Fasting Part II: Is There An Easier Way?

Nature's Presence
By MARCIE MARTINEZ
Some of the topics I write about come to me accidentally, usually as I am researching something else or as I search for something new to learn-whether or not it is on the subject of health.
Recently I discovered an interview between Dr. Mercola and Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist who promotes fasting as a healing mechanism for diabetes, high blood pressure and other conditions. The interview was fascinating. Dr. Fung stated that once he implemented fasting into his treatment prescription for patients he saw incredible results.
He told the story of a man in his mid to late 50s’, a type-two diabetic, who fasted for a few weeks and rid himself of the diabetes.
The man’s sister was so amazed at the results she too went to Dr. Fung and after a month of fasting she was no longer diabetic nor did she have the high blood pressure or high cholesterol that had plagued her. Studies have shown time and again that caloric restriction is imperative for longevity and this doctor offered many testimonials as proof.
As with many topics, I searched for more information and stumbled upon a documentary titled Eat, Fast, & Live Longer. Both this documentary as well as Dr. Mercola in other interviews, discusses the concept of intermittent fasting (IF) as a viable alternative to traditional fasting.  Indeed fasting is a concept that has been around since the beginning of time and every major religion preaches its benefits. The ancient Greek philosophers used fasting as a way to increase mental clarity and intellect.
Unfortunately when it comes to fasting we have been taught it means starvation; however, although a certain level of hunger is obviously an effect of fasting, it is not actually starvation because it is something under our own control. For long term fasting hunger pains are normal in the first one to three days; however, once the body realizes what is happening the hunger passes and the body becomes a highly efficient machine.
Our bodies are well equipped for survival and that characteristic is evident in the way it stores and holds energy as fuel from food. In times of plenty the body uses glucose as energy and stores any surplus in fat cells for times of famine, at which point the body’s fat burning mechanism is triggered and it no longer uses glucose as fuel.  
This fat burning mechanism does not kick in until six to hours hours after a meal or, in any event, after anything containing or converting to glucose is consumed.
Unfortunately – or fortunately, however you wish to view it – we generally never have an opportunity to allow our bodies to function as they were intended, as we have so much abundance these days. As a result, our bodies are  not functioning optimally and have all but forgotten how to function optimally.
This is where fasting comes in. Once you deprive your body of glucose your insulin levels drop, improving production of the human growth hormone, which helps the body heal, and the fat-burning mechanism is triggered. At this point the body begins to use stored fuel as opposed to waiting for more glucose to store as reserves. As long as we feed ourselves every few hours our bodies’ never use up the stored fuel. The fat burning mechanism is not triggered until we have fasted for six to eight hours. The fact that we go all night without eating is the reason for the first meal of the day is named as it is: “break fast.”
The most difficult aspect of fasting is doing it long-term, e.g. for more than a day. People see the most benefits after three to four days of fasting; however, to maintain those benefits they must do this regularly, like every few months.
The good news is studies are now showing IF is a viable alternative, which is completely possible to do without requiring so much willpower. There are various ways to accomplish this type of fast, the most popular being the “5/2” and “16/8” type schedules where the person eats five days and fasts two days or eats 16 hours and fasts for eight hours respectively. With either one, a person never goes without eating at least once a day.
Adopting this in the long term has shown the same benefits as lengthier fasts. More information can be found at http://tinyurl.com/NPWeightLossForLife.
Author’s Note: Stay tuned for my upcoming e-book, “Nature’s Presence, the Column, Volume I” containing the first fifty Nature’s Presence Valley Daily Post columns. Catch up on anything you missed!

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