Fasting recommendations for beginners
Fasting is now fashionable and so it is a good reason to better understand its mechanisms, its justifications and its limits, for an intelligent, effective and reasonable practice.
Let’s start with a definition : Fasting is the deprivation, voluntary or otherwise, of food, accompanied or not by deprivation of drink.
Some Key things to keep in mind
- In a normal and reasonable diet :
We are practicing a daily fast, with 10 to 12 hours between dinner and breakfast (which is aptly named)
- What are the fasting benefits ?
Mainly allow the body to consume some of its reserves of carbohydrates (glycogen), then use fats as a source of energy (mechanism of ketosis) and completely eliminate organic waste.
- The risks of fasting :
There is no point in depriving the body of nutrients that will weaken it in its structure, in a more or less irreversible way (skeleton, muscle tissue), nor that will prevent it from functioning properly (vitamins, minerals), even in the short term. For these reasons, except for very limited durations and frequencies, it is inadvisable to fast the elderly, pregnant women and growing children.
- Other effects of fasting ?
Fasting modifies hormonal balances including decreasing insulin production and increasing growth hormone production.
But, contrary to what is claimed by many commercial companies, we must not expect miracles of these marginal changes, as positive as could be.
95% of the weight loss resulting from a fast is explained simply by the lower energy intake and the use of fat reserves by the body. There may also be a loss of muscle and bone mass when fasting is poorly conducted and too long.
- Dry fasting (without hydration) is a nutritional aberration.
Water is the natural solvent for almost all biochemical reactions in the body and all the mechanisms of waste disposal. To deprive the body of water is to increase the cellular concentration of toxins. Dry fasting is more re- tox than detox. It is not surprising that it is used for esoteric purposes because the increase in toxins is probably not unrelated to the emergence of origina’ thoughts…
In any case, this is not a reasonable practice regarding its nutritional dimension.
- Fasting, therapies and pathologies :
Here we limit ourselves to the strictly nutritional aspects of fasting practiced by healthy adults. All other aspects must be considered with and under medical competence
Nevertheless, fasting is a useful practice when it is well understood and controlled. Our diet is rarely perfect, we often make “excesses” that tend to remain stored in the body and promote the appearance of toxins.
Thus, there are virtues to practice a controlled fast.
We can distinguish three main types
1. Accessible to all and without particular precautions :
Once a week : fast 16 to 20 hours (eliminate a breakfast or breakfast and lunch). No special precautions necessary except normal hydration with calcium-rich water (or calcium supplement).
Interest : De-stress the liver, allow the elimination of toxins and accustom the body to consume its glycogen stock and use lipids for energy production.
Activity : normal, including a moderate intensity sport. In case of hypoglycemia: hydrate well and persevere at low intensity to accustom the body to consume its fat
2. For healthy adults
Once a month : fasting 36 hours. Complete deprivation of carbohydrates. Normal hydration.
– Calcium (about 1g / day, supplementation and mineral water adapted)
– Multivitamins and minerals 100% RDA* (natural vit C: lemon juice). Minimum intake of insoluble fiber (30 gr oat bran) facilitating the absence of a real meal.
– A minimum intake of protein (15g / day) and Omega 3 fats (for example rapeseed oil).
*recommended daily allowance.
Interest : De-stress the liver, reduce inflammation related to excess energy and use stored fat for energy production.
Activity : normal, sport of medium intensity but possibly long (cycling, jogging …). It should be noted that the ketogenic diet (low in carbohydrates but high in fat) has become very popular among the best athletes in endurance sports.
3. For aware and motivated people, under competent supervisation (healthy adults only) :
Once or twice a year : fast from 3 to 5 days.
Our reasonable position is to recommend the following practice, to avoid any structural weakening of the body (skeleton, muscle tissue) and a physiological imbalance (vitamins, minerals).
Recommended contributions :
– Complete deprivation of carbohydrates (less than 300 cal / day)
– Calcium intake, and multivitamins and minerals at 100% of RDA for adults (for calcium: 1g)
– Protein intake : about 25 to 30% of the daily needs, ie 15g / day of proteins (about 50 g of quinoa, for example). or 2 capsules of 3 lactic acid Vegan Essentiels)
– A minimum intake of fat : two spoons of oil rich in omega 3 (example: rapeseed) or omega 3 capsules
– A small amount of non-soluble fiber (oat bran, ½ cup per meal)
This will not affect the effectiveness of fasting, make it much easier and avoid its possible harmful effects because fasting does not mean starving.
Activity : modulate according to the feeling. People trained in the “keto” diet to mobilize their lipids can maintain an activity very close to normal, including in sport.
For the majority, a moderate activity is required, always with a very good hydration.
To sum up by type of Nutrients :
Types of nutrients
Those we can do without 12 to 24h
Proteins, vitamins and other minerals, insoluble fibers
Those we can do without 24 to 48h
|Those we can do over 48h||