What lies have you been told about fasting?

Trending diets that explode on the general consciousness (e.g. intermittent fasting, keto, plant-based diets, carnivore, etc.) are frequently birthed by half-truths and wishful thinking and then nurtured by misinformation as they grow cult-like followings.

Everyone knows someone who experienced near-miraculous results by following a particular diet. Converts construct rigid beliefs and rituals around new weight loss systems and ascribe near ‘magical’ powers to the plans that initially worked well for them and fellow congregants.  

However, as more people implement these dietary practices for extended periods, many initial beliefs and teachings are later proven incorrect.  With a deeper understanding of the actual mechanisms, we find more accurate and helpful ways to improve one’s chances of achieving long-term success than practising nutritional pseudoscience.  

So, what ‘truths’ did members of a recent Data-Driven Fasting Facebook Group confess that they previously believed about fasting?  Here are a few responses:  

Autophagy only happens when you are well into a fast. [Cas]

That I could eat whatever I want in my window. That didn’t work. [Kathy]

Ha, let me count the ways!! [Kerry]

That you’ll have rapid weight loss. Not for me! [Helene]

If you fast long and hard ( beyond three days), your body will ‘eat’ your loose skin through autophagy. And the longer you fast, the more muscle you will produce. [Rowena]

Longer is better. [Diane]

That you can eat anything you want during your feeding window, and eventually, appetite correction will kick in. [Terri]

That if you do one meal a day, you can eat absolutely anything. [Will]                  

That I’m not losing because I’m not fasting long enough (it turns out my body does better with a shorter fast). [Tibeca]

That it’s easy, and you can eat whatever you want. [Anna]

That Thomas Delauer knows what he’s talking about. [Brian]

That it won’t do metabolic damage. The weight you lose will stay off, and you won’t regain it if you maintain low carb and regular fasting. That didn’t work for me. Lost 80 and regained 50! [Jamie]

That OMAD is sustainable long term. Maybe for some but not for me. [Ingrid]

Longer is better. The opposite was the case for me, who knew I’d be one of the 16ish hour crowd to smash the last of the weight off ? sometimes it’s 14, sometimes it’s 18 (not often), but it is definitely two meals a day now, not one. [Debbie]

You should eat fat to lose fat.  [Carol]

That I would lose weight……nope not me. [Muffy]

The more, the better. I had to leave other fasting groups because members have almost made a competition out of fasting: 5-7-10 days!! [Alyona]

When OMAD isn’t working that you should fast longer/more (i.e., ADF), everyone is different, but I tried that tweak for far too long. [Diane]

That fasting on OMAD won’t damage your metabolic rate. [Cas]

That you won’t lose lean mass if you fast and you don’t need to worry about protein. [Marty]

If you are not losing weight, you are not fasting for long enough. [Ngaire]

When nothing appeared to be happening, that I was ‘healing on the inside’ and once that was done the weight would magically fall off. [Jan]

Fasting equates to fat loss and calories don’t matter. [Carol]

That I would lose fat, not muscle and that there was actually such a thing as “building your fasting muscle”. I practiced fasting like a champ and I did it like an Olympian and yet I never developed any fasting muscle. My muscle is coming now from protein and resistance training. [Karen]

We developed Data-Driven Fasting to cut through the noise and misinformation when it comes to fasting.  

Dialling in WHEN you eat is a great way to improve your metabolic health. But if you’re struggling to navigate the buzz surrounding popular fasting protocols, you may benefit from adding a little data to the process (e.g., your pre-meal blood sugars). Eventually, dialling in WHAT you eat becomes critical too.  

Feel free to leave a comment below on something that a guru told you once upon a time about fasting that you no longer believe.  

Further reading 

To learn more, you can:

Data-Driven Fasting Index 

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