
  • Contains dried veg and leafy greens
  • 25% of your daily mineral, Omega 3 and vitamin requirements
  • 3 flavors to choose from: Chocolate, Mocha, Vanilla
  • 100% organic and gluten free certified by vegan.org

Cons:

  • Flavoring can be a bit sweet tasting
  • Can be a bit difficult to dissolve

Click for price

3 – LyfeFuel Vegan Protein Powder

As a vegan you have probably come across the LyfeFuel brand with some of their other supplements on offer. This protein powder is one of their best sellers and will work extremely well as a replacement for meals.

It contains 18 grams of protein per serving which is certified to be vegan and organic. This does increase the price a bit compared to other options. And it’s not available in larger bulk packs to save money either.

But you do get an excellent product as it will significantly boost your intake of probiotics and antioxidants. These will promote a more efficient digestion and help to detox your body at the same time.

Unlike many other powder based shakes, this one is very easy to dissolve and doesn’t have the gritty or very chalky texture. Blending it will not be necessary.

With less than 2 grams of natural plant and fruit sugar it keeps the overall calorie levels down a lot, making it ideal for a weight loss or even diabetic diet. Taken first thing in the morning it will also set you up for the day with almost 50% of your daily vitamin needs including the all-important B12.

Pros:

  • 18 grams of plant protein in each serving
  • Excellent option for probiotic and antioxidant intake
  • Very smooth non gritty texture makes it much more appealing
  • Less than 2 grams of natural plant sugar
  • Up to 50% of daily Vitamin requirements
  • Plenty of dried organic greens

Cons:

  • Price per serving is a bit on the high side
  • Not available in larger packs

Click for price

4 – Garden of Life Organic Raw Plant Based Protein Powder, Vanilla Chai

The second product recommendation by Garden of Life is this Vanilla Chai options. The chai seeds are an excellent choice if you want to boost your overall digestive efficiency.

With 20 grams of organic plant protein and a mix of 40 different greens you really get a significant nutritional boost. The proteins are also chosen specifically to be easily digestible to help you get that boost first thing in the morning or post workout.

You also get the benefit of 6 grams of fiber which goes a long way towards filling you up to avoid those hunger pains and cravings for snacks. This really helps to keep your diet on track.

The shake will also provide more than 20 minerals and vitamins that especially in the morning can boost your system after the overnight fast. You will still need to top up with vitamins throughout the day, but it makes a huge difference to your health to get this boost at the start of your day.

The main downside is the taste. Even as Vanilla Chai it is a bit bland and grainy.

Pros:

  • 20 grams of organic plant protein along with over 40 greens
  • Excellent for workout and training recovery
  • Packed with probiotics and enzymes for easy digestion
  • Contains more than 20 minerals and vitamins
  • 6 grams of fiber helps give you that full feeling for hours

Cons:

  • Vanilla chai taste is not very strong
  • Quite grainy even when blended

Click for price

5 – Orgain Plant Based Organic Nutrition Shake

This Orgain nutrition shake is our final recommendation and comes with the USDA seal of approval for being certified organic and vegan. For most people on a plant based diet this is a very important factor to consider.

With 16 grams of protein per serving this will help you get that boost after a workout or to start your day. It will make exercise recovery a lot more effective. And the added dried vegetables and fruit help to provide that overall balanced meal.

It’s not in powdered form, but rather comes pre-mixed in small bottles. When you’re on the go this is an ideal solution, even if at a higher price. It also means that it’s very smooth and perfectly blended.

Each box comes with a selection of flavors, however, the vanilla one is probably a bit on the bland side leaving a bit of a chalky after taste.

Pros:

  • 16 grams of organic and vegan protein
  • Contains dried extract of 10 vegetables and fruits
  • USDA certified as organic and vegan
  • Ready to drink and very smooth texture
  • 21 vitamins and minerals included

Cons:

  • Vanilla flavor is quite bland
  • Costly option in the long run

Click for price

Conclusion

All of the above options are great choices for vegans looking for a meal replacement as part of their diet. This is one way how many people choose to shed a few pounds. It’s an ideal way to make sure you get that perfect balance with all the nutritional needs. If you’re looking for a morning shake to start the day or an afternoon snack, just choose the option most suitable for your diet plan.

All in all I think this review gives some solid information and makes and makes it easier for anyone looking to try a vegan meal replacement powder.

So you want to get into Ketosis in 24 hours? This is not as simple as some people think but it certainly is possible.

The other thing is also that everyone reacts differently. Some people enter the state of ketosis faster than others.  People with a higher or faster metabolism will enter ketosis faster, this are the same people that are already thinner so no luck for you if you are more than  just a couple of pounds overweight.

Here is an article that describes what ketosis is on Wikipedia.

And what is the main reason to enter Ketosis as fast as possible?

Well I saw some articles on other websites where they are stating that people want to lose excess fat fast but this is just silly. A couple of hours of difference won’t make any difference to how much weight you lose in one month.

You must be realistic, yes you can lose weight fast on a keto diet but it will not happen over night and first couple of days you will be mostly losing water weight.

No the main reason to enter ketosis fast is because it is not pleasent to be glycogen depleted and not yet be in the state of ketosis. You feel sleepy, without energy, some people even have headaches or mild flu symptoms. However you look at this it is not pleasant until your body starts producing ketones and you can effectively start using fat as the primary energy source. So you want to breakthrough this period as fast as possible and not be stuck in this middle place for days or even weeks.

One other thing I must point out is also that we are talking about being in ketosis and not being fully keto adapted. You enter ketosis when your body starts producing ketones above a specified level, being fully keto adapted means that your body is full adapted to  use fat as your primary energy source and that the production of certain enzymes in your body is fully adapted. This doesn’t happen in one day and it takes about 1 month on average to be fully keto adapted. But we are not looking for this as we just want to end the most unpleasant period and to start losing weight.

One of the things to be aware is we should not to get stressed about this as stress produces cortisol which shuts down your metabolic rate and you will even prolong the entire transition time.

How To Get Into Ketosis In One Day

To know how to get into ketosis as fast as possible we have to know what triggers this state in the first place.

Your body uses the energy source that is the easiest to use, in our case this is glucose. Glucose is just a type of sugar. As our body cannot store glucose as such it stores the extra glucose in form of glycogen that is stored in our liver and muscles. To initiate production of ketones in your body as fast as possible you must deplete your body of glycogen reserves. The best way to do this is a simple 24 hours fast. This will deplete your glycogen stores as fast as possible. If you don’t over eat for dinner or you even skip it all together you will already wake up in state of mild ketosis the next morning due to the overnight fast. Here are also described some signs that you are in Ketosis already.

7 steps to enter ketosis in 24 hours

This one-day fast boosts the entire metabolic pathways and jazzes up the ketone production rates.
But remember one thing before going on a one-day fast. If you have recently consumed a high-carb diet, then going ketogenic right away is not a good idea. Let your body break down the excessive sugars. Once it is done, you are all set to do a ‘keto’!
If you are all set for the fast, go this way!

7 steps to get in ketosis in 24 to 48 hours:

  1. Do a 24h fast
  2. Go to bed early
  3. Do an extensive workout
  4. Break your fast with MCT oil or extra virgin coconut oit
  5. Have a ketogenic dinner
  6. Eat enough nutrients
  7. Shock your body

1. Do a 24h fast
The best time to start a one day fast is in the evening (neither morning nor the night) – preferably, around 6 pm. It won’t make you lose your vital energy during the daytime workouts, nor does it let you sleep with undigested foodstuff in your stomach. Taking late meals and sleeping with undigested food doesn’t allow your body to rest. So the natural healing mechanism of your body fails during the sleep time as the entire resources are busy digesting your food.

2. Go To Bed Early
An early good night’s sleep solely cures many underlying disorders. It keeps your biological clock working in the natural circadian manner. If the rhythm of this bio-clock gets disturbed, you may fall into stress, causing an increased blood sugar level (that you obviously don’t want).
During the sleep time, our body’s metabolism shifts towards the anabolic pathway, turning stress glands off. Hence this is the time for the body to heal all the damages. You also avoid becoming hypercatabolic due to the raised cortisol level.
Moreover, during the initial two hours of sleep, i.e., from 10 pm to 12 am, your body produces  an increased amount of growth hormones that are essential for muscle development.
A sound sleep is highly associated with the dark. Also, studies have proven that our body’s natural defense mechanisms against cancer cells get activated in the absence of light (that’s why sleeping is the best way to natural healing). So turn off all the lights, TV screen, lamps, and all other light emitting devices at least 30 minutes before going to sleep. With this trick, you are actually preparing yourself to fall asleep.

3. Get Involved In An Extensive Workout
Exercise or performing an extensive workout during the day is a perfect way to burn all those glycogen reserves in your body. Performing a HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is a perfect type of exercise to do this. So, the next morning when you are awake, get set on an intense exercise session (remember, in the morning, not the afternoon). This will keep the cortisol level lowered during the evening when you wish to have some rest.
You don’t need to make a big deal of what kind of workout you should do. All you need to do is to go to a gym, or do any activity that equals a workout. Your goal is to deplete all the glycogen stored within your body quickly. So even a longer fast paced walk is a good workout to achieve our goal.

4. Break Your Fast With high quality fats such as MCT or coconut oil
Now that you have fasted for quite a long time, you can break your fast at around 4 to 5 pm. Try having some good fat for this purpose, such as coconut oil or MCT oil, butter, or any other healthy fat. MCT oil might come in as a better option in this case since it gets quickly absorbed by the body. It swiftly bypasses the gallbladder and reaches the liver where it is transformed to ketones rapidly.
If MCT isn’t available, using coconut oil would also do the trick. It is also a mild triglyceride that is, approximately, 60% of MCT and is also readily available at the stores. The only thing to look for is that the coconut oil should not be processed, i.e., either choose the ‘extra virgin’ oil or the ‘organic’ one.
You may wonder why we are emphasizing on using these specific oils. Well, this is because the extra virgin oil is an unprocessed form, and contains lauric acid that is antimicrobial in nature and is good for brain health. (This is the same lauric acid that is naturally found in breast milk as well.) Its antibacterial property also indirectly supports the growth of Candida that keep your gut healthy.
So, what you need to do is to take 3 to 4 tablespoons of any of such healthy oils at around 4 to 5 pm to break your fast. Then, take the same amount of fats after an hour before dinner.

Our recommended MCT oil 

5. A ‘Huge Breakfast’ Instead Of Dinner
For persons who are new to the ‘keto’ world, having breakfast for dinner is beneficial. Moreover, it is convenient as well, since you are not familiar with the various keto food recipes.
So, have around 6 to 12 eggs, a half or a single piece of meat/bacon, or try some sausages with spinach (around two cups). Add around 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter to the eggs and the spinach. And, your meal is ready!
By doing so, we are not aiming to overeat, but instead, to become full. We cannot risk our energy level at any time.
During the entire regime, make sure to monitor your stress level and ensure that you are getting adequate quality sleep.
This is how you get adapted to ketosis. Once you become habitual, you will see immediate results.

6. Eat your nutrients
I noticed for myself that it helps if I add some highly nutritional foods to my diet before I go into ketogenic diet. Adding minerals and vitamins will aid your body in this difficult process and on top of that if you have a deficiency of some sort you will be even more hungry and it will make your transition more difficult, so why make it harder on your self if you can just add some leafy greens to your diet.

For example, have a big bowl of green salad, and add some avocado and cooked eggs. You can add some grated carrots and beetroots to it for more flavour and vitamins. For salad I would choose spinach and wild rocked.

7. You have to put your body in fight or flight mode
You must realise that our bodies are lazy and switching to a new energy source means hard work, that means that your body will not do this easily and you basically have to force it. One way to speed up this process is to put your body into fight or flight mode. My preferred  controlled exercise to do this is to have a high intensity workout followed immediately by a  cold shower.  I am describing it in the article to go slowly, but in this case it will actually be beneficial if you can force your self to go straight into a cold shower and try to stay there at least 2 minutes. One of the benefits of this that your body will produce the hormone noradrenaline. Obviously this is something for people in perfect health. Please advice your doctor before you want to take cold showers.

 

To recap, take a 24h fast, go low-carb or completely skip you evening meal, go to bed early, depleat your body of your of glycogen, break your fast with high quality fats such as MCT oil. If you are healthy go crazy with your workout and finish off with a cold shower.

I hope this article gave you the information you looked for, if you have any additional question just feel free to put a comment bellow.

Among the many forms of saturated fatty acids is “MCT.” MCT is an acronym for medium-chain triglyceride, which is packed up with a score of health benefits. The benefits involve better cognitive functioning to effective weight management.

The MCT might have crossed your radar throwing you in a state of contemplation over whether it is better than coconut oil. Coconut oil is undeniably one of the great sources of MCTs, but there is a subtle chasm between them to which many of us are oblivious. About 62-65% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are MCTs. MCT in real is a more concentrated version and is quickly gaining popularity.

Another name for triglyceride is “fatty acids,” therefore MCT is also called “MCFA” which stands for medium-chain fatty acids. The misconception that all forms of saturated fats are potentially harmful has eradicated these fatty acids from our diets. However, the consumerism culture has prompted the research to unveil a lot of facts regarding saturated fats.

The ideal MCT consumption, like coconut oil, is daily. The popularity of these medium-chain fats is soaring ever since the revelation that relinquishing fat is actually unhealthy. MCTs and other healthy fats that are a component of coconut oil or grass-fed beef are digestible. In comparison, the long-chain triglyceride- LCTs are difficult to cut down and less likely to benefit the heart, prevent obesity, and improve brain health.

If we look at the traditional population residing in the tropical areas, they have been consuming saturated fats for as long as we have heard of their existence without any ill effects. It’s a myth that a low-fat diet is healthy.

Although coconut is a great source of MCT, other foods are comprising of the saturated fats too. These include butter coming from a grass-fed cow, cheeses, palm oil, whole milk, and full-fat yogurt.

What Sets Apart MCT Oils?

MCT has picked up its name from the length of its chemical structure. The connected strings of carbon and hydrogen fashion the fatty acids. The categorization of fats depends on the number of carbon atoms. The short-chain fats comprise of 6 carbon atoms, the medium-chain fats have between 6-12 carbons, and the long-chain fats have around 13-21 carbons.

Here is the MCT oil we use and recommend

Traits that make MCT a top source of essential healthy fats
The medium-chain fats break up easily and move directly to the liver. They cause a thermogenic effect that positively influences the metabolism. It is because of this make-up of the MCT as well as of coconut oil that people think of them as fuels boosting up their energy levels instead of a fat store.

The greater absorption of MCT’s is atoned to the less amount of work the body has to do in breaking apart the carbon bonds. The smaller MCTs are capable of penetrating our cell membranes without the need for any special medium or enzymes so that our bodies can utilize them.

MCTs and other saturated fats are innocuous and are good for you in quite a few ways. The risks that we are prone to by low-fat diets are minimized, and with their ability to combat harmful microorganisms they are a boon for our gut environment. Added to this MCTs have antioxidant properties apparent from the far-reaching inflammatory benefits of coconut oil. This is why it is employed in the treatment of dozens of health problems in folk medicine for centuries.

How Medium-chain fatty acids help you:

  • They are satiable making you feel full. They thus help in maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Since your metabolism rate increases, the stored body fat is reduced.
  • They provide you with energy, improving cognitive functions.
  • The digestion system improves.
  • The hormone levels are balanced.
  • With balanced hormone levels, it uplifts your mood.
  • Acts as a shield against bacterial infection and viruses.
  • Absorb the soluble fats from various food.

MCT OIL GUIDE

Coconut Oil Vs. MCT Oil

MCTs or medium-chain triglycerides are fatty acids that amount to a certain length as the name suggests. These medium chain triglycerides make up the MCT oil which is a translucent and tasteless liquid at room temperature.

MCT oil is extracted from coconut oil, that is, it is a source of MCT oil. MCTs amount to around 62-65% of the coconut oil.

Why the MCT Oil Has Gained Momentum

  • The prevailing “western” diet is deprived of the medium-chain fatty acids.
  • So far a misconception regarding the health benefits of saturated fats circulated. There is a false belief that all forms of saturated fats pose health issues.
  • Recent studies have unearthed the facts relating the MCT oil.
  • People are now more aware of the benefits of consuming coconut oil and other MCT oils daily.

Benefits of MCT oil

It’s a power pack, providing you stable energy for hours on end. It does not need bile salts for digestion and is transported directly to the liver. It quickly raises the energy levels compared to the long-chain fatty acids that take time to break down and are stored as fats.

  • It influences our “energy cells,” mitochondria.
  • Instead of storing fats, MCT stimulates the fat loss process.
  • It raises the body temperature, triggering calorie burning mechanism.
  • It makes you feel fuller, thereby decreases the appetite.
  • MCT oil comprises of antiviral and antibacterial properties that counters pathogenic bacteria and balances the gut environment.
  • It regulates blood sugar level and strengthens the immune system.
  • They contain antioxidant properties that are apparent from the anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil.

Historical Evidence backing Up MCT

The orthodox population of the tropical areas has been consuming saturated oils, including the sources for MCT oil, for centuries without any harmful effects.

Sources of MCTs

  • Coconut oil
  • MCT oil
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Whole milk
  • Full-fat yoghurt
  • Palm oil

The Nutritional Facts of MCT Oil

Four different types of MCTs rid the liver of the metabolic burden and quickly provide energy to your vital organs. The four different types of MCT’s are Capric (C6:0), Caprylic (C8:0), Capric (C10:0), and Lauric (C12:0) acids. The conversion of the fatty acids into usable energy depends on the length of the chain. The shorter the chain, the faster it will be converted to usable energy in the form of ketones. Ketones production is the result of fat consumption instead of glucose.

All kinds of MCT are beneficial for the health, primarily for those encountering malabsorption problems, digestive disorders, Crohn’s disease, gallbladder infection, etc.

MCT Oil vs. Coconut Oil

A great number of researchers are claiming the uses and treatments of coconut oil. It is not only a bank of MCTs but also consists of antibacterial properties, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and more. The distinctive feature between MCT oil and coconut oil is the concentration. MCT can although be extracted from coconut oil, MCT itself is concentrated and solely MCT.

The different kinds of MCTs differ on the basis of a number of carbon atoms chained together to the fat molecules. Coconut oil has a higher amount of Lauric acid, that is, around 50 % of coconut oil is lauric acid. It is mainly because of this that people mostly prefer concentrated MCT oils. All the four kinds of MCTs are present in the MCT oils. It is hard to get the pack together from other food sources.

The incredible coconut oil is stacked up with lauric acid. It has a score of saturated fats almost ninety percent, but a higher percentage is not the very short chain of MCTs that have few carbon atoms. Lauric acid has 12 carbon atoms.

Lauric acid acts distinctively to the rest of the MCTs, yet some people claim it to be a type of MCT. There are contradictory views that claim lauric acid to act biologically different from rest of the shorter MCT’s. This gives the MCT proponents a reason to believe in the superiority of MCT oil.

The biggest reason for the prolific sales of MCT oil is due to the burgeoning popularity of “The Bullet Proof Diet.” Dave Asprey came up with his work The Bulletproof Diet that hits on rapid weight loss and an improved cognitive health. It suggests that 50-70% of the energy is derived from healthy fats coming from MCT oil, grass-fed butter, and coconut oil.

The “bulletproof coffee” has become the signature breakfast, which is a blend of coffee, MCT oil, and butter. It brings down the hunger levels, makes fasting easy, and improves brain function. While coconut oils is a boon for Bulletproof dieters, MCT oil a real gem.

As opposed to MCT, coconut oil has some extra benefits to it that MCT oils lack. The downside of buying manufactured MCT oil is that you are oblivious to what you actually get. For the production of MCT oil that doesn’t solidify at colder room temperature, the oil needs to be more refined compared to the regular coconut oil. The primary component, lauric acid might also be eliminated which is the key ingredient in real extra-virgin coconut oil.

Therefore, there is some room for doubt when marketers claim their products to be a carrier of more concentrated and diverse MCTs than coconut oil, as they might remove the lauric acid. Also, filler oils like omega-6 polyunsaturated fats could even be mixed. Another added factor to acknowledge is that most MCT oils in the market employ chemical/solvent refining, which means they can be using chemicals like hexane and various other enzymes and combustion chemicals.

In a nut shell, relish both coconut oil and quality MCT oil for their individual benefits. Just make sure that the MCT oil you buy is of the finest quality and the ingredients are clearly stated.

MCT Oil benefits

1.     Resolves Weight Issues

MCTs tops the list of oil and fats that have positive effects on fat burning and weight loss. MCT aids in fuelling up the metabolic rate and reduces appetite. Do not think of it as a magic pill that will shed pounds in a night. It might drop a few kilos by boosting the metabolic rate.

Studies published recently to compare the consequences of consuming both medium-chain and long-chain fats. The energy expenditure, body composition, and fat oxidation in obese people. The MCTs proved to be more beneficent and prevented long-term weight gain with its increased energy expenditure and fat-burning.  The experiments suggest that MCTs suppress fat deposition by the thermogenic effect and fat oxidation in both animals and humans.

To put it simply, they will help in the production of ketones. It is equivalent to the ketogenic diet without the need to cut on the carbs. It is because of this that MCTs are called “the ultimate ketogenic fats”. The heating effect they produce and the quality of rapidly being used for energy make it a gold-standard for diet.

2.     Protects the Heart Health

Some studies have showed at the MCTs ability to prevent the development of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of metabolic disorders naming abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and impaired fasting glucose levels.

MCTs, help in curbing cardiovascular diseases and mortality risks by helping in lowering the odds of getting obese. This positive effect owes to the anti-inflammation, easy digestion, satiation, and being the easy source of energy.

3.     Elevates energy levels and lifts up mood

Our brain is made up of fatty acids. Therefore, our diet should be a regular supply of them. It will make us to feel our best, clear up our mind helping us to think straight, perform well and remain sharp as we move into older age. The medium-chain fats are the most protective fatty acids that exist.

The Journal of Neurobiology of Aging published a study that claimed that MCTs in coconut oil improved memory and fought against Alzheimer’s in older adults. It is a source of food that strengthens your brain, absorbs vitamins and minerals making you feel clearheaded, energetic, and positive.

MCT oil feeds your brain cell and cleans up your gut environment making it healthy. The gut is largely connected to the cognitive functioning.

4.     Stimulates Digestion and Nutrient Absorption

The bacteria in the gut microbiota is balanced by both coconut oil and MCT oil, which influences the digestion, energy expenditure, and the ability to absorb vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. The medium-chain fats are armed against a wide range of pathogenic viruses and strains and bacteria that cause issues including candida, constipation, diarrhea, food poisoning, stomach aches, etc.

The consumption of healthy fats is also necessary in order to absorb fat-soluble nutrients found in various foods. The nutrients include beta-carotene, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and lutein. If your diet lacks the fat sources, your body won’t be able to utilize the nutrients as well.

5.     Equipped With Antibacterial, Antiviral, and Antifungal Properties

The robust MCTs are natural antibiotics that balance bacteria in the gut. In times of antibiotic resistance, it is important to have natural methods that kill harmful bacteria. The targeted bacteria include:

  • Streptococcus- causes strep throat, pneumonia, and sinus infection
  • Staphylococcus- causes food poisoning and urinary tract infection
  • Neisseria- causes meningitis, gonorrhea, and pelvic inflammatory diseases

And strains that cause stomach illnesses, ulcers, and sexually transmitted diseases.

The list of inactivated viruses by lauric acid is at least a dozen of pathogenic viruses. The MCTs are capable of relinquishing bad bacteria without effecting the good bacteria. This is significant since the good ones are needed for intestinal health and digestive functioning. The studies reveal that medium-chain fats offer better resistance from infections compared to the longer-chain fats. The fatty acids and monoglycerides with chain lengths ranging from 8 – 12 carbons are more antiviral and antibacterial when combined with milk. The medium-chain lipids when added to milk and formula inactivated a number of pathogens that include (RSV) respiratory syncytial virus, herpes simplex virus type 1, Haemophilus influenza and Streptococcus.

Temperature stable or High-Heat Cooking

MCTs have high “smoke point”, which means they don’t oxidize from heat easily and can put up with high temperatures. This is very crucial since many of the good fats are not well suited for cooking. Oils like extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil can become rancid oils upon heating. Coconut and MCT oil can be leveraged for baking goods, sautes, stir-fries and grilled foods without oxidizing.

Making MCT oil a part of your Recipes

Many people staunchly believe in taking MCT oil daily as a supplement, straight from the spoon or by mixing it into drinks. It is both tasteless and odorless. Do not start with a spoonful of the oil directly. Start with half a teaspoon working your way up to 1 tablespoon.

Here are some clever tips to use MCT oil creatively at home. There are more ways to include MCT oil into your diet apart from the bulletproof coffee.

  • Spin up your own homemade mayonnaise in a blender by mixing in the MCT oil, egg, extra-virgin olive oil, lime juice, and salt.
  • Whipping together a salad dressing using MCT oil, raw honey, Dijon mustard, and your favorite herbs.
  • Add few drops of MCT oil into smoothies, shakes or yogurt. This will help in stabilizing your blood sugar level.
  • Use MCT oil in homemade baked goods instead of coconut oil.

Just as coconut oil is widely used for hair and skin purposes, MCT oil too is great. It can be used in homemade teeth whitening treatments, moisturizers, lip balms, sunscreen, shaving cream, facial masks, and essential oil blends.

 

 

 

Swimming in cold water and stay warm without a wetsuit. Is it possible? Can you train / prepare for it? Can it be pleasant? My tips on how I mastered swimming in cold water (by cold I mean swimming in water bellow 11°C/52°F).

I always had problems going into water that wasn’t warm enough for me. It was never something I would say is a pleasant experience for me.

Even on holidays in height of the summer when water was actually quite warm I needed some time to get in. Yes I was a bit of softy back in day 🙂

Cold water adaptation

Some time ago I found out about this guy, he is sort of a super human as he holds several world records for various achievements. To mention some:Swimming under solid ice, being buried in ice for more than one hour and so on…

So I started doing some of the things he is teaching. One of the things was doing cold showers in the morning. Cold showers have many proven benefits for the human body and are a great energy booster. What I discovered was that after a couple of months of doing cold shower I had no more problems going into cold water. We went to a beach once in early spring and the water had about 10°C/50°F. Everyone on the beach was mostly just taking a walk and people were mostly dressed in jackets or long sleeves. I decided to go for a swim as I was doing the cold showers for a while now and thought this might be a good chance to see how difficult will it be to get into the cold water.

Ice Swim tips
Ice Swim tips

I never liked going into cold water. Even in hot summers, when water was warm and the air outside was really hot I didn’t like to just jump in. But now everything was different.

I was the only one putting on my swimsuit on the entire beach that day. I just went straight in and to my surprise I had no difficulties whatsoever.

I have been showering in even colder water that this so I was used to cold temperatures, but taking a shower and going for a swim is something different so I wasn’t sure how difficult this would be. But it was super easy and I didn’t had any problems what so ever.

No need for a wetsuit

It was such a joy to have a swim in the sea in early spring and I had the entire sea for myself (ok there were some swimmers in wetsuits but that is not the same). I thought to myself what a great thing it is to be able to swim all year round as the sea water temperature here in Europe in most parts never drops much below 10°C/50°F.

We people are so limited with our believes that we can swim only when the water is just about the right temperature. If the water is not above 22°C/7250°F most people never go into water and that is a shame as our body is well capable of handling much colder waters. I am not saying go unsupervised into freezing cold water for a prolonged time where hypothermia is a guaranteed result. I am saying you can train your body to enjoy colder water for a limited amount of time and this capability is amazing.

How to perform cold shower training

This is an explanation on how I trained for this. I am not saying this is the only way of doing it but this is how I have done it. Please note you should consult your doctor if you have any conditions that this regime cold potentially harm you, such as an existing heart problem or something similar.

Some people can go straight into cold shower but I never liked it so I don’t do it most of the time. If I really feel like it I go straight into the cold shower but most of the time I start with normal warm water. Once I am wet I start turning down the hot water slowly. In the beginning it took quite some time before I reached the cold water and I didn’t go to 100% cold water in the first weeks so don’t feel bad if you are doing it slower as this is a way of exercise and you will progress with time. After a couple of weeks I was able to turn hot water down faster and I went to the maximum cold water. Initially just for about 10 seconds but after a while I was able to do it for up to a minute. Once you reach this level you are good to go swimming into cold sea.

What happens to your body when it gets cold?

Nervous impulses sent to muscles generate extra metabolic heat through shivering. Blood vessels that would otherwise transport warm blood from the internal organs to the cold skin, where the blood would lose heat, constrict, constraining most blood, and its heat, to the internal organs. “What happens to your body when it gets cold” from Independent

So the idea is that you adapt your body to cold water slowly. Your body must master the response described above. You have to train your body to withstand the cold but also your mental part of reacting to cold water and this transformation doesn’t happen over night.

I hope this helps someone to train himself to swim in cold water.

Intermittent fasting increases testosterone and growth hormone levels

We have already discussed about the benefits of doing intermittent fasting and we also mentioned the benefits on secretion of testosterone and growth hormones in your body. Many studies have shown that any type of fasting – prolonged time without any intake of calories – increases levels of anabolic hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone.

Having an abundant supply of testosterone and growth hormone makes the difference between being a proud man or just a miserable boy. Both hormones are highly anabolic and are therefore the primary male hormones responsible for a multitude of necessary body functions.

The positive effects range from strengthening bones, building lean muscle mass to driving your libido and increasing your sex drive, testosterone is also the key to healthy lifestyle. Natural testosterone levels peak for men around the age of 30 and growth hormone even earlier in your 20’s, both then begin to decline based on a number of factors such as lifestyle, diet, stress and genetics.

Low T-levels may come with symptoms such as mood swings, loss of sex drive, and decreased levels of lean muscle mass and the same goes for low growth hormone levels. Therefore it is vital to keep your anabolic hormones at optimal levels.

Intermittent fasting greatly increases your own body’s growth hormone (HGH) production

In this human study, the researchers discovered that after 24 hours of consuming no calories, growth hormone levels were elevated by a whopping 2000% from the normal baseline. Growth hormone levels and testosterone levels are highly correlated and highly anabolic. We can easily say that the results of this study are nothing short of amazing.

Growth hormone is just like testosterone an anabolic hormone and it is responsible for normal cell growth and faster regeneration. It also increases your body muscle mass and bone density and it also plays a major role in maintaining vital health of all body tissues, including your brain and other organs that are vital for your health. HGH also helps improve your sleeping patterns and improves REM-stage sleep. It is also known to boost overall energy levels. Growth hormone is the so called youth hormone as it slows down the effects of ageing and improves the regeneration of cells.

Since HGH typically decreases with age increasing it proves to slow down the ageing process. Please don’t think this is the youth elixir everyone is looking for but it certainly has some great benefits. As we know a decrease in HGH contributes to the decrease in lean body mass both in lower muscle mass, but also lowered bone mass which are all indications of aging. Here is a study that shows the benefits of human growth hormone in men over 60 years old.

During fasting, there is the spike in the early morning, but there is regular secretion throughout the day as well. Hartman et al study also showed a 5 fold increase in HGH in response to a 2 day fast.

Intermittent Fasting and Testosterone

As you will see intermittent fasting is really the best dietary “trick” to increase testosterone levels.

 

1. Did you know that every time you eat, your testosterone levels drop? It doesn’t even matter what kind of food you are eating, it could be only fat, only carbs, only protein or any combination of those. So eating every 2-3 hours doesn’t really help with raising your testosterone levels, it actually makes it harder for you. When your body is fasting you increase the time where your body has higher levels of testosterone available and you’re not negatively altering your hormones throughout the whole day. Read the research here.

2. The easiest and most effective way of burning your body fat is doing Intermittent fasting (12 hours in fasted state and your enzymes will shift to burning body fat as fuel). Studies on man have also shown that high testosterone levels correlate with low body fat percentage. One could argue dough if high testosterone levels are not the cause of lower body fat. Study

3. Another study done by researchers showed that short ramadan fasting in non-obese healthy man increased the serum Luteinizing hormone (LH) levels by a whopping 67%! Luteinizing hormone (LH) is the direct precursor hormone of testosterone.

4. That same study also showed that just a short period of fasting done by the same group of non-obese men increased the serum testosterone levels by an amazing 180%. This can be interpreted as a fact that intermittent fasting has an immediate and notable effect on your testosterone levels.

5. Even short fasting can induce autophagy. Autophagy is basically a process where your cells remove toxins and estrogenic chemicals from them. Any process that reduces or removes anything related to estrogenic toxins is basically pro-testosterone as estrogen and testosterone negate each other in some way. Study

6. Fasting also regulates leptin levels, and decreased leptin levels can stimulate testosterone secretion. It is interesting that when leptin enters the hypothalamus, testosterone levels decline (study, study, study) and it goes also the other way around, when testosterone increases, leptin decreases (study, study)

This post is much to short to go into details about every process in your body but at least now you know that intermittent fasting or any type of fasting is one of the best tools you could have or use to naturally increase your anabolic hormone levels such as testosterone and growth hormone. Intermittent Fasting is a relatively new way of eating that has been shown to have many benefits and one of them is to boost your body’s natural levels of key anabolic hormones.

Another great way to additionally increase you anabolic hormone levels is with a special way of doing exercise as explained here HIIT.

Today I want to talk about a type of workout that I think has the most benefits overall compared to other types of training and has amazing results for weight loss.

Aerobic exercises burn a lot of calories but can push your body in catabolic state which causes your body to lose muscle and decreases your body’s metabolic rate.

Weight training increases your body’s muscle mass and metabolic rate, but it doesn’t burn as many calories.

Here comes HIIT or High intensity interval training, which burns tons of calories, builds muscles, pushes your body into anabolic state increases metabolic rate and has fantastic results for weight loss.

I try to do my HIIT workouts as regular as possible and really feel like something is missing when I don’t do them for some reason.

Human body needs exercise in order to maintain health and performance. Many studies have shown, that regular physical activity prolongs life, boosts immune system, burns fat, prevents degenerative disease, has a therapeutical effect mood disorders like depression and anxiety and has an overall impact on your wellbeing.

The problem of our modern life is that we don’t actually need to do regular physical labor and we don’t need to hunt for our food or run from predators as our ancestors did for thousands of years. Most of us live comfortable lives with little or no exercise in our daily routine. We drive to work, buy our food nicely packed, dishwasher washes our dishes and water runs out of pipes straight into our kitchen. We have made our lives pretty easy and there is nothing wrong with it, but our body needs regular physical activity.

The other problem of our modern life is also a chronic lack of time. Even if we would like to go running, climbing or playing sports we often don’t find time to do those activities. We work long hours in the office, we commute back and forth from where we live to where we work and all that is before you have children, once you have children you don’t even have time to go to the bathroom.

Why am I explaining all this? As there is a lack of time we need to find a way to get the most out of our training in the shortest amount of time. I am not saying you don’t need to do anything else than HIIT, but most of us don’t have time to walk for 2 hours a day even though this is highly beneficial. HIIT or high intensity interval training will give you the most benefits for weight loss in the shortest amount of time. It will boost your anabolic hormone production such as human growth hormone (HGH) and Testosterone, and decrease your stress hormone levels. It will speed up your metabolism for many hours after your workout, which is really helpful for burning more calories throughout the day. A 20 minute long HIIT workout 3 times a week will have a great impact for weight loss and on your overall health and physical performance. You will get even better results if you are do HIIT together with Intermittent fasting 16/8. There is no other workout out there that can deliver so many benefits in such a short amount of time dedicated to it.

What is a HIIT workout

HIIT workout as any kind of high intensity activity, usually somewhere in between 20 seconds and one minute that brings you in anaerobic state in a short time frame alternated with low intensity intervals usually somewhere between 1-2 minutes long. HIIT type of workouts can be applied to running exercises, squatting or other types of high intensity training. This kind of workout allows you to achieve maximum performance for short bursts and the low intensity intervals allow for your body to recuperate and prepare for the next interval of high intensity. This method of training has been proven to have more benefits than doing other kind of workouts.

Anaerobic training

Anaerobic literally means without air. Your body can provide enough energy in all out efforts, where your muscles don’t receive enough oxygen, for up to one minute. For the first 15 seconds little lactic acid is being produced and even short rest periods can provide a full recovery. After about 15 seconds lactic acid starts to build up much faster and about after 30 seconds this becomes very taxing on your muscles and nervous system and your body needs much longer to recover.

Aerobic training

Aerobic means with air, that means that you can provide enough oxygen to your muscles to operate. This are usually activities that are longer than 3-4 minutes and the fatigue remains relatively low as long there is enough oxygen to provide the energy.

The most basic HIIT workout

To give you an example of a typical HIIT workout that everyone can easily understand I will present you the sprints intervals I really love to do as it is one of the most basic workouts you can think of and you can do it everywhere.

Sprints intervals: you should find a long straight path you can run easily without having to watch your step. Try to measure about 200 meters from a starting point and remember that location. Warm Up appropriately as the name high intensity training already tells you this is a high intensity training and you should be properly warmed up before you start your intervals. I usually do a slow run first, flex a little, than do two slow and relaxed 200 meter “sprints”. When doing this slow sprints you should do it really relaxed so no actual sprinting just a fast paced run which you are comfortable with. After you are properly warmed up I do about six to ten 200 meter sprints and walk normally back to the starting point (some people prefer to run slowly, but you need a little more distance that way as you will not be ready to do a proper sprint again after 200 meters of jogging, so you can run another 100 meters in the opposite direction from your starting point and then run back). Sometimes I alternate it a little by doing some shorter and some longer sprints and mix it up a little so I don’t get bored.

This is probably the simplest and most basic way of HIIT workout, but there are many different options and there are a lot you could do also at home.

HIIT workouts plans

Warmup: as already discussed it is essential to be properly warmed up before doing any workout especially a HIIT workout.

Simple warm up routine:

  • Jog in place for 30 seconds
  • 20 jumping jacks
  • Jog in place for 45 seconds
  • 30 jumping jacks
  • Rotate your hips 8 rotations in each direction

A beginners HIIT routine:

5 rounds of:

  • 15 burpees*.
  • 45 seconds of rest

*The burpee is a full body exercise used in strength training and as a HIIT exercise. The basic movement is performed in four steps and known as a “four-count burpee”:

Begin in a standing position.

  1. Drop into a squat position with your hands on the ground. (count 1)
  2. Kick your feet back, while keeping your arms extended, then do a push up. (count 2)
  3. Immediately return your feet to the squat position. (count 3)
  4. Jump up from the squat position (count 4)

If you want to take it a step further you can use light weights 3-10 (depending on your gender and physical shape) pounds and do the same exercise with a pair of dumbbells in your hands

Biggest benefits of HIIT

Lose weight: you will be burning calories for hours after your workout

After your HIIT workout, a process also known as EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption), or the so called ‘afterburn’ effect, begins in your body.

This is basically just a process of increased oxygen intake to correct the body’s ‘oxygen debt’ brought about by the performed HIIT workout.

The more intense the exercise performed, the greater this ‘oxygen debt’ becomes – note the word intense, not longer.

Your body increases oxygen consumption to restore itself to a resting state.

To reach a resting state again, it needs to restore hormone balances, replenish phosphagen stores, carry out cellular repair and oxidize built-up lactic acid.

Carrying out all of these chemical processes requires energy and where do you think your body is going to get this energy?

A time saving workout

As we have already mentioned a HIIT workout can provide all of its benefits in a really short time, you really don’t need to be sweating for hours, 20 minutes three times a week will give you most of its benefits for weight loss.

Any type of HIIT will give you similar results

Recent studies have shown that even different types of HIIT workouts produce same benefits. For example doing regular running sprints or sprints performed on a bicycle will give you same results. Any type of HIIT workout will push your body into weight loss state.

It is great for your heart

HIIT has great benefits for your cardiovascular system as it elevates your heart rate for short periods of time. Unless you are already suffering from some sort of cardiovascular disease you should perform HIIT workouts on a regular basis. Please read who needs to consult a doctor before performing any kind of HIIT workouts at the bottom of this article.

It increases muscle mass

You must put a heavy load on your body in order to get into an aerobic state. This increased load is highly beneficial for building muscles. The entire process also elevates HGH and Testosterone levels which are the two biggest muscle growing hormones in your body.

No equipment needed

You don’t actually need any equipment to perform your exercises, you can do sprints outside or even do it indoors doing burpees as we have described it above. All you need is some good will and consistency and you can achieve great results.

Is HIIT safe?

Anyone should consult a doctor before performing any type of high intensity workouts. There are certain risk groups who are should take extra care.

You must consult your doctor before doing HIIT if:

  • You have been told by your doctor that you should only do physical activity recommended by a doctor because you have a heart condition
  • You currently have prescribed medications for your blood pressure or heart condition from your doctor
  • You currently pregnant or have given birth in the last 2 months
  • You feel any sort of pain in your chest when you do physical activity
  • You had any chest pain in the past month when not doing physical activity
  • You lose your balance as a result of dizziness or you have ever lost your consciousness or collapsed
  • You have a bone or joint problem (eg  back, knee, or hip) that could be made worse by exercise

 

So you are here because you are interested in intermittent fasting 16/8 or with other words fasting for 16 hours per day, you either want to lose weight or improve your overall health. You probably heard a lot of things about this or you just came here because you heard about this for the first time and you want to find out what intermittent fasting actually is. This will be an in depth article that will try to explain what intermittent fasting is, what types exist, how to implement it in your daily routine, what are the benefits of doing it and point out some of best practices for an easy start. The knowledge shared in this article is based on my readings and personal experiences implementing it in my life.

What is intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting in a nutshell is basically just a limitation on when you eat and when you don’t consume any calories. It is not a diet, it’s more a pattern of eating. You can still eat anything you want as long you do it in the allowed time frame. Sounds great right. However we still encourage you to eat healthy unprocessed and nutritionally dense food. There are different types of intermittent fasting, some leave out just the breakfast and others make you fast for more than 24 hours on a time. It depends what your goals are, how fast you want to reach them and what kind of schedule you have currently in your live. It is easier to skip the breakfast If you have a regular job and it is easier not to eat anything if you are traveling a lot. It all depends on many factors and I will try to explain all possibilities so you will be able to make the best choice for yourself.

Scientist have been exploring short-term and longterm benefits caloric restriction by skipping meals since the early 1930s and discovered that it helped the mice to live longer when they significantly reduced calories. More recent studies confirmed this results on monkeys, roundworms and fruit flies. It has been shown by studies, that a decrease of 30 to 40 percent in calories extends the lifespan by as much as one third. There are also many other benefits of reducing calories such as reducing the risk of many common diseases, increase the body’s responsiveness to insulin, which regulates blood sugar and helps with food cravings and makes it easier for you to control your appetite.

The truth is that humans have been fasting for thousands of years.

The major factor with this method is, that your body is genetically adapted to fast for longer periods and is not well equipped to being constantly bombarded with food each and every day. Our ancestors didn’t had the luxury of eating 3 steady meals each day with some snacks in between. The fact is that most time in our existence we didn’t eat for longer periods of time and then had a big meal and that is why our bodies are so well adapted to that kind of food regime. Our ancestors hunted for food for days, enduring great physical effort without having any food and after the successful kill they eaten like kings for days.

Intermittent fasting helps you lose weight

The longer the window when you don’t consume calories the faster you lose weight. Normal diets that just restrict your caloric intake and decrease your body’s metabolic rate as a result which puts you in a vicious circle of eating less and less and you don’t lose just fat but also muscle tissue which in turn slows your metabolic rate even further. Studies have shown that when doing intermittent fasting it actually increases your body’s metabolic rate, increases growth hormone production and you lose mostly body fat as it helps retain muscle tissue in contrast to other diets. Your body adapts to this by getting more efficient in using fat as energy source and that is exactly what you want to achieve. It does not even limit or encourage you to eat only certain foods you can eat whatever you want and even if you eat the same amount of food in this shorter window it will still have some benefits for your fat loss process.

The science behind intermittent fasting is, that your body can store for about 12h of available glucose in your body, after that period you need to fill up the carbs so to say. When doing intermittent fasting we are trying to avoid eating any calories for at least 14-16h, and eat only in the remaining window of the day, so we have a window of about 4 hours where your body doesn’t have available glucose to use and it’s forced to go into fat burning mode, which triggers many processes and is what we want to achieve, so it is that time after around 12 hours that is actually making that difference and that is why you should go fasting for at least 14 hours for women and 16 hours for men. When your body is in fasting state all sorts of good processes start to happen in your organism.

  • Your insulin and leptin sensitivity increases
  • Normalising ghrelin levels, ghrelin is also known as “the hunger hormone”
  • Growth hormone (HGH) levels increase, which plays an important part in health, fitness and slowing the aging process.
  • Body releases more cholesterol, allowing it to utilize fat as a source of fuel, instead of glucose. This decreases the number of fat cells in the body
  • It lowers your bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol levels

You can achieve all of this benefits simply just by skipping breakfast and maybe delay your lunch. From my experience this is not hard to do especially once you get used to this eating pattern. I also noticed it is really practical as you need less time to get to your work, so you can start earlier and do more. If you wish to push it even further you can just expand the time frame when you are not eating to let say 18h so you only eat in the remaining 6h.

What are the benefits of intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting offers many benefits, the most obvious one is of course for losing that excess weight. While losing stubborn belly fat great on it’s own intermittent fasting offers many other health benefits, such as prolonging your life and increased physical performance.

Intermittent fasting makes you live longer

As we have already mentioned, restricting calories is proven to prolong your life. When you are starving, your body functions differently and is disposing of old and damaged cells more efficiently that it does on a full stomach. The main thing is that it is kind of hard to starve yourself just to add some time to your lifespan even if everyone would like to live longer people are not likely to do that. The good news is that intermittent fasting provides some of the same benefits that calorie restriction does without you actually starving. You can reap the same benefits for the price of skipping a meal.

Studies: 12

Intermittent fasting greatly increases your own body’s growth hormone (HGH) production

Growth hormone is an anabolic hormone and it is responsible for cell growth and regeneration. It increases muscle mass and bone density and it plays a major role in maintaining health of all body tissues, including brain and other vital organs. HGH also helps improve your sleeping patterns and betters REM-stage sleep. It also boosts your overall energy levels. It is the so called youth hormone as it slows down the effects of ageing.

A recent study on intermittent found out that fasting triggered a dramatic rise in HGH 1,300 percent in women, and an unbelievable 2,000 percent in men! The only other thing that can come close in terms of dramatically boosting HGH levels is HIIT or high intensity interval training.

Intermittent fasting can reduce the risk of cancer

So the statement above is a bit bold so take it with some reservation. There have not been performed many studies about this subject, but the ones that have been are promising. The results however are not dramatic but are showing some potential. Studies performed on animals show a decrease in cancers in the range from 25% to 40 % which means it is not a cure but it still substantial.

Main reasons why intermittent fasting is good for cancer prevention:

  • Being overweight increases the risk of different forms of cancer and losing that excess weight contributes to prevention.
  • It decreases the glucose levels in your blood which is the main energy fuel for cancer cells.
  • Fasting also decreases the amount of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) which is also linked with increased cancer risk.
  • Fasting switches your body from growth mode into repair mode and disposes more efficiently of damaged cells, this particularly affects the cells that have the potential to turn into cancerous cells.
  • Intermittent fasting enhances the ability of nerve cells to repair DNA.

Intermittent fasting is practical

To be honest, being able to skip your breakfast is actually really practical and makes your day easier. I always used to eat breakfast before going to work, and to be honest it took me about 30 min every day to make and eat my breakfast. If you take this 30 min and do some exercise like HIIT every second day you will do yourself and your body a great favour. On the other hand if your job allows it you can get to your job 30 min earlier and and also finish earlier giving you more free time to do thing you love in your life.

Intermittent fasting is good for your brain

Human and nonhuman animal studies have shown that intermittent energy restriction increases synaptic plasticity(a biological marker of learning and memory). It enhances memory performance and leads to the growth of new neurons, decreases risk for all neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, promotes recovery after a stroke or brain injury and it has also been shown to play a big therapeutic role in mood disorders like depression and anxiety. During fasting, your body increases activity and growth of neurons which can help you think faster and more creative and it improves your memory. Your brain also functions exceptionally well on ketones, which are produced by your body when it runs out of glucose. I have experienced a boost in cognitive functions as effect of intermittent fasting but it is the most noticeable at the beginning.

Intermittent fasting lowers blood pressure and resting heart rate

Losing weight in itself lowers blood pressure, but there are also other benefits that contribute to this. Lower body fat helps alleviate extra workload put on the kidneys which as a result lowers blood pressure. Intermittent fasting also increases HGH production which results in much better cardiac function.

Intermittent fasting normalizes your blood sugar

Fasting helps normalizing your body’s insulin and leptin sensitivity, which is key for optimal overall health as insulin resistance is the main contributing factor to most of today’s chronic disease, from diabetes to heart disease and even cancer,

Different methods of intermittent fasting

Fast 16 hours eat 8 hours

A 16 hour fast a day is probably the most common method of intermittent fasting. Some may split it up to 14 hours for women and 16 hours for man but I don’t think it is necessary. It is very simple, you simply skip the breakfast and have lunch as late as possible or you don’t eat anything after lunch until the breakfast next day. One can have coffee or tea before lunch, but nothing that has any calories so no sugar or milk in your drink. To eat no calories is actually really crucial in this, because as soon your body gets any sugar it will raise your blood sugar and make you even more hungry, so it will be more difficult to make it until lunch without any food.

This is probably the easiest method of intermittent fasting out there as it is really simple and you can slowly progress to it. To give you an example: If you finished your dinner at 21h (we count time from the time you have finished your last meal until you started eating your next meal) the day before and you have your breakfast at 10h in the morning, you have already done a 13 hour fast. This is really not hard to do and a lot of people are actually doing it already. Now you can just push back your breakfast or skip it until your lunch. It is really simple if you do it slowly and you don’t need that much willpower to do it. Once you reached 16 hours of fasting you can work it up even further up until 18 or even 20 hours. But you really don’t need to push it that high as even 16 hours of fasting each day is plenty and you will rip all the benefits of intermittent fasting.

I personally like to skip the breakfast and have my lunch as late as possible. Sometimes I have only 14 hours of fasting and sometimes I have 18 or even more hours of fasting. It doesn’t have to be the same each day as long as you average it around 16 hours or more. And on the weekends I usually have one normal day and I eat when I feel like it, but the thing is that once you get used not eating let say in the morning you really don’t feel hungry and I usually have a much later and smaller breakfast than I normally had.

Fast for 24 hours once or twice a week

So this is a little different method than the one we described earlier, it is still pretty straight forward and people have been doing 1 day fastings in various religions or for body cleansing / detoxification for ages. The principle is simple you just fast for at least 24 hours or one day which is a bit more. If you fast for 24h you can have dinner in the evening and finish eating let’s say at 8pm and than you don’t eat anything until 8pm the next day, so you stopped eating at 8pm one day and started eating at 8pm the day after. The entire day method is a little longer, so you don’t eat anything the entire day, so your next meal would be the breakfast 2 days after your dinner. For me personally this method is harder to endure and I don’t practice it that often.

The benefits of this method are that you push your body even further and it has some great detox advantages as it gives your body even more time to cleans the toxins out of your system.

The cons are pretty obvious, some people have difficulties to endure 24h or more without any calories.

One large meal per day 20h fast (advanced)

This is an advanced version of the first method we described, and it differs only in fact that you basically eat only one large meal per day. You don’t actually have to consume all of your daily food in one go, but the window in which you are eating should be kept really small somewhere between 2 and 4 hours. This eating pattern was practiced by roman soldiers back in the day and was probably a pretty standard way of eating in the old days. Roman soldiers would walk for entire day and have a big dinner in the evening. They had to endure great physical efforts and were in top shape. This type of intermittent fasting is also called the warrior method.

The pros for this method are that you push your body even further into body fat burning mode and it is really simple for practical reasons as you have to worry only about the dinner each day.

The cons are that some people might find it hard to endure this, so it is not advisable for this method to be the starting method for your first intermittent fasting. You can easily slowly progress to this method from the 16h fasting method and you can control what kind level of fasting is still comfortable for you.

Interval fasting: 1 day 16h fast and limit calories in the remaining window, next day is normal.

This is a up and down approche, you cycle your calorie intake from one day to another. First day you make a 16h fast and you also restrict the amount of calories you eat on that day to about 500-800 calories that day. Next day is business as usual and you eat as much as you normally eat, you should not eat much more than you used to before the fasting. This method is a mix of our standard skip your breakfast method and alternating fasting day, it is not that demanding but you need to count your calories for the fasting days which is somewhat annoying to some people and is not that popular among people.

The pros are that you have to fast only every second day and can eat normally on the off days.

The cons are, that it is not that effective, you need to count your calories and you don’t operate in a daily pattern.

Alternating fasting day: You eat one day and fast the next

This is a more advanced version of previously discussed interval fasting method. This is a fairly advanced approach and a difficult to commit for a longer time. This style is not popular among people and I haven’t tried it myself, but it seem to be very popular among science researchers as most studies are performed with this method.

In practice this method makes me wonder if it is sustainable in the long run as it restricts the food intake too much and you could suffer some sort of nutrient deficiency because of that. I also think that it is hard to stay with this as you do not create daily repeatable habits that you can get used to but it is rather going from one extreme to another.

On the other hand, this method is probably one of the more effective methods of intermittent fasting and is probably good if you already have experience in intermittent fasting and would like to mix things up and speed up your fat loss progress.

Taking it a step further

So normally when you do intermittent fasting you don’t need to care what type of food you are eating, but if you wish to take it to the next step, you can also consider eating cleaner food in the eating time frame. You should take care of your body and eat nutrient dense food so you get all the nutrients your body needs for optimal performance.

What I would recommend is to eliminate all processed foods, such as white flour, white sugar anything bought pre made and in a grocery store. Try to increase the consumption of healthy fats and limit amount of simple carbs. Try to eat grass fed meat, free range eggs, and lot of greens. Put some effort in and prepare most of your food yourself, don’t eat out every day, restaurants with high quality and healthy food are rare and expensive. You will be surprised what a change can intermittent fasting and good healthy nutritional food have on your body.

My tips for starting your first Fast

Get familiar with all possible types of fasting first, make sure you are healthy consult your doctor and know in what you are getting into. I would advise you to go slowly and make progress by steps, this will also make it possible to make the most out of it as intermittent fasting is most effective when your body is adapting to new fasting period. If you start slowly and prolong the fasting window each week for one hour you won’t even notice it and you will still make good progress.

Risks and side effects of intermittent fasting

You will be hungry, but that should be only temporary and your body will adjust to your new eating pattern and make it much less difficult for you.

While your body is adapting to this new eating regime you might feel weak, lightheaded and your energy levels will be fluctuating. This symptoms should also be just temporary, about 2 to 6 weeks, while your body adapts and improves the ability of using fat for energy needs.

If you have any medical conditions you should consult your doctor and monitor your health in case you choose to do this type of fasting.

This is even more important if you have any of this:

  1. Diabetes.
  2. Problems with blood sugar regulation.
  3. Low blood pressure.
  4. Are underweight.
  5. History of eating disorders.
  6. Are a female who is trying to conceive.
  7. Are a female with a history of amenorrhea.
  8. Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  9. Take medications.

What to eat – food list

Even dough there are no restrictions regarding what you can or cannot eat during intermittent fasting, we recommend you eat a healthy variety of highly nutritional foods. Try to avoid foods with high calories and low nutritional value. Load your body with the nutrients it’s been missing with just a few bites of these foods.

  1. Spinach
  2. Brussels Sprouts
  3. Almonds
  4. Turnip Greens
  5. Cauliflower
  6. Sunflower Seeds
  7. Raspberries
  8. Strawberries
  9. Black Beans
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Broccoli
  12. Sweet Potatoes
  13. Green Peas
  14. Asparagus
  15. Kale
  16. Collard Greens
  17. Lentils
  18. Mushrooms
  19. Bok Choy
  20. Soybeans

While you should eat a healthy amount of foods that are described above you should also avoid sugar, drinks filed with sugar like coca cola, simple carbs like pasta and white bread, and all fried foods as vegetable oils become carcinogen on high temperatures and are therefore highly toxic and should be avoided by any means.