Fasting has become a hot topic in recent years, and we have written about this several times in the past year. This post is more straight-forward, simply giving your body a break from food for half of your 24 hour day. The physiological rationale behind this is sound, but common sense tells us that much of the benefit might be simpler - cutting out the empty calories from nighttime snacking.
The Eat Better Strategy simplifies nutrition providing you with an actionable and simple 7 step program to eat better. In the New Year, we will combine this guide with some efficient hands-on recommendations in an 8-week virtual workshop...stay tuned.
“Eat like a king in the morning, a prince at noon, and a peasant at dinner.”
Maimonides (1135–1204), a medieval Jewish philosopher/doctor
The seventh and final behaviour in our Eat Better Strategy is straightforward: Go 12 hours without eating.
Eliminating the extra calories from nighttime snacking may be the most significant impact for many, but embracing 12 hour daily fasts aligns with two principles derived from human evolution - circadian rhythms and fasting physiology.
The earth’s predictable, 24 hour, light/dark (diurnal) cycle has led evolution to develop circadian rhythms.
The light part of the cycle activates many genes while turning off others, preparing our body for what the day holds:
At night, the process reverses with the active daytime genes shutting down and others activating, setting our system up for the expected nighttime activities:
memory formation and consolidation
Up to 40% of our genes are affected by the diurnal rhythm. Light is the dominant trigger, but the presence or absence of food also plays a key role.
Bottom Line: our bodies expect food in the daytime and fasting in the evening - evolution has designed us this way.
Above and beyond the timing of eating, going without eating can trigger biological processes of repair and restoration collectively known as fasting physiology.
From an evolutionary perspective, the ability to survive periods of starvation makes sense. Cells reprogram themselves during periods of fasting; recycling damaged intracellular proteins and organelles such as mitochondria. This process, called autophagy, provides energy and building blocks for cellular maintenance. Suppression of autophagy is associated with oxidative stress, inflammation, ageing and cancer.
Research has demonstrated that intermittent fasting (IF) provides many benefits:
improve cardiovascular function - decrease blood pressure, reduced resting heart rate, increase parasympathetic tone
decreased oxidative stress
improve insulin sensitivity - lower blood sugars
reduce oxidative stress
reduce visceral fat
reduce body fat (while preserving lean muscle mass)
If you have diabetes, pre-diabetes or insulin resistance and could not participate in our 4+2 Diabetes Reversal Strategy Group program or don't like groups - we have a digital course for you! All the content from our group sessions was recorded and presented along with the supporting materials—all of the 4+2 Diabetes Reversal Strategy in one place.
For those of you who prefer written content - we have taken the 4+2 Diabetes Reversal Strategy and created a free 18-page guide to teach you the principles behind the strategy.
Exercise of the Week
New Year’s Resolution?
A message from Tyler Brown, our exercise physiologist:
If your New Year’s Resolution is to start exercising, I'm supportive and excited for you.
You probably realize that exercise has some excellent health and performance benefits, and you would like to reap these benefits again.
Before you dive into your 'new program' - here are some questions to help you come up with a sustainable plan:
Why do you think you waited until the New Year to implement such a vital component of a healthy lifestyle?
Do you have time in your schedule blocked for exercise?
Are you planning something you enjoy?
Are you adequately prepared to start?
What can you do to make it easier to get started?
What factors helped you be consistent in the past?
I am keen for everyone to have an exercise plan; my experience tells me that the most important thing you can do is to start with small changes that you can easily stick to without becoming overwhelmed.