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The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

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No Food Beyond This Point

Posted January 02, 2015 12:00 AM by Chelsey H

New Year's resolutions almost always seem to include "eat healthier" and "exercise more" (at least mine always do!). But have you ever thought about fasting?

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Intermittent fasting has no definite length of time. It can be anywhere from fasting for 14 hours at a time to fasting for a couple days a week, as long as you are restricting food consumption during specified periods. The goal is to consume little to no calories during the "fasting" periods and eat normally during the "feasting" times. (I'm already hungry thinking about this.)

But don't start fasting yet since it can have a major impact on your workout.

Your body uses glycogen, or stored carbohydrates, for fuel during exercise except when glycogen reserves are depleted, such as when you've been fasting. Your body is then forced to find and burn other energy sources, such as fat. In one study done by British Journal of Nutrition, men who ran before eating breakfast burned up to 20% more fast than those who ate before their run.

When your body can't burn glycogen, it reverts to breaking down protein for fuel. So you may shed more fat when exercising, but you may also lose muscle. Not only will this loss of muscle result in loss of strength, it will slow your metabolism and make losing weight harder in the long run. This happens because as your body tries to prevent starvation it adapts to the number of calories you give it.

Fasting regularly, therefore, causes your body to burn fewer calories per day to ensure you have enough every to stay upright and breathing. One study showed that fasting every other day for 22 days resulted in a 5% drop in the subject's metabolic rate (about 83 calories). Plus exercising while your stomach is rumbling just isn't a pleasant feeling, you'll probably feel weak and not have the energy to push your self during the workout.

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If you're still a fan of intermittent fasting then just be sure to structure your workouts so you can still get results and be safe. For example, keep cardio low-intensity if you've been fasting and go high-intensity after meals. This ensures that you have enough glycogen to fuel your workout. Also, follow up a tough workout with a carb-rich snack. Other things to keep in mind include what you're eating while you're "feasting." Regular protein is vital to muscle synthesis throughout the day as well as right after a workout so your meals should include 20 to 30 grams of high-quality protein every four hours while you're awake. During your feast time take advantage of snacks and aim for a meal that combines fast-acting carbohydrates with a blood-sugar-stabilizing protein and eat a high-protein post-workout snack.

I don't think I'm going to be fasting any time soon since I'm all about snacks! Guess I'll have to fulfill my New Year's resolution another way.

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#1

Re: No Food Beyond This Point

01/03/2015 6:31 AM

men who ran before eating breakfast burned up to 20% more fast than those who ate before their run.

that 'fast' should be 'fat'.

I can't even fast between meals.

cnc

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#2

Re: No Food Beyond This Point

01/03/2015 10:34 AM

I fast frequently but for usually for days at a time. When I fast I only drink water. No gum, no vitamins, just water.

I have wanted to do an extended fast like for more than two weeks. But so far the longest I have managed is eight days.

It is not hunger that is the challenge but the habit of eating. It is like an addiction. It is amazing to me how important the habit of eating is so engrained in our cultures that even if you are not hungry, most people still have a desire to eat on a regular basis.

Case in point from personal experience: when I fast for a few days, day two and three and part of four are the hardest because to be honest I am starving. But by day five I am less hungry and by day six I am not hungry at all. And the same with seven and eight but gosh darn it, I just missed eating food. So I would gently break my fast and do again it in a few weeks or months. Its fun. I do it for a variety of reasons. Mostly for clarity and insight and health.

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#3

Re: No Food Beyond This Point

01/03/2015 11:13 AM

Strictly following the 2 or even 3 day meal pattern is a very effective way of fasting! Not ingesting anything except drinking water in-between meals so far has proven to be a very good way of fasting, losing or shedding my weight!

So far as experienced, by stopping, not taking any in-between snacks including sodas, my health & physical condition has improve. From being 168# for many years, now is down to 153# in just within a 4 month period. Even stabilizing my BP that I completely stop my BP pills.

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: No Food Beyond This Point

01/03/2015 1:09 PM

By day 24, you would hardly notice anything! (Just a joke)..

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#5

Re: No Food Beyond This Point

01/03/2015 10:30 PM

Only eat during daylight hours.

Use this chart...

NO HFCS!

Whole grains including the pastas, chew up and eat all the seeds, don't heat up anything over 200 degrees, it destroys most of the nutrients.

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