What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating regimen which involves fasting over a set period of time. Simply put, it is “time-restricted feeding”. Many studies have found that IF is generally a safe and effective procedure, and can help promote healthy weight loss, cardiovascular health as well as improve gut health.
There exists many different diet styles and regimens which claim to support weight loss, increase longevity and health. Some are meant to be short term, such as water-fasting or juice-fasting, while others may be considered long-term lifestyle dietary changes such as the vegan diet, paleo diet, keto diet and carnivore diet. Regarding the long-term diets, many of them are not sustainable, as they often require us to meticulously count calories, restrict consumption of a wide range of foods, limit our food intake drastically and even eliminate healthy foods in our diet. In considering what quality of the diet, the fundamental principles as outlined by the “Healthy Eating Index” should always apply: The diet should have adequacy in nutritional value, balanced composition of food groups, diversity and variety within and across food groups, moderation in consumption of specific foods. This is often seen as a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fibre-rich foods, healthy proteins and fats as well as minimizing intake of foods with added sugars, as well as over-processed foods. Generally, diets which lead us to consume or eliminate specific food groups or specific macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, proteins) are considered to be imbalanced and require attention to the psychological, physiological and cognitive effects that result from dieting. Ideally, one would receive regular check-up and follow-ups from a healthcare specialist to ensure that nutrient deficiencies and health complications do not arise. Thus, long term dietary plans should be in line with sensible food choices as underscored in the principles of the “Healthy Eating Index”. Amongst the plethora of diet protocols, one in particular has gained significant scientific research to support its practise: intermittent fasting.
What are the benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
The health benefits of IF are largely attributed to the upregulation of lipolysis and autophagy. During the fasting period, our body starts to break down its internal stores of energy, such as fat and glycogen, in order to sustain metabolic processes. This leads to an increase in lipolysis (fatty acid breakdown), glycogenolysis (glycogen breakdown) and gluconeogenesis (production of glucose from other molecules) which are processes that facilitate weight loss. The increase in free fatty acids in the blood also helps to activate anti-inflammatory pathways and increase immune regulation. IF also leads to autophagy. Autophagy is considered a “protective housekeeping mechanism”, because it breaks down broken, old cellular machinery and eliminates pathogens. Autophagy has been shown to be protective against neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, infectious and metabolic diseases, as well as improve resilience to stress and longevity. The process of fasting increases the process of autophagy in the cells our tissues and organs.
Studies have showed that intermittent fasting is associated with decreased blood triglyceride levels, lower low density-lipoprotein cholesterol, lower C-reative protein as well as decreased blood pressure. As these are common biomarkers for inflammation and cardiovascular health, it suggests that integrating intermittent fasting into our daily regimen may improve overall health. Furthermore, studies in animals have found an improvement in insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, suggesting a therapeutic benefit in preventing and reversing diabetes. In fact, the immense benefit of intermittent fasting in diabetes management and treatment has been discussed by physicians such as Dr. Fung, who has incorporated IF into his clinical practise. There are also studies in animal models which show that IF confers neuroprotective benefits by reducing oxidative stress, reducing inflammation, preserving memory and delaying aging. Furthermore, it has been suggested that the process of IF promotes a healthy gut microbiome by affecting the composition of residential microorganisms.
Which IF protocols are there?
Although IF has been shown to be safe and potential beneficial for human health, there exists a wide range of IF protocols which can be adopted, and no particular guideline as to which protocol one should choose. One simply has to try out the various versions of IF to feel and see which one best suits one’s lifestyle, health goals and other personal health considerations. Intermittent fasting protocols vary by the length of fasting period as well as the frequency in which IF fasting is done. The 16/8 method involves fasting 16 hours per day and feeding 8 hours per day, though it is suggested that women fast at most up to 14-15 hours per day. Some may also opt to do 12/12 or 14/10 diet , depending on one’s schedule and comfort level. Typically, the fasting periods can extend from 12 hours to 20 hours. The frequency of IF can vary depending on one’s preference ; some commit to 2 days a week, while others may decide to fast more frequently for shorter periods of time. Everyone has different habits, schedules, and considerations which they need to take into account when planning out their dietary routine, so it is necessary that one experiments with the various intermittent fasting protocols to arrive at one that works well. Finally, it is always important to remember to maintain a healthy, balanced diet as foundation to the diet, as well as to be mindful and responsive to one’s personal, emotional and physical wellbeing.
How to Integrate Koso into IF procedure (Intermittent Cleansing way)
R's KOSO is a nutritional enzyme drink made with over 100 different fruits, vegetables and herbs which have been fermented through a traditional Japanese fermentation process (see below). Koso can be consumed on a regular basis often by diluting 30 ml of R's KOSO in 120ml of water around 1~ 5 times a day. For immediate gut support, it is recommended to consume koso at least once a day. Furthermore, R's KOSO can be integrated into intermittent fasting protocol to enhance its health benefits. R's KOSO can be consumed from one to more times a day as a replacement to/in conjunction with regular meals. For sustained gut health support, it is recommended to replace regular meals with R's KOSO during one’s intermittent fasting regimen.
R's KOSO is rich in probiotics and contains prebiotics, enzymes and nutrients which help to support the gut and digestive processes, improve skin health, strengthen the immune system and to promote an overall good health.
More detail about the below