Episode 50: The Benefits of Fasting

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In today’s episode we’re going to discuss fasting


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And today's episode we're going to talk about fasting and [inaudible 00:09-10] and kind of give you more information on how to do it properly, who should do it and how it is going to benefit you. Let's go!
Music and Voice over
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back to the Whaddupdoc University podcast, this is Dr. Mike Okouchi. It's a beautiful day here in Southern California and I was getting a bunch of questions about fasting. We use fasting a lot in our office and I've recommended it a lot for people online. I've been getting a lot of questions about it so I decided, hey you know what, what's better than doing this episode and giving you guys all the information that you guys need so that you can do it properly and really understand why you should fast and how to incorporate this into your lifestyle.
Anyway, if this is your first time listening to this podcast, welcome! I just want to give you a little heads up of what we're doing. On this podcast, we strive to give you health information that's both backed by science and what I see in clinical practice. I am a full time practicing Holistic Chiropractor and I deal with a lot of function known and a great of medicine using natural approaches to help people regain their health and plot out a road map so that we can get you going in using your body's natural ability to heal itself. So, that's kind of what we do in office and what striving to do here on this podcast. I appreciate all the five star reviews on iTunes and also the questions and comments that you guys are asking me.

Anyway, let's get started about the art and science of fasting. So, if we look at fasting, fasting has been done for decades upon decades and you look at any type of society; in particularly religious practices, there's fasting that revolves around that. I see a lot of misconceptions about fasting and people also worked hard which it is but if we look at how are bodies are designed and we're talking about from evolutionary and biology perspective. And we look at from hunter-gather days to modern day; we see that our bodies are designed for times of feast and famine. If you go back to my detox episode, I talk about this idea of feast and famine; we see feast and famine every single day, you eat and then what your body does, it takes that energy from the food that you're eating, it utilizes some of that energy and then it stores the other parts of that energy that doesn't use and we use that stored energy in times of famine which is when you're not eating. So let's say, you eat dinner, times of famine would be when you're sleeping. You're not utilizing the food that you ate for energy, you're utilizing the foods that you ate that are stored as energy and you're burning that fuel. So in hunter-gather societies, their times of famine were a lot longer. We had times where you're forging and you were eating a lower caloric food and then maybe you would have a kill, right? You find a lion, a tiger, a bear or whatever and those were higher caloric in content.

Our bodies have evolved and designed a way where we look at the three major macro nutrients; proteins, fats and carbohydrates and then our body prioritizes things according to how fast they turn into usable fuel. The whole goal of the body is to take food, break it down into a small [inaudible 04:35] components, the macro nutrients of proteins, fats and carbohydrates that gets into the cell, ultimately getting down to the mitochondria where the mitochondria would then make ATP. It's the whole goal of it all  is to use the food that we eat for energy but it also device the ways that we can store four times of famine. It just makes sense that way.

Now, when we look at hunter-gather days and then we over lap or that we overlay that into modern day society, we see that we don't typically go into times of famine as much. So let me back up and give you a little bit about chemistry, I don't like to give too much about chemistry and get you confused but there are couple of hormones that we got to know about; one is insulin, the other one is glucagon. So when your blood sugar rises insulin is secreted so that we can get that blood sugar down and we can transport glucose into the cell. And then as the blood sugar starts to drop because you're utilizing that sugar for energy, glucagon then becomes secreted and then your blood sugar level increase by releasing glycogen stores and then other hormone pathways will start to trigger lipolysis for gluconeogenesis or making glucose out of either protein or stored fats. So, that's basically how the body works, you eat blood sugar rises, utilize some of that blood sugar for energy. And then insulin is also a storage hormone so it stores some of the excess calorie from sugar into fats and this is supposed to happen, problem is that in modern day society; remember we're overlaying hunter-gather lifestyle, what are genes are programmed for, what are our physiology is programmed for, we overlay that into modern day lifestyle where we're always in the state of feasting, and feasting equals storage. So if we never ever go into a state of famine, it's very difficult for our bodies to burn off that excess energy. I'm just trying to recap stuff there about why our bodies are consistently gaining weight; it's this idea of feast and famine. Now, if you're always in this feast mode, it means that we're always going to be storing so what we need to do is we need to elicit times of famine or artificial famine and this is what fasting does. Fasting elicits the genes that are coded for famine that we were programmed for. And a lot of times our bodies are instinctively doing that for healing process. This is why like when we get sick a lot of times we lose appetite because our body knows well if I don't increase energy intake I can then go into a healing mode. And that's what we want to talk about in this episode.

So let me give you some of the benefits of fasting. There are a bunch of different benefits to fasting. I know a lot of times you think, "I'm not fasting I'm just starving myself. It sucks. I'm so hungry." Well, there are some benefits and if you understand these benefits; I'm not saying that the hunter-gathers understood these benefits, it was just instinctual but with modern day science we've been able to find that fasting actually has scientifically backed benefits. One is, we already talked about, you're going to retrain body how to burn fat for energy. And this is one of the most difficult things that we find in society today, it's people go on these diets and they go on the yo-yo crashes. They may lose weight but they gain it back, they go on through these ups and downs and they don't necessarily retrain their body on burning fat for energy. So when you go into a controlled fasting environment, you then would retrain your body how to burn fat for energy. Now, at the end of this, I'm going to teach you guys how to do this effectively, note that just because you start on a fast doesn't necessarily mean that your body will automatically go back into burning fat for energy. You have to retrain yourselves to do that and we're going to give you a clear outline on how to do that.

So one of the benefits again, is teaching your body how to burn fat for energy. The second one is the really, really important one is you going to start to improve insulin sensitivity. This is very, very big in the diabetic circles because we know about in type 2 diabetes you cells are not that sensitive to insulin and the insulin receptors don't necessarily work with the insulin being provided, so fasting will actually improve that sensitivity; fasting along with other stuff like resistance exercises, obviously changing your diet. Fasting is a really, really big one so for those of you who are those type 2 diabetics who are very reluctant or skeptical to try a fasting program, this works really well for you again but you do have to monitor your blood glucose levels in the beginning because your body is not yet trained. So we're going to teach you how to train your body and yourselves how to get into that fat burning mode and improve your insulin sensitivity. If you have questions about this, I mean what are the greatest resources you can go for this? And a doctor who specifically deals with type 2 diabetes and fasting is Dr. Jason Fung. He is the preeminent authority on that and I've studied his work for a few years now and [inaudible 10:48-49] and I can conquer with his findings and research that this does work specifically for type 2 diabetics and works really well.

So second one is improving insulin sensitivity. Third one is, fasting improves and increases growth hormone production. Growth hormone production is very, very essential for repair of organs and this is the one thing that we see in chronic degenerative diseases is that overtime if there's not enough growth hormone production your organs just start to degrade, so fasting helps with that.

And then the fourth one is one of the most important things that I typically look at and why I love the benefits of fasting which is that it improves this thing called autophagy. An autophagy is this very, very big word that basically talks about how the weaker cells in your body are removed and the stronger cells survive, so it's basically like natural selection inside of your body. The weaker cells that aren't adapted to the different stresses and rigorous that you would put your body through gets [inaudible 12:05]. And the reason why we want to see autophagy, it's basically like cleaning your body from the inside out, for getting rid of the cells that could be prone to things like cancer. The process of autophagy is something that happens all the time. Your body naturally clears out the cells that are not fit to move on or survive or function; that's what the body supposed to do. During times in the past on hunter-gather days, when there was decrease [inaudible 12:48] availability, our bodies adapted to this by getting rid of those less fit to survive cells because what it did, it conserves energy. If these less fit cells that were eating up energy and it didn't need to, it would cost your body the energy input and the energy output, so if the body designed the way it says well, let's get rid of the lower tier cells then we don't need to have so much caloric input and this is just a way that the body cleanse itself naturally. You can look at all these different studies and I had the studies linked up in the show notes. But autophagy plays a very, very key role and this is like a cancer, heart disease, diabetes, any type of liver disease, autoimmune diseases, alzheimer's, dementia, infections. Again, like I said I'm going to put the links to the studies in the show notes and go ahead and read these studies. I don't want to go over through all of them, I don't want to take too much of your time, so link it up and you'd be able to read this pretty fascinating stuff.

Let's kind of shift gears, that was more of the academic side. I want to shift gears into, how do you fast properly? Well the first thing when you start fasting is we're going to talk mindset. And the mind set has to be one where you're going into this for health reasons. There's always should be a reason for the fasting unless you're just starving. My wife always jokes about, "You have to fast with the purpose, don't fast unless you're just be starving yourself." And nobody likes to go into starvation, well because then you start thinking about the food and you start thinking about all the stuff. So you want to go into a fast with the proper mindset that you're doing it for health reasons. And when I see patients going with this mindset, they do way better than those who are saying, "Well I'm only focusing on the things that I can't eat and I don't have enough food." Your body just going to crave stuff, okay? So the mindset has to be there.

Now when you're fasting, there are two different ways that you can do this. One is going to block fasting where you're going a set of days without eating anything and then there's also called intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting means that throughout the day you're going to have times when you’re not eating and then you have what we call your eating window. So, I am going to give you guys specific ways on doing that as well. 

Now, let’s kind of go back to those that are you know you may be dealing with the chronic health disease and stuff like cancer, diabetes and all that stuff. You want to ease yourself into these the recommendation I'm going to give to you is the optimal goal. What I want to give to you first is the doable goal. I don't want you to jump all the way into the intermittent fasting or the block fasting right off the bat because what happens is that your cells aren't trained for this yet. This is like if tomorrow I ask you "Hey, I want you to go and run a marathon" your body hasn't trained for that. For those of you who've never run a marathon yet. If you can't even run a mile what makes you think that you’re going to be able to run 26 miles. 

So, same thing with fasting we need to train and ease your body into it. So, with that said intermittent fasting is the recommended method. This is the one that I used on the daily method on a daily basis is a method what we call your 16:8. So, basically for 16 hours out of the day you are not eating anything. You can still drink stuff, you can still drink water, you can have stuff in your water but you're not eating anything, you're increasing the caloric intake, you’re not carbohydrate intake during that time. So, 16 hours and then you have what we call your eating window in this 8 hour period. Fasting for 16 hours you are going to eat during this 8 hour window. So, for example, let’s say your first meal of the day would be 11 AM and by the way I highly recommend skipping breakfast, you know it’s been a misnomer that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I highly disagree with that, I don't eat breakfast at all. I haven't since probably college and I noticed that when I started skipping breakfast I had more mental clarity throughout the day.   

So let's say your first meal of the day is at 11 AM. What you are going to do is your eating window is going to finish up at about 7 PM. So between the hours of 11 AM and 7 PM that's your eating window okay. And then from 7 PM all the way back to 11 AM that’s going to be your fasting window. So let's look at this way, you get up let’s say like 6 AM, 7 AM you don't eat until 11 AM you’re eating windows until 7 PM and then you go to bed by 10 PM. I highly recommend you not having your last meal about 3 hours before you go to bed. So, this schedule here works. First meal is 11 AM finish up your last meal by 7 PM which means by the way that you would start eating at about 6:30 and you're going wrap that up by about 7:30 and then you're in bed by at least 10:00. That would be a daily recommended intermittent fasting.

Now, for those of you that are easing into this you can go half the day you know let's say let's fast for 12 hours that's very, very doable for most people. You're going to fast for 12 hours eating window for 12 hours and then you are going to work your way up so you can get to that 16:8. 16:8 is about that sweet spot for people, some people would jump it up to 24. 20 fasting 4 eating window or some people get to the point where they just do like a 22 hour fast at 2 hour eating window whether basically just having one meal a day. That works for a lot of people. I've seen a lot of people get into that 22 fasting 2 hour eating window. 

 Now, that was intermittent fasting then you can throw on what is called block fasting. Block fasting is where you're taking blocks of days anywhere between 2 to 5 4:10 sometimes even 30 days of fasting, yep you’re missing that 30 days of fasting. So, this block fast where you're going without any food for these days you can still drink water, teas and all that kind of stuff within those days what you are going to see amazing results with that. So, here's a word of caution when you're doing that I'm going to give you also recommendation of who shouldn't fast by the way. So, when you break your fast where you're doing block fast you have to ease back into it by the way. Don't just like you know do this block fast for like 2 days and then all of the sudden on day 3 you're having a burger or a pizza or anything like that you have to ease back in to it. You have to start eating with soft food, if you are having like vegetables you may want to steam it or puree, may be have some soups or broths ease your way back in to it. 

So, what I recommend for like all my patients whenever we start doing a block fast is we used a thing called fun and fun has a bunch of electrolytes and also has things that will help alkalize the body. We also used that proteolytic enzymes which will help decrease any of the protein fragments that may be causing inflammation and while you're in this process of autophagy you're getting rid of all of this lower lying cells. The proteolytic enzymes will help clean that up by the way and then I use another product called alkaloid. Alkaloid would just curve all of that acidic waste in your body which you're going to be flushing by the way during the fast. Your body is going to pump up a lot of uric acid and lactic acid and all of this organic acid compounds so you need something that will help curve this acidic waste. So fun, enzymes and alkaloid is what I recommend during this block fast and then after you do the block fast anywhere between 2 to 5 days then you're going to ease back in to it with just soft food and then you're going to transition in to your intermittent fasting. 

And also during this time may be you can calm down from your workouts just monitor your body, listen to your body, let your body relax; let your body do its thing. Stay away from the workouts during this time, give your body that time to just you know repair biochemically and then cleans itself out.

Now, a big question I get from patients is that "What do I eat during my eating window?" I recommend a mixture of hybrid between something like paleo and ketoigenic diet, just eat clean. So it’s primarily going to be 70% good fats, 25% good proteins it has to be like grass fed, pasteurized; the meat if you're eating it should still be on the bone and then when you cook it make sure you cooking it at lower temperatures. I don't want you charbroiling anything, I don't want you grilling stuff because you know you can create all kinds of carcinogenic compounds and then organ meats is going to be also good stuff to chicken hearts, eggs is going to be a good one. 

And then the last 5% is going to be good carbohydrates make sure that it's low glycemic, low glycemic load, low glycemic index low glycemic load. I usually give the rule of thumb limiting yourself to 40 grams of carbohydrates per day. So 70% good fats, 25% good proteins, 5% good carbohydrates that's just a good rule of thumb. Like I said this is the marathon. The training for the marathon you're going to ease into it because I know a lot of people have higher carbohydrate diet, some people are like 60% carbohydrates. You don't want just all of a sudden drop the 5% carbohydrates, you're going to ease into it maybe go to 40 down to 35, down to 20 and then ultimately getting down to the ratios of 70, 25 and 5. So that's my recommendations for you what to eat during your eating window.

Now, who shouldn't do this? There are people who shouldn't do this, so here's your list. Women who are pregnant, you're breastfeeding or you have fertility issues maybe you've been trying to get pregnant, maybe you are pregnant but mainly those who are trying to get pregnant do not, do not do a fast. Those with eating disorders for obvious reasons. Those who have severe cases of diabetes. I would not recommend doing this on your own, this has to be done under medical supervision. If you have diabetes, you have to be working with a health care practitioner that will guide you through this. If you have low blood pressure or if you're on a lot of different types of medications, do not do this. This is my disclaimer again, I should have [inaudible 24:56] in the beginning but my disclaimer is this is just for your informational purposes only, do not start these types of programs or any type of other things that we're talking without consulting somebody first. Don't just try to experiment on yourself because sometimes you may get into bad areas if you don't know what you're doing, if you don't know what you're looking for. Like what I said women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, who have fertility issues but women overall make sure you guys are easing into this program because if you just jump straight into it like you just go into a 5-day-fast and then you just go into a 16 to or a 20 fast 4 hour eating window intermittent fast, this could affect your menstrual cycle and stop that. I know someone [inaudible 25:43-44] "I wouldn't mind if I didn't have anymore menstrual cycle." But this does [inaudible 25:48] upon your hormonal cycles if you're not doing it properly. So ease into the program so that you don't throw this all off. If you do get irritable, you have dizziness, while you're doing this fast, it basically means that the cells in your body aren't trained for it yet. Yet, that's the keyword, yet. It's just like running the marathon, if you all of a sudden just get up today, you've never run a mile in your life and you go like 15 miles, your body is not going to be able to handle that. You got to ease into this. You got to retrain your body to do this properly.

That's pretty much what I have and what I recommend for my patients in my office on how to do fasting properly. Remember our bodies are programmed for feast and famine and what we're doing is reprogramming it, reattaching our body to how it naturally functions. So hopefully this was informative for you. Again, do not partake in this until you know and you have been under the guidance of a health care practitioner and you know that this will be healthy for you.

If you love what we're doing here please give us a 5 star review on iTunes, head on over to www.whaddupdocuniversity.com and you can find all of our episodes there. And you can head over to for this episode particularly is www.whaddupdocuniversity.com/episode47 and you're going to see all of the show notes there, all of the links to the studies and articles that pertain to this episode will be found there. I love all the comments. I love all the interaction and if you feel like joining our Facebook group you can do that. It's a free community, free Facebook group, head on over to www.whaddupdocuniversity.com/fbgroup.  You can find me on Instagram, my handle is Dr. Mike Okouchi, that's pretty much all my handles everywhere on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Hit me up if you have any questions, comments, hit me up on any of those social media platforms and I'd be glad to answer your questions. But like I said before, health is the journey guys. Health is your number one asset. We only get one body to live in, we can't just move out of our body and then to another body. It's the only place that we have to live in, in our time here on earth. We have to take care of it. That's the whole goal of what we're doing here Whaddupdoc University podcast is trying to give you the information so that you can know how to live in your body healthily so you can live at your highest and your best performance and expression. And hopefully you got the same information from this episode. If you have questions again feel free to reach out to me but until the next time we talk, I shall see you later and hopefully later and later. Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes but next time be well and Aloha!       



Show Notes:

  • Why should you fast on a regular basis?
  • How evolving from hunter-gatherer times have affected our biochemistry
  • Why our modern diets are causing so much disease, despite the advancements in medicine
  • How you can retrain your body to burn fat for energy
  • How fasting can help improve insulin sensitivity
  • How to fast properly & the formula I use with patients
  • What you should eat during intermittent fasting
  • Who should and shouldn’t fast


Dr. Mike Okouchi
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Dr. Mike Okouchi

Doctor of Chiropractic at Velocity Wellness Center
Holistic Chiropractor, Speaker, Blogger. I love learning & teaching all things health. Daily periscopes & weekly podcasts! ALOHA!
Dr. Mike Okouchi
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