Practical Fasting Tips – Part 12

We’ve dealt extensively with the science of fasting, but sometimes there are many practical considerations that need exploring, too. Fasting, like anything else in life requires some practice. In days past, when religious fasting was a communal practice, these sort of practical tips were passed on from generation to generation. If not, friends would often have useful advice on how to handle the fasting, because there are definitely some problems that commonly arise. However, with the decline in the practice of fasting, these sorts of advice are often difficult to find.

What can I take on fasting days?

There are many different rules for fasting. During Ramadan, for example, fasting is practiced from sunrise to sundown and no food or beverages are taken. Other types of fasting will only restrict certain types of foods – for example, abstaining from meat for a day. So there are no right or wrong rules. What I describe is the fasting that we prescribe for health and weight loss, as we use in our Intensive Dietary Management program.

All calorie-containing foods and beverages are withheld during fasting. Be sure to stay well hydrated throughout your fast. Water, both still and sparkling, is always a good choice. Aim to drink two liters of water daily. As a good practice, start every day with eight ounces of cool water to ensure adequate hydration as the day begins. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime to flavor the water, if you wish. Alternatively, you can add some slices of orange or cucumber to a pitcher of water for an infusion of flavor, and then enjoy the water throughout the day. You can dilute apple-cider vinegar in water and then drink it, which may help with your blood sugars. However, artificial flavors or sweeteners are prohibited. Kool-Aid, Crystal Light, or Tang should not be added to the water.

All types of tea are excellent, including green, black, oolong and herbal. Teas can often be blended together for variety, and can be enjoyed hot or cold. You can use spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg to add flavor to your tea. Adding a small amount of cream of milk is also acceptable. Sugar, artificial sweeteners or flavors are not allowed. Green tea is an especially good choice here. The catechins in green tea are believed to help suppress appetite.

Coffee, caffeinated or decaffeinated, is also permitted. A small amount of cream or milk is acceptable, although these do contain some calories. Spices such as cinnamon may be added, but not sweeteners, sugar or artificial flavors. On hot days, iced coffee is a great choice. Coffee has many health benefits, as previously detailed.

Homemade bone broth, made from beef, pork, chicken or fish bones, is a good choice for fasting days. Vegetable broth is a suitable alternative, although bone broth contains more nutrients. Adding a good pinch of sea salt to the broth will help you stay hydrated. The other fluids—coffee, tea, and water—do not contain sodium, so during longer fasting periods, it is possible to become salt-depleted. Although many fear the added sodium, there is far greater danger in becoming salt depleted. For shorter fasts such as the twenty-four- and thirty-six-hour variety, it probably makes little difference. All vegetables, herbs or spices are great additions to broth, but do not add bouillon cubes, which are full of artificial flavors and monosodium glutamate. Beware of canned broths: they are poor imitations of the homemade kinds. (See below for a bone-broth recipe.)

Broth Recipe

Vegetables

Chicken, pork or beef bones

1 tbsp of vinegar

Sea salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Ginger, to taste

  1. Water to cover
  2. Simmer for two to three hours until ready
  3. Strain and de-fat

How do I break my fast?

Be careful to break your fast gently. There is a natural tendency to eat large amounts of food as soon as the fast is over. Interestingly, most people don’t actually describe overwhelming hunger, but more of a psychological need to eat. Overeating right after fasting may lead to stomach discomfort. While not serious, it can be quite uncomfortable.  This problem tends to be self-correcting.

Try breaking your fast with a handful of nuts or a small salad to start. Then wait for 15-30 minutes. This will usually give time for any waves of hunger to pass, and allow you to gradually adjust. Short duration fasts (24 hours or less) generally require no special breaking of the fast, but certainly for longer fasts it is a good idea to plan ahead.

I get hungry when I fast. What can I do?

This is probably the number-one concern. People assume they’ll be overwhelmed with hunger and unable to control themselves. The truth is that hunger does not persist, but instead comes in waves. If you’re experiencing hunger, it will pass. Staying busy during a fast day is often helpful. Fasting during a busy day at work keeps your mind off eating.

As the body becomes accustomed to fasting, it starts to burn its stores of fat, and your hunger will be suppressed. Many people note that as they fast, appetite does not increase but rather starts to decrease. During longer fasts, many people notice that their hunger completely disappears by the second or third day.

There are also natural products that can help suppress hunger. Here are my top five natural appetite suppressants:

  1. Water: As mentioned before, start your day with a full glass of cold water. Staying hydrated helps prevent hunger. (Drinking a glass of water prior to a meal may also reduce hunger.) Sparkling mineral water may help for noisy stomachs and cramping.
  2. Green tea: Full of anti-oxidants and polyphenols, green tea is a great aid for dieters. The powerful anti-oxidants may help stimulate metabolism and weight loss.
  3. Cinnamon: Cinnamon has been shown to slow gastric emptying and may help suppress hunger.(1) It may also help lower blood sugars and therefore useful in weight loss. Cinnamon may be added to all teas and coffees for a delicious change.
  4. Coffee: While many assume that caffeine suppresses hunger, studies show that this effect is likely related to anti-oxidants. Both decaffeinated and regular coffee shows greater hunger suppression than caffeine in water.(2) Given its health benefits (see chapter 21 [REF.]), there is no reason to limit coffee intake. The caffeine in coffee may also raise your metabolism further boosting fat burning.
  5. Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are high in soluble fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. These seeds absorb water and form a gel when soaked in liquid for thirty minutes, which may aid in appetite suppression. They can be eaten dry or made into a gel or pudding.

Can I exercise while fasting?

Absolutely. There is no reason to stop your exercise routine. All types of exercise, including resistance (weights) and cardio, are encouraged. There is a common misperception that eating is necessary to supply “energy” to the working body. That’s not true. The liver supplies energy via gluconeogenesis. During longer fasting periods, the muscles are able to use fatty acids directly for energy.

As your adrenalin levels will be higher, fasting is an ideal time to exercise. The rise in growth hormone that comes with fasting may also promote muscle growth. These advantages have led many, especially those within the bodybuilding community, to take a greater interest in deliberately exercising in the fasted state. Diabetics on medication, however, must take special precautions because they may experience low blood sugars during exercise and fasting. (See “What if I have diabetes?” for recommendations, in next post.)

Start with Fasting part 1

For more tips continue here for Fasting part 13

2017-10-27T22:25:25-04:00112 Comments

About the Author:

Dr. Fung is a Toronto based kidney specialist, having graduated from the University of Toronto and finishing his medical specialty at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2001. He is the author of the bestsellers ‘The Obesity Code’ and ‘The Complete Guide to Fasting’. He has pioneered the use of therapeutic fasting for weight loss and type 2 diabetes reversal in his IDM clinic.

112
Leave a Reply

avatar
52 Comment threads
60 Thread replies
2 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
86 Comment authors
rachelMichael LangFilipe JorgeJim HarlessCarol Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
hilda
Guest
hilda

Is a fasting day a good way to recover from eating something like a piece of cake during a celebration. I am a Type 2 diabetic ,following LCHF and eating potatoes and birthday cake last evening has dramatically increased my blood glucose number-both 2 hr pc and fasting the next morning.

Cristi Vlad
Guest

I am inclined to say it is…

Linda
Guest
Linda

absolutly do not do a fast if you are diabetic. You can easily do more harm than good. Talk to your doctor before venturing into a fast, you will be hard pressed to find a physician who will not worry that you may end up in emerg.

jesse
Guest
jesse

huh?

Amy
Guest
Amy

Linda – diabetics can fast. The recommendation is to work with the Doctor as medications may need to be lowered.

Esther
Guest
Esther

Bad advice! T2D absolutely can fast. Dr. Fung addresses this in this article! Only precaution is if they’re medicated fasting could cause hypoglycemia if not monitored closely. Stay on top of your glucometer readings and consult with doctor. Many T2D control BS with LCHF and fasting and don’t need to be medicated. There is zero risk of hypoglycemia if unmedicated.

Elaine
Guest

You are so wrong.. Terrible advice!!
Fasting, when done through Dr. Fung’s advice, can dramatically reduce insulin, and eventually reverse diabetes. A personal physician and pharmacist are the last people I would seek advice from. For the most part, there advice is what gets diabetics in trouble in the first place!!!

Susannah
Guest
Susannah

This is an uncorroborated post……fasting as a diabetic is a WONDERFUL way to cure the condition…. Just work with a health professional who KNOWS what they are talking about…. The only issue with fasting as a diabetic is if you are on medication which needs to be monitored when fasting….hence, work with a health care professional who is knowledgeable in this area…

Russell Brooks
Guest
Russell Brooks

I have fully reversed my T2D by fasting and eating LCHF diet.

Ali
Guest
Ali

Awesome…!

Rosalie Cole
Guest
Rosalie Cole

I have also reversed my T2D by fasting and eating low carb and high fat. I was on insulin and took myself off. My doctor was shocked but called me first thing the next morning and told me that my blood work was normal – including my triglycerides were normal! She said that as long as I continue with this program, I don’t need any of my diabetic medications.

Ron G
Guest
Ron G

Read all of Dr. Fungs blogs before you say fasts are wrong for diabetics. Many have reversed diabetis thru a fasting regime. Find a doctor who really understands diabetis. Most don’t, in my experience.
Bottom line: fasting is a way to reduce blood glucose levels… just get educated on the do’s and don’ts – and get a real doctor.

Rose
Guest
Rose

So not true! Type 2 diabetics do great fasting.

Carol
Guest
Carol

I have type 2 and I fast for 2 or 3 days at a time. I only take metformin on the days I’m eating, so no problem there. I was at my GP today and he was very pleased that I have got my BG down and happy for me to fast because he knows that I’m checking my BG every 4 hours to ensure I’m safe.

Carmen Smith
Guest
Carmen Smith

I am a T2 Diabetic and I do full long fasts, between 3 to 10 days at any given time. I wouldn’t give advise if I wasn’t sure of what I am saying. I do not take any metformin and I am under Dr. Fung’s care and my diabetes is almost reversed. LCHF is a wonderful woe. Education is the key.

Jerome Benthamite
Guest

Dr. Fung, I have of late taken a keen interest in fasting as part of my extensive study on dieting and diet. I have a health evidence based website. I have come up with a simple fast, and would like to get your opinion on it. It is not specifically aimed at type-2 diabetes or obesity. And I recommend that if sufficient progress is not made on the JK short fast, to switch to a full alternate day fast as you recommend. JK short fast: go on a 16 hour fast (7 PM until 11:00 AM) or longer, thus extending… Read more »

Deb Griffith
Guest
Deb Griffith

The 5:2 plan DOES work…I started it in mid April and lost 12 lbs rather quickly, then upgraded to ADF, 16:8 and LCHF/high protein. Down 25 lbs. You can read the success stories at http://www.thefastdiet.co.uk.

Sandy
Guest

Thank you Dr.F. I will share this on my fasting group, Fung Shweigh…My group is inspired by your teachings.. . This info plus all the rest and all your webinars comes in very handy for us to follow. I have a few folks following your fasting protocol. Thank you for all you do .. if we didnt have you to follow many would still have have high insulin, blood sugars and weight to lose as our own doctors really do not help with what they have learned. I prefer your way best…

Kimmi
Guest
Kimmi

Sandy, would you please check your facebook inbox messages? I’ve just messaged you …

Wendy
Guest
Wendy

Does it really only take people 2 to 4 days to use up all glucose in the body? I heard it can take some people a week to start burning fat. Is that true?

Sandy
Guest

depends how long you have had insulin resistance and how much you have stored….I believe.

Dana
Guest
Dana

It depends on how much glucose you have stored. When I fast, for example, I am usually burning body fat by 2-3pm. [my last meal would have been at 6pm the day before] I burn through my glucose stores pretty quickly because I typically stick to a very low carb diet. I measure this by checking my blood ketones with a Nova Max Plus ketone meter.

Robert Jones
Guest
Robert Jones

If you run into problems, you can use exogenous ketones to bridge the gap. Sooner or later, your body will start making ketones. Once that happens, you won’t need the supplements.

This product is popular on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/KetoSports-KetoCaNa-Original-Exogenous-Supplement/dp/B00U7R7194/ref=sr_1_2_s_it?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1470177312&sr=1-2&keywords=ketones

Jim Harless
Guest
Jim Harless

You would, wendy, only use temp storage in liver and easy to reach sugar. Our existing fat storage would not be burned for many weeks or months assuming we have excess fat yet to be used as energy.

Wendy
Guest
Wendy

I forgot to say that it can take me about 5 days of very low carb to make my hunger subside, but not completely. Is it not a very good idea to restrict or fast when you obsess over food?

Sondra Rose
Guest

Wendy, I have found that my hunger totally goes away on day four of a fast.

C
Guest
C

I just started fasting but I went very low carb a few days before I started to make sure i would already be in ketosis and not feel hunger. I think thats why I just finished day 4 with barely a twinge of hunger. My body is eating (burning) body fat and i have a decent enough supply for it

Raphi Sirt
Guest

Hello Dr.Fung, Thanks for writing this series on Fasting, it’s interesting. I have a question about the statement: “There is a common misperception that eating is necessary to supply “energy” to the working body. That’s not true. The liver supplies energy via gluconeogenesis. During longer fasting periods, the muscles are able to use fatty acids directly for energy.” Say someone does a 5-day fast. They do resistance training on day 3. What happens according to you, scenario 1, 2 or another one entirely? Scenario 1: the hypertrophy stimulus will be ‘wasted’ because the raw materials (protein & calories) don’t follow,… Read more »

Desmond
Guest
Desmond

Thanks Dr Fung. Looking forward to what you have to say in your next post ” what if I have diabetes” and my exercise when fasting.

Onlooker
Guest
Onlooker

On bone broth: 2-3 hours is woefully inadequate to extract all the good nutrients out of the bones. It’s just getting started at that point! Better to let them simmer for 24-48 hours (lesser for chicken, more for beef) to really let the bones, cartilage and other tissues fully break down, thus making for a truly superior nutrient profile.

Just search for “bone broth” and there’s lots of good guidance out there from the Weston A. Price Foundation and others.

Dean
Guest
Dean

I agree. I simmer mine for a day or more in slow cooker.

BobM
Guest
BobM

The slow cooker works great for this.

Sondra Rose
Guest

Agreed. We cook ruminant bones for 72 hours and poultry for 12 hours. A crockpot with a locking lid makes it easy to do this out in the shed or garage without smelling up the house.

Ellen Renegar
Guest

Don’t make the same mistake I did. If you cook on stove top let your broth simmer so only an occasional bubble gurgles to the top. A rolling boil breaks down the collagen.

Joyce D Fuhrman
Guest
Joyce D Fuhrman

Grass FedBeef Pasture Raised From Bone Broths Co. Beef Bone Broth is Slowly Simmered. http://www.bonebroths.com. Is this acceptable in lieu of making homemade bone broth?

Erik
Guest
Erik

What about taking a well formulated Multiple Mineral Vitamin during a 30 to 60 day fast?

Julia Billen
Guest
Julia Billen

Dr. Fung – exercising raises my blood sugar – after a run I can get up to 170 (T2D). Should I wait until I have become more insulin sensitive before I exercise rigorously? I’ve taken to walking only lately so that I keep by blood sugars down but have read that exercising will increase insulin sensitivity….Thank you for your posts. Your work is changing my life. – Julia

Dr. Jason Fung: Increased blood sugar is not a reason to reduce exercise. I would continue.

ron stone
Guest
ron stone

Been practicing the IF lifestyle since 2012 , will add that if real hungry then sugar free gum or bubble gum has been a lifesaver as well as pickles.

stephanie
Guest
stephanie

How can chia seeds been consumed during the fasting state as they do have calories?

K
Guest
K

I would like to know this also. Thank you.

C
Guest
C

I wouldn’t recommend artificial sweeteners, which can be bad for insulin response/blood sugars. Stick with the broth, water with lemon, try the cinnamon tea. Even the bit of cream in tea maybe that the doctor suggested. Artificial sweeteners will just make this tougher, not to mention they are so unhealthy

Martina Elena Romero
Guest
Martina Elena Romero

Greetings! if you on fasting, do you need to take metformin, my doctor gave me metformin twice a day. Thanks

Dr. Jason Fung: Only your own doctor can advise you on your medications. However, be aware that metformin can cause GI upset on an empty stomach. Also, if your blood sugars are too low during fasting, you should seek advice on holding metformin or any other you other diabetic meds.

Carol L.
Guest
Carol L.

Thanks so much for this article Dr. Fung!

A quick question, would a bone broth be inappropriate for someone with gout?

Dr. Jason Fung: I see no problem.

Dana
Guest
Dana

“All calorie-containing foods and beverages are withheld during fasting. ” So this would exclude my bullet proof coffees that are loaded with melted butter and heavy cream? I was also adding coconut oil to my bone broth. Yes, you are very clear in this article, but I am still somewhat in denial… This could be why I have not lost any weight in 2 months of 42-60 hour fasts… I am in your diet program working with Megan, and she recommended I go on a week long fast, which I started today. Dr. Jason Fung: Some people do fine with… Read more »

Dana
Guest
Dana

What I meant to say is that my bullet proof coffees WOULD BE excluded…

Cassandra
Guest
Cassandra

Hey Dana! I’m on day 2 of a 7-day fast today. If you check in on the Forum we can support each other. P.S. I don’t lose if I take too much fat during a fast so I’m keeping the hwc to two tbs this time around.

kfacwpup
Member

Thanks Cassandra! See you over in the forum…

Pat
Guest
Pat

Dana, I am having the same problem you are and am now restricting the bulletproof coffee. It would be nice to compare notes. How does one get onto the forum?

Elaine in Big D
Guest
Elaine in Big D

Hi Cassandra, did you continue with 7 day fasts? Any specific tips or cautions to share? Thanks a million!

Emily
Guest
Emily

Dr. Fung, what do you mean by “Some people do fine with some fat during a fast – coconut oil or bulletproof coffee. Others do not.”

C
Guest
C

This probably depends on your level of insulin resistance, also, perhaps on your definition of “some”. It also may depend on if you have sufficient body fat to burn, then you probably don’t need the extra added fat and if you do add it you might not lose weight (if that is a goal for you) or might not lose what you would without the added fat and calories

Diana Choi
Guest
Diana Choi

Dr. Fung,

How long should my husband fast for if he has type 2 diabetes? Please advise. Thanks.

Best regards
Diana

cub
Guest
cub

Hi Dr. Fung. Great website with a lot of good information. I’m doing LCHF to lose weight and want to incorporate fasting to obtain the additional health benefits. Based on your clinical experience would you please tell me which fasting protocol provides the most benefits the soonest?

Thanks in advance.

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

Hi Cub, Dr Fung has mentioned before that the longer the fasting period the better and more intense the benefits will be. However if you struggle with longer fasts (36+ hours at a time) it is of course better to do a few shorter fasts (16-36h) than nothing at all. Shorter fasts can be done more frequently as well (up to 23h a day every day ie eat once a day or every other day) whilst 2-3 day fasting should only be done once a week. It all comes down to you trying out what works best for you in… Read more »

cub
Guest
cub

Hi Jennifer, thank you for your kind response. Based on your response I’ve thought about this:Would it be ok to do a 23 h short fast five days a week plus two 24h fasts per week? or is this too much?

kfacwpup
Member

What the Dr. Says is that you don’t want to do anything too regularly– it’s good to vary the pattern.

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

hi cub, unless you start feeling bad/dizzy/low energy or feel cold it is not too much to fast that much (unless you are of course underweight). Just make sure when you eat that you get lots of nutrient-densed foods such as meat, veggies (broocli, cabbage, caluiflower, asparagus, avocado etc), eggs, nuts, seeds, fat (butter, coconut oil, cheese, heavy cream, olive oil etc) as you will want to get as many nutrients as possible in your one meal a day. And dont restrict calories during that meal (only restric sugar, gluten and fast carbs). Good luck!

Dean
Guest
Dean

Mineral water is terrific for many of the issues people have while fasting. I keep some (Gerolsteiner, Pelegrino, Perrier) on hand, and find I rarely get leg cramps unless exercising more strenuously. Broth at night is relaxing, but can stimulate some hunger if I have it earlier. Green tea is gold! I used to over brew it and it got bitter; so timing is key. I like having such a wide variety of green, black, herb teas to add interest to fasting.

cate
Guest
cate

Dr fung. Thank you for life saving information. Am I right in deducing that 1 x 48 hour fast has better outcomes (lower insulin, more fat burning) than 2 x 24 hours fasts (that is 1 x 24 hour fast; feast day; 1 x 24 hour fast)?

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

Hi Cate, I have asked a similar question before and yes, the longer the fasting period the more intense benefits, however some people find it more manageable to do 2x24h as you then get to eat once a day, and maintenance is key for longterm benefits. Also, everyone is different and some people (not me) see great benefits with 16:8, which is a very simple fast. I need to do 24-36h at least to see weight results (the longer the better) however I find that for me personally after 40-46h I start to get irritated and only think about food… Read more »

Hector D
Guest
Hector D

Can diet beverages such coke zero be consumed during the fasting period?

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

Hector D, studies have shown that sweeteners also increases insulin so it is not recommended, but if you need one to manage the fast I would guess it is better than not fasting at all, just less effective benefits…

Hector D
Guest
Hector D

Thank you Jennifer!!! you guys are truly heaven sent. I have been fasting now for several months and I feel fantastic. My BP went from 136/94 to 120/72!!!! my body weight was 225 and now I am 198 and feel and look younger.!!!

dom
Guest
dom

What about alcohol on fast days? I mean something like vodka. I have just realised a day I’ve set for fasting is a day that I drink. I’d say 6 units, or less. Roughly, but it’s not fixed, just depends.

Julia Billen
Guest
Julia Billen

I can’t speak for Dr. F but have read in his writings that it is best to stick to zero calories drinks. Alcohol may interfere with your bodies ability to breakdown fat which is ultimately the goal if you have metabolic disease. I do not drink during my fasting periods currently – only my festing days.

BobM
Guest
BobM

I do the same: I drink only on my non-fasting days. I think I would get hammered if I had a single drink while fasting. Even when I drink, I drink at most 2 drinks. If I want to have a drink, I will ensure I cease to fast before I drink.

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

I dont think it is healthy to consume alcohol on an empty stomach. I’m no expert but would guess that when you havent eaten in a long time the first thing that you consume to break the fast will get very quickly absorbed into the body as it is really keen on getting new energy. That way the alcohol may go to the wrong organs such as the brain (maybe) and cause damage. I may be wrong but I would not dare to try…

Tom B
Guest
Tom B

I have experimented with IF and drinking a non-carb drink such as whiskey. Here’s the problem I’ve experienced. Say I eat 1,000 calories and drink 3 oz of whiskey. When alcohol is consumed, all other digestive processes come to a stop until the alcohol is metabolized. It takes from 1-2 hour per oz to metabolize, so 3 oz could take up to 6 hours. 6 hours after you’ve started your fast does your body start to digest the 1000 calorie meal you ate and that takes another 8-12 hours to rid yourself of the glucose from that meal. So as… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

I too am curious about alcohol.

Becky
Guest
Becky

I am trying to fast every other day, which is one of the suggested ways. I am finding that losing weight is very slow. But I’m not entirely sure if I’m the days that I’m eating I’m actually eating correctly because I’m trying to do this simply by watching the videos, and the videos you have to piece together what you should and shouldn’t eat. So for instance in one place he said you can eat all the fruit you want. But in another place it lists only a few pieces of fruit with skin like apples. So I’m not… Read more »

Sarah
Guest

Fruits hinder weight loss greatly, especially for me. Try eating more meat, fish, veggies, eggs, good fats like butter, coconut oil instead of the fruits.

Jill
Guest
Jill

Cucumber and avocado are fruits.

Don
Guest
Don

I know this is a late response but it’s for the benefit of others. Eating fruit 3-4 times a day is a great way to keep them insulin levels up all day. Eating 1300-1400 calories a day is a great way to tell your body that you’re on a starvation diet and that it better lower your BMR. I’ve had tremendous success doing 24 hr fasts eating a damn good meals. Same for 48 hr fasts. Psychology has a lot to do with success. I’ve been successful (so far) because I simply don’t eat when I don’t eat, but when… Read more »

Harry
Guest
Harry

@drjasonfung Hi ive recently been getting all the symptoms of type 2 diabetes (urinating alot and fatigue etc) i have started fasting im about 30hrs in to my fast no food just water. and all my fatigue has gone and urinating not as much still have a little dryness in my throat. i wanted to know if i should keep fasting for a week etc or not i also am going to change my diet no more bad refined carbs and little amounts of good carbs any advice you could give me would help. because i dont want to go… Read more »

Suzanne
Guest
Suzanne

Becky, I recommend that you go to Dietdoctor.com for information on how to follow an LCHF- diet on your eating days. There is a lot of useful information there:-)

Suzanne
Guest
Suzanne

I have spent the better part of a week now, reading through all blogposts and watching all the videos. It’s been a very interesting week:-), the weather here in Sweden is more reminiscens of October than July.
I found your page, Dr Fung through Andreas Eenfeldts Swedish blog and I’ve been so inspired. I’ve done a few 20-24 hour fasts these past couple of weeks and now I am aiming for at least 36 hours for the first time.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Dr. Fung, I’m concerned about electrolyte depletion during exercise while fasting. Do I need to replenish my electrolytes, or will the body’s internal stores be sufficient?

BobM
Guest
BobM

Michael, I use pickle juice (source of sodium) and magnesium (magnesium taurate, pill form) on the days I fast. If I don’t take these, sometimes I can get leg cramps at night. This includes days I fast and exercise at the same time, although even days I do not exercise, I may have to supplement. However, I’m also taking an ACE inhibitor, which supposedly causes a sodium/potassium imbalance. You can try going without and see what happens. I’ve done a three day fast, taking only a few magnesium pills and a little sodium, and working out twice (aerobics, lifting weights).

Gareth
Guest
Gareth

Hi Jason. Just a quick question about fasting. I usually do the 16/8 style of fasting but I seem to always get a cold after doing this for a few weeks.
Is this due to me being deficient in certain nutrients ? Not eating enough during the feeding window?
I’m 6 1 195lbs so have a higher maintainence requirement.

Let me know as I would like the besnifits of fasting. Thanks.

DClemons
Guest
DClemons

Good Morning. I am attempting to tackle my diabetes/pre-diabetes through LCHF and eating in a 6-8 hour window. I’m curious if anyone else has any BS issues like mine (I’m sure there are). I believe that I have Dawn Phenomenon, as when a get up, my BS has been reading in the 120-125 range recently after 10-12 hours of fasting. I am an early riser and usually test between 5 and 6 am. Yesterday I waited until 11:45 am and still got a reading of 121 after a 30 minute cardio hike and jog at 7:30 am. I decided to… Read more »

WCR
Guest
WCR

@DClemons

My wife has a similar problem with her BS in the morning with Dawn Phenomenon but the longer she has been fasting she does the 16/8 the better her morning sugars are. You have to remember that your are now insulin resistant, so give it time to reverse and if you incorporate exercise into your day you will start to become insulin sensitive again pretty quickly.

Tina
Guest
Tina

These 2 blogs by Dr.Jason Fung may help
1) Dawn phenomenon – https://idmprogram.com/dawn-phenomenon-t2d-8/
2) About how the body accesses energy during fasting – https://idmprogram.com/obesity-solving-the-two-compartment-problem/

Make sure you read the comments below the blog. Many doubts and questions are asked and answered.

Joe P
Guest
Joe P

At day five of my first fast. I discovered this website last weekend and thought I would try a fast for a day or two. It has been easy and seems to be working. Keto stix (not the best indicator I know) show dark purple, weight has been dropping, 5 pounds in five days. and BG has hovered around 100 the last few days, down from hovering around 120. Fasting has been easy enough so far that I am going to go a few more days. BP has improved slightly and I am hoping for better drops. I see fasting… Read more »

Vicky
Guest
Vicky

Hello, really great information on the site. I’m finally realizing why I am unable to lose weight even while on a low carb diet! I started with a 76hr fast and have switched to eating one HF/LC/MP meal every 36hrs. I feel so much more energized and my appetite is under control.

Question about coffee. Doesn’t coffee release insulin? Wouldn’t drinking coffee defeat the purpose of the fasting? So far I’m only drinking iced water through my fast and nothing else.

Thank You!

Pat
Guest
Pat

Dave C It sounds to me that you have had diabetes for a long time. You asked for advice re fasting and eating. My advice would be to fast and eat according to Dr. Fung’s advice. Eating low carb and high fat diet. Take your blood sugar readings more not less frequently. Dr. Fung has a distance program – see his website at “intensive dietary management.. I am on this program and find it invaluable in answering questions and understanding my own situation. It is very inexpensive at $200 Canadian per year. You have been doing very well with losing… Read more »

stephanie
Guest
stephanie

I read in the article that Chia seeds are premitted. I’m curious to why as they do have calories.

deirdra
Guest
deirdra

Chia seeds are virtually all fiber, so they shouldn’t raise insulin levels if you eat 1-2 Tbsp per day.

Walter Bushell
Guest
Walter Bushell

RE: Salt

I find that even on low carb, I frequently wake up with bad leg cramps that can be
cured by eating salt or potassium chloride or a mixture of both.

Abner Williams
Guest
Abner Williams

Can commercial bone gelatin be used during fasting instead of home made bone broth?

trackback

[…] A continuation of practical fasting tips. See Practical Fasting Tips. […]

Tanya
Guest
Tanya

What about natural stevia ( as a plant ) on fast days.May I use it in my tea ?

K
Guest
K

I would also like to know this answer.

TeeGee
Guest
TeeGee

Dr Fung, could you please definitively describe how to break a long water fast, 21 days and longer. So much of the information available seems to come from the vegan community, and therefore recommend eating only raw fruit or veg, or juices to break a fast.. There’s a lot of pseudo science about what is happening with your digestive system, and quite a few scare statements too along the lines of you’ll die if you eat meat. I personally want to avoid breaking fast with a spike in insulin from fruit. And staying in ketosis would be good too. What… Read more »

Misha Sakharoff
Guest

TeeGee, I’m breaking my 7 days (water, salt and green-tea only) fast with bone broth and then a little portion of herring fried shortly (15 sec on each side) in butter – it preserves DHA. Herring is very much overlooked source of highest DHA levels in food that is at the same time the most bio-available. Good nutrition for your cellular membranes after the prolonged fast 😉

HA
Guest
HA

I enjoy drinking Kombucha – and it also helps with keeping gut bacteria healthy. A typical bottle has 60 calories and 14 grams of carbs. I assume that even one bottle would NOT be suitable on fasting days – but am hoping you say different! 😉

Thank you for your excellent blog and research. Absolutely brilliant!

Isabelle
Guest
Isabelle

I would also like to know what Dr. Fung thinks about incorporating organic Kombucha during fasting. There is one brand that only has 2g of sugar, 7g of carbs & 35 calories per bottle (8oz). Here is the link: http://synergydrinks.com/index.php/products#enlightened-kombucha/enlightened-kombucha-organic-raw-kombucha-multi-green

This product helps me to go through rougher fasting days.

Thanks!

Tiffany
Guest
Tiffany

Dr. Fung, I have been practicing various forms of IF, including most recently one meal a day, and have lost 50 lbs. Before losing weight I was diagnosed as insulin resistant and pre-diabetic. Recently, I decided that I wanted to eat lower carb to reduce blood sugar and corresponding insulin response, so I bought a blood glucose meter. This morning my FBG was 84. I am fasting today and went for a long brisk walk and was surprised to find my glucose reading was 92. Doesn’t that mean that it creates an insulin response as well to get the glucose… Read more »

Tom B
Guest
Tom B

Tiffany I have a meter that measures both my blood glucose and ketones and I fast and exercise. In my experience, blood sugars can increase, but so long as they are below 100 my ketones have always kept me in ketosis. When fasting, glucose in produced in the liver. Exercise increases your need for additional energy which is supplied by increased ketones. There may be a corresponding increase need of red blood cells (must have glucose) to carry the additional oxygen required by the muscles as well, so our bodies being pretty smart, produce the extra necessary glucose to compensate.… Read more »

Bryana
Guest
Bryana

Hi there! I’m doing 6 days of fasting in 14 days, essentially, every other day I am eating. I am drinking bone broth, tea, and water on non fasting days. I feel foggy brained and tired, and getting “hunger headaches” which is my biggest complaint because I am a college student and am having trouble focusing; therefore, I just feel like sleeping right now. Any tips?

Leslie Halvorsen
Guest
Leslie Halvorsen

I would like to know how to cut down my diabetic meds

Tomas
Guest
Tomas

PLEASE SOMEONE ANSWER, i am on the 8th day of a 30 day fast. Only water and tea. I can not get a straight answer on wether i can drink VEGETABLE BROTH. DR. Fung ( who inspired me to start this fast ) says it technically does stop the fast but you can drink it which i find contradictory. I read that a cup of broth is only 14 calories. I am doing this because i would like to reverse my type 2 diabetes and am 60 to 80 pounds overweight and so far i have felt great. And have… Read more »

apitius
Guest
apitius

After having successfully completed four 7 day fasts last year, plus one 10 day fast without incident, I recently completed a 7 day fast during which I felt great, only to suffer from a severe bout of re-feeding syndrome afterwards. It would be extremely useful if you expanded on how to prepare for a longer fast, and how to refeed properly to avoid hypophasphatemia (low blood phosphorus) levels. My experience was horrendous: general weakness, heart pounding in my chest, weak heartbeat, extreme arrhythmia, wildly fluctuating blood sugars. I had done research on my own previously and fortunately had the presence… Read more »

Agnes Mai
Guest
Agnes Mai

Hi Dr Fung. First, thank you for putting so much information out there for free on you tube so that everyone has access to it. I have a question about breaking a fast. I did a 2-day fast every week for about a year starting in July 2016. Then cut down to 2-day fast twice a month now that I’ve lost as much weight as I want (63 pounds). I also did a 1-week fast the first week of 2017. I break my fast with whatever I feel like eating, and eat till I’m full. I don’t have any problems… Read more »

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

On the podcast, Megan explained that it was a mistake to say that you should break your fast with nuts. But, it still reads as such on this article.

Jessie h
Guest
Jessie h

Is it safe to fast during menstruation? For how long? What is your view on dry fasts?

Andersen Boykin
Guest
Andersen Boykin

Im going to try a 16 day water fast and see how i feel from there. am i okay to just supplement a bit of pink himilayian salt in the am without magnesium and potassium?

Jan
Guest
Jan

Confused, here…. bone broth has calories, yet is recommended during a fast, where “All calorie-containing foods and beverages are withheld during fasting.” Thanks for clarification.

Austen
Guest
Austen

Just curious to know why you’d want to remove the fat from the bone broth, if natural fats are good for us? I know it makes for an oily broth to keep it in there, but that’s a matter of personal taste, right?

Jdog
Guest
Jdog

One of the biggest misconceptions out there is that “drinking water prevents hunger”. It doesn’t. It actually INCREASES hunger. Water, by itself, is a diuretic. Consuming it without electrolytes added will lead to worsening dehydration which will make your hunger constant (your body will be begging for a meal since food contains high concentrations of electrolytes). People often comment how dry fasting results in less hunger than water fasting. This is due to the fact that your body is better able to preserve its own electrolyte status when you aren’t constantly diluting it with water. Look up “snake juice” or… Read more »