Fasting is in fashion… all the more reason to understand its mechanisms, justifications and limits for a more intelligent and reasonable practice
The 5 facts to remember before starting
1. We are all already fasting!
With a normal and reasonable diet, we practice a daily night fast with 10 to 12 hours of latency between dinner and breakfast (which is aptly named)
2. What is the purpose of fasting?
Essentially to allow the body:
– To consume part of its carbohydrate reserves (glycogen) then to use fat as a source of energy (mechanism of ketosis).
– Eliminate organic waste.
3. Is fasting dangerous?
There is no point in depriving the body of nutrients that will weaken its structure more or less irreversibly (skeleton, muscle tissue), or that will prevent it from functioning properly (vitamins, minerals), even in the short term.
Fasting well followed is therefore a selective deprivation of nutrients while avoiding creating unnecessary imbalances. This aspect is all the more important as the duration of the fast increases.
For these reasons, except for very limited duration and frequency, fasting should be avoided for seniors and growing children (and pregnant women of course).
4. What are the other effects of fasting?
Fasting modifies hormonal balances , in particular by decreasing the production of insulin and increasing the production of growth hormones.
But, contrary to what is claimed by many commercial companies (especially American), we should not expect miracles from these marginal modifications, however positive they may be.
95% of the weight loss resulting from a fast is simply explained by the lower energy intake and the use of fat reserves by the body (alas too, when the fast is badly conducted and too long or frequent, for loss of muscle or bone mass)
5. Fasting says: "Dry" (without hydration) is a nutritional aberration.
Dry fasting is more “re tox” than “detox”.
Water is the natural solvent for almost all of the body's biochemical reactions and all waste disposal mechanisms.
Depriving the body of water amounts to increasing the cellular concentration of toxins .
It is not surprising that it is used for esoteric purposes because the increase in toxins is undoubtedly not unrelated to the emergence of original thoughts...
In any case, this is not a nutritionally reasonable practice.
Fasting, therapies and pathologies
We limit ourselves here to the strictly nutritional aspects of fasting practiced by healthy adults. All other aspects are within medical responsibility and competence.
Nevertheless , fasting is an interesting and useful practice when it is well understood and mastered.
Since our diet is not always perfect, since we frequently overindulge, which tends to remain stored in the body, there are virtues in practicing controlled fasting.
Three types of fasting can be distinguished:
1) Fasting accessible to all and without special precautions:
Once a week: fasting from 4 to 8 p.m. (eliminate breakfast or breakfast and lunch).
No special precautions except normal hydration with calcium-rich water (or calcium supplement).
Benefit: de-stress the liver, allow the elimination of toxins and get the body used to consuming its stock of glycogen and using lipids for energy production (ketosis).
Activity: normal, including sport with medium intensity (if hypoglycaemia: hydrate well and persevere at low intensity to accustom the body to consuming its fats).
2) For healthy, non-senior adults:
Once a month : fasting for 24 to 36 hours . Complete carbohydrate deprivation. Normal hydration.
– Calcium (about 1 g/day, supplementation and adapted mineral water)
– Multivitamins and minerals 100% VNR (with natural vitamin C: lemon juice or other fruit juice low in carbohydrates)
– A minimal intake of insoluble fiber (eg oat bran) which makes it easier to support the absence of a real meal.
– A minimal contribution of proteins (15 g) and lipids: omega 3 (ex: rapeseed oil or omega 3 capsules).
Interest: de-stress the liver, reduce inflammation linked to excess energy, use fats for energy production.
Activity: normal, sport with medium intensity but possibly long (cycling, jogging, etc.). It should be noted that the ketosis diet (low in carbohydrates but high in fat) has become very popular with many top athletes in endurance sports.
3) For informed and motivated public and supervised practice (healthy adults only)
Once or twice a year. Long fast (from 3 to 5 days). Complete carbohydrate deprivation
We recommend the practice detailed below to avoid any structural weakening of the body (skeleton, muscle tissue) and physiological imbalances (vitamins, minerals):
– Complete carbohydrate deprivation (less than 300 cal/day)
– Intake of calcium and multi vitamins & minerals at 100% of adult NRVs, lemon juice for vitamin C.
– Minimum protein intake: at least 30% of the needs, i.e. 15 g/day of protein, (about 50 g of quinoa for example, or 2 capsules of 3 Essential Vegan Amino Acids)
– Minimum lipid intake: two tablespoons of oil rich in omega 3 (eg rapeseed) or Omega 3 capsules
– Small intake of insoluble fiber (oat bran, ½ cup per meal)
This will in no way affect the effectiveness of fasting but on the contrary, it will make it much easier and avoid its possible deleterious effects.
Activity: to be modulated according to the sensations. People trained by a ketosis diet to mobilize their lipids can maintain an activity very close to normal, including in sport. For the majority, moderate activity is required.
In summary :
By nutrient type:
– Daily essentials: water, calcium.
– Those that we can do without 12 to 24 hours: proteins, vitamins, minerals and insoluble fibres.
– Those that we can do without 24 to 48 hours: lipids.
– Those that we can do without more than 48 hours: carbohydrates.
You will find dozens of articles on the internet about the different types of fasting and their virtues.
Some contradictory, some not erring on the side of modesty or caution. Our goal is to give you clear references so that you can define your own practice, in the best possible conditions and without risk.
The golden rules to remember are:
- A varied, balanced daily diet in reasonable quantities is the essential basis for good health.
- Fasting practiced reasonably has virtues to help the body eliminate the effects of overconsumption and to better direct positive physiological mechanisms on well-being.
- There is no point in weakening the body in its structure (skeleton, muscle tissue, fundamental physiological mechanisms). It is therefore necessary to provide targeted nutritional intake adapted to the duration of the fast. Water and calcium are essential in all cases.
Argalys Essentiels supplements are very well suited to supporting successful fasts!
For more information, visit our website www.argalys.com or our Facebook or Instagram page!
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