As of writing this Article, I am closing into my 38th hour of fasting. I haven’t eaten since the Day before yesterday, at dinner. Why would anyone do that you might ask? Let me explain it to you.
Take note, that this is not an Intermittent Fasting Guide, it is an Article that shows you the Science of Fasting and the Benefits of Long Term Fasting.
I wrote a comprehensive Beginner Guide to Intermittent Fasting on my personal Blog.
If you came here to read about Long Term Fasting, you probably have some prior experience with “normal” fasting or Intermittent Fasting. If not, let me shortly introduce you.
My Regular Protocol: 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
I follow a 16/8 Intermittent Fasting protocol for around 6 Months now. This protocol gains huge popularity lately. To simplify this, imagine you eat for 8 hours and you fast for 16 hours. So that would mean you would have Dinner at 8.00pm and your next meal at 12.00pm the next Day.
The beauty in this is, you were probably sleeping already half of your fasting time. You basically only skip Breakfast.
Now, I do this every Day with very few exceptions (When I really crave a good Crossaint + Cappuccino, for example!). This is not for everyone, and it doesn’t have to be. You can fast one Day and the other not, you still see great benefits.
The Science of Fasting
Now if you want to see an example of The Science of Fasting, check out this relatively recent Study on the 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Protocol.
What they did in the study is, they took 34 Men. Those were divided into two groups. One group followed the 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Protocol, where they ate at 1:00 pm, 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm every day for a course of eight weeks in total.
The other group was following a traditional eating pattern of 3 meals a day at 8:00am, 1:00pm and 8:00pm for those same eight weeks.
The subjects of the study had to consume the exact same amount of calories with the same macronutrient breakdown. On top of that, they followed the exact same training regime to keep things as a baseline as possible. They were set to do supervised training three times per week at even the same times, between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm.
Now check out those incredible results
The Intermittent Fasting Group had a 16% reduction in body fat, versus a 2.8% body fat reduction in the non-fasting group! On top of that, there was a slight increase in muscle mass in both groups. Which proves that you wont lose muscle from fasting for short periods of time.
The Fasting Group had a tremendous decrease in Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha (TNFa), which basically causes inflamation in your body. Also, Interleukin 1 (IL-1) was reduced which is responsible for the regulation of the immune and inflammatory responses to infections.
Those results speak for themselves. And this is with just the 16/8 fast that you could do every day.
More benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting has far more benefits than those mentioned in the Study above. Some of them are
- Good for Weight Loss (1)
- Cellular Repair & Increase Growth Hormone Production (2,3)
- Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes(4)
- Reduction of Brain Fog and being more Focused
- Many more
So you see, the benefits are incrediblye. I really like intermittent fasting because it is so easy to follow. You just have two options, fast, or don’t. There are no other variables to it. I also promised you the Benefits of Long Term Fasting. Let’s talk about those next.
The benefits of Long Term Fasting
As I already mentioned above, I am in a crazy 40+ hours fast right now. I will probably eat at hour 41, as soon as I get back home from work. But why those crazy long fasts?
As I said, I follow the 16/8 protocol daily. On top of this, I usually do a 24-hour fast once a Month. This means, you have Dinner Saturday at 8:00pm and your next meal on Sunday at 8:00pm. It really isn’t that hard. I do this 40+ hours fast now because I just came back from a whole week of indulging in Czech Beer & delicious Carb heavy foods. I do this to reset my body and make up for the damage I have done.
What does Long Term Fasting do in your body?
I usually wouldn’t recommend anyone new to the fasting world doing more than 24 hours. You should really only do this if you have prior experience and know how your body reacts, or, under medical supervision.
Autophagy basically is a natural process within your body that removes toxins and recycles damaged cells. This cell recycling doesn’t happen when your body has to constantly process food. Your body basically starts a self-healing process and repairs/recycles old and broken cells. This is incredible for Longevity. (6,7)
It also reduces inflammation and metabolic dysfunctions in the body.
One Study(8) even shows that the liver cell function increased the number of autophagosomes up to 300% after a 24 hour fast, and a further 30% at around 48 hours of fasting. So you see, the benefit of going longer than 24 hours is minimal in that regard.
Another Study(9) states that prolonged fasts, between 2 and 3 days, can reset and regenerate the immune system.
Reduced Inflammation Response
Another Study(10) found that following fasts of two days or longer resulted in a reduced Inflammatory Response when exposing human cells to BHB.
Increased Growth Hormone Production
If longevity is your goal, the increase in Growth Hormone Production(11) is an desireable benefit from Long Term Fasting.
Fasting gives your stomach a reset. The moment you give your digestive system time to rest from processing and absorbing foods, it starts to strenghten the Mucosal Lining, which also reduces intenstinal imflammation and ultimately leads to better nutrient absorbtion.
You see, there are so many benefits to fasting that you hardly find a reason not to do it. If you need help to set a Fasting Goal, check out Michael’s Article on reaching your goals. It is extremely helpful in that regard.
If you just want to start out, I highly recommend starting with something like 12/12 and slowly work your way up to 16/8. Once you are used to the 16/8 fast, you will see the benefits. You can indulge in foods you like without putting on the weight you usually do. It’s great. Personally, I already made the choice to follow this Protocol for the rest of my life, and so should you!