Transcript of Episode 160: Fasting Questions Answered with Dr. Jason Fung
With Dr. Daniel Pompa, Meredith Dykstra and Dr. Jason Fung
Hello, everyone, and welcome to Cellular Healing TV. I’m your host, Meredith Dykstra, and this is Episode #160. We have our resident cellular healing specialist, Dr. Dan Pompa, on the line, and today we welcome back Dr. Jason Fung.
Dr. Jason had a very popular episode with us on Cell TV, and that was Episode 112. If you didn’t check that out or if you haven’t seen it before, you can watch it at podcast.drpompa.com, and search for Episode 112 there. Dr. Fung is a fasting expert. In this initial episode, we delved into the ins and outs of fasting. We talked about interim fasting and block fasting.
You guys just love that episode. We have well over 200,000 views already on YouTube, and it’s been in a lot of other places. There was a lot of amazing feedback, too. You guys loved it but had a lot of questions so want to do a followup episode with Dr. Fung just to get some more questions answered on fasting.
Before we jump in, Dr. Fung, what’s new? What’s been going on? You’ve had a few books come out since our last interview. Give us the update.
The Obesity Code was my first book. That was released in about February, March of 2016. It really talks mostly about the science of what causes weight gain. My whole thesis is that you really have to understand what causes weight gain, what causes type 2 diabetes, in order to effectively treat that. At the end of the book, I touch on intermittent fasting and also extended fasting because the whole point is that insulin is the main driver of obesity.
One way to lower insulin is not with drugs because drugs generally don’t do that, but low-carbohydrate diets work. If you want to get the ultimate, fasting where you don’t eat anything really helps prevent the insulin resistance, which is the long-term problem. I spent the last chapter on it, but there’s a lot to talk about in terms of fasting. There’s lots of questions in terms of what regimens to use, what problems come up, what sort of things to expect because there are different things that happen, how long you need to get used to it, that kind of thing.
There’s really not a lot of resources out there, so I co-wrote with Jimmy Moore The Complete Guide to Fasting, which came out in October of last year. There it is. This really is a more practical guide to—sort of a how-to book. It has a lot of the science of fasting, but it goes with the other book so you get a complete understanding of why you’re doing it and so on. It really answers most of the questions that probably have come up in terms of what to do about medications, what to watch out for, when you have to be careful, and those sort of questions.
That was October of last year, and it’s been out for a couple of months. It’s done very well. I hope that people are able to read it, and take that information, and go forward, and give themselves an option in terms of weight loss because it’s not like you have to -inaudible- terrific.
You broke up there a little.
Did he break up on your side, there?
Yeah, a little bit of a delay.
Can you hear me, Doc? I hope you can hear me. Meredith has so many questions, there. I want to turn it to her. I’ll just say this: first of all, thank you for your work. I became friends with Jimmy Moore, who I know put some efforts into this, as well. Jimmy, fasting has made a massive impact in his life, insulin resistance. I can’t speak for Jimmy, but just hearing him, fasting probably had the greatest influence. No doubt ketosis and those things, but fasting really transformed him.
I train hundreds of doctors around the country. Part of my multi-therapeutic approach is fasting: block fasting and daily intermittent fasting. Doc, we utilize all of them, and we’ve seen absolutely amazing results. To have something like this book that really gives people some basics, it really is a complete guide to fasting, so appreciate the book, no doubt. I hope all of our listeners and viewers get it, no doubt about it because fasting, I believe, is—humans are meant to do it because we are forced into it, like you said.
Is there a need for it today? I don’t know. I think if you have challenges, I’ve watched miracles happen with fasting. However, I believe that something happens with the gene code when we fast, or go into forced ketonic states, and all these amazing things. I think there’s more to it than we even think.
With that said, Meredith, let’s just go right after it. We all love fasting.
We sure do, and we’ve got to walk the talk, right? It is amazing, the amazing strategy of it. Thank you, Dr. Pompa. You taught me all about fasting, as well. I had a lot of fears, just like so many people out there. As Dr. Fung and I were speaking about before we started the episode is that we just have to untrain our minds and our culture which has such fears around fasting. There’s so much misinformation out there. As we share today and continue to share, hopefully all of you will get more information on fasting and share it with those you love, too, because it is a transformative strategy.
With that said, let’s jump in here. A lot of these questions are posted on the YouTube page for Episode 112 of Cellular Healing TV, so I’ll just give an overview. We get this question a lot: does meal timing matter when we’re eating during our feeding window? When we’re not fasting, does it matter if we eat breakfast and lunch? What if we just eat lunch, or what if we eat lunch and dinner? Does the meal timing matter? Is it specific to people? Is a certain way of doing it, perhaps just eating dinner, better? What are both of your thoughts there?
Yeah, I think it does make a difference. First of all, with everything, there is actually large inter-individual variation. Even though you can say one time is best, it may not actually be the best for you specifically. You have to always keep that in mind.
You see this with almost every dietary study. You do a low-carb study -inaudible- on average, people lose this amount of weight, but there’s actually a huge splay. Some people lose 50 pounds, and some people gain 10. Just because the average is a certain number doesn’t mean that it necessarily is the best for you. Always keep that in mind whenever you’re looking at things. We talk in averages because that’s all we can do.
If you look at the circadian rhythm, there’s a natural body rhythm. The least hungry you’re going to be in the day is 8 a.m. That’s for several reasons. One of them is that the body produces, just before you wake up, a counter-regulatory surge of hormones that includes norepinephrine, and growth hormone, and cortisol -inaudible- your body for the day, so you’re actually trying to get some glucose into the system and so on.
You’re actually not hungry. This is, when you look at large groups of people, you’re the least hungry at 8 a.m. even though, at 8 a.m. is the longest that you have been without food. What you have to understand is that hunger is not merely the absence of food in your stomach. That’s only one component. This is one of the things that fasting has taught a lot of people is that their hunger actually tends to go down the longer that they do the fasting, but 8 a.m. is the least hungry you’re going to be through the day. Forcing yourself to eat at 8 a.m. if you’re not hungry is not a winning strategy, right?
If you look at the nighttime, so late-night eating, 8 p.m. to midnight, for example—what you see is that for the same amount of food, you can actually get more of an insulin response, and insulin is the main driver for weight gain. If you’re worried about weight loss, if you eat late at night, you’re going to have more insulin effect and therefore, it’s going to have more of a fattening effect on you for the same number of calories. The eating late at night is also not a good strategy.
If you want to know what the ideal is, I think it actually lies somewhere in the middle, eating if you’re going to eat, say, one meal a day or have the largest meal, I think it actually makes the most sense to eat somewhere between 12 to 2 o’clock, something like that.
Now, that doesn’t work for a lot of people, myself included. I’m working, and I’m not about to break up my office, and go have a big lunch, and then come back into it. That doesn’t work at all. For me, you really have to take that physiologic, what is best, and fit it into your life.
There are other people who will eat mostly a big breakfast and do very well. Physiologically, I think I’d go with the large mid-afternoon meal if you’re going to go with a compressed eating window. I think that is optimal, but you can do very well eating early in the morning. You can do well eating late at night.
You see some of this in terms of the folk wisdom. You see a lot of people who have always said throughout the years oh, make sure you don’t eat right before bed because all of that is going to turn into fat. To some extent, that is true. -inaudible- late nights, and I would avoid the early mornings because it’s hard to really force feed yourself.
What does it mean—I’m just following up on that. If you wake up really hungry, what does that mean?
It doesn’t really mean anything specifically. Everybody’s different. Some people, and I’ve treated a lot of people, they say well, I do best eating a big meal, a big breakfast. I’m like you know what, if that is what works for you, go for it. On average, people are not as hungry at 8 a.m. as they are in the midday. A lot of variation -inaudible- got to find what works for you.
I’m going to put this—by the way, my view on that is the same. I have some people who—even their schedule. It has to be successful even within their work schedule, their social schedule, so a lot of that determines it. Can they stick with it? We want someone to stick with it first and foremost.
I agree. I think the perfect big meal is the European way, right? Sometime in the afternoon, late afternoon would be optimal. Again, I’ve switched my eating window from maybe one. I tend to eat more at that time now and then a lighter meal, say, around five. I’ve switched that around, but it doesn’t work on the weekends for me. My wife and I go out to dinner, so on the weekends, I switch it out. You don’t even have to do the same thing every day.
I agree. Most people, carrying the fast through the night, not eating right away in the morning, I think for most people that works best because most people are not hungry first thing in the morning. I agree.
I’m going to Facebook Live this. I’m going to put it up there. Go ahead and ask the next question. I think people will love this. Go ahead.
Awesome. In the middle of a—we’re podcasting, recording, Facebook Living. Been loving the social media lately, Dr. Pompa.
I just wanted to followup on that, too. If you’re suggesting possibly a larger meal in the middle of the day, the European way, they suggest a siesta after that. What kind of effect would that have on our body composition or insulin response if any? I’m just curious.
I don’t know that there’s a lot of data on the siesta, but certainly the old-style European, because you know a lot of Europeans are switching more to an American-style eating schedule, I think is ideal. They tend to have a big midday meal and then very light dinner. I think that works very well.
The siesta, personally, I think is great in terms of stress reduction, which is one of the things that is never really talked about a lot. Clearly, there’s an effect. All these stress hormones and if you’re under a lot of stress, you gain weight, right? If you’re not sleeping well and you’re under a lot of stress, you gain weight. We know that there’s an effect of these stress hormones. I wonder often.
-inaudible- TV episode, but I wanted to bring you in live because of the topic. Jason, meet the Facebook Live people. They’re going to be watching. Anyway, go ahead. Finish your point.
Terrific. Yeah, as we were just talking about the siesta, and I think, personally, I love to sleep a couple hours in the afternoon when I can. It happens once a year, right? Sometimes on a Sunday afternoon, I’ll go oh okay, this is awesome. I find it just so relaxing. Sometimes I’m at the cottage, and I get a little nap in the afternoon. That is the best I feel all year because it happens two times a year, right? My kids always want me to take them fishing or something, right?
I think there is actually something to that. I think that the siesta specifically more relates more to stress, and relaxation, and so on. The problem, of course, is we go to these 24/7 worlds where we’re always working or always checking our emails. We’re always worrying about this. We’re always worrying about that. One of the things that really is important is to unstress yourself. Where I think to some -inaudible- lifestyle is disappearing, though. The European relaxed lifestyle, it unfortunately is disappearing. On the other hand, if you are able to incorporate some of these ideas, I think that’s great.
Just following up with Dr. Pompa’s ideas, our number one rule for fasting is really to fit it into your life and to really do something you can stick with long term because if you do these longer fasts but it completely breaks up your normal dinner with your family and you’re not going to social events because you don’t want to eat, that’s not the idea. The idea is to do what you normally do -inaudible- and slot it in. If it’s not a shorter fast, maybe a 16/8 schedule, then that’s what you should do, not try and force these schedules into your life and make it something of a big deal.
In the old days in a lot of religions, they would have prescribed periods of fasting so it would fit into people’s lives. Let’s say Greek Orthodox where they have lots of different fasting days, it does fit into their life because everybody in their community is doing it, too. They’ve already allowed for that Ramadan, which is the Muslim faith. There’s lots of different ways—around Easter, and Lent, and so on.
There are lots of ways that people have used to build this into their way of life. That is our most important rule so that you can keep it up long term because this is not something you do for a couple of days -inaudible- healthy and to stay on top of yourself, to prevent the illness, not to let it all build up.
Doc, we know that research is showing why so many amazing things happen during fasts. Healing occurs during fasts, and that’s why, as you mentioned, it’s throughout history. Every religious group fasts, everything fasting, Epocrates. We go back into history, and we can see that fasting has been a part of healing in multiple ways, even emotionally.
Today, I know the gentleman who won the Nobel Prize last year talks about autophagy being all these bad cells dying during fasts and good cells becoming stronger. What are some of the other reasons that you have found in your research why so much healing occurs during fasting?
I think that’s absolutely right. One of the really powerful things that people talk about now is the autophagy. Related to that is this idea that everybody thinks that breakdown of protein is bad, but it’s not. In order for people to stay healthy, what you’ve got to do is break down all that old protein and rebuild the new protein. That’s how the body works.
If you look at bone, for example, our bones are not static throughout our lives. There are osteoclasts and osteoblasts. You’re actually turning over the bone, and that’s a cycle of renewal. If you leave that old bone on there all the time, it will become brittle, and it’ll snap. It’s the same with proteins. If you can take some of that old protein, break it down, and then rebuild it, it’s much better.
For example, if you think about renovating your kitchen or you’re renovating your bathroom, the first thing you’ve got to do if you renovate your 1970s bathroom is throw out that lime green bathtub that’s sitting there, right? You simply can’t build and put another bathtub on top of it. You’ve got to throw it out, right? You throw it out, and then you build it again.
If you think about what fasting does, that’s exactly right. You have this process that has been recently described, which is the autophagy, where you break down this old protein. On the other hand, you secrete very high levels of growth hormone, which means that when you start to eat, your body is going to start building up this new one. That’s perfect, right? It’s a complete renewal cycle. You’re renovating all your new cells. That’s incredible.
When people talk about it, there are several different areas that people are very interested in. One is Alzheimer’s disease because we know in Alzheimer’s disease, you have all this old junky old protein that’s sitting around clogging up your brain. What if you had a process where you could actually clear it out, and get rid of that old junky protein, and renew it? That’s amazing and maybe has the power to prevent something even as prevalent as Alzheimer’s disease.
The other thing that people talk about is cancer cells. Cancer -inaudible- your body to throw out some of this old protein and so on and get rid of it. Of course, the other powerful thing is that it lowers insulin -inaudible- which is very well known is that it’s a growth factor. If stuff is growing, if you’ve got fertile ground to grow cancer cells, then they’re going to grow. If you lock down the glucose and you shut down the growth factor such as insulin, it’s like taking away sunlight and water, right? Those cancer cells just cannot grow in that kind of environment.
Again, you have here something which is not a real treatment. It’s preventative, and that’s the way we’ve always used it. Do a week a year, a month a year, a couple days a week -inaudible- put a lid on all that stuff, but it’s a cycle of renewal. In that sense, it’s almost got an anti-aging property which is fantastic because this is what everybody’s looking for, right? They’re looking for this fountain of youth, and maybe we’ve had it all along, right? Isn’t that crazy? We had it all in front of us all along. We just decided to ignore it, right? That’s the crazy part about it.
We know with fasting that certain genes get turned on for longevity, the SIRT1 gene, for example. We know that bad genes get turned off. In another study that was—I don’t know. Maybe it was two years ago. Maybe it was last year. They showed that during fast, the proteins, your immune cells actually get depleted in a good way. Then, because the body comes back in an adaptation, you actually make all these stem cells because it wants to regenerate these immune cells. It makes better immune cells, stronger immune cells. It starves down the old ones, gets rid of them, and makes new ones via stem cells.
They were saying that with another recent fasting in cancer—what works so well for cancer is the stem cell connection. I’m sure you’ve read that study.
Yeah, absolutely. There’s many potential mechanisms, not a lot of studies in humans, honestly, but so many interesting things that could come out of it.
Really, as in medicine, you always look at what the risk/benefit ratio is. -inaudible- benefits aren’t proven. What’s the risk? People have been doing it for thousands of years at least, at least since we became humans. There’s very little risk to doing it on a regular basis. Not like all of a sudden just jumping out and doing a huge 40-day fast when you’re on 30 medications, right? That’s not what we’re talking about, right? We’re talking about doing it on a regular basis throughout your life the way people used to do it, right?
The risk/benefit ratio is just off the charts because the risk is so low when you do it on a controlled manner with education, and the benefits are potentially—look at the benefits: diabetes, weight loss, cancer -inaudible- modern medicine, right? Diabetes affects so many, anti-aging, so much. People talk about it in terms of athletics. People talk about training in a fasting state, all of these potential things.
One of the things that I think is personally very interesting that’s topical is also in terms of mental clarity. People talk about it in terms of being able to function better in terms of your mental clarity because everybody thinks oh, you eat food to let you concentrate. It’s actually the exact opposite. Everybody knows that. You eat a huge meal, and you get this food coma. After Thanksgiving meal, you sit down, and all you can do is watch TV, whereas when you don’t eat, your brain is actually able to work better. People talk about this mental clarity. People are using it almost as a biohack.
For example, a group in Silicon Valley, they meet together, and they’re young, skinny guys, right? They don’t need any of this other stuff, but they use it because they realize that they can use it to function better. If you’re in a hyper-competitive market, that means bigger promotion, more money. -inaudible-
You and I on the last episode talked about on our busiest days, we just simply don’t eat. I don’t even realize sometimes. I go oh, I didn’t eat today because I get so busy. My focus, my brain works the best when I’m in a fasting state. There is no doubt about it.
Many people watching this, Doc, are going to say it’s the complete opposite for me. I don’t know what they’re talking about because their cells are literally only able to use sugar, very little fat, as an energy source. They don’t adapt. When they go even three hours without food, they start getting dizzy, angry, irritable, but that’s a pathology of the cell. Talk about that.
That does happen, for sure. It takes a couple of weeks for your cells to get used to it. When you first do it and you’re used to having all this sugar, and your body runs on sugar, and then you don’t give it sugar, you’re going to be a little bit off. Just like when people—you have alcoholics, for example. You’ve got these withdrawal symptoms. You have to let your body become accustomed to burning fat.
Now, it’s a lot easier to go from a very low-carbohydrate diet to fasting because your body is already used to burning fat whether it burns fat in your diet or whether it burns body fat, it makes no difference. It’s fat. It just burns it. We’ve noticed that people who come from that ketogenic, low-carb diet find fasting a very natural transition. They transition into it no problem. The people who eat 55, 60% carbohydrate diet like they used to tell us in the American Dietary Guidelines, they really have a hell of a time. Luckily, it only lasts for about two weeks. Then your body just gets used to the fasting. After that, away it goes.
Certainly, there is a period of adaptation. People used to call it different things -inaudible-.
Keto flu, yeah.
—week or two where you just feel like crap because your body has no sugar, which it’s used to, and your body is not yet used to burning fat. You’ve really got no energy. You can’t really think and that sort of thing.
It’s interesting because if you look at the muscles, when you switch over to a ketogenic diet, for example, you see that you upregulate the genes that let the muscle oxidize the fat better. You can actually stain for that. You can see that when you go on to diet -inaudible- just fuel source the fat.
Your muscles, for example, don’t have all the receptors that they need to burn it properly, right? It upregulates. You start to produce more of them. Then, you use the fat more efficiently. Then, you’re good to go. About two weeks, we tell people. It takes that much time.
You’re saying the muscles—you were breaking up there. For our viewers here just bring some clarity. You were saying that these receptors in the muscles and possibly in the liver, they become more efficient. They become active, if you will, and you may even develop more of them. Therefore, now all the sudden, you’re utilizing fat for energy at a much better rate.
Go ahead, Meredith. I know we have a lot of questions from the last show. These Facebook Live people probably didn’t realize that we do have another episode that we did. This is part two of an interview with Jason Fung. Go ahead and ask some of those questions because those are great questions. People have them.
There sure are so many. Just want to follow up quickly, though, because so many people do pair the keto diet with fasting. Is the success of that likely due to the fact that the keto diet really tends to suppress our hunger from all of the fat?
I think there is that because if you look at the study—I think this is quite interesting. If you eat proteins, there are hormones that get released, such as peptide YY, that will tell us to not eat anymore. That’s satiety. The same for dietary fat: if you eat fat, you release cholecystokinin, which has the same sort of satiety mechanism, whereas if you eat a lot of refined carbohydrates, sugar and wheat for example, you don’t get that.
It’s very easy to see because if you eat a big huge buffet meal and then somebody says well here, have another pork chop, you’d be like oh, I really can’t do that. If somebody says oh hey, you want a cookie? You’re like yeah, sure. I could do a cookie. They might be an equal number of calories, but you really see that the cookies really don’t activate your satiety mechanism, so you can stuff it down.
This is what I call the second stomach phenomenon, which is what we used to say as kids. Your mom would say do you want a cookie, and then you’d say yes. She’d say hey, I thought you were full. No, I have a second stomach for deserts. That’s what we also used to say as kids. It’s true because you can. You can put it down no problem. You could eat two cookies and some ice cream no problem.
That’s the whole idea that if you go for a ketogenic diet, then you’re activating all -inaudible- to that intermittent fasting. If you’re doing shorter ones, like 16 hours, 24 hours, then you’re going to naturally go into that. It’s very, very easy.
Yeah, I think the satiety mechanisms do play a big role. If you’re coming from a very high carbohydrate diet—this is the whole problem is that if you eat two slices of white toast with jam in the morning, which used to be quite common because hey, there’s very little fat in that, then you get hungry at 10:30. If you eat a couple of eggs, you’re not hungry until 12. That’s that satiety effect, and that’s very important.
It was eating all those refined carbohydrates in the first place that led us to say oh yeah, you should just eat all the time. It’s like okay, but that doesn’t make any sense physiologically. I think it’s a lot easier coming in.
One of the things I wanted you to address is that five, six meals a day. Many people watching this still are hearing from their trainer or someone else to eat five, six meals a day. What I always say is it kind of works in the beginning. You maintain your metabolism. People could lose a little bit of weight. Then they hang onto that, but it would stop. Then they don’t lose weight. Now, you’re aging faster than you should. Eating more we know ages you more, especially when you eat more often. Speak to that a little bit.
I think he froze. His internet is in and out.
Shoot. You could speak to it, and then we can follow up with Dr. Fung.
I’d love to get Doc’s opinion on that just because I’m sure he hears that all the time. What we say on this show is don’t eat less, eat less often because we know that if we just cut calories, our metabolism does go down. The premise of keep your metabolism up, eat more often, people do tend to lose a little weight in the beginning because they’re so catabolic, and it keeps their body from burning its muscle and keeps the metabolism up.
It’s short lived. It really backfires because you’re not ever giving your body time to burn its own stored fat for fuel. When you’re doing that, when you’re not eating in an intermittent fasting state, whether it’s fasting through the night, 16 hours, 18, 20, you’re allowing your body to burn its own fat, and therefore you’re getting a very constant glucose and insulin. That’s the key to living longer. We know that.
Ketosis was called the diet that mimics fasting because you’re basically getting this rise in ketones. It mimics fasting. I think that fasting itself brings a whole lot of different and more benefits than even does ketosis. Putting them together is magic, as well.
I think he might be back, here. Dr. Fung, are you with us?
Is that where -inaudible-. He’s coming back on. I think the satiety component with the keto diet, as we were just talking about, too, is really key.
Remember that study I sent you not too long ago, Dr. Pompa, where most Americans are eating probably 15, 18 times a day. Remember I thought that was so shocking, but most people out there aren’t counting that handful of nuts their eating, or the half a smoothie they’ve drunk, and those little things that they’re having throughout the day. That still counts as food. It’s still spiking their insulin.
It is, and you’re spiking insulin even if you ate a salad or a handful of nuts. Again, you want to die sooner, you want to age faster, just eat, honestly. Every longevity study is basically done—the science shows. Eating less is the key. However, you can’t just say okay, I’m done eating. Really, the key is eating less often.
I had the opportunity to visit a hunting/gathering tribe that ate one meal a day. It was the first I saw that, but again, even ancient Europe was two meals a day. They had their dinner in the middle of the afternoon and later on in the day another meal, but they didn’t eat breakfast.
I think that there are so many studies that show this, that we have it all wrong as far as the number, eating more often. It’s just a fast way to age, fast way to age.
When you were just watching them eat that one meal, too, was it a massive meal or was it just like it was a big meal but it wasn’t shockingly huge? I’m just curious.
Yeah, they sure did. They ate a lot, I have to say. It wasn’t like it was this quick thing. I think even when we look at any ancient culture, that meal time, it’s their social part of their day. It almost tends to go on for a couple hours, right?
I do the same thing. Once I start eating—let’s say I’m going to eat at 4 o’clock today. I can continue that process. I start with some cheeses. I start with maybe some nuts. Then, I sit down to the meal. A glass of wine, dry farm wine, but the whole process is a process. -inaudible- lifestyle. We’re in and out. We don’t even sit down. I think that it really is—that one big meal wasn’t like they sat down and got up 45 minutes later.
During that time period, they ate a lot more food. Imagine if you tried to eat all that in a half hour. It would seem ridiculous. As you put the social end of it in, you eat longer.
Such an important point, too, to just think of the joy factor as we eat, as well, and to really enjoy it. I think, sometimes, when we’re very health-minded and health-focused, it can just be a little bit legalistic. Okay, I’m going to sit down, and I’m going to eat my grass-fed protein, and my coconut oil-fried vegetables, and my organic sweet potato for my starch because I’m supposed to have my starch in the evening to carb backload—just taking the joy out of the experience, whereas if we’re just eating and having a few hours to enjoy it where we’re starting with the cheese. Oh, there’s Dr. Fung again. Hopefully, we’ll get him back on. Have that beautiful experience around food which we’re meant to enjoy then we can even get more benefit from the food when we eat it, as well.
Oh, I know. There’s no doubt. Dr. Fung, are you with us?
Oh, shoot. I see him, see his picture.
The guy is a wealth of knowledge. I know one of the questions is—we get it all the time as far as can diabetics fast. This is what Dr. Fung does. He’s fasting people with massive insulin resistance and diabetes. His results have been more than spectacular. Obesity, all of it, they’re fasting, again, with amazing results. I think that if we can get him back on, we’d really gain a lot.
He said his Wi-Fi died again. Darn.
-inaudible- Tell him to look at other things pulling from it.
He’s on a desktop now and just doesn’t have a webcam. Dr. Fung, if you can just do audio, that’s great.
If you just want to speak. Can you hear us?
Ask me another question that people had because I really wanted this to be about answering their questions.
A lot of people who are commenting and having questions on the impact of fasting on the microbiome, a couple questions on how fasting could impact SIBO specifically, and a general impact on gut issues, and how fasting can be healing for really specific gut challenges.
It’s one in our category of ancient healing strategies. I always say you can’t fix the gut with just giving bacteria. We look at ancient healing strategies. Diets, ketosis, cellular healing diet, that’s how you fix a gut. Fasting intermittent, block fasting, that’s how you fix a gut. Even diet variation, that’s how you fix a gut.
Fasting is magical for the gut because you’re starving down old bacteria. Then, just like we said we’re starving down immune cells really fast, and stem cells recreate stronger, better ones, the same thing is happening with the microbiome. We’re starving down bacteria. Now, we’re able to create better, stronger good guys, getting rid of the bad guys.
Reinoculating after a fast is a really perfect time to start eating some fermented foods and different things, good rich fibers, that will feed the good guys, as well. Just the resetting of the microbiome occurs during fast. I would love to get Dr. Fung’s opinion on that because I know he may even be a part of some of those studies.
Just referring back to why people are sick, the gut today is damaged, the microbiome. We know that toxins are playing a big role here. We know that certain genes get turned on. The multitherapy approach, we use these ancient healing strategies like fasting as really the key to how you fix a gut today and a microbiome.
Are there more healing methods of fasting or liquids to fast on than others for gut healing?
I would say that each fast is a little different. It’s different for everybody. Pure water fasting you get the most autophagy happening, where you’re starving down bacteria and bad cells. Broth fast you get a lot of different electrolytes, and type II collagen, and different minerals that are amazing for the gut. Then, we have whey water, which is a whole different type of fast that offers different fermented, different bacteria, many different types of fast which could be appropriate for people at different times. I like to use a variety of different fasts with people. The body almost gravitates to one over the other.
I remember when I first met you, and started with the company, and learning about fasting, I did a four-day whey water fast. I found it to be—it was so healing but so easy, too. I couldn’t believe it because I thought the whey water was delicious, number one. As you’ve said, number two, especially for those starting out if you’re listening, haven’t done a block fast before, which means fasting for consecutive days—that the whey water can be very easy because the blood sugar stays balanced because of that lactose in the whey water.
Exactly. It’s an easy one for people to do because they’re not used to using fat for energy. Those first two or three days can be hell. The whey water absolutely makes that easier.
No doubt I’m a firm believer in water fasting. I’ve studied it for years. I think it’s the most natural way of fasting. Partial fasting in many ways, maybe just with some fats, MCT oil or coconut oil with some broth, you’re going to get a lot of benefits there, too.
I think I’m always asked this question: how long should I fast? We’re talking about block fasting, not daily intermittent fasting, which maybe some of our people are new to this. Block fasting, I like four days. Many people just do a three-day fast, but when you understand that what’s happening from a physiological standpoint, you realize that most of the magic happens on day four. Why stop at the fast day three? It takes that adaptation to break through to where you’re now actually producing really high ketones.
We measure ketones. This is one of the ways I do. This is a breath—it looks at acetones in the breath. Then, of course, we can do the blood prick, too, which I do. Right now, I’m doing some experimenting with both.
We’re able to see higher levels of ketones on day four, which again, ketones turn off bad genes. Ketones heal the brain. Ketones are remarkable for all types of different healing that’s occurring in the cell. If you tested your ketones, you would realize why would I stop day three so at least day four.
From there, I will even put people in maybe a partial fast where they’re not doing any more than 3 to 500 calories in a day. It could be from broth, fats, avocado, some very light foods, maybe some eggs. Going from a fast to a partial fast, the healing will still occur.
You can tell because their tongues will change. Some people don’t have a lot of nutrition stores. It’s very difficult for them. In a partial fast, you’ll see their tongue turn white, yellow, green where the body says you know what? I’m good with this. I’m going to continue healing.
I hope Dr. Fung -inaudible-. He may not be able to join us again.
No, unfortunately his Wi-Fi has dropped, and he doesn’t have a mic and just really not sure why he can’t get back on.
We’ll have him on again. We’ll have him again. Let me answer some more questions. We’ll finish out the hour, here. While you’re doing that, I’ll just show—go ahead. Ask me a question. I’m going to do this.
Okay, let’s see what your ketones are right now. We’ll check where you’re at, Dr. Pompa. Awesome.
One of the questions: how can people avoid weight gain post fast? I think this is more in reference to block fast versus the daily intermittent fast, of course. They’re doing this fast for a couple of days—which I wanted to make that point, too. Once you’re on day three, day four, you’re hunger really does shut off at a certain point. It’s not like you’re starving the whole time or if you are hungry the whole time during a longer block fast, then maybe there’s something else that’s more broken at the cellular level, I think. Anyway, just to kind of—if they’ve done a longer fast, three, four days, hopefully have hit that four-day mark and they want to avoid the weight gain post fast, what do they do?
Look, you don’t come off of a fast and go into the standard American diet. That would be a waste. You don’t break a fast too hard. You break a fast very gradually, of course, very slow and low: soft foods, blended foods, some cooked. Believe it or not, raw is harder to break down even than cooked vegetables so soft cooked vegetables. That’s really the appropriate way to break your fast. Avocado is perfect. It’s what you do post fast, that’s why you wouldn’t gain weight.
You move right into ketosis. I love taking people out of a fast. They’re forced into ketosis in three days. All of a sudden, their ketones are going up, above .5 on a blood measuring hydroxybutyrate. When they start eating again, you’ll see a drop in that, but then they’ll start rising right back up and end up in ketosis. That’s an easy way not to gain weight after. Utilize that to force your cells to use fat for energy by going into ketosis. That would be one of the best suggestions I have.
Great, and it’s what you do after the fast. That is so true. Dr. Fung, we’re going to reschedule with him. Yeah, a few more here.
I thought this was an interesting question. It says, “Hi. How do you explain vegans or people who eat high-carb, low-fat diets and have normal blood sugar levels? I’m really curious about this because I have tried both low-carb and high-carb diets, and honestly, neither worked for me. I’ve had continuous elevated blood sugar for a few years now, and I don’t know how to lower it. I also have an eight-hour eating window for the same few years, and it didn’t seem to work. Do I need to fast for a longer period of time, or what could be going on?”
With every fast, more healing occurs. Every fast, your body gets more and more efficient. More bad cells die through autophagy. Like he was saying, the receptors become even more responsive. You can develop more receptors. With each fast, more efficiency. I just did a Facebook Live yesterday, and I talked about this with Marilee because Marilee was not successful in breaking through even in ketosis. Her glucose would remain a little high, and her ketones would not rise up.
Again, now it’s been whatever years intermittent fasting, and different daily fasting, fasting. Now, what’s happening is her glucose is dropping, her ketones are rising, but it took some time to get her to—she wasn’t sick. She wasn’t diagnosed with diabetes by any means, but no doubt about it she had some hormone resistance, which is what we see in a lot of women during perimenopause, with thyroid issues, etc.
I am often asked that question: is it harder for women? Scientists seem to say no, but I say clinically, yes. We see that, but that doesn’t mean you can’t break through.
Now, the other part of that question was why do you see some people on maybe a vegetarian diet with normal blood glucose? Again, a vegetarian diet could affect you in other ways, not just with an insulin resistance. Again, if you’re doing it right with a lot of fiber, that would control your glucose, too.
That doesn’t mean that eating all day is healthy. You could end up not having diabetes or insulin resistance and aging prematurely because the more often you eat, the sooner you’re going to age. It’s going to be a little different for everyone.
Right now, we’re doing a study with Dr. Mercola and some of our platinum doctors. We have them hooked up to what’s called Dexcom. That measures your glucose all day and night. We have a gal who is going in ketosis right now on a vegan diet. Just because you’re vegan or vegetarian doesn’t mean that you can’t go into ketosis, and we’re actually proving that.
There’s plenty of fats in vegetable form, and it’s still about carbohydrates, net carbs, meaning that you’re going to get a lot of fiber. You just keep your carbs low, and your fats high, and your protein moderate, boom. You’re on ketosis on a vegan diet. Pretty neat.
Again, I’m not saying that we should be in ketosis all the time. I think that I got some slack at the carb conference I spoke at. The point is that—
Good for you for sharing on it, going against the grain.
Every culture was in and out of ketosis. The moment they could get out for any reason, more root vegetables or berries, whatever it was, they did. They were human. I believe that these times of ketosis are really necessary to reset our DNA, to change our epigenetics. I think that we’re learning that these times in ketosis are very, very needed in humans.
By the way, many cultures went into ketosis because they lacked food. They were fasting or partial fasting. The Hunza people, it was starvation spring, out of food, the Indians, same thing. Fasting or just shifting to a diet higher in fat happened because it had to happen, or it was forced to happen.
Today, we’re loaded up with carbohydrates constantly. When I move into a higher-carbohydrate diet, I’m not saying moving into—it’s still considered a low-carb diet, by the way, whether it’s 100 to 150 grams of carbs a day. That by American standard—for me, that’s higher carb, but for the American standard, that’s still low carb. The average American gets 100 grams of carb for breakfast, for God’s sakes, of pure sugar.
Anyways, maybe there were some more questions you had there. Those were good ones.
Yeah, It is crazy to think that—I’m hearing a lot of echo.
I don’t hear your echo.
No? Okay. Just -inaudible-. Alright, so let’s see here.
Okay, here’s a question. Here’s a Live question. Can I take a Live question?
Bring it on, yeah.
Gina said, “Is it wise to force your body into ketosis when you have elevated cortisol levels since ketones alone stresses the body, since ketosis alone stresses the body?”
No, because we actually see a lowering of cortisol because what happens is fat and ketones burn much more efficiently than does glucose. Remember, a cortisol rise is a normal response at certain times of the day. It’s not like every cortisol rise—now, hypercortisol is not good.
However, we know that we get this leveling off just because we’re switching the cell energy from being glucose driven, which drives up oxidation in the cell, to fat or ketones, which lowers it, which is taking a metabolic stress off the body.
Now, I would say this: for those people who have more adrenal fatigue, they need more electrolytes because during when you’re breaking through in adaptation in ketosis, switching from sugar burner to fat burner, that you will deplete glycogen in -inaudible- going out will bring some electrolytes with it. Magnesium, potassium, sodium, make sure you get these, even zinc. Definitely elevate that level. Salt intake helps you hold onto potassium, so we increase the salt.
By the way, salt is fantastic for your thyroid and your adrenals. Just support with some extra, at least 2 teaspoons, of sea salt a day when you’re especially breaking into ketosis. You will have success.
That was a great question. Bring me some more questions.
Awesome. Thanks, Gina, great question. We get this a lot: as far as during the fasting or the feeding window, the proper number of calories to eat. I know that may be dependent on goals. There are a lot of different variables, but how do people have a gauge for how many calories to consume during that fasting window to meet their needs?
I showed this article in Scientific American. The article, you should get this, Meredith: “Workouts and Weight Loss: Learn the surprising evolutionary reason why exercise alone won’t shed pounds.” In this, they were stunned because they measured the caloric output of one of these hunting/gathering tribes in northern Tanzania.
These people did the one-meal-a-day thing. All day, the men were out chasing down game. They’re literally exhausted, just like the tribe I visited. The women are out gathering. They’re just gone. It’s unbelievable the amount of work they’re putting in in a day.
They measured their caloric output with the most scientific way, the most accurate way. I think it’s called the doubly water test. It measures CO2, and it’s the most accurate way of looking at how many calories somebody burns at the end of a day.
You know what they found? For men, whether you were in this tribe—these men in this tribe who went all day long, burned 2500 calories a day on average. Guess what? Compared to the average American couch potato, it was the same! Humans were genetically burning about the same amount of calories. Ladies, it’s about -inaudible-.
Yeah. I think that my answer to that is why ingest more than 2500 calories unless you’re a body builder who’s trying to put on muscle. Then you’re going to want to take in more calories because you’re trying to transition that into muscle. Now, I think you’re giving up some health benefits when you’re doing that. To become larger, more muscular than the average human or your average metabolism DNA wants to be, you’re going to have to eat more calories.
The bottom line is that if this no matter what we burn, whether we’re sitting on the darn couch or whether we’re chasing down animals all day, I think this gives us a good idea. In your eating window, anywhere between 2,000 and 2500 calories is probably where you’re going to end up as far as what you need or want to be satisfied. I think it could be less. I think some people might have a lower metabolism.
Remember, these are averages for very healthy people. Unhealthy people, you may be a male burning 1800 for all I know. Again, that was a study done on a very healthy, thriving tribe that’s able to burn that genetic maximum human.
By the way, when they looked at primates, apes in the zoo—primates were half of the human caloric burn at the end of a day, basically exactly half. Apes in the zoo burned the same amount of calories as apes in the wild, despite being so much more active. Crazy, right?
Fascinating. That’s amazing that with such different lifestyles and activity levels, that it would be the same. That just speaks so deeply, I think, too, to an innate intelligence that, regardless of our situation, our bodies adapt. It’s really incredible, that information. I love that.
Do you have time for a few more questions, or do we need to wrap it up?
Yeah, go ahead. Give me a couple more questions. Maybe some of you on Facebook, share or like this, guys. I know you’ve all had a lot of questions about fasting and on ketosis. This is a way to transform many conditions. You heard Dr. Fung in the beginning of this talk about all these benefits. I wish we were able to keep him on. I’ll bring him on again. Share and like this with your people there.
Anyway, maybe I’ll get another question from here. Fire one more off me.
I think this is interesting, too, just curious to ask Dr. Pompa on fat fasting. This is a technique that I think some people use to break into ketosis and to burn fat where, literally, for days on end. I think I’ve done this for at least a day or two where you’re literally eating nothing but fat. Perhaps, you’re eating literally a stick of butter with sea salt or straight up coconut butter or coconut oil, literally eating pure fat for at least a day, maybe multiple days on end to break into ketosis and to burn fat. What are your thoughts there? Is that a healthy thing to do?
I think it’s degraded. I would call that a partial fast. You’re not purely fasting, but you’re eating fats. I’ve done that with several of my clients, especially for people who just are so unhealthy at the cellular level, in their mitochondria, that breaking through for them would be difficult. I would add some of these MCT oils, coconut oils, some ghee, some of these really sustaining fats, and they did good. They still got a benefit. Then the next time they fasted, or maybe two times later, then they were able to do just pure water. It could just be a strategy to break through. A little bit of broth and some fats is a nice modified partial fast.
Yeah, easier to maintain your insulin, and your blood glucose levels, and a transitional-type fast, that’s great. This is talked about a lot, too, unless you have some other questions coming in.
No, I don’t have any other coming in.
Some of them were just wondering about longer-term fasting and if there’s dangers to that. I know you’ve talked about this a lot, but I’m just really digging in for people who just aren’t getting results with intermittent fasting, shorter-term fast. They’re just seeking to maybe do a longer-term fast but also a little bit nervous about it. Can you speak to that?
I think that, first of all, to do a longer-term fast, you need a professional practitioner who understands fasting because, no doubt, intermittent fasting daily, I think that’s a completely different animal. Things can change. Electrolyte depletion can occur. Then, you must break the fast. Longer fasting, definitely supervised.
You’d be stunned—and I’ve realized just right now I have another call I have to get on, but you’d be stunned how long people can fast. Tell them the other episodes that we did with Dr. Dempsey fasted 22 days, another doc with 30 days. You can refer to those episodes. I’m going to sign off here. Go ahead and refer to those episodes on Cellular TV. Thanks, guys.
I’m not sure of the numbers exactly, but if you go to podcast.drpompa.com and water fasting done right is with Dr. Derrick Dempsey. He did a 22-day water fast. With Dr. Don Clum, he also did about a 30-day water fast. Those are about maybe around the 110, 114 marks for Cell TV. We’ll look those up and make sure they’re in the shout-outs correctly. Those are definitely key episodes to check out, as well, for those doctors who did longer fasts and got some really interesting results.
Thanks so much, Dr. Pompa, for the awesome answers. Thanks, everyone, for the amazing questions. Stay tuned, we’re going to get Dr. Fung back and dig into more of your questions for him. Have a wonderful weekend, and we’ll see you soon.