Return from the Dark Side of Intermittent Fasting.
Part 12 in the series, “Fasting and Autophagy”
Ok, so we know that there are many potential downsides to IF the way most people are doing it these days.
Based on large data pools from research done here and internationally, I want to propose the following eating options for optimal health impact and healing:
Reducing Risk of Cardiometabolic Injury (weight gain, diabetes, CVD, Accelerated Aging)
“Early Time Restricted Eating” (eTRE) is better than Delayed (dTRE). Optimal first mealtime is within about 1 hour of waking and extending the total TRE eating window 6-9 hours, 7-8 being the sweet spot. It’s important not to eat late in the day to avoid increased risks. Eating should finish by 8 p.m. at the high end, and 6 being optimal.
2 meals over a 7-8 hour eating window starting at 7-9 a.m. offers the best metabolic response I have found. By creating a second autophagy cycle (recycling and repair) between meals increases the efficiency of the first cycle from the previous evening. Eating in a pyramid model with the majority of your food in the first meal and less in meals following, with 50% for breakfast, 35% for lunch, and 15% for dinner, offers a compounding benefit beyond preventing metabolic complications.
Reducing the risk of Cardiometabolic injury:
Time-Restricted Eating is shown to be “effective in lowering fat mass, blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and markers of oxidative stress, versus controls and deemed safe, producing few adverse events.”
This finding was found most significantly in people with metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, and obesity. It was also effective in people with a healthy weight, free of metabolic issues, athletes, as well as people who train with resistance and cardio. All benefits were achieved independently from the effects of weight loss, and calorie restriction.
Other behavioral benefits noted included, a general decrease in hunger, decreased overall food intake without trying, improved sleep and daily energy, and increased metabolism.
Making meals high fat with LOW insulin-producing foods adds another independent benefit in fat loss, lean muscle gains, insulin resistance, and improved glucose tolerance. Lowering carb intake has been shown to increase daily resting energy expenditure (REE) and reduce Ghrelin causing a decrease in hunger.
Exercise, especially in the fasted state, magnified the autophagy process and enhanced positive health outcomes. It was repeatedly noted that intensity training produced greater metabolic health improvement and autophagy efficiency. The model I promote is called “Variable Output Exercise” and it is a form of intensive training with an emphasis on metabolic impact.
Improving sleep was another independent variable that could improve or degrade metabolic health. One night of disturbed sleep can lower the following day’s metabolism by 6% compounding, and produce detectable insulin resistance markers. Eating late, eating a heavy last meal of the day, both push back our day/night bio-cycles and cause increased cortisol later in the AM that can potentially cause a false “Dawn Phenomenon” like elevated morning blood glucose reading. I call it the “Pseudo-Dawn Phenomenon.”
More on sleep and sleep programs (Morpheus) designed to target these issues to come.
Some IF’s will not like to hear this. I get it, I was in the same boat and for years promoted the eating structure that is now called IF. I am not attached to being right or things being my way. I am attached to doing all I can to be current and accurate with my protocols since I use them personally, with my family and patients, clients, and in my programs.
Luckily, I noticed the issues above early on and shifted through clinical experience and continued study, testing, and some trial and error.
Tomorrow I will post on how I believe you can avoid nearly all of these cardiometabolic risks and magnify the health benefits at the same time.
Keep sharing, asking questions, and watch for the next piece here soon!
We can do better,