Intermittent Fasting and Autophagy

by Karen Hughes on March 2, 2020

Intermittent fasting has received a lot of attention lately. This high level introduction will give you the basics of intermittent fasting and a term you may not be familiar with…

(pronounced aa·TAU·fuh·jee)

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is a cycle of eating and not eating (fasting) during the day or week. Many people fast for weight loss purposes. You already have a head start with this when you sleep!


Autophagy and Intermittent Fasting are similar in that they ‘starve’ the body so to speak. Typically, intermittent fasting is done to stimulate weight loss, whereas autophagy is done to stimulate disease protection. It’s been called “cellular housekeeping”.

Why Fast?

Several reasons have cause recent interest in the health and wellness industry:

Fasting Methods

  1. 16/8 Fast: Eating is in an 8-10 hour window. First meal is at noon, last meal is at 4pm (fasting 16 hours). Simply don’t eat anything after dinner and skip breakfast.
    (Note: women seem to do better on a shorter fast, 14-15 hours.)
  2. 5:2 Fast: Eating for 5 days fasting 2 days out of the week
    (Fasting days are separated by eating days and the fast days suggest 2 small meals of 250-300 calories women/men).
  3. Eat-Stop-Eat Fast: Eat normally one day, the following day you won’t eat until 24 hours past the time you last ate.. (Eat a meal on Sunday at 7pm and don’t eat again until Monday at 7pm.)
  4. Alternate-Day Fasting: Eat one day, the following day limit your food to a few hundred calories.
  5. The Warrior Fast concentrates small amounts of foods (mostly veggies and fruits during the day) and a large meal in the evening.
  6. Spontaneous Fasting: Skip a meal when convenient or when you are not hungry. This suggests a “mindful eating” approach.

Concerns and Tips

Are you interested in getting in on this trend? Water and beverages w/o calories are allowed during either fast. Understand supplementation can play a key supporting role in any healthy lifestyle. Some people should be cautioned against intermittent fasting:

  • Pregnant or breast feeding women need vital calories and shouldn’t fast
  • Those with diabetes should be cautious as dips in blood sugar can be dangerous

Bottom Line: Do your homework, discuss with your doctor your thoughts and concerns. IF intermittent fasting or autopaghy is right for you, CHOOSE an appropriate fast!

Have you participated in a FAST? What are your thoughts?

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Hi, I’m Karen!

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