My Personal Experience on the Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Original on November 19, 2018, Updated on December 15, 2018

By Sing H. Lin, Ph.D., E-Mail: singhlin@gmail.com

1. My Initial Condition Two Years Ago

Two years ago, my body weight was 215 lbs. which was not just over weight but was obese. My blood test A1C glucose level was 6.3 percent which was pre-diabetics and was close to the threshold (6.4) of diabetic. My triglyceride was 99 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

According to the data from National Health and Nutrition Survey, 39.6% of American adults are obese in 2016 (75% are overweight) and the trend has been increasing steadily year by year. It was 14% in 1970s. So, two years ago, I was one of that 39.6 % of American adults who are obese. More than one-third of American adults have prediabetes, but 90 percent of them don't know they have it, medical experts say.

2. Potentially Fatal Complications of Obesity

Obesity can lead to several fatal diseases, such as heart attack, stroke, some cancers (with 300% higher cancer risk because excess insulin in diabetes is cancer promoter.), diabetes (which can lead to more complications such as blindness, kidney failure, brain failures (dementia) due to Type III diabetes in the brain, nerve damages, or amputation of legs), higher blood pressure and its complications, etc. For example, about 75% of people with diabetes die of heart attack. About 70% of hospital visits in America come from complications of diabetes.

3. Measurable Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

In last few months, I have been doing Intermittent Fasting by eating only one meal (Lunch) per day. In each day, I do not eat any solid food or any snacks except for the good, delicious and very enjoyable lunch. I do drink lots of water, green tea, lemon juice water, or some Kombucha tea (for live probiotic) throughout the day. After several months of Intermittent Fasting, my body weight has dropped by at least 30 lbs. My A1C has dropped from 6.3 to 5.8. My triglyceride has dropped from 99 down to 43 which is considered perfectly normal—ideal.

For many years, my cholesterol has always been in normal range and has not been affected much by the Intermittent Fasting. However, recent research indicates that the critical factor to watch is Remnant Cholesterol which is defined as the Total Cholesterol minus HDL and minus LDL. My Remnant Cholesterol was 20 mg/dL on Dec 7, 2016 (before Intermittent Fasting) and was 9 mg/dL on Sept 5, 2018 (after several months of Intermittent Fasting). So, several months of Intermittent Fasting has improved and reduced my Remnant Cholesterol from 20 (in the O.K. range) down to 9 in the optimal range of less than 17.

The Remnant Cholesterol is explained in the following YouTube websites:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DN9TEfqTMiE&t=36s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0869FKWPoHs

I am still continuing the Intermittent Fasting hoping to reduce my body weight further down closer to the normal range, which is expected to reduce my A1C down closer to the normal range.

4. The Intermittent Fasting Programs That I Have been doing in Recent Two Years


4.1. Phase I Program of Warm Up Training in 2017

In 2017, I started by skipping breakfast and eating two meals (lunch and dinner) per day. After several months on this Phase I program, my body weight was reduced by only about 10 lbs but would not go down further. I was overweight by more than 50 lbs and needed to reduce my weight by 50 lbs or more. So, those several months of 2-meal per day Intermittent Fasting in 2017 can be considered only as a warm up exercise to train my body to get used to about 17 hours of fasting (from dinner time to the lunch time of the following day) per day. After several months of warm up exercise, the metabolism in my body had been tuned up to burn fat/ketone efficiently during the fasting hours and was ready to move on to the Phase II program of Intermittent Fasting by eating only one meal per day.


4.2. Phase II Program of One Meal Per Day in 2018

During these days of Intermittent Fasting in 2018, the first thing I do immediately after getting up in the morning is to drink lots of water.

The one meal that I eat every day is a very nutritious good meal including meat (beef, or chicken, or fish, or duck, etc.), lots of many kinds with many colors of vegetables and fruits, but reduced intake of refined carbohydrate. It is a very delicious and enjoyable meal with good quantity and nutrition. I also eat some fermented raw unpasteurized vegetables, such as raw sauerkraut, Kimchi, pickles, etc. for live probiotics.


4.2.1. Benefits of Reduced Intake of Refined Carbohydrate

The purpose of reduced intake of refined carbohydrate is to stimulate my body to switch my metabolism in my body from the energy source of glucose/carbohydrate to the energy source of fat/ketone to burn off the excess fat in my obese body. In other words, during the long fasting hours, my body is getting the necessary energy to sustain the important life functions by burning off the excess fat/ketone in my obese body because of the lack of glucose coming from carbohydrate or sugar. When our body does not have enough carbohydrates from food for our cells to burn for energy, our body will burn fat instead. For this purpose, our liver breakdown our stored fat into ketones for use as energy source for our cells.


The health benefits of such switch in energy source are (a) Reduced obesity and its associated complications (see Section 2), (b) excess fat inside many cells in our body is the root cause of insulin resistance and of diabetes, burning off the excess fat inside these cells eliminates the root cause and enables reversing and curing the diabetic disease, and (c) Fat/Ketone is a cleaner energy source as compared to glucose/carbohydrate as energy source. In other words, burning glucose to get the necessary energy produces much more waste and free radicals than burning fat/ketone to get the same energy. More waste and more free radicals from burning glucose mean more damages to our body and it requires more energy to clean up and to repair.


Another benefit of reduced intake of carbohydrate is lower risk of cancer. Research continues to show that sugar/glucose is the main source of fuel which feeds cancer and contributes to an inflammatory environment. Sugar essentially increases the risk for cancer. In other words, cancer cells love sugar/glucose, but have no ability to use fat/ketone in our body, whereas our normal cells have the ability to use either sugar/glucose or fat/ketone as the energy source.


Furthermore, carbohydrate has high glycemic index (GI) which produces higher insulin level which is a cancer promoter.


Some people eat ketogenic diet for the purpose of gaining the health benefits of ketones described above. However, study shows that long hours of fasting is five times (500%) more efficient than Ketongenic diet alone (without fasting) to produce lots of ketones in our body.


4.2.2. Benefit of Long Fasting Hours by Skipping Two Meals in a Day

The purpose of skipping two meals every day is to provide enough time and enough energy for autophagy (to be explained later in Section 6) to do its important rejuvenation work on each and every cell in my body. Without the heavy burden of digestion of the two skipped meals in the long hours of fasting per day, autophagy has more time and energy to focus on its important rejuvenation work on my body. I do not eat any solid food or snack (not even vegetables or fruits) during the long fasting hours (about 22 hours every day) to avoid interfering with the important function of autophagy.

4.3. Regular Exercise as Part of My Weight Loss Program

When the weather is good, I do about one hour of outdoor walking exercise twice everyday, once in the morning and the second time in late afternoon. One of my hobbies is photography. So, I often carry my compact super-zoom camera with me while I am doing walking exercise. In this way, I got some very nice photos of spectacular sunset views, beautiful spring flowers, or wildlife in interesting actions, such as birds, wild turkeys, deer, coyote, etc.


But if it is a raining day or too cold outdoor, then I do indoor Work-Out exercise following the "Tae Bo - Basics Work-Out" by Billy Blanks which is available on YouTube website at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY74yNqslNE

I use a PC to access this YouTube video on Internet for me to follow in doing the exercise. It is also possible to use Google Chromecast to cast YouTube video on the PC screen onto a large screen TV for me to follow to do the indoor exercise.


5. My Motivation and Will Power for Intermittent Fasting

5.1. Good Medical References on Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

My strong motivation and will power for doing Intermittent Fasting seriously come from the two important medical references on important health benefits of Intermittent Fasting with many years of extensive clinical experience and many success stories and data by Dr. Jason Fung, MD and other doctors in this field listed in the following.

A. "How to renew your body: Fasting and Autophagy" by Dr. Jason Fung, MD, at the following website:

https://www.dietdoctor.com/renew-body-fasting-autophagy

B. The 300-page book entitled "The Complete Guide to Fasting" by Dr. Jason Fung, MD, and Jimmy Moore. This book can be ordered from Amazon website.

5.2. Additional Motivation Driven by Concern on Potentially Fatal Complications of Obesity

Another strong driving force for doing Intermittent Fasting is the concern on the potentially fatal complications of obesity as described in Section 2.

6. Nobel Prize for Discovery of Autophagy

Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi received Nobel Prize in 2016 for his important discovery of Autophagy (有自我修復身體的憯能) which is one of the key health benefits of Intermittent Fasting as explained in Reference A listed above and in the following paragraphs.

Dr. Jason Fung has cured diabetic disease for thousands of diabetic patients by using Intermittent Fasting with its Autophagy to repair and to reverse the root cause of diabetes. His many years of extensive clinical experience, success stories and associated medical data are described in his 300-page book listed in Reference B above. After being cured, the healed person does not have to take diabetic medication any more, thanks to the Nobel Prized self-healing power of Autophagy, The Power to Heal from Within.

According to Ayurveda (India) - Fasting is the highest medicine. Ayurveda has a long tradition of utilizing fasting as a vital practice for maintaining and regaining health.

Autophagy is the intrinsic mechanism in our body designed to repair and to regenerate new healthy cells if we give autophagy enough energy and enough time period (i.e., fasting period) to do its wonderful rejuvenation work on our body. Our body is designed to heal itself because the body is constantly recreating itself through autophagy. That is how our body is designed.

Intermittent Fasting helps activate a cellular detox process called autophagy. We want the process of autophagy occurring in our body because of its roles (a) in rejuvenating the parts of your cells that keep you healthy, and (b) cleansing the cellular waste that doesn’t. During the “fasting” time, your cells enter a phase where they literally digest themselves to recycle the good and discard the bad.

As a contrast, if we eat three meals or more meals every day, then our body is constantly and busily using lots of energy to digest those extra foods and to convert and to store those excess foods as unwanted fat in our obese body. If we are constantly eating, it doesn’t give our cells a chance to repair and clean up the waste and toxins they have accumulated. The bad consequence is that (I) autophagy does not get enough energy and enough time to do its important rejuvenation work on my body and (II) pushing more unwanted fat into many cells in our body just intensifies the root cause of insulin resistance and diabetes. This means that our obesity problem and its complications will be getting worse and worse if we keep on eating and do not do suitable Intermittent Fasting to give autophagy a chance to do its important job. With muted autophagy comes accelerated aging and disease. This is why 39.6% of American adults are obese and the percentage has been increasing steadily year by year. We need Intermittent Fasting with autophagy to break this bad upward trend of obesity and its associated fatal complications.

Intermittent fasting works because it activates the hormone glucagon, which works opposite of insulin to keep your blood glucose levels balanced. Imagine a seesaw – when one kid goes up, the other comes down. It’s just like that in our body for two opposing hormones: glucagon vs. insulin. When insulin goes up, glucagon goes down, and vice versa. When we give our body food, insulin automatically rises, and glucagon starts to decrease. But the opposite happens when we don’t eat — insulin goes down, and glucagon rises.


Aside from maintaining your cell’s youth, research has shown that intermittent fasting promotes greater energy, increased fat-burning and decreases the risk of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, all due to its ability to activate autophagy.


More explanation for Autophagy and Fasting by Dr. Boz [Annette Bosworth, MD] can be seen in the following YouTube website:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDzIbkyr5QQ

Another good explanation of autophagy and its health benefits can be seen at the following website:

https://primalsourcenews.com/the-benefits-of-autophagy/?cid=Con-Autophagy-12122018


7. Longer and Healthier Life

Recent Harvard study published in the journal Cell Metabolism confirms that Intermittent Fasting with Autophagy can lead to longer and healthier life.

8. More Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

A more detailed description of 23 benefits of One Meal A Day Intermittent Fasting is presented by Dr. Eric Berg, DC, is in the following YouTube website:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7RuGvMJndg


Intermittent Fasting is also very beneficial to boost the brain health as described by Dr. Mike VanDerschelden, DC, in the following YouTube video presentation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl8Wgrrjrto&from=groupmessage&isappinstalled=0&app=desktop


Over last 15 years, my body weight and my waist line were increasing steadily such that I have about 10 old long pants which became unusable because they became too tight for my obese body. But those old long pants are still in very good condition and have been laying idling in my home.


Now I have reduced my weight by more than 30 lbs. and have also reduced my waist line substantially. Then, all those old long pants become usable again.


I also had to go to a Shoe Repair Shop to ask the handyman to punch two more holes on my belt with a cost of two dollars because I am running out of the holes on my belt as I tighten my belt to fit my shrinking waist line.


By skipping two meals every day, I find myself having more time to do many other interesting activities. My cost of buying foods in supermarkets also goes down substantially.


9. Variations in Intermittent Fasting

It is noted that there are many variations in the program of Intermittent Fasting. For example, more serious diabetic patients may require heavier program of Intermittent Fasting by fasting for multiple days (i.e., no solid food for multiple days.) Such heavier Intermittent Fasting program should be done under the supervision, monitoring and necessary program adjustments by a doctor who is experienced and knowledgeable in the field of Intermittent Fasting. Some sample successful cases of such doctor-supervised Intermittent Fasting are described in the 300-page book of Doctor Jason Fung listed above.

10. Issues of Hunger During Intermittent Fasting


10.1. Good Feeling of Hungry

Some friends asked me if I feel hungry during the long fasting hours when I am doing Intermittent Fasting by eating only one meal per day. My answer is yes, I do feel hungry and I feel very good about it because it is a good reminder that Autophagy is doing its important rejuvenation work on each and every cell in my body and the excess fat in many cells in my body is being burned off to eliminate the root cause of insulin resistance and of diabetes. All these good things during fasting and hungry hours are protecting me from obesity, from diabetes and from all the potentially deadly complications of obesity and diabetes. So, I feel very good about the hungry feeling during the long fasting hours each day. With such hungry feeling, I look forward to enjoy very much that one very delicious meal every day.


People who are experienced in Intermittent Fasting know that the feeling of hungry is NOT constant. It may be very strong initially. But after couple hours, the intensity of hungry feeling gradually subsides. Especially after the Phase I warm up training program in 2017, my body has adapted and becomes used to the long hours of fasting. The hungry feeling is no longer that strong anymore. Chinese has a saying for such experience "餓過頭了,就不再那麼餓。"


10.2. Some Helpful Information on Hunger During Intermittent Fasting


Dr. Eric Berg, DC, provides excellent advice on how to handle the issue of hunger in Intermittent Fasting in the following YouTube presentation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-GLieu0-Hs


and in his Ketosis Mini-Course at:

https://www.messenger.com/t/drericberg


Dr. Jason Fung, MD, devotes Chapter 9 entitled "What You Need To Know About Hunger" in his 300-page book from page 167 to page 175 plus several other sections to address this important issue.


Some people drink bulletproof coffee (no sugar and no cream) to silence the raging craving for food during Intermittent Fasting.


10.3. Some People Feel Shaky When They Are Hungry


Some friends told me that they cannot do Intermittent Fasting because they feel very shaky, cold, weak and ill when they are hungry.


Some people experienced in Intermittent Fasting say that there are two possible reasons for such problems: (a) over many years, a lot of accumulated toxin are stored with fat in the body of obese person. When the person is hungry, the body is burning the stored fat to get the necessary energy. In this process, a lot of stored toxin are also released into the intestine and into the blood stream and are causing the feeling of shaky, cold and ill. The possible solutions are to drink lots of water, or lemon water, or water with sea-salt, or ginger water to help the body to get rid of those toxin, or (b) the body of the beginner of Intermittent Fasting is not trained well yet and not tuned up well yet to burn fat for energy efficiently. It may take some warm-up training period so that the body may become efficient to burn fat for energy. In other words, such people should not start on long fasting hours abruptly, and may start with a shorter period of fasting. Then gradually stretches out the fasting hours as suggested by Dr. Eric Berg, DC.


10.4. Survivors of Cycles of Feast and Famine


In ancient time of hunting and gathering, our ancestors (cavemen) had to endure cycles of feast and famine. Many weak ones perished in long periods of famine and only strong ones survived long periods of famine. In modern days, we are the descendants of those strong ones who survived long periods of famine. We inherited those good genes of survivors. Such survivor gene enables us to store excess nutrients as body fat during periods of feast and to burn off stored fat as necessary energy for survival during periods of famine. As long as drinking enough water (i.e., properly hydrated ), a normal healthy people can survive without eating solid food for many days. For example, Mahatma Gandhi survived 21 days of complete starvation.

If you look into the literature on Internet on Intermittent Fasting, you will realize that huge number of people have been doing Intermittent Fasting and have been gaining the benefits of healthier and longer life through Intermittent Fasting. For example, on the website of www.fastingforapurpose.com and its associated several Facebook Groups, thousands and thousands of people have been sharing and exchanging their valuable experience and knowledge on the health benefits of Intermittent Fasting. Some more serious people have been doing extended fasting program by fasting for multiple days continuously without eating solid food. One of the benefits of such extended fasting program is to gain much greater health benefits of autophagy. Therefore, we are not going to die of starvation if we skip one meal or two meals in a day. Don't be afraid of the feeling of hunger when we skip one meal or two meals in a day in doing the Intermittent Fasting.


10.5. Caution for Patients of Serious Type II Diabetes


However, Type II diabetes patients, who have been taking diabetes medications for years with serious insulin resistance problems, will require the supervision and monitoring of a doctor who is experienced and knowledgeable in the field of Intermittent Fasting to do Intermittent Fasting safely because fasting can lead to dangerous dips and spikes in blood glucose level of diabetes patients . As long as it is done properly and safely under the supervision of an experienced doctor, serious Type II diabetes can be reversed and cured by Intermittent Fasting as documented in the 300-page book by Dr. Jason Fung, MD.

11. My Strong Support in this Intermittent Fasting Program

I thank my girlfriend for her strong support that is necessary for the success of my Intermittent Fasting program. She prepares and cooks very good, nutritious and delicious meal for me every day. She understands the goal of my Intermittent Fasting program and has been doing everything to help me and taking very good care of me. (My late wife passed away 23 years ago due to cancer.) With such support and care from my girlfriend, my health at my senior age of 78 has been getting better and better day by day. She is a very kind lady who is also doing volunteer charity work in the local Senior Center to help many other senior people.

12. Amazing Work of Dr. Yi Ming Liu, MD, (劉乂鳴 醫生) in Taiwan


Dr. Yi Ming Liu, MD, in Taiwan has also been using Intermittent Fasting and running exercise to reverse and to cure Type II diabetes for himself and for thousands of patients. Dr. Liu goes beyond Type II diabetes and has been using Intermittent Fasting and running exercise to reverse and to cure other "chronic" diseases for many patients. Some of his presentations of his work are in the following YouTube websites (in Chinese language):


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JSH7LN0--k


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pr9iHgqHtkk


The most dramatic demonstration of self-healing power, The Power to Heal from Within, of a patient inspired by Dr. Yi Ming Liu is in the following YouTube website:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5wEpYmBbfc


Both kidneys of this patient were removed 9 years ago and this patient requires dialysis every other day to survive with very poor quality of life. However, this patient then inspired by and learned the special method of Dr. Yi Ming Liu to stretch the time period between dialysis from 2 days to 7 days to improve greatly her quality of life. With such extension to 7 days between dialysis, she is now able to enjoy international traveling for sightseeing plus many other interesting activities.


13. Conclusion

Many people believe erroneously that a diagnosis of Type II diabetes is a life sentence, that Type II diabetes is irreversible, and that Type II diabetic patients need life time use of medications to control the symptoms of diabetes.


In reality, Dr. Jason Fung and several other specialized doctors have been using Intermittent Fasting to reverse and to cure the disease of Type II diabetes of thousands of patients successfully. My personal experience on Intermittent Fasting for several months confirms that this method is quite effective and doable by many people. Type II diabetes can be reversed and cured. It does not have to be a chronic and dreadful disease for life.


By using this method and "The Power to Heal from Within", Dr. Yi Ming Liu, MD, in Taiwan has been reversing and curing not only Type II diabetes but also some other "chronic diseases" for thousands of patients in Taiwan.


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The index of websites of Dr. Sing H. Lin is at:



Biography of the author of this website is at: