Intermittent fasting or as I like to call it intermittent feasting. “I.F.” is a concept that has been taken from the study of our eating patterns prior to agriculture. It wasn’t long ago even that we were scavengers and low on the food chain. It wasn’t until the modernization of weapons, tools, and fire that we began to have more abundance. Most people that practice “I.F.” try to not eat for at least 12 hours in between first meal and the last. It’s during the fasting process that your body goes through the incredible changes on a cellular level and over time even a genetic level. But why you ask? Well the answer isn’t so simple. It has to do with the evolution of our digestion, cells (mainly found in fat), and our gut biome.
Over the course of human evolution, according to some, we had a limited eating window of roughly 4 hours throughout the day giving us a 20 hour fasted state to hunt, sleep, and survive. So based off of an average consensus, a 16 hour fast is probably a pretty good time to practice. During this time your body on a physiological and supraphysiological level is making changes based off a famine mechanism developed over time that would help the body repurpose proteins, Increase hormonal efficiency and even help sharpen focus for hunt. Sprinkle on a diet rich in healthy fats, moderate in proteins and low in sugars to create an optimal state called KETOSIS. By focusing on fats primarily from animals (utilizing whole animal ) over time gave us a accessibility to EPA-DHA, CLA among many other fatty acids. To top it off, fat is the most nutrient dense food which gave us the calories needed for excess energy to power our brains, body and even help us absorb more minerals. Essentially we are what we eat. Eating the proper foods helped create a stage for our DNA to reach its ultimate capacity.
Our history is proof that we have grown and evolved as our food has evolved. We sure are bigger, and by the looks of the olympic records we are definitely Stronger. But are we healthier? Records indicate that sugar intake per person per year has gone from 30 lbs to 240 lbs of sugar per person, per year. When you look at the deaths that are cancer and heart disease related you can see a direct relation between sugar intake and deaths. I and many others don’t think this is a coincidence.
So what do you do? To start begin by monitoring your fat consumption and sourcing. The source or quality of the fat is just as important as the concept of eating more fat. Next begin to monitor your sugars. Pre-staging what you are going to eat over the course of a day is a great way to understand what you can eat and make healthy options more accessible. Ultimately, convenience will always win over quality, so be sure that you make quality foods convenient. If you need a little help with pre-staging try using myfitnesspal to help you add up your Macro Nutrients (sugar, fat, protein).