In this fascinating book, “The Complete Guide to Fasting,” Dr. Jason Fung teams up with various other heavy-weights of the low-carb world including Jimmy Moore, Thomas N. Seyfried, Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf, to bring you the most comprehensive guide to fasting you’ll ever read.
Dr. Jason Fung has been honing his medical skills since 2001, particularly in the fields of obesity and type 2 diabetes, which led him to focus on diet and nutrition.
A scary statistic that tends to highlight the plight of our current state of dietary affairs can be summed up in this one sentence by Dr. Fung:
“Out of the nine years spent in formal medical education, I would estimate I had four hours of lectures on nutrition.”
Like thousands of other physicians, Fung believed that low-carb diets were a fad, and that the dieters’ arteries would become so clogged with cholesterol that it would be the end of them. That was until studies on low-carb started appearing in “the most prestigious medical journal in the world,” the New England Journal of Medicine. The conclusions and results were impossible for him to ignore as they all showed the same thing:
Low-carb was better for weight loss, and all the important risk factors for cardiovascular disease including cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure improved as well.
This meant that everything he had learned about obesity was wrong. The underlying cause of obesity is not the “calories in, calories out,” approach, actually an interplay of hormones. Fung then started asking some searching questions, causing him to realise that there was an inconsistency between the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes. The single treatment for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes was insulin, even though the problem was different. People with type 1 diabetes have naturally low insulin levels, so giving them insulin makes sense, but those with type 2 diabetes have high insulin levels, so giving them, even more, insulin as a measure to fix the problem, actually makes the problem worse.
Excessive insulin causes obesity and excessive insulin causes insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Fung realised that with proper treatment, Type 2 Diabetes is a curable disease, contrary to current belief. When Fung looked closer at what is really going on in the body, he saw that insulin resistance is the result of not giving the body sufficient opportunity to regain its sensitivity to the hormone. This can be achieved by going low-carb (the ingredient that spikes insulin), but even better, realised Fung, was to introduce fasting periods into the average day. By eating only once a day, or by skipping breakfast and eating an early supper, Fung found that patients were able to recover their insulin sensitivity at least as effectively as eating an LCHF diet. Further, not eating was simpler, more direct and easier advice to follow for patients for whom even a small snack during the day would tip them back into insulin resistance. Over time, Fund as developed the idea to include longer fasts in a variety of combinations.
Jimmy Moore takes up the challenge to fast
Enter Jimmy Moore, bestselling author of various books on living a ketogenic lifestyle, and host of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show.” Originally, Jimmy didn’t like the thought of “starving himself to lose weight” one bit. Back in 2006, he couldn’t comprehend how good fasting would be for his health, particularly his cholesterol and blood sugar levels. At his biggest Jimmy weighed 410 pounds (186kgs). The idea of not eating for an extended period put the fear of God into him as he was too attached to the processed junk he was consuming.
But in 2004 he lost 180 pounds (82kgs) after following a low-carb protocol. This made him want to share his success with the world, which is how he started his blog, “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb.”
His feelings on fasting changed in 2009 when he interviewed Professor L Seyfried, who made the bold statement that an annual seven to 10-day water fast could be a useful tool for preventing cancer. The idea of the extended fast scared him even more, but he was becoming convinced of the benefits of fasting. A message from one of his readers had a huge impact on him:
“Fasting allows you to reclaim your hunger for what it is [so] it no longer dictates what you put in your mouth.”
When you eat a low-carb (Banting) diet, it becomes much easier to fast. “Being in ketosis teaches your body to burn fat for fuel rather than sugar, and since that’s what your body has to do during fasting, if you’re already in ketosis, your body is already using fuel the way it’s supposed to.”
Jimmy says, “Once my body made the switch from burning glucose to burning fat, the idea of eating breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack, midnight snack just seemed silly. Why would I want to eat that often when I wasn’t hungry? My body was clearly telling me it was okay that I didn’t think about food that obsessively anymore.”
“It’s incredibly freeing not to think about food twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”
In this book, Jimmy Moore takes you through his experiences with fasting, from intermittent fasts to extended fasts of 17 days and even 28 days. Stress had an impact on the length of the fasts. According to Robb Wolf, “fasting is a stress. Whether it is a hermetic (beneficial) stress or potentially a detrimental stress is largely determined by what other life stresses are at play.” Besides the stress, Jimmy’s results were quite fascinating, particularly the improvements to his cholesterol readings and fasting insulin in the 17-day fast, “a powerful indicator of the therapeutic effects of fasting.”
Jimmy didn’t lose muscle during the 28-day fast, which goes against everything commonly believed about the side effects of fasting.
Everyone will benefit from fasting in their own way, and will need to find the style of fasting that suits them. This book will help you figure out what is right for you, but before you embark on any dietary change please consult your healthcare practitioner.
This book provides everything from the science behind why you should fast, to the various types of fasting, success stories, frequently asked questions, fasting myths, recipes, and tips on how to fast successfully.
Jimmy Moore says, “If you’re struggling with obesity and/or type 2 diabetes, fasting can have an incredible effect on weight and blood sugar.” We agree.