It’s very easy to answer the question, “Is fasting good for you?” Yes. The answer is yes.
I mean, anyone who has ever fasted can answer this question easily. You spend a day or two not eating and you feel like a million bucks. End of story.
The problem comes when people anticipate all of the negative feelings they’ll feel when they actually start fasting. They imagine the pain of involuntary hunger and it scares them. Obviously anyone who has fasted or practiced the Snake Diet knows that these fears are undeserved, but try telling that to someone who is plugged into the mainstream media.
Is fasting good for you?
When it comes to finding scientific evidence that supports the purported benefits of fasting, it’s not so easy to find. That’s because there’s no money in studying fasting.
Who exactly is going to benefit from the discovery that the greatest cure for all diseases doesn’t involve spending any money? How exactly are you going to charge people for not eating?
Pharmaceutical companies can’t make money from fasting. Insurance companies can’t make money from fasting. And worse than that, the food industry will actually LOSE money if people start consuming less food.
We’ll dig deeper into those issues in a later article, but for now let’s focus on the benefits of fasting.
Benefits of fasting for a day: what are they?
Before we go any further, let’s clarify something: fasting is not OMAD (one meal a day). Fasting is not eating once every 24 hours.
While technically that may be the actual definition of fasting, for hardcore practitioners, eating one meal a day is akin to training wheels on a bicycle. The Big Boys in the fasting world start the clock at 48 hours. Anything less than that is just practice.
The reason for this is that in order for your body to REALLY start reaping the benefits of fasting, you need to deprive it of food for long enough for it to think to itself, “shoot, doesn’t look like we’re going to eat any time soon. Better change priorities before we die.”
That anthropomorphic sentiment right there is where all the benefits from fasting come from. That’s not to say that you won’t experience any benefits of fasting for a day. Of course you will.
Let’s list them just for fun:
- Increased energy
- Increased athletic performance
- Increased fat burn
- Decreased weight
- Increased release of beneficial hormones like HGH (human growth hormone)
- Slight autophagy
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that those benefits appeal to virtually every single human being on the planet. And yet somehow there are still people out there who ask, “Is fasting good for you?”
What are the main benefits of fasting?
I believe that avoidance of fasting can be summed up with two reasons: 1) fear of hunger and 2) fear of judgment by their peers.
In the modern world, we have an incredibly unwarranted fear of hunger. People act like skipping lunch will make them look like an Auschwitz survivor, when in reality they could skip all meals for a week and still have plenty left to lose.
The worst, stupidest, most ill-informed concept in the fitness world today is this idea of “messing up your metabolism.”
If you get nothing else out of this article, get this: your metabolism is not a “thing.” There is no metabolism muscle in your body that can get “messed up” from not eating.
Metabolism is a set of PROCESSES that your body goes through in order to use to sustain life.
I suppose it is plausible that after a day or two of not eating, your body will somehow lose the ability to metabolize food at the same rate at which it normally does. Note I said PLAUSIBLE, not that that is actually what happens.
But then again, isn’t it PLAUSIBLE that after being deprived of nutrients for so long, that your body will ravenously devour any food that you give it. Isn’t it also PLAUSIBLE that your body will vastly increase the efficiency at which it utilizes the nutrients that you give it after such a long break?
Those things are also plausible (and that’s what actually happens when we refeed), yet for some reason the mainstream media seems to deny that as a possibility. I can’t say that the reason is some nefarious plot by food companies to keep people fat, but rather I believe that it’s just the professionals in the medical community trying to give safe advice so they don’t get sued after some idiot starves themselves for 3 months and dies.
But I digress…
So if fasting is good for you, then how long should you fast?
A simple guideline that I like to go by is this: if you’re fat, you need to fast more. If you’re lean, you need to fast less.
We can go into a whole discussion of what fat is and what lean is, but I like to define it like this:
- If you can’t see your abs, you’re fat. If you can, then you’re lean.
Basically, don’t overcomplicate things. If you’re fat, you need to fast. More is better.
But for those of you who want to know EXACTLY how long to fast, as if there was some way that you could screw up this HIGHLY SCIENTIFIC procedure of NOT EATING, with SO MANY MOVING PARTS OMG, I’ll give you a little more detail.
Normally, fasting is done in 48-72 hour blocks. This seems to be the sweet spot when it comes to fasting, as you’re still able to somewhat play with the other reindeer and eat at restaurants or with your family a few nights a week while experiencing the benefits of fasting.
There are some people that say that the REAL benefits of fasting start only after the 48 hour mark, but in my experience this is a bit of an exaggeration. Of course, I can only go off my own personal experience as a lean guy with an athletic build, but I’ve noticed that a 48 hour fast does wonders to lean me out and keep me lean for at least a few days (until I let my mochi addiction get the better of me).
I can sit here and quote all kinds of scientific facts at you about how long exactly you should fast, and after how many hours your body releases this hormone, or starts digesting this type of fat vs carbs, but all you asked was, “Is fasting good for you?”
Do you seriously need to know all that extra stuff?
I don’t think you do.
I think all you need is a good old fashioned mirror. Take a good look at yourself and answer honestly: are you fat?
If you are, then don’t eat.
If you watch Cole’s videos, you’ll hear him scream countless times, “JUST STOP @#*&! EATING.” You can hear the frustration in his voice, stemming from thousands of people DMing him asking him dumb questions like, “How long should I fast?”
To make things easier for you, I created this simple flow chart:
As you can see, this isn’t so difficult. I probably shouldn’t say this, but I get a little confused when people leave comments on my videos asking for personalized help.
Like… what exactly do you need help with? The not eating part? Just don’t eat. Do not buy the food. Do not put it in your mouth. Do not chew it and do not swallow it.
How exactly can I help? You want me to come to your house and tie you to a chair?
Just don’t eat.
I’ve heard water fasting is good. Should I do that?
No. Water fasting is not good. Don’t do it.
I know what you’re thinking:
“Water is good. I know because the mainstream media tells me to drink 8 glasses a day. And water has no calories. So I’m allowed to drink water during a fast, right?”
Now look, before we go any further, I’m not going to tell you not to drink water. Water is not bad for you by any stretch of the imagination.
However, drinking too much water during a fast WITHOUT ELECTROLYTES is no bueno.
When I was in the army, we would often have to do something called a “misdar memia,” which is basically where our officer would make us stand around in a circle and drink a canteen full of water in front of him.
One thing that I’ve come to respect about the military is that they don’t make you do things for no reason. There is a reason behind every seemingly stupid rule and protocol.
Most of the time, these rules come in response to an equally stupid person who committed some borderline retarded act, like refusing to drink water for days at a time and nearly dying from heat stroke because he “doesn’t like the taste of water.” (Whatever that means.)
Why water fasting is bad
But getting back on track, the point is this: when you drink water, you pee. And when you pee, your urine takes with it electrolytes that your body is storing.
Over a long enough time period, you will lose more and more electrolytes and plain water will not replenish them. This lack of electrolytes will do all kinds of nasty things to your body. And you will also feel awful.
This is why Snake Juice is a thing. The mix of potassium, sodium and magnesium are meant to replenish the electrolytes lost from urination. This enables people to practice extended fasts without feeling too awful.
I probably shouldn’t admit to this because it’s gross, but in my experience drinking urine is far more effective than drinking Snake Juice.
Urine contains all kinds of healthy stuff in it that if it were sold as a drug or supplement, would likely cost hundreds of dollars per month. But you can not only get it for free, but you can produce it on your own, virtually at will.
I’ll write a full article on this some day, but for now suffice to say that drinking your own urine will make you feel like a million bucks and is way way WAY more effective than a water fast.
Is fasting good for you if you’re pregnant? Maybe (pls no sue)
Fasting is good for you no matter what.
The only one exception I might make is if you’re pregnant or lactating, but even in those situations I would say that if you’re extremely overweight, fasting isn’t going to do you any harm. If you can use your body fat for fuel, then so can your unborn or infant children.
Of course my theory is based on absolutely no research whatsoever, so please proceed with caution.
However, it seems to me that the benefits of fasting would carry over to the fetus as well. Improved hormonal balance, insulin sensitivity, more mental clarity and energy, not to mention the benefits that come from dropping tons of excess fat – I can’t imagine how that would be detrimental to an unborn child.
Growing up in Los Angeles, I was fortunate to see many pregnant women who didn’t balloon up like a featured citizen on People Of Walmart. They stayed lean, muscular and lithe all throughout their pregnancy.
I find it absolutely hilarious how women will excuse their weight gain 10 years after pregnancy with comments like, “What happened? Kids happened!”
Please. Kids didn’t make you buy unhealthy food and eat it. And while I suppose you could make the argument that kids are pickier eaters than adults and may only eat if you buy them Happy Meals, but whose fault is that?
Who is to blame for not instilling proper values in your kids when it comes to the right foods to eat? The government? Obama? Their friends at school?
No, it’s your fault.
Is fasting good for you if you’re diabetic/old/young/blonde/Indian?
Getting back on track, fasting is not only okay for you no matter what, but it will probably cure whatever health issue you have. Skin issues, cancer, and diabetes are some of the things fasting will help. Some people have even reported that fasting helped curb their child’s autism.
In a broader sense, I would encourage you to look at anything the mainstream medical community says with a suspicious eye. Think of their recommendations as advice for people who weigh 300 lbs and smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day.
Those recommendations are not for you. You are healthy. You are strong. You are lean, powerful, and have higher expectations of yourself than riding your Rascal scooter through the mall on your weigh (see what I did there?) to the XXXXXXL section of JCPenny.
All that said, I would say the ONE exception to “is fasting good for you” is if you are already extremely lean. If you have health issues and you are already very lean, then I would say the issue lies with your diet.
For example, I can think of certain people in my personal life who are extremely lean yet have awful cystic acne. What advice can you give these people? Tell them to fast and they’ll blow away in a strong wind. But something in their body is causing problems, as evidenced by their skin.
In situations like this, you need to look at the individual and determine what may be causing the disturbance.
- Are they on medication?
- Are they not exercising?
- Are they eating processed food?
I’d be willing to bet that in every case of an unhealthy skinny person, the answer to at least two of those questions is “yes.”
Clean up your diet by eating natural nutrient-dense foods, get your ass in the gym for some resistance training, and consider reducing the amount of potentially harmful meds (i.e. mostly meds that disrupt gut health or hormonal balance).
Is fasting good for you if you’re a crybaby?
I’m going to say something now that you might not like. It may offend you, and I’m sorry if it does, but I hope that you’re able to take the point regardless instead of taking it personally.
Being fat is a symptom of a greater character flaw: lack of discipline.
Now, before you start typing angry comments telling me how you know someone who is fat but has incredible discipline, calm down. I know people like that too.
One of my best friends wakes up every day at 5 AM, manages multiple businesses, makes boatloads of money and still makes time to spend with his attractive wife and 3 cute kids.
That doesn’t happen on accident. That takes discipline.
However, my friend is (at least last time I saw him) a good 50 lbs overweight.
But what about you? Are you balling out of control from your 5000 square foot house in Malibu and your new Porsche SUV? Probably not. You’re probably slugging Mountain Dew Code Red and deep fried Oreos while you binge watch Rick and Morty on a Friday night.
And don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean, there is actually, but once in a while that type of activity isn’t going to kill you. But when it happens on a regular basis and becomes a habit, it’s because you are seeking comfort in activities that offer nothing more than a temporary dopamine spike at the cost of years (and quality) of your life.
What I’m trying to say is that when you are overweight, it’s because you are seeking to satisfy your basic human need for entertainment without putting any effort into the process. In other words, you are choosing to be lazy. You are looking to earn the pleasure of entertainment without investing any effort, physical or otherwise.
Why do I call this a character flaw? Well, if you believe the mantra, “How you one thing is how you do all things,” then it’s plausible to assume that this poisonous trait will affect other areas of your life as well.
Granted, sometimes this can be a good thing. Looking to automate certain processes of your business cycle is good. But looking to automate your dopamine spikes is not.
Just keep fasting until somebody loves you
You have to understand that when it comes to health and fitness, the path to greatness is paved with sweat and calluses. I don’t want to say “effort” or “discipline,” because I really don’t believe that those things actually enter the equation.
Yes, sometimes you will have to go to the gym when you don’t want to. Sometimes you’ll have to go for a run when you’d really rather just chill on the computer and finish your most recent 3200 word article about fasting.
Those occasions would call for “effort.” But the sensation is fleeting. You only need that initial spark to spur yourself into movement. You just have to start the engine and you’ll start to move.
And furthermore, I would argue that there is no motivation or discipline required for me or any other fit person to get and stay fit.
I’m actually terrified of how awful I would feel if I let myself go and got fat that it pushes me to exercise even when I don’t want to. I hardly think you can call that motivation. And it definitely isn’t discipline.
Does it require discipline for you to run from someone who is trying to beat your ass? Do you need to be motivated to swerve out of the way when you see a car driving towards you on the wrong side of the road? I doubt it.
Those may sound like serious things to you, but take it from me that I literally can’t imagine a world where I am not in good shape. I don’t want to live like that. Do you have that same fear though?
You probably just believe the common “wisdom” of society that when you turn 40 “things happen to your body.” Or it’s impossible to stay fit well into your 70s. Or that health problems are inevitable when you reach a certain age.
Meanwhile I’m over here looking up life extension drugs, Googling 80 year old bodybuilders who look better than most 20 year olds I know, and making a conscious effort to push myself harder in my training than I did when I was in peak physical condition during my military service.
Stop asking how to start intermittent fasting and JUST DO IT
You have to understand that your life in this world is a lump of clay that you can choose to shape any way you want. Forget what the mainstream media tells you about what’s possible and what’s not. They don’t know jack and all their “content” is created to keep you glued to your screen long enough to watch them to show you advertisements.
Listen to the people who have first hand experience with what you want to achieve. We’re the ones with our elbows in the mud, getting dirty so we can figure out what really works vs what doesn’t.
Or, you know, you can just keep doing what you’re doing. Doesn’t matter to us, we’ll just be over here banging your grandchildren in our 70s.