How to Starve Insulin – and Not Yourself – Through Fasting
by James Haley, MD, FACOG, FPMRS
I have always had a personal interest in nutrition and fitness, and more so after I became a doctor and needed that knowledge to benefit my patients. After reading volumes of research on these subjects and hearing my patients’ struggles with weight gain, I came across nephrologist Dr. Jason Fung’s book, ‘The Obesity Code’.
Most of Dr. Fung’s patients are Type 2 diabetics, and he explains clearly how obesity is a problem due not to caloric intake, but to constant high levels of insulin in the body retained through frequent eating.
In short, Dr. Fung states that the more often you eat, refueling with snacks between meals, the longer your insulin levels remain elevated. Since insulin is a hormone that tells your body how much to eat and how much to burn, high insulin levels fool the body into thinking you are always hungry. Those messages cause you to eat more, and of course, gain weight.
How do you overcome this vicious circle?
1. Stop Snacking
This is the first step. Avoid especially the sugary and refined, processed foods which make your insulin levels spike and fall all day, perpetuating the cycle of hunger and sluggishness, making you think you’re hungry.
2. Stay Hydrated and Eat Well
Drink plenty of water and eat healthy foods like vegetables, nuts, salads, fruit and protein-rich chicken and fish, which keep your insulin levels steady.
Fasting! The word may make you shudder. I’m not talking about a three-week, Gandhi-type fast. Dr. Fung suggests a “mini- fast”: going without breakfast. And yes, this goes against everything you’ve ever been told, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You don’t need to do it daily, but skipping breakfast gives your body about 14 hours of fasting from the night before. We need periods of time when we aren’t eating, when insulin can go down, leaving our bodies in energy burning mode. This one step will dramatically lower your insulin, which in turn acts to lower the body’s set weight. You’ll start to feel better, have more energy – and you may just get rid of that last, lingering ten pounds.
4. Consult Your Doctor
Fasting is never recommended for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, or people with certain diseases.
If you simply need a jump start to weight loss, try the mini-fasting route and let your body’s insulin levels drop to burn energy. You will be surprised at how much better you feel. Once you change your mindset about food, regulate your insulin, and time your meals, you will see many positive results. Whether you need to lose weight or not, you will definitely have more energy, and hopefully live a longer, healthier life.
To learn more about the other secret to regulating insulin for weight loss, read here.
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