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5 Day Water Fast: Results & Comparison to Fasting Mimicking

Oct 05, 2016 | Austin Gill

I'm a big proponent of fasting - all types of fasting.

Fasting radically improved my health and changed the way I think about food and the human body. 

I'm a firm believer that everyone should be using this powerful practice, but I also recognize that it can be intimidating.

Which is why I created the LifeBox Core Plan. It's a fasting diet that allows you to get all the benefits of fasting without most of the discomfort.

I make make some pretty bold claims about the benefits of fasting mimicking, and they've all been proven true in clinical trials. 

But a lot of people still doubt that it's actually as effective as fasting.

So I decided to put it to the test by doing a 5 day water fast and videoing it as I went - and my brother Grant, who also happens to be my Co-Founder, decided to join in with me.

We share our thoughts on which is harder, but more importantly we track key biomarkers that allow us to quantitatively compare the two.

We measure weight loss, blood glucose levels (sugar), and blood ketone levels, then compare them to measurements we took during a 5 day fasting mimicking cycle.

I hope this video useful for anyone thinking about fasting, and trying to decide between different options.

Don’t forget to leave any thoughts or questions in the comments below. We hope you get a good laugh and enjoy the video!

Stay Young,

Austin Gill

Video Summary

Blood Sugar

One common concern about fasting is having your blood sugar levels drop too low; you shouldn’t worry about this. Your body is designed to stabilize blood sugar even when you aren’t eating, otherwise your brain would shut down and that’s not ideal.

Normal blood sugar (or blood glucose) levels should be below 100 mg/dl when taken in the morning before eating.

This is going to decline slightly over time during extended fasts.

So by the end of 5 days fasting my blood sugar was at 74 mg/dl. This is fine, because remember that your body compensates for the lower sugar levels by producing ketone bodies for energy.

If you normally run high blood sugar, fasting is one of the best things you can do to permanently bring your blood sugar levels down. Spending time without sugar in your blood stream makes your body better at processing sugar.

Tips & Insights

  • There’s no need to worry about your blood sugar, your body will naturally take care of this.
  • IF you are prone to hypoglycemia, consider fasting mimicking over water fasting. Having some food in your diet will boost your blood sugar.

Ketones

Ketones, or ketone bodies are molecules that are created through the process of breaking down fat for the explicit purpose of providing energy to your brain and body during times of low energy intake.

These little guys are awesome, contributing to reduced hunger, mental clarity, and mood stabilization.

Measuring ketones is important because that is how you know when your body has entered ketosis. Ketosis the metabolic state where permanent health change happens.

Your body begins to remove old and worn out cells through the process of autophagy, and produce new stem cells to replace them through activation of the hematopoietic system in your bone marrow.

Tips & Insights

  • Your fast should last a minimum of 3 days. That is approximately how long it takes to get into ketosis, then you want to stay in that state for some time to ensure you receive all the benefits.
  • If you are measuring your blood ketones, aim to get them above 0.5 mM/dl. Between 1.0 and 5 mM/dl is the optimal range

Weight Loss

Fasting is the most effective method for weight loss. It’s popular in the health and weight loss industry to say otherwise, where fasting is often labeled as “crash dieting” and said to be dangerous. This just isn’t correct, as proven by science, but it sells more diets.

Most experts agree that there is no need to worry about too much weight loss or harming yourself via fasting unless your body fat percentage is 4% or lower, which is definitely not a concern for most people.

Some of the weight you lose while fasting is water weight. When you fast your body empties your glycogen stores, and glycogen retains water molecules. So you will gain some of the weight you lose back once you resume eating.

However, most of the weight you lose will be directly from fat loss! As I mentioned above, the process of ketosis breaks down your fat to create ketone bodies. You are burning fat for energy. It’s awesome.

How much weight you will lose depends on many variables such as gender, your current body composition, the contrast of the fast to your normal diet, and the type of fast you choose.

You will lose more weight water fasting than fasting mimicking. This could be a benefit or a detractor depending on your personal goals. If you are an athlete or someone with specific fitness goals then water fasting may not be for you as you may not want to lose much weight and it will make it more difficult to resume your normal diet (i.e. your stomach shrinks like crazy).

Tips & Insights

 

Energy

Energy levels is a tricky subject because it is going to vary depending on, well, lot’s of things. If it’s your first time fasting it is going to be more difficult for your body to adapt to the fasted state so you’ll probably be a bit sluggish. The more you fast, the better your body gets at operating in the fasted state and the better you will feel.

Your “energy levels” are also dependent on your attitude. If you constantly tell yourself that you feel bad and dwell than you are going to feel worse than you physically should. If you’re attitude stinks, you stink. Mental positivity goes a long way.

Now as far as what you should feel physiologically speaking, the first 3 days are the toughest. This is the transition period when your body is depleting your glucose and glycogen store but hasn’t yet begun to compensate for the energy intake shortage through ketone production.

By day 4 your energy will return. Many people actually report a euphoric like feeling after being fasted for several days.

Tips & Insights

  • Expect to be a little groggy the first few days, but this will go away.
  • If you would like to continue your exercise routine while fasting, we recommend fasting mimicking over water fasting.
  • Consider supplementing with BCAAs, these will boost your energy and protect your muscle mass.

Mental Energy

This is worth mentioning separately. The mental benefits are the best part about fasting. In my experience (other’s report the same) your thoughts smooth out, you develop a sense of mindfulness, calm. Creativity increases as does productivity; it’s like your mind can run all day without getting tired.

This may be slightly off topic, but fasting will affect your psychological relationship to things (like food). You will grow your will power, become less dependent on things, and develop a healthy separation from normal habits and patterns - one reason fasting is so effective for addiction treatment.

At the very least, your work will not suffer in the slightest (unless, again, you allow yourself to become trapped in a negativity cycle). You will be able to perform all your normal tasks and perform them well.

Tips & Insights

  • Fasting is great for the mind! You will think clearly and boost creativity.
  • Fasting is a great way to adjust your relationship with food or any other habit.

Emotions & Mood

Sorry, but you’re going to get moody. Food is a drug. What I mean is that it chemically and hormonally stimulates different pathways in your body, so when you cut it out you have “withdrawals”.

I’m not talking about debilitating mood swings. Just a slight increased sensitivity to environmental stimulus. The newer you are to fasting the more susceptible you will be, but it’s nothing to be afraid of.

Just like your energy levels, this is the worst during the first 3 days and will level out around day 4.

Tips & Insights

  • Expect to be slightly more sensitive to your environment.
  • Avoid activities (or people) that put you on edge.

Sleep

Fasting should not negatively affect the quality of your sleep. In fact, you will probably sleep better, I do.

In regards to quantity, you may feel like you need a little extra sleep. I usually just go ahead and tack on an extra hour to my sleep when I’m fasting - it just makes everything better.

Tips & Insights

  • Schedule an extra hour of sleep per night while fasting. You’ll be glad you did.

Hunger

You’re going to be hungry, BUT you won’t be as hungry as you expect.

Typically each day, at least for the first 3 to 4 days, a moment of real hunger will come up. Don’t worry, it goes away after 5 or 10 minutes.

The rest of the time you’ll just have a faint sensation, like “hmm, I should eat something”.

Tips & Insights

  • You won’t be as hungry as you expect. It will come in waves and go away.
  • You will be significantly less hungry with fasting mimicking than with water fasting.
  • Drink water to keep you full and protect from dehydration. Carbonated is better.
  • Stay busy and move around. Give your mind something to focus on other than hunger.
  • Stay Positive. Positivity is your best weapon. Pump yourself up!. You are going to be better for having done this!

Time Considerations

You typically eat 3 meals a day, which is at least 2 hours you spend eating. If you cook or dine out then much more time is devoted to eating.

Take those meals away and you suddenly have a lot of extra time on your hands.

Tips & Insights

  • Do something fun or productive with your extra time! Read, go on a walk, take a bubble bath, or get outdoors. Enjoy the extra time, don’t waste it.

Breaking the Fast

You may have noticed in the video that we broke the fast with peanut butter cups and cheesecake bites, and we didn’t show you the bacon and eggs . . .

We did this on purpose to test the limits of what a stomach can handle after extended periods with no food. I can confidently say that I don’t recommend this!

Tips & Insights

  • Water fasting will shrink your stomach and make it sensitive during refeeding.
  • Fasting mimicking allows a faster and easier transition back to a normal diet.
  • On your first meal back after the fast eat something small and low carb, then give your stomach at least an hour to adjust before eating something else.
  • Some foods to consider breaking your fast with: salad, fresh vegetables (I like vinegar soaked cucumbers), almonds or other nuts, some fresh fruit (just not too much because fruit contains sugar).
  • Foods to avoid when breaking your fast. Any processed carbs, fried foods, greasy food, heavy protein, and definitely sugar.

 

 

Leave your Questions & Comments Below!

 

Austin Gill

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