Step Ten: Fasting

The Big Picture

Research shows that the people who live longer, healthier lives eat less. Why is this?

Partly, they fast at least 12-18 hours a day. Fasting encourages the liver to make ketones (approximately 150 grams a day).

Ketones are a “natural” brain food. It requires less energy for the body to produce.

The brain also functions on glucose. The body converts carbs and proteins into sugar/glucose which the brain uses to function.  There is a marvelous way to understand what happens when we eat carbs, proteins and fat using an analogy to the materials that can be used to build a fire (kindling, wood and charcoal).

  1. Carbs are like burning kindling – they burn up quickly.
  2. Protein is like burning sticks and small logs – they take longer to burn.
  3. Fat is like burning charcoal – ketones derived from the fat burn much longer than kindling or logs.

There is an on/off switch at play here. Either the body is using sugar to fuel the brain (from the carbs and proteins) or it is extracting ketones from stores of fat. When sugar is the primary fuel, the body is working on overtime and not getting paid for it! When ketones are the primary fuel, demands on the body are significantly less (which is why life is extended). In short –

  • Ketones are easy for the body to process
  • Sugar is not.

This is why eating sweets (that have raw sugar) is not a smart idea for persons with neurological challenges.

The Simple Way for Your Body to Make Ketones is  … Fasting.

Fasting is one sure fire way to encourage your body to produce ketones. The easiest way to fast is to eat the last meal of the day in the early evening and then do not eat anything for 12-14 hours until the following morning.

This is why the paleo diet stipulates you eat only 2 meals a day, not three.  This allows for the opportunity for your body to manufacture ketones naturally. This reduces the strain and effort that must be exerted by the body to keep your brain functioning at peak capacity.

  • Ketones are energy efficient.
  • Glucose is energy inefficient.

Step Nine Summary:

Fast for 12-14 hours at least every other day if not every day.