Exploring the Power of Intermittent Fasting: My Personal Insights

Exploring the Power of Intermittent Fasting: My Personal Insights

I write about Intermittent Fasting, a dietary approach revolving around scheduled eating and fasting periods. It has garnered attention globally in the context of losing weight. Intermittent Fasting doesn’t dictate food choices but rather focuses on timing e.g. the 16/8 method that is the most common (16 hours of fasting followed by 8 hours during which you eat), the 24 to 36 hour fast once a week, etc.

Over the years, I have experimented with various configurations of fasting, with my success metrics being my blood biomarker improvements (e.g. lower levels of triglycerides, visceral fat, inflammation) as well as for more qualitative improvements like better energy levels, less brain fog, etc. The latter are hard to measure but you know when you feel better.

I want to highlight a few benefits of Intermittent Fasting that I have observed.

- Cellular Repair: Fasting initiates autophagy, a process of clearing out damaged cells, promoting cell health. How long a fast is needed to trigger autophagy isn’t clear but it is believed that it starts happening around the 16 hour mark and therefore the 16/8 protocol.

- Brain Health: Some studies suggest that intermittent fasting may have neuroprotective effects and improve brain function. I can qualitatively state that I felt the benefits in terms of clarity in my thinking.

- Inflammation Reduction: Intermittent fasting has helped reduce my inflammation marker (hs-CRP) by about 20% (see post #6 for more context).

- Weight and Visceral Fat Loss: Intermittent fasting can improve metabolism and fat-burning processes. This is because after glycogen depletion due to Intermittent Fasting, the body turns to fat stores for energy. It is useful to note that most of us have enough fat reserves in our body to keep us going for days. Not that we should fast for long periods, because there are certain mechanisms that kick in during very long fasting periods that may signal to the body to accumulate fat rather than use it. I found that I lost visceral fat (9 down to 3) due to different forms of fasting coupled with eating right.

- Improved Insulin Sensitivity: My HbA1c dropped from pre-diabetic to normal levels using a combination of zone 2 exercise (walking at 60% to 70% of my maximum heart rate) and Intermittent Fasting.

I also want to talk about a few useful tips that I keep in mind when doing any form of fasting:

- I break my fasts with fiber followed by fat and protein and then carbs. I avoid breaking my fast with carbs because I have noticed even larger spikes in my glucose levels when I do that.

- I engage in weight training to ensure that I don’t lose muscle mass, especially when I undertake 24 - 36 hour fasts, which I do about once a month.

- I drink slightly more than my usual amount of water because I have found that it helps me adhere to my fasting periods that much better.

As always, speak to your doctor if you have any health issues before embarking on any fasting program.
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Kirthika Parmeswaran: Fantastic! So much has been said about intermittent fasting, but cant help wonder how the metabolism of a person influences the 16/8 protocol and if gut health needs to come first. Recently been trying to ”kick off your acid” supplement that has helped your health, any thoughts on “acid” impact to dietary health?

Nickhil Jakatdar: Kirthika interesting point. Actually I have found Intermittent Fasting helps improve metabolism because it helps improve insulin sensitivity and the autophagy helps improve the body’s efficiency. The microbiome is definitely a huge factor which the quality of the nutrition will help. By acid impact do you mean the impact of digestive acids on the microbiome? I haven’t studied that myself.

Kirthika Parmeswaran: Interesting, still resistant to “fasting” beyond 14 hours, foodie in me is fighting hard :-) But the acid aspect has refreshingly been helpful, check it out https://www.getoffyouracid.com/

Kirthika Parmeswaran

Sandip Bharati: Thank you for the information. What are some of the examples of the food you eat when you breakfast?

Nickhil Jakatdar: Sandip my breakfast most days – A beets and green salad with avocado, a spinach omelette, mixed nuts, mixed berries, cheese, yoghurt

Sandip Bharati

Suhas Gujarathi: no wonder fasting was such a regular aspect of our earlier generations. once a week, fortnights, months, festivities. we are surely eating more than what our body needs. The quantity aspect of our meals is equally important if not more than the Quality aspect. Thank you Nickhil for the experimentation and sharing the data with us all and the inferences to help us improve.

Nickhil Jakatdar: Thanks Suhas and you are spot on about the fact that we are usually eating more than our body needs as well as the fact that the composition of what we are eating is also becoming more ultra-processed foods and sugar than most generations before us. In parallel the average physical activity has also dropped over the generations.

Suhas Gujarathi: yep – all great points through out your articles. Physical activity – walking and weight training – you have covered it all.

Suhas Gujarathi

Rajeev Kulkarni: Hi Nickhil – thanks for these posts. Following this for few weeks now and see the results already. Especially the sequencing of food has been a revelation to me ! Thanks to Sneha as well 😊

Nickhil Jakatdar: Rajeev so glad to hear this. Keen to see your numbers before and after when you are feeling like things have stabilized. What I hope everyone sees is that these interventions don’t need one to make large sacrifices but rather are easy and practical to implement. Would you say that is the case based on your experience?

Rajeev Kulkarni: Nickhil Jakatdar Absolutely. Not large sacrifices so far once you do the mental switch. The typical use cases for meals during travels (in flight, different countries, business & social meetings) been OK so far. Lets see how am able to sustain 😊

Rajeev Kulkarni

Dr. Anita Joshi: A really good and concise summary of the benefits of intermittent fasting! Thanks Nickhil Jakatdar. I have been doing it now for 1.5 years and have seen the benefits

Nickhil Jakatdar: Thanks Dr. Anita Joshi. Any tips that helped you sustain for 1.5 years? What was the biggest benefit you noticed?

Dr. Anita Joshi

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