The Benefits and Misconceptions of Fasting Explained

This video breaks down the concept of fasting and debunks some common misconceptions surrounding it. The host explains how our bodies store excess energy as fat and how insulin plays a role in this process. The video highlights how our eating habits have changed dramatically in the last few decades, leading to a rise in obesity and diabetes. The benefits of fasting for weight loss, insulin resistance, and degenerative diseases are discussed. Different fasting durations, from intermittent fasting to extended fasts, are explained, and the host recommends finding the right fasting regimen based on individual goals and needs.

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How does this happen?

Key Insights:

  • Fasting is a natural process that humans have been doing for most of history to maintain balance in the body’s energy storage system.
  • In the last 40 years, people have started eating more frequently and consuming more sugar and processed foods, leading to an increase in obesity and diabetes.
  • Eating every 2-3 hours has no health benefit and can be detrimental to overall health.
  • Fasting involves the period of time when you don’t eat, and most people already experience a fasting period while they sleep.
  • Shrinking the feeding window to 6-8 hours (16-18 hours fasting) can be effective for weight loss.
  • Extending the fasting period to 42-48 hours or even longer can help break through weight loss plateaus and provide additional health benefits like autophagy.
  • Fasting can also be beneficial for reversing insulin resistance, degenerative diseases, improving brain function, and even potentially reducing or reversing certain types of cancer.
  • A combination of 16:8 and OMAD (one meal a day) fasting can be customized based on individual goals and preferences.
  • A longer fast of 3-4 days or more can be done once every few months or as desired to further maximize autophagy and health benefits.
  • It’s important to listen to your body, stay hydrated, and replenish electrolytes while fasting.


Hello Health Champions. So many people are finding benefit from fasting and they’re finding it so easy to do, but other people are afraid because there’s so many strange notions floating around. So today I want to clarify some of those misconceptions and also talk about the best length of time to do your fasting. Who needs to do what? First, let’s just demystify the whole concept so we can get comfortable about what this really is. When we eat something, it allows us to store something. We use some of the energy for the time being, but the excess we can store. We can store a tiny little bit as carbohydrates and most of it, we store as fat because it’s the most energy dense form of storage. It’s the most efficient way to do it. And the way that we store it, whether it’s glycogen as sugar, carbohydrate, or whether we stored it as fat, the mediator is insulin. Insulin is the hormone that allows us to put things into cells. Now here is the big question. Why would we ever want to do that? So this is kind of like you put things, you put fat in the body stores. That’s sort of like you’re putting food in your pantry. Why would you do that? And the answer is because you plan to use it at some later point. So then when we don’t eat now we can reverse the process and we can burn that fat. We can take that stuff out of the pantry. That doesn’t sound so strange that we put things in so that we can take it out. And for most of human history, we’ve had some sort of balance in this system. And when you don’t eat then insulin goes down. And this is a very, very normal process. Put in, we take out, nothing could be more natural. How has this been working historically? So these guys lived a long, long time ago, Paleolithic Age hunter-gatherers. And we don’t know exactly how often they ate, but we do know that they didn’t have probably extensive pantries or freezers or refrigerators. They were very limited in how much food they could store. So on a bad day, they probably didn’t eat. If they couldn’t find food every day, they probably went some time without, and on a good day, they probably had one or two or maybe three meals. And then humans developed some organization, some civilization, agriculture, societies. So from recorded history up until 1970, we probably ate two to three times, not everyone had the luxury of eating 3 meals, but very, very few people would ever more than three meals. But then in the last forty years or so, we’ve changed that. We’ve gotten the idea that the three meals are not enough, that we need to add snacks, every two hours we need to put some extra fuel, and we need to top it off. And as if that wasn’t enough, a lot of people walk around with a sippy cup, they have their soda or their sweet tea or some other drink, and we’re kind of used to always having something to eat or drink. And then of course we have the development of all these fancy coffee shops, where almost every beverage sold in there is a disguised sugar bomb. And what’s interesting with a period of the last 40 years to the period before that is the two things happened. We started eating more frequently, and we started eating more sugar and more processed foods. And then we wonder why the rate of obesity and diabetes shot up like a straight line or even exponentially. So while some people think that the idea of fasting is strange, what’s really strange is what we’ve done in the last 40 years because now we’ve gotten the idea to never ever empty the pantry, right? Eating food is like loading up your body’s pantry and putting things in is a good thing but don’t ever take anything out. We’ve gotten these ideas that breakfast is the most important meal, and while the word breakfast literally means to break your fast, it has come to mean that you eat something as soon as possible after you get up. And then we tell the kids that you need energy before lunch. I have to have breakfast, otherwise you can’t perform, you won’t learn anything. So make sure that you eat breakfast. And of course, as a result, we have these horrible „frankenfoods,“ of chemicals and sugar and really nothing useful for the body. And what’s really strange is this whole idea that we would need to eat every 2 to 3 hours, that there would be some health benefit, that we would be better off doing that, or that it would be dangerous to not eat every 2 to 3 hours. But what about sleep? Do you have to set the alarm so you can get up in the middle of the night and eat something? Can you imagine the headlines? „Mass deaths last night during the power out. Millions of people didn’t wake up to their feeding alarm and they starved to death in the middle of the night.“ No, never happened, right? Because we don’t need to eat every 2 hours, there is no health benefit; there’s tremendous health detriment to eating every 2 to 3 hours. Let’s break it down and understand just how simple this is. What is fasting? It is the period where you don’t eat. So assuming that you sleep at all, most people would get several hours of fasting, and if you have your late-night snack and you eat first thing in the morning, you probably still yet somewhere around eight hours or in the neighborhood of that. And if you don’t have that late-night snack but you eat your dinner at 7, then you get 12 hours. If you have dinner a little earlier, you have 14 hours, and this is how humans have created balance by having 12 to 14 hours for most of human history, and that’s how a lot of these problems are avoided. Then what a lot of people find when they need to reverse the process is that there’s really not much need to eat breakfast. So if you skip that and have your first meal at noon and dinner at eight, you have 16 hours. If you have dinner a little earlier, you have 18 hours, so it’s not really that strange, and what most people find is that this is not even just easy, but it’s so easy that they don’t understand why they would ever not do it or why they would start having three meals or snacks or anything like that. So let’s talk about fat storing versus fat burning and how we get back to balance there because if you look at the obesity epidemic, it’s obvious we’ve spent a lot more time in fat storing than we have in fat burning. So the red above the line here is fat storing, and the green below is fat burning. So if you go to bed on a full stomach, then you’re going to have to process that food, that food is going to be put into storage, so most of the time you’re sleeping, you’re still in fat storing. Then you get a few hours before waking up where you have some fat burning, but then as soon as you wake up, you start eating your breakfast and your mid-morning snack and your lunch and so on, and for most of the day again, you’re in fat storing. You’re putting stuff in the pantry. You’re never taking anything out, so throughout the day you might have a few minutes at best where you do some fat-burning, but most people won’t even get to that point, especially not if they’re eating high carb and high sugar. Now if you dropped down to two meals a day and you skipped breakfast, it might look something like this. The first part of sleep is probably still some fat storing, but then instead of just eating as soon as you get up, now you get all those extra hours of fat burning in the morning. And because you’re not eating so many meals throughout the day, you actually get some fat burning in during the day as well, so you have more of a balance between fat storing and fat burning. You’re allowing your body to clean out the pantry you put energy in to use, so now you’re using it instead of just adding more and more and more. And what if you do an extended fast? What if you go a couple of days or even longer? Well, you basically keep burning fat for the duration that you don’t eat, right? This seems really, really simple, but it’s very, very powerful that the more time you go without eating, the more fat gets burned. And as an additional benefit, of course, the longer you go without food, the longer you allow your insulin to drop. So it’s not just about the weight, but it’s also about the health benefits, about reversing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The longer you go, the more powerful the effect. Then how long do you go? Well, that depends on your goal and your situation and your DNA and so forth, but basically, if your goal is weight loss, it’s going to depend on how stubborn your weight is. Have you reached a plateau, or do you just want it to happen faster? And the same exact thing holds true for insulin resistance because it’s basically the same mechanism. This weight is put there in the first place by insulin, and if you have stubborn weight, you have stubborn insulin. And other reasons to do fasting can be degenerative disease if you want to reverse that. If you have met your goals but you want to do some prevention, or if you want more longevity, or if you just want to increase your health span. So much of the time we talked about living longer, but what’s the point of living to 90 if the last 40 years are riddled with disease and suffering. What if you could live to ninety or a hundred and a hundred and twenty and be healthy and enjoy that virtually all of that time. Let’s go over some examples for weight loss, and the vast majority of people, somewhere 60, 70, 80 percent will get good results if they shrink their feeding window down to six or eight hours, which means their fasting window gets to be 16 to 18 hours. Most people will get pretty good results, and if you’re one of those people, then just do that and be consistent, and you’ll develop a very good lifestyle that works for you. But if that doesn’t work for you, if you have stubborn weight, if you hit a plateau, if you needed to happen faster, then you’ve got to do more. It’s as simple as that. So now the next step is one meal a day, which means you eat once a day, or if you go further than that, then we’re talking maybe 42 or 48 hours. And it’s not as hard as people make it out to be because if you start off with 16:8 or 18:6 and your body gets used to it, then it’s not that difficult to have dinner one day and then just to skip the whole next day, just make it till bedtime the next day, go to bed, and when you wake up, you’ve fasted 36 hours. The beauty of this is that that fasting period includes two nights, so you’ve slept twice in that period. And if you’re used to not having breakfast, then you just go another 6 hours to lunch, and you have 42 hours. If you want to, you can now just have the evening meal, and you have forty-eight hours. It’s not as hard as it sounds, and the fasting that lasts more than 24 hours, that’s not something most people have to do all the time. If you do it once in a while, that’s going to break up that plateau. It’s going to break up that stubborn pattern, and it’s really going to make things happen faster for the vast majority of people. But another interesting thing happens to people is once they get past that 42 up to 48-hour mark, they find that the worst has passed, that they’re not as hungry as they used to be, they’re kind of getting in the groove, they’re getting the flow of things, their minds are brightening, and their periods of hunger are less and shorter. So it’s not as hard as people think to go from that 48 hours and just do one more night, and now you’re at 3 days. And then you can just basically go as long as you feel good, as long as you’re comfortable, as long as you’re clear-minded, as long as you have some energy. Don’t go run marathons or anything silly like that, but just for daily life, people find that they can usually extend it a few extra days. So maybe go 3 to 7 days, and if you hit a point where you feel, hey, I’ve had enough, then you eat something. The only thing to make sure of is to drink plenty of fluids and take some salt and minerals because you will be losing a little bit extra of that. And if your goal is to reverse insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, then the exact same reasoning holds true there because if you have stubborn weight, then you have stubborn insulin, so the mechanism is exactly the same. But there are even more reasons to fast, such as degenerative disease because the longer you go with fasting, the more autophagy you get. And autophagy literally means „self-eating.“ When you’re fasting, your body gets energy from the fat. You’re burning fat. The longer you go, the more fat-burning. But the most precious resource beyond energy is protein because protein is used for building blocks and enzymes and hormones, and your body constantly has cells wear out, so your body has to make new ones. And if you’re not eating protein, the body has to find it somewhere. So protein becomes very, very precious, and where can you find protein in the body? Well, muscles are the obvious choice, but the body doesn’t want to spend muscles. It needs those to do the work. So it up-regulates the cleaning crew, the recycling crew. It puts more people on cleaning duty, and that goes out and cleans every nook and cranny in the body, looking for debris and waste materials and dead cells and virus and bacteria. So in essence, you’re up-regulating not just the cleaning crew, but your immune system, and you can take care of sagging skin and all sorts of dead cells and waste that the body doesn’t need. It gets better at finding those things, and as a result, now we have results with arthritis and diabetes and blood pressure and even things like autoimmunity, something like multiple sclerosis. The brain and nervous system have a very poor cleanup and repair, and autophagy is really the only thing that’s going to significantly improve the ability to repair the brain and the nervous system. That is also very powerful after a traumatic brain injury. The first thing you want to do if you get a concussion is to stop eating because that autophagy is going to help clean up the damage, and there’s even evidence that periods of fasting and autophagy can help reduce and even reverse cancer, at least certain kinds. There are so many benefits to fasting that it’s a great idea to do it even just for maintenance. So now we’re doing it for prevention, for longevity, etcetera, like we talked about. And now I would suggest that you do a combination of 16:8 to OMAD, somewhere in that range. You eat once a day, twice a day, three times a day. If you have a tendency to lose a lot of weight too easily, if you don’t want to lose weight, then don’t do so much of the OMAD. You do more of the 16:8. If you tend to put on weight, if you have stubborn weight, then you do more of the OMAD and less of the 16:8. I have a hard time keeping weight on if I do OMAD, if I do one meal a day for any length of time, I just tend to keep losing weight because it’s hard to eat that much food in one sitting. I don’t feel bad, but I get thinner than I want to be. And if you get 16 to 24 hours of fasting on a regular basis, you’re going to get a fair amount of autophagy, but you’re not going to get massive amounts of autophagy. So that’s why I suggest you do a 42-hour fast once or twice a month, depending on how you feel, how much weight, whatever your goals are like we talked about, what feels right for you. And like I said, you just skip a whole day, and then you skip breakfast the next day, and you’re at 42 hours. And now, when you’ve gone 42 hours instead of 16, you have exponentially increased your autophagy. But then I also believe that there are benefits to going a little bit longer once in a while. I think now you can get into deep, deep autophagy levels where you could maybe prevent cancer or reverse early stages of cancer. There’s some research that indicates that might be the case. And about every 3 months or so, maybe two to four times a year, maybe once a year, you do a little bit longer fast. And I would suggest going at least three days. I would go 3 to 4 days for myself. And if you feel good and you want to go longer than that, that’s fine too. If you enjoyed this video, you’ll love that one. And if you really want to master health and understand more about how the body works, make sure you subscribe, hit that bell, and turn on all the notifications so you never miss a life-saving video.