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The Truth About Fasting

Some people in the fitness and nutrition space are huge fasting proponents. Some of them are huge advocates. They say it's going to increase lifespan. It's great for fat loss. All this stuff. 

And then other people, like bodybuilders, got to eat every two hours. Otherwise, you're going to lose your muscle mass. 

What's the truth here? 

Neither of those ends of the spectrum is inherently true for everyone. It depends on the context. You've got to factor in different things. 

Is intermittent fasting ideal for you? It depends on what type of history you have with eating disorders. Do you have these binge-purge tendencies where you've tried to restrict and then you tend to overdo? Does intermittent fasting exacerbate that psychology in you right now? If that's the case, then that's not something that you want to be doing just yet. Hey, maybe you'll get there someday, but right now, that's not the ideal thing for you if it's exacerbating that overeating tendency. 

Some people can fast for 24 hours, 48 hours and feel great. And they don't overeat when the eating window begins. For other people it's terrible. It'll be like a complete train wreck.  

If you are trying to manage your blood glucose levels, you're not going to feel that good fasting. If you're used to eating all the time, your blood glucose levels tend to run higher, and you have a tendency to be insulin resistant, you are going to get periods of hunger, craving, and energy changes that are not as desirable early on. You might think to yourself, Oh, this is not great. I can't function. 

If, for example, you had to do an exam, you might not want to put yourself in that position where your energy levels are crashing and you feel terrible. You need to be sharp. You need to be on your game. 

Alternatively, you might have a week off work where you can have downtime and you can focus on fasting and practicing where you don't necessarily have to perform at a high level. And that's a good opportunity to try it. 

Other things to factor into are your routines, your lifestyle. Does fasting actually fit into your routine at all? Do you work night shifts where you are going to be eating some of your meals in the night and you'll be sleeping through the day? In that instance, fasting through the day doesn't work for you. 

What days are you training? What days are you resting? Whether fasting works for you is based on your context. Some people find a middle ground. They might do a little bit of fasting up to lunchtime and then they'll stop. That's enough for them. 

Another thing to consider is female monthly cycles. Generally speaking, men seem to tolerate periods of fasting better than women. Now we can deduce multiple reasons for that. But female hormonal cycles cascade with ebbs and flows of hunger. And I have seen how too much intermittent fasting can affect menstrual cycles. Whereas with men, it seems to almost be complementary to their health. 

For example, if you stop fasting and you lose your period straight away, that's a clear sign something is not right. That is an important biofeedback cue. 

And remember, it's going to come down to fundamentally your goal as well. What is your goal? What is your intended reason behind fasting? 

We personally love fasting. We think that it's very beneficial from a spiritual level, from a disciplinary level, from a longevity lifespan perspective, and from optimizing your gut health and allowing your digestion to take a break. There are many, many good benefits to it we personally believe. But we don't expect everyone to be exactly on that. Some people will operate differently, but it doesn't mean that you can't get there eventually. It all comes down to context.


If you want to learn more about this topic, check out Episode 41 of the VegUp Podcast here:


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