When I told my wife that I was thinking of doing a 7 day fast she thought I was crazy. Now that I have completed the fast she still thinks I am crazy.
To me honest I probably am.
Actually, fasting is one of the most ancient practices there is. When purposeful fasting has been done anciently and modernly it has primarily been done for religious reasons. Outside of religious reasons the main reason for fasting was due to lack of available food. For this reason our bodies are adapted to store excessive energy as fat. When fasting for 24 hours or more our bodies quickly exhaust available supplies of glucose and transition to converting fat into Ketone bodies which our body can use. This process can be mimicked to a certain degree by eating a very low carbohydrate or Ketogenic diet which I have done for the majority of the last year and a half.
While I have done plenty of 24 hour fasts in the past I have never purposely exceeded 24 hours. This is probably because I didn't see a compelling reason.
However, since I started to research more and more into fasting I began to incorporate various fasting strategies into my daily routine. This included predominantly intermittent fasting which for me meant eating during an 8 hour period of the day and fasting for the rest of the day. This type of fasting has proven to be beneficial for lowering insulin and blood sugar and for weight loss.
Recently, I came across some excellent literature pertaining to longer fasts. Interestingly, fasting actually down regulates protein catabolism meaning that the rate of muscle breakdown decreases. It can also dramatically lower insulin and blood sugar and perhaps even detoxify the body. Fasting can also be great for weight loss.
There are numerous types of fasts. These include complete fasting, water fasting, juice fasting, and many others.
I did a water fast which means that I consumed nothing but water. I also added some electrolytes but no calories of any kind. I might add that prior to the fast I was eating a low calorie low carbohydrate modified Ketogenic diet.
And here is what happened.....
My starting weight was 168.5 lbs. For the first 3 days the predominant symptoms I experienced were dry mouth, hunger (particularly after 3 pm), irritability, and slight weakness. I was less thirsty than usual and drank overall less water but maintained adequate hydration and urination (clear to slightly yellow). Days 4 through 7 were punctuated by decreased hunger pangs and increased muscle weakness especially on Day 6. I also developed some dizziness (orthostatic) and constipation. I also had slight muscle twitching but no real cramps. I felt the best on Day 7 of all the days with the exception of the weakness. I had only planned to go 7 days because my starting weight was already low. I actually went a total of 7.5 days.
Throughout the diet I consumed a small amount of salt, magnesium, and potassium.
My finishing weight was 159.8 lbs. This means that I lost about 8 lbs. A typical weight loss with fasting can be up to 1-2 lbs per day depending on your weight and basal metabolic rate.
I am now 3 days out from finishing the fast and I feel back to normal. Since I have started eating food again I have noticed that I have to drink a lot more water than during the fast. I no longer feel weak. This took about 3 days to get better completely. I finished my fast by eating light foods, fat, and a lot of lime juice. I gradually worked up the volume of food and felt only occasional stomach cramps. Otherwise, I did not notice any serious problems with re-feeding which I was really concerned about.
I also learned more about when I feel hungrier and am more apt to be tempted by food such as when I am bored or unoccupied and food is readily available.
Overall, the experience was challenging and rewarding. I would recommend fasting as a healthy option for most everyone. In a minority of cases there are some individuals that should not fast and I would recommend medical supervision for those doing longer fasts.
For those that would be interested in medically supervised weight loss or have questions feel free to reach out. My contact information can be found here.
One of the topics that is of most importance to me is medical freedom. By this I mean the freedom to determine the type of medical care you want and to see the medical provider you want to see. The medical industry is one of the most regulated and least free industries there is. There are so many regulations that deal with the practice of medicine that it boggles the mind and it is hard to keep track of it all.
As physicians, a significant portion of our day is already spent documenting to meet certain government or insurance check boxes. And it is only getting worse as under Obamacare these requirements will only get more cumbersome, complicated, and time consuming. This is time that doctors could be spending with patients.
As I highlighted in a previous post, under Obamacare Medicare will be penalizing physicians that don't report certain quality measures about their patients to the federal government. With these measures the government is moving to "incentivize" certain ways of practicing medicine while at the same time increasing their control over the industry. This will limit access to treatments that fall outside the accepted government paradigm.
This all adds up to a future where you will have less and less control over your medical choices and hence your medical freedom.
While I will not tell you who to vote for I want to alert you to consequences of your choice. For me, the ability to freely choose is fundamental to the American way of life. Nothing is scarier to me than having government bureaucrats determine what medical options are available for you and me.
When you go to make a decision about where to cast your vote think about the future of your health and how it will be impacted by that vote. If you value your medical freedom it will be important to look at the candidates and examine their positions. In particular, it will be important to review what each candidate feels about Obamacare. Are they for more government control or they in favor of more freedom?
Nothing will be more important to you and your family than medical freedom. Once it is taken away it will likely never be given back.
In the end we all want to be free to choose. So choose wisely.
According to the Associated Press, Medicare just unveiled "a far-reaching overhaul of how it compensates doctors and other clinicians."
The supposed goal of the changes in how Medicare compensates doctors is to "reward quality, cost-effective care instead of just paying piecemeal for services."
The nearly 2400 pages of regulations is one of the biggest changes in Medicare's history and it will not only impact how doctors get paid but it will also significantly impact your ability to get the care you want.
Under the legislation, most doctors who accept Medicare (I don't) will be forced to choose between two different payment models. The first payment model is called the "Alternative Payment Models" and the second is called the "Merit-Based Incentive Payment System."
A major focus of these models will be to reward doctors "for performance" including requiring "reporting quality measures to the government, and using electronic medical records."
What does this mean for you?
This means that the government will be paying doctors to treat their patients in a certain way. In other words, the government will be outlining what it thinks doctors should be doing for patients and rewarding those who fall in line and punishing those who don't. Doctors will also be forced to report information about patients to prove they are meeting these supposed quality measures.
I don't know specifically what these quality measures will be but they may include things like making sure patients get all the government mandated vaccines or even social measures like birth control or asking about guns in the home.
These metrics will be reported to the government who will control what "quality" looks like. This will mean that your doctor will focus on these specific measures every time they see you. Their livelihood will depend on it. This will mean that they will have less time to focus on you as an individual and your individual needs and instead that they will be focusing on making sure all the quality measures they have to report to the government are checked off.
It will also mean that they will have even less time to focus on issues like healthy eating and preventative medicine.
This will even impact individuals with private insurance as most private insurance companies tend to follow Medicare's lead especially when they see a way to pay doctor's less.
These new regulations will be implemented in the next few years. While this occurs it is important to note that there are alternatives. Doctors, like myself, who have exited the third party payment system are able to see patients without these controls. This means that your information will be kept private and that your health care needs can be addressed without having to focus on government requirements and reporting. In the end it will mean that you will receive better and more personalized care.
If you have questions about what these changes will mean for you or how I can help feel free to email or call.
For years the common wisdom and recommendation from dietitians has been to eat a low fat diet. This has resulted in a significant surge in sugar consumption. Diabetes and obesity rates have also soared. As a result of these alarming trends, increased scrutiny has been placed on low fat diets. In addition, more and more evidence is beginning to surface that perhaps a low carbohydrate diet higher in fat may actually be better for diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors.
One might ask what organizations were behind the push to shift to a low fat, high carbohydrate diet from what was traditionally a high fat, low carbohydrate diet?
Recently published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is an article that exposes how the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) helped radically shift the American diet to a low fat and high sugar diet starting in the 1950s.
As detailed in the journal article, in 1954, Henry Hass, the president of the foundation, "identified a strategic opportunity for the sugar industry" to "increase sugar’s market share by getting Americans to eat a lower-fat diet".
In recently discovered documents Henry Hass was quoted as saying that "if the carbohydrate industries were to recapture this 20 percent of the calories in the US diet (the difference between the 40 percent which fat has and the 20 percent which it ought to have) and if sugar maintained its present share of the carbohydrate market, this change would mean an increase in the per capita consumption of sugar more than a third."
Later in 1964 in a communication to an SRF subcommittee documents showed that there was concern over new coronary heart disease (CHD) research which implicated sugar as having a possible role in heart disease. The subcommittee documents noted “from a number of laboratories of greater or lesser repute, there are flowing reports that sugar is a less desirable dietary source of calories than other carbohydrates."
The SRF was concerned that some scientists like, "British physiologist John Yudkin had challenged population studies singling out saturated fat as the primary dietary cause of CHD and suggested that other factors, including sucrose, were at least equally important."
This led the SRF to "embark on a major program” to counter Yudkin and other “negative attitudes toward sugar." including performing opinion polls to "learn what public concepts we should reinforce and what ones we need to combat through our research and information and legislative programs”.
There was also an attempt to silence other scientists by bringing "detractors before a board of their peers where their fallacies could be unveiled.”
The organization also published CHD research in 1965 to protect its' market share. In 1967 they published a literature review which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine but didn't disclose the sugar's industry's funding or role. These research downplayed the role of sucrose as contributing to CHD.
The SRF also influenced the "National Institute of Dental Research’s National Caries Program to shift its emphasis to dental caries interventions other than restricting sucrose. The industry commissioned a review, “Sugar in the Diet of Man,” which it credited with, among other industry tactics, favorably influencing the 1976 US Food and Drug Administration evaluation of the safety of sugar.
Thus, the SRF was able have a profound influence on research, public policy, and ultimately our health. In my opinion, the role of this organization and others to push the low fat and high carbohydrate diet has been catastrophic and has led to one of the biggest health crises we have ever faced.
Luckily, there is hope. There is more and more evidence emerging about the benefits of a diet high in vegetables, moderate in protein, and high in fat. For those in need of more information feel free to contact me.
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