Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Scheduling a Low Carb Fast

What's all this about a low carb fast.  Typically a 'fast' is a way to cleanse, rest, heal your body and a low carb fast is no different.  What we are trying to accomplish is to remove sugar and high glycemic carbs from your diet to give your body a rest from the on slot of all that insulin rushing through your body which makes your body turn insulin resistant just to survive.

When a fellow blogger suggested this proposition I was very curious.  As a Type 2 diabetic I do not like taking pills and getting the side effects from them.  I wondered..........was it possible to reduce the carbs enough to stabilize my blood sugars?  What I found out was amazing.

First I want to say that I am not a Physician and what I have to say in this article should not be construed as me taking the place of your Physician.  Please see your Dr before making any dietary changes.

I discovered several things about this type of fast.  First of all, after several days on the diet I did see a huge change for the better in my blood sugar control.  It was amazing.  I haven't made it through a complete 21 day fast but I'm going to do some additional research and go for it.

It is important to remember that while weight loss might be a great side effect of this fast, it is not the goal.  The goal of this fast is to cleanse, heal and rest your body systems. Great care should be used when beginning this fast, during the fast and in ending the fast.  If you are diabetic remember to watch your blood sugars carefully.

Some Things I've Learned

Do you know how much sugar the average American consumes?  HINT:  A lot!  One hundred and fifty-six pounds to be exact. That's how much added sugar Americans consume each year on a per capita basis, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Imagine it: 31 five-pound bags for each of us. That's about 36 teaspoons a day!!!!  This just should not be so and it is no wonder that so many americans and even children are becoming Diabetic!

Physical Benefits of Fasting In General
Fasting does not necessarily suggest depriving the body of all food. Sometimes a fast includes a short period of abstinence from eating just certain foods. Fasting does not mean starving yourself. What it does mean to some people is timing when you eat, and then eating specific foods in moderation. However, consuming enough fluids throughout any fast is important to prevent dehydration. Although fasting can be a controversial issue, the value of physiological fasting as a treatment for many chronic health conditions continues to be studied.
  • The possible health benefits of fasting are thought to be many and include improved immune system function, increased energy, and an overall sense of well-being. The physiological benefits of fasting have been known to lower systolic blood pressure, body temperature, and cholesterol, in addition to lowering glucose levels in the blood. The body's metabolic rate also slows during a fast, allowing it to conserve energy, thereby contributing to the healing process.
  • Many advocates of regular fasting maintain that it contributes to a longer life by cleaning the body of harmful toxins. They believe that chemicals absorbed into the body from the environment are stored in the body's fat. When a person fasts, the body must rely on these reserves, as an energy source. As the body breaks down fat, toxins are released and eliminated through the function of organs like the liver, kidneys, colon, lungs, and skin. Some people believe that fasting can be used to manage weight and achieve safe weight loss and therefore may be an option to treat obesity and related hypertension.

Spiritual Benefits of Fasting

Exerpt from Christianity
In the Old Testament, God commanded Israel to observe several set times of fasting. For New Testament believers, fasting was neither commanded nor forbidden in the Bible. While early Christians were not required to fast, many practiced prayer and fasting regularly. Jesus himself affirmed in Luke 5:35 that after his death fasting would be appropriate for his followers. Spiritual fasting clearly has a place and a purpose for God's people today.

Fasting requires self-control and discipline as one denies the natural desires of the flesh. During spiritual fasting, the believer's focus is removed from the physical things of this world and intensely concentrated on God. Put differently, fasting directs our hunger toward God. It clears the mind and body of earthly attentions and draws us close to God. So, as we gain spiritual clarity of thought while fasting, it allows us to hear God more clearly. Fasting also demonstrates a profound need for God's help and guidance through complete dependence upon him.

3 Tips To Make Fasting Easier:

From Better is Better
Don’t eat a huge meal right before you start your fast.
Especially when you first start using Intermittent Fasting, it can be very tempting to pig out before a fast. This is part of the psychological fear of “starving,” a fear which has been well reinforced by the food industry. But a huge meal before starting your fast will set off that hormonal imbalance we are trying to avoid, regardless of the macronutrient ( composition.
Avoid sugars before your fast
Obviously, I would recommend you always avoid processed white sugar. But before your fast you might also want to think about reducing other sources of simple sugars such as dried fruits, high GI fruits, such as bananas, and milk. All these will tend to rile up your hormones.
Avoid starchy carbs
There’s nothing wrong with a good sweet potato, some succulent butternut squash, or a nice bowl of steel-cut oatmeal, but before a fast all these things could represent enough of a stimulant to insulin release that they could make your fasting Hormonal Hunger more prominent. As far as grains and potatoes go, I’d try to avoid them most of the time at any rate, but pre-fast I wouldn’t want to touch them with a ten foot pole. And of course, any processed food-like substances made with white flour should be trimmed to a bare minimum at any time.

Low Carb Sugar Fast

So we've gone through the why and wherefores of fasting, what is a high carb sugar fast.  It is what it is.  Typically a person can eat from 300 grams of carbs a day.  Those who have physical limitations, such as diatetees, are exempt from this thought.

For good health, or for weight loss, or weight maintenance, strictly limit refined (processed) carbohydrates (apart from occasional treats). Refined processed carbohydrates are a major cause of weight gain, obesity, diabetes type 2, and many other diet related diseases. Carbohydrates include complex carbohydrates, like starches, and simple sugars such as white sugar, high fructose corn syrup and honey. Choose 100-percent whole grains and fruits and vegetables for most of your carbohydrates. Balance your carbohydrate choices with protein sources such as lean meat, poultry, eggs, or fish, and some healthy fat such as olive oil, avocado or nuts and seeds.

 Do not eat white bread, white pasta, white potatoes, or white rice. These foods are VERY high glycemic and will spike your blood sugar, which will make you hungry again much quicker. Add fiber to your diet (which you will automatically do if you switch to whole grain carbs) and eat 5-6 small "meals" during the day instead of 3 big meals.

According to eHow, if you are diabetic............

"Women should have between 2 and 3.5  carbohydrate servings per meal, while men can have between 3 and 4. A carbohydrate serving is considered 15 grams, meaning that the total number of carbohydrates a woman should have at one sitting is between 30 and 55 grams and for men is 50 to 65. Be sure to read labels carefully to make sure the math adds up. For instance, a serving size of peanut butter is not the same as a serving size of carbohydrates. A two-tablespoon serving size of peanut butter is 8 grams of carbohydrates, making two servings of peanut butter 16 grams of carbohydrates or roughly one carbohydrate portion for meal purposes."

The key if you are low carb and sugar fasting or dieting is two fold:
  • Never take your carbs below 180 grams per day
  • Avoid ALL refined, processed carbs
I am trying to do a 3 week Low Carb/Sugar Diet quarterly through out the year.  I'm not doing this to loose weight (although that might be a side benefit) but am doing it to help my body heal and to get a break from this high carb society.

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