Dr. Scott and Tommy discuss the idea that fasting is just a flash-in-the-pan fad diet like they hear sometimes. They address several common fasting objections, when fasting does NOT work, and why a calorie isn't always a calorie.
Early Time-Restricted Feeding Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Blood Pressure, and Oxidative Stress Even without Weight Loss in Men with Prediabetes
Behind the Intermittent Fasting Fad
Show Transcript: www.thefastingforlife.com/blog
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Fasting For Life Ep. 96
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:00:01] Hello. I'm Dr. Scott Watier
Tommy Welling: [00:00:03] And I'm Tommy Welling, and you're listening to the Fasting for Life podcast.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:00:08] This podcast is about using fasting as a tool to regain your health. Achieve ultimate wellness and live the life you truly deserve. Each episode is a short conversation on a single
Tommy Welling: [00:00:18] Topic with immediate, actionable steps. We cover everything from fat loss and health and wellness to the science
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:00:23] Of lifestyle design. We started fasting for life because of how fasting has transformed our lives, and we hope to share the tools that we have learned
[00:00:30] Along the way.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:00:40] Everyone, welcome to the Fasting for Life podcast, my name is Dr. Scott Watier, and I'm here, as always, the good friend and colleague me. Welling Good afternoon to you, sir. Hey, Scott, how are you doing? Fantastic, my friend. Today is going to be a fun conversation around some myths and fads of fasting, and I'm going to put a little inflection of a question mark on the end there intentionally. We're going to break down a couple of the things that we hear and see out there and why there is some confusion when it comes to fasting and in our. Goals of doing this podcast and getting the message out of how important and powerful fasting has been in our lives. I want to make sure that we give a, you know, as we always do some direct action steps and we're going to talk through some things we've mentioned in the past in a different way and a different angle, but really just hit a couple of the two biggest things that we hear or a few of the biggest things that we hear in terms of fasting that could initially be taken as a negative. So I think it's going to be a fun conversation. And if you're new to the podcast, then go ahead and go back. Start from the beginning. Listen to episode one, Tommy and I. It's story and how we ended up here and how we ended up on this podcast and starting the challenges and coaching and programs and courses and all the stuff that we've done over almost coming up on two years now. Learn a little bit more about who we are and Tommy. Let's dive in to today's conversation about fasting air quotes fads.
Tommy Welling: [00:02:17] Yeah, I hear that that term a lot and you know, we've seen posts about it is could fasting just be a fad? My the first thing that comes to mind is is just fasting is as old as eating. So I know like, yeah, I feel like it's kind of it's kind of a non-starter. It's kind of a it's a it's a it's a contradiction in terms right there because we can't we can't be fasting unless we're eating. And there is there's not a lot of there's not a lot of hold on points. There's not a lot of strength in that kind of statement there.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:03:01] Yeah. So if we go all the way back to the days of Hippocrates, right, the father of modern medicine, I don't know if he'd appreciate that label. Maybe a hundred years ago, it might be a little better than it is today. Sure. But you know, there was he would prescribe and recommend fasting for a handful of different types of illnesses and things back in that time. So fasting, like you said, I love that point. It's been around since since food, right since eating fasting and fasting and feasting. The other reference that we make and mention a lot of and you can find the PDF is the fasting cure by Upton Sinclair. It's a it's a it's a group of case studies and anecdotes, and he was a reporter and people would mail him letters back in the day when people wrote letters across the country. And he just kind of put them all into this book. And it's incredible because it's done in 1911 and some of the stories and the accounts of how fasting was impacting people even back then was just so incredible. So now we're here in the age of information and Dr Google and, you know, the Encyclopedia Britannica that you have used to have to go to the library and check out, you know, the the L volume, right? I forgot the word, the L volume to go learn about a
Tommy Welling: [00:04:27] Four inch thick, you know? Yeah. If you're doing
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:04:29] A report on lizards, you had to go like, literally pull it off the shelf and find the number right and the Dewey Decimal System. If I recall properly, man, I'm dating myself here. But you would then read a few pages of what was published on that. Now we have more information out there than ever. So we've gone from Socrates to the fast thinker in 1911 to now. We're fasting has become much more mainstream, but there is this belief out there that it is more of a fad type diet and not a lifestyle change. And that is the complete opposite of our experience and or what we hear from the thousands of people that we've talked to and or taken through these challenges.
Tommy Welling: [00:05:09] Yeah, it was. It was. It's 180 degrees different from that. I've been through all of the, you know, the fad diets and all that kind of stuff like, that's what I did first. And, you know, stumbling upon fasting and finally getting those mental barriers for myself, just some of these limiting beliefs and some of these like, oh, well, fasting must be the same thing as calorie counting, right? Like a calorie is a calorie. So why do I need fasting? I don't need to restrict the time. If I'm like micromanaging my calories, the problem must be somewhere else was that was my story before fasting.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:05:49] Yeah, and it's interesting in being in the health and wellness and, you know, having a nutrition concentration in my undergrad and, you know, at one time I worked at GNC. You know, when I was in grad school, yeah, like always wanting to be, you know, in the gym, working out, you know, different incantations in different periods of focus throughout the years. I've always had this desire to know more and understand more, and I've always loved the the the field of nutrition, except when I got to grad school and we we talked for for six weeks on just the definition of fiber and how it differed in Canada versus the U.S. and versus this state and versus this dietitian board and versus. And then I was like, I don't know if I like this anymore. My point to bringing that up is, you know, there's a lot of layers and nuance to what fasting is. And it's I I don't like when it is labeled as, you know, a a fad type diet because people will say intermittent fasting is not a magic pill or it's not a sustainable lifestyle change because it can lead to the diet cycle. Well, you and I are very real about the fact that fasting in the beginning is not easy, but it is simple.
Tommy Welling: [00:07:05] Right? Yeah, it's very simple, but very not easy sometimes.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:07:09] Yeah, right. So that one we can dispel pretty easily, but the one about the one I really wanted to focus on, and this was from an article that was that was written. And the number two is it is not a sustainable lifestyle change and can lead to the diet cycle. So they define the diet cycle as. And we talk a lot about this to start the diet, restrict the foods you love, deprive yourself of any joy in life and increase your water intake. So, yeah, you're willing to live. You're craving you get cravings because you're craving the foods that you've deprived and restricted. Then you give in and then you feel guilty in shame, and then you start the diet over again on Monday. And that is that is not the fasting for life life cycle, right?
Tommy Welling: [00:07:49] You missed the step, though, when when you have that guilt and shame, add more food to it because that helps make you feel a little bit better in the moment, right? Ok, and then and then the problem is a little bit worse and then repeat cycle on Monday, a little bit worse off than where you were last Monday. At least that was my personal cycle,
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:08:08] Of course, and it's something that we hear a lot. We know that weight cycling or yo yo dieting increases, the inflammation increases oxidative stress, increases the risk for chronic diseases, diabetes, heart disease, eating disorders, et cetera. So it's like, OK, if that's not working, then then let's adopt a different perspective and not just, you know, you know, paint the duck blue and call it a whale, right? Like, like just something so outrageous where you're like, No, no, I'm looking. It has feathers in a beak like, that's still a duck. But just because you painted, it doesn't change the animal that it is. So my point of that odd analogy is for fasting. It is a complete contradiction for me when we look at it's not sustainable lifestyle change, it can lead to the diet cycle it it is a different cycle. So you're starting with an intention to set a timer. So yes, you are restricting the time when you're eating for a from a physiological purpose and you're then not depriving, you're allowing the foods that you love and enjoy into the eating window, right when you decide to break your fast. And we'll talk about this in a minute about the eating at different times of day and we'll go down that fad or or or untruth or myth here in a minute and then this, you know, myth. Yeah, and then you eat and you enjoy it. So over time, when your hormones and physiology start to balance your cravings go down, you have less desire to have those foods right? And then at the end of the cycle, you actually regain confidence in control rather than guilt and shame. And then the diet doesn't have to start on Monday. It's simply the cycle simply restarts when you restart your timer.
Tommy Welling: [00:09:48] Yeah. So there was there was an aspect in there. It's almost instead of being a vicious cycle in the wrong direction, it's allowing that time to actually heal. Some of those food relationships is a little bit of what I just heard, as well as the physiology that goes along with it. That leads to some of those cravings that bring us back to some of those foods that aren't serving us. So we're we're putting time, we're putting some separation time between those things and allowing rebalancing to happen within our our insulin sensitivity, our cravings as well. And then and then ultimately the calories that we bring in and the types of foods that we're actually enjoying and look for looking forward to.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:10:30] So to continue the conversation through these five points, right of why it can be said that fasting is a fad and not an actual lifestyle change. The first was magic pill. We dispelled that pretty easily. Number two, that the life cycle, so we just broke down the life cycle. The third thing is here, it says it does not teach you anything about the composition and nutrients in food. Well, maybe. The material on fasting that this person has read or people see on, you know, on the World Wide Web, right, the Encyclopedia Britannica on steroids, right? Like all of these different articles and things like. One of the things that you just mentioned was we talk more about the emotional connection in relationship with food than we do about fasting, right? Fasting. Super simple like you're either fasting or not, right? Right. But we do spend a lot of time talking about and this is why we came up with the insulin friendly food list and and the insulin friendly lifestyle. I don't think came up with those terms, but we've adopted them into our programs and into our mantra, right? Because we do really want to focus on giving ourselves nutrient dense foods so our body knows that it has. It's safe to to burn fat, it's safe to balance hormones. And I just. Fasting isn't. We say this often reparations for something you did over the weekend or restriction, so you then can go off the wagon, you know, and fall flat on your face and have to restart the cycle again, right? Like fasting? You want to focus on the the composition of foods, and we talk a lot about that as well.
Tommy Welling: [00:12:06] Yeah. And you know, because it's going to matter, it's going to matter for how easy it is to actually set that timer to stick with it and then coming off of it and then and then setting your plan for the next fast. That's going to come after that because the composition of the food is going to matter. But again, it's going to affect those, those cravings and your actual physiological balance. So I think that that it's. I see why people will will say like, oh, well, fasting is just a fad because it's exploded in popularity just in the last few years, I mean, it's kind of everywhere. I mean, you know, obviously we're a bit we're a bit more narrow in our focus, but I see it pop up and people seem to be a little bit more familiar with it than they were a few years ago. And then so it can be easy to kind of paint it with this broad brush like, oh well, it must be a fad because I'm just now hearing about it and because I've tried other things in the past and they were obviously like some sort of fad, they didn't work. So this is probably just not going to work either. And then just kind of like shut down from their.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:13:10] Yeah, and it it's it's interesting because as I continue to read through this, the last two just to round it out here, where it causes you to ignore your body's natural hunger cues, which is actually the opposite of what happens. A lot of our hunger cues are not actual hunger, and we we break this down in detail. We've done episodes on this a phallic phase of hunger and dehydration and stress and sleep, and how those all can mess with your leptin and your ghrelin levels, which tell your body if you're hungry or if you're full. And then the fat cells themselves can increase the leptin resistance so your brain's not hearing the messages. So fasting actually helps to balance those things out. And one of the things under this one is like, Well, yeah, if you skip breakfast, then there's studies that show you have a higher increase in obesity and diabetes risk. Well, if your hunger cues are actually working properly, waking up in the morning not hungry is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you're at that maintenance weight. So in the weight loss process, I just don't like that as like kind of the cop out, like, don't skip breakfast, you're going to eat all your food later, which leads into number five, which is an unhealthy relationship of food. Mm hmm. What we find is that it actually develops that control in that healthy relationship with food. Now, we're not talking about severe eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia and those types of things. But just this vicious craving the diet cycle that we explained earlier, right?
Tommy Welling: [00:14:38] Yeah. Like it's OK to wake up. Not hungry for breakfast. It's OK to not have that breakfast, right? Like, that's the easiest way. That's the natural way to fast, right? Is we go from at least from dinner to breakfast. But just extending that by a few hours by not having breakfast, you know, is is is a good, easy way to kind of extend that fast. But you know, when we talk about meal timing, there's there are some other interesting aspects of that too, which is that when when we start looking at the data and you say, OK, well, does meal timing matter? And that's where one of these these kind of fad comments came from, it said, right. It's it's not about the time of the meal. It doesn't matter if you eat late at night, it's about the calories. And so that's that's kind of going back to the calorie is a calorie is a calorie, but it's it's not just that simple for the human body.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:15:28] Yeah, especially if you add in resistances like the pre-diabetes category, you've got a little extra weight around the midsection. You've got some, you know, a couple of decades of of yo yo weight cycling, yo yo dieting type stuff. So yeah, just for clarity, eating this is the thing that spawned this conversation. Eating late at night doesn't cause weight gain. Calorie surplus does. And my response is. Both yes and no. Maybe question, Martin. There's some other factors that I want to unpack here, Tommy, and that's why I really love how these two go together, because it's like, All right, here's the breaking down of some of the actionable stuff. But let's put a little science in here, too. And I'll tell a personal story as well, but we've done an entire episode on time restricted feeding or early time restricted feeding, meaning comparing the meals, eating the same meals or the same amount of calories throughout a certain time window. And the results are pretty staggering.
Tommy Welling: [00:16:30] Yeah, they are, because when we start looking at what's actually happening, physiologically speaking, you know, you can you can look at these different trials and they had dozens of people when all the way from from healthy young individuals getting into pre-diabetic range all the way into diabetes. But what we find is that the results are are the same in that if you eat the same meals, the same number of calories at different points of the day, the body responds differently to those. And if you're at a healthy weight, it might not matter to the scale. You might not see what's happening in the scale, but even over just a matter of a few weeks, you will see differences in blood work. By doing that, you can see changes in your glucose response, in how high your blood sugar gets and how high your insulin levels get after a meal by eating later in the day. And if we're already overweight and you're you're looking to drop some of that extra weight, that's going to make the process very, very difficult. Like you're you're really swimming upstream. And that can be the reason why you're counting all your calories and doing everything right. But you just can't seem to hit that one point five pounds per week that you kind of calculate it out. That's that was where I was a few years ago.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:17:53] Yeah, and it's interesting because now there's there's research on some of this stuff, and I like the framework of. You know, OK, what is what are we what makes sense? Is it logical? Ok, now let's go. Try it right. So there were four pilot studies that were done on time restricted feeding right. And we've talked about this specific article in the past, but not in this light of if I eat late at night, does it cause weight gain? The the calorie in calorie out model will say no, but adding in some of the hormone components like you just alluded to, it does indeed happen. And the four trials were done in different eating windows between four and 10 hours. And it's really. The nuance here for me is people want to lose weight because they know they should, right? Most people realize that carrying extra weight around is not a good thing. Your doctor tells you, society tells us good or bad social media, et cetera. Like, we know that there are health effects to carrying extra weight. And that's really what motivated you and I to start fasting is that we knew that the path we're on and where we were trending wasn't going to get us to where we needed to be. It was going to put us on the path of my family, my previous generations, my grandparents, my dad.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:19:13] They're all on that same path, right in that direction. So the point here is not necessarily about the weight, but it's more about the health metrics like insulin levels, insulin resistance, cholesterol levels, inflammatory markers which all lead to blood pressure issues, heart disease, diabetes, which we know shortens your lifespan. So these four trials looked at middle of the day and evening, and it was cool. This was in the introduction of the article in Cell Metabolism, where it said restricting intake to the middle of the day reduced body weight or body fat. Fasting, glucose and insulin levels, insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia and inflammation, so it reduced all of those things, if you compare that to the time restrictive eating in the late afternoon or evening that produced mostly no results or worsened postprandial meaning post-meal post ingestion of food glucose levels, beta cell responsiveness, which is the of producing cells in the pancreas, blood pressure and lipid lipid levels. So right there, in the introduction of this article, they mentioned two other handful of four other pilot studies that showed eating midday. So TRF midday time restricted feeding compared to late time restricted feeding showed better benefits. And then on top of that, the article talks about moving that window earlier in the day, and the benefits even exceeded that.
Tommy Welling: [00:20:40] Well, yeah, and that makes sense because if we think of our sleep cycle as our body's need to to regenerate cells and rejuvenate energy sources that we've been depleting all throughout the day, then our our physiological machinery is not as efficient. Later on in the day, it's not equipped to process the same volume of food or make the same sort of repairs. And you know, we can't we can't do all the same digestive processes while we sleep the body's focus on different things. So we need to give it enough time to to do these things. And you know, like intuitively, I can I can think back to having a heavier meal later on at at night versus lunch or breakfast. And just the feeling that you have, like you can tell you haven't had enough time to kind of process through that. And the scale will reflect the same way the cravings. Yes, sleep and then cravings and then your physiological responses. The very next day are going to be worse off to from that, from that later eating time. So these all of these these data corroborate like personal experience, for sure. For me.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:21:54] Yeah, I want to share a couple of those, too, because there's a study here from one of the CGM companies out there that showed this gentleman that had some pretty crazy blood sugar results changes, right? And the whole point of mentioning insulin and blood sugar is that insulin is the molecule is the hormone that allows your body to burn fat. So if insulin is high, you're not going to be in a fat burning state. Yes, you might wake up the next day and the scale goes down a little, but that's probably water retention or whether or not you use the restroom that day or how many times you have, right? So. And then that whole carbohydrate keeping the water retention and how heavy water is. And so you'll still see the changes, but you're not really burning that fat, which is what we want to see. And the cool thing about that article, it goes on after it compared to the middle of the day and then the later in the day when they actually showed the early time restricted feeding and they moved those meals. Actually, even earlier in the day, it showed some aspects direct improvements of cardiometabolic health. But it also was done in a group of men with prediabetes, which shows that the early time restricted feeding is an effective strategy for treating those types of conditions at like prediabetes and pre hypertension. So we're talking about like real life. Yeah. All the facts by just moving, so let's.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:23:15] In certain situations, a calorie is a calorie in certain situations. It's not there. Yes, of course a calorie is. How do I say this? A calorie is always going to be a calorie, right? But we've got multiple checkpoints here saying, OK, like you said, you're struggling, you're doing everything right, you're counting and you just can't seem to get get the momentum going, just simply moving that mealtime earlier in the day. Like this gentleman who did the the CGM challenge, he said that eating the same thing for lunch and dinner. Excuse me, he said that. When he ate the same thing for lunch compared to dinner, his blood sugar numbers in the evening when he ate dinner, the same meal would go up by almost 20 milligrams per deciliter. So a blood, a 20 mg spike in his blood sugar from eating the same meal at lunch and dinner. And that's the same thing that happened to me when I did some testing, when I was a guinea pig for a couple of weeks. And when I had breakfast versus dinner, I tested my blood sugar and my ketone levels. And when the blood sugar numbers came back like I couldn't even believe it. It was crazy that the response in the evening I was seeing 40 and 50. Mg spikes, so if I was I don't remember the numbers off top of my head, if I was a hundred in the morning after the meal, I was a 150 after dinner.
Tommy Welling: [00:24:46] Yeah, that's that's huge because that's where your A1C is coming from. So that means all the while A1C is ticking up a marker for pre-diabetes blood sugar issues and your insulin response is going to have to be higher to try to combat that, too. So all the while telling your body, let's lock in some more fat, we can't tap into more of that, that long term fat because insulin levels are having to go so high and you had a level of data on that that most people don't. So like, that's what's happening under the hood. And if all we're seeing is the number on the scale, it's really not telling us what's going on.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:25:26] Yeah, there's one more quote I want to read as we wrap up today's episode, and this is from a WebMD article, but the article was actually written from a brain surgeon, a neuroscientist, and I love how they put in a father of three teenage boys. And his thing was he loves fasting because of the mental clarity that it gives him, and he goes through different fasting and what he does and a little bit of the science and whatnot. And then he talks about the real benefits and real risks. And under the real risks category, there's a quote here from the department chair of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Idaho State University. And it says the most looming question is if this pattern of eating might have long term detrimental health effects. And she says when it comes to disease treatment, overall, there has been very little research done in humans. And this brings it back full circle to the beginning of how we opened up this podcast episode where we talked about fasting has been around since the ingestion of food, right? Like this has been around for a very long time. And if the goal truly is improved health metrics, then I am willing and a living proof that I'm willing to roll the dice that I've created, regained control, improved all of my my blood metrics, regain my mood and my happiness, my ability to be a better dad, a better husband to get more done. Like this brain surgeon, more clarity and mental clarity during the day, right? And I just want to encourage everyone out there, you know, the people that are on the other side saying things like, well, this pattern of eating what might have long term detrimental health effects when the complete opposite is true? Yeah, don't
Tommy Welling: [00:27:11] Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater as they say, right? Like, don't don't you know, we don't want to. We don't want to be be too scared of the the the small maybe risk that would paint us into a corner to not take that massive action, get started and see huge life changing results. So, you know, I'm going to encourage everybody to to get started. So if you haven't gotten started? Go ahead. Visit the website, the fasting for life. Download the fast archived. Download the insulin assessment, see where you are and if you're if you're already taking steps, then and you're not really sure why the scale is not moving or why you're not feeling better just yet, why don't you try a little bit earlier eating window instead of an a-mad dinner? Do a nomad lunch, throw in a few of those and eat the same thing. See how you feel. It might be just enough to kind of get the ball moving again.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:28:10] Yep, do it and recommend it for that as well. By the way, nobody puts baby in the corner a little shout out to one of the classic movies of all time there. If you don't know, you don't know, but go ahead and google it. It will pop up one of the greatest lines of all time. So awkward in the moment, too. But yes, move your window. And then I would say stick to it for a good seven to 10, maybe 14 days and see how you feel. See the changes, you note, but just know that the fasting lifestyle has been a wondrous, incredible gift to you and Tommy. Yeah. For all the listeners out there that have been listening for a while, we appreciate you. Thank you for the comments. Thank you for the questions. Thank you for the five star reviews. We appreciate those the most that tell us Apple Podcasts and the powers that be that we're doing some good work. So Tommy, as always, thank you so much for the conversation. Head over to the website like Tommy said. Check it out the fasting for life and we'll talk soon. Thank you. Bye.
Tommy Welling: [00:29:10] So you've heard today's episode, and you may be wondering, where do I start? Head on over to be fasting for life and sign up for our newsletter, where you'll receive fasting tips and strategies to maximize results and fit fasting into your day to day life
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:29:24] While you're there. Download your free fast start guide to get started today. Don't forget to subscribe on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Make sure to leave us a five star review, and we'll be back next week with another episode of Fasting for Life.
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