Brad Pilon hasn’t invented anything new with the Eat Stop Eat diet plan. Intermittent fasting has been around for tens of thousands of years. Recent studies, including those quoted in Pilon’s book, show that the human body is built to accumulate fat and burn fat according to the availability of food. Our metabolisms apparently have been induced into laziness by eating regular meals since childhood. Infants need to eat regularly, and that is why the production of breastmilk is constant in breastfeeding mothers. Older children could quite easily skip the odd meal without affecting their health negatively. As we grow older we become more resilient, and young adults could easily go a day or two without eating at all. People that have trained their metabolisms to store fat and burn fat efficiently do not lose energy or feel irritable when they are on short fasts, which explains Eat Stop Eat results. Adopting intermittent fasting as a lifestyle in your thirties or forties may require a “transition period” of several weeks before your body learns how to adapt to the fasting.
Eat stop Eat – How to Do It
Brad Pilon has spent years studying intermittent fasting and several top athletes say it is one of the most comprehensive guides available online. The advice given is backed by peer reviewed medical literature thoughput the book. Pilon suggests to do one or two 24 hour cycles without food per week. During the rest of the week it is possible to eat freely, being careful not to binge. To avoid going for a full day and night without food, he suggests that you fast from 6.00pm on day one to 6.00pm on day two.
The Effects of Intermittent Fasting on the Metabolism
A calorie restricted diet seems to slow the metabolism down whilst intermittent fasting apparently doesn’t. Tests have been done after a 3 day fasting session and after intermittent fasting every second day for a period of 22 days. In both cases the metabolism did not slow down. The “yo-yo” effect of many diets is well known however, and people who have been on a calorie restricted diet for several weeks have had to be careful when stopping because their metabolism had slowed down and they tended to put the weight back on again.
What to Eat on the “Free” Days
Brad Pilon asks people to use common sense and also to be aware that they may have a tendency to overeat after their first fasts. The objective of this eating regimen is to provide an interruption in the calorie intake and not simply to postpone it. Also the results will be different if you eat “lean and green” the rest of the week or if you eat junk food. You mustn’t be on a colorie restricted diet on your free days as this would slow down your metabolism. It is reccomended rather to find a balance between what is healthy and what you really enjoy, and eat about half of each. The pleasure involved in eating the food you like is an important part of your emotional balance, just like the vitamins involved in eating healthy food is an important part of your physical balance
Reported benefits of intermittent fasting on Anti Aging
Interestingly enough, intermittent fasting is associated with anti-aging. The reason for this is that it costs the body less energy (and calories) to repair a cell than it does to creat new cells. During bouts of fasting the growth hormone, HGH, increases naturally. This stimulates genetic repair mechanisms. Proteins and amino acids are used to repair tissue collagen, resulting in stronger muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments. HGH is also responsible for improving skin function and reducing wrinkles. HGH and insulin compensate each other. When you eat carbs and your insulin levels increase then HGH levels drop. When insulin levels are low, for example during fasting, HGH levels increase. A study done by the Intermountain Medical Center and Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah showed that the levels of HGH after a 24 hour fast had increased in men by 2000% and in women by 1300%, respectively.
Reported Benefits of Short term fasting on the Brain
Cognitive functions appear to be bettered by regular intermittent fasting. The Department of Immunology and Microbial Science of The Scripps Research Institute in California did a very interesting study and discovered that neuronal autophagy peaks during short-term fasting. Neuronal autophagy, simply put, is tha capacity of the brain to “self-eat” waste material and repair the cells. The human brain is highly dependant on neuronal autophagy to keep functioning properly, and laboratory studies where this process was impaired on mice, bought to derangement. Fasting also increases the levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). This protein is vital for producing new neurons and synapses, and also for repairing damaged neurons. A 24 hour fast was proven to be benefical to the cognitive functions of people who had experienced brain damage. Also a study by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences shows a correlation between Alzheimer’s disease and low levels of BDNF.
Resources for Fasting safely
Brad Pilon’s book Eat Stop Eat Diet covers all the “nuts and bolts” of effective fasting and also provides useful medical information. There are other books available on intermittent fasting, but in our opinion his specific method is the most suited to athletes.