Common Myths about Fasting

It’s important to have breakfast every day
No, it’s not. Skipping the first meal of the day just gives your body more time to burn stored energy. As you start to get hungry later in the morning, make sure you have something healthy to eat, so you’re not forced to hunt out sugar snacks and undo the good work.

Fasting is the same as cutting calories
Not true. Cutting calories is reducing the amount you eat or at least the energy you take in from food. Most shorter fasts simply ask that you consume your calories within a shorter period of time.

Fasting puts you in ‘starvation mode’ and slows down your metabolism
Also not true. Studies show that repeated low-calorie diets can lead to a reduction in the resting metabolic rate (what we often refer to as ‘metabolism’) whereas intermittent fasting does not.

Fasting makes you over-eat when you’re allowed to eat
Another myth. The more you get into regular fasting, the less hungry you feel. The body has plenty of extra nutrients to use (ie your fat stores).

Fasting makes you lose muscle
Humans never would have survived periods of fasting if the body started to burn muscle instead of fat for energy, just because they couldn’t eat every 4 hours. The body stores energy as fat and uses this instead of muscle when sugar levels are very low. Studies into alternate day fasting show that fat mass decreases rather than muscle. The breakdown of muscle typically only occurs when body fat drops to around 4% – and this is very, very low, so really there’s nothing to worry about.

The brain needs glucose to function
The brain can use stored fat as well as glucose for fuel. When glucose (sugar) is low, the liver converts the stored fat into ketone bodies (ketones). Scientists now believe that one of the major ketones may be an even better fuel for the brain than glucose.

The ideal scenario to ensure you fast properly and see the benefits in all aspects of your health, is that you work alongside a health coach professional who can support you and guide you to choose the right foods during your ‘eating window’, and help you stay on track with your supporting habits and behaviours.

Longer fasts are trickier to follow and should be carried out only when working with a nutrition professional. I warmly invite you to book a chat with me using the link below.


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