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The tradition of eating three meals a day started with the European settlers who wanted to be more civilized than Native American Indians, who only ate when they were hungry. Meals were originally consumed only during daylight hours, but our expanding shift work and schedules have resulted in around the clock eating. As a result of our frequent eating habits and our Standard American Diet (SAD), the United States is one of the fattest countries in the world. We have eaten three daily meals for hundreds of years. This is evidenced by our expanding waistlines, over protruding bellies, large buttocks, and even larger thighs. Cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, and obesity are all diseases of overeating. The human body can store carbohydrates (about 24-36 hours of useable energy) and fats. When your liver has filled its storage capacity for carbohydrates, it then begins to convert excess carbohydrates into fat. Most Americans who eat 3 meals a day and wash it down with a sugary drink are currently in a vicious cycle of storing fat and becoming insulin resistant. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas which allows our cells to use glucose (sugar) for energy,


People with insulin resistance have cells that do not use insulin effectively. This means the cells have trouble absorbing glucose, due to increased fat in the cells which cause a buildup of sugar in the blood. A normal range for a healthy person’s glucose level is anywhere between 70 mg/dL and 99 mg/dL in the morning, after fasting for 8 hours through the night, and less than 140 mg/dL 2 hours after eating. The National Institutes of Health states that a person has pre-diabetes if they have a fasting blood glucose level between 100-125 mg/dL or a two-hour blood glucose level between 140-199 mg/dL after an oral glucose tolerance test. Conventional medical treatment may help some, but could leave you with a handful of pills, higher healthcare costs, with increased morbidity and mortality. The human body is very resilient to disease, but years of eating the Standard American Diet can cause disease. Type II diabetes is a disease of insulin resistance (too much insulin) and Type I diabetes is a disease of too little insulin. The conventional doctor treats the Type II diabetes patient’s blood sugar levels with insulin, but the problem is insulin resistance. The symptoms of too much sugar (hyperglycemia) include: fatigue, jitteriness, weight gain, mood shifts, cavities, foggy brain, depression, craving for sweets, and complexion issues.

high insulin

High levels of insulin in the blood gives us a large body habitus, while lower levels of insulin in the blood gives us a thin body habitus.


How it Works: When we eat, more food energy is ingested than can immediately be used. Some of this energy must be stored away for later use. Insulin is the key hormone involved in the storage of food energy.


When we eat a meal, the pancreas excretes insulin into the blood due to increased sugar levels. The insulin directs the sugar to the liver where it is stored as glycogen, and the excess sugar is turned into fat  to use for stored energy when needed. The opposite process happens with fasting. Insulin and blood sugar decreases during fasting and the body then burns stored sugar and fats into energy to power the body.


In Ontario, Canada, Dr. Jason Fung treats patients with Type II diabetes with a no sugar diet and intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is the ancient secret of health. It is ancient because it has been practiced throughout all of human history. It is a secret because this powerful habit has been virtually forgotten. Some benefits of intermittent fasting are:


  1. Increased cognition.
  2. Decreased inflammation.
  3. Helps one cope with stress.
  4. Increases memory abilities.
  5. Helps repair DNA and cellular damage.
  6. Helps to reduce cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  7. Can reverse Type II diabetes.
  8. Reduces obesity, high blood pressure, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  9. Helps you lose weight and belly fat.
  10. Increases your metabolism and burning of fat.
  11. Lowers diabetes risk factors.
  12. Lowers blood sugar levels.
  13. Reduces insulin resistance.
  14. Increases Human Growth Hormone (HGH) production.
  15. Can make your hair and nails grow faster.
  16. Promotes new neuron growth in the brain.
  17. Reduce the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
  18. Extends lifespan, helping you live longer.
  19. Reduce leptin levels, increasing testosterone.


Fasting is a willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. Fasting has no standard duration, as it is merely the abstinence of eating. Anytime you are not eating, you are fasting. For example, you may fast between dinner and breakfast the next day for a period of approximately 12-18 hours. In this sense, fasting should be considered a part of everyday life. Fasting advantages: flexibility, convenience, free, and simplicity. You can add fasting to any diet plan, and it is the only plan that will save you money and prolong your life.


Fasting has been used in religion for centuries. The National Institutes of Health reports that The Daniel Fast” is a biblical partial fast that is typically undertaken for 3 weeks. Also, during Ramadan, Muslims all across the world fast during daylight hours of that religious month. This is one of the five main pillars of Islam. The Bible mentions fasting of Jesus, patriots, and prophets for spiritual recuperation, special revelations, mourning, answered prayers, wisdom, spiritual power, in times of grief and distress, in times of war, and when facing danger, etc.


According to an article written in the January, 2013 Scientific American Newsletter, religions have long maintained that fasting is good for the soul, but its bodily benefits were not widely recognized until the early 1900s, when doctors began recommending it to treat various disorders – such as diabetes, obesity and epilepsy.


Now that you know all the essentials of fasting, how do you get started? Just follow the steps below:


  • Decidewhat type of fast you want to do.
  • Decide upon the length of time you want to fast.
  • Start fasting. If you do not feel well, or if you have any concerns, then stop and seek help.
  • Continue all your usual activities outside of eating. Stay busy and live normally. Imagine you’re “eating” a full meal of your own fat.
  • Break the fast gently.
  • Repeat.
  • Yes. It really is THAT simple.


types of fasting

Fasting should be used as a tool to lose weight and restore your health naturally.


fat loss graph

You should not fast if you are:

  • Underweight(BMI < 18.5)
  • Pregnant– you need extra nutrients for your child.
  • Breastfeeding– you need extra nutrients for your child.
  • A child under 18– you need extra nutrients to grow.


You can fast, but may need supervision, under these conditions:


  • If you have diabetes mellitus – type 1 or type 2.
  • If you take prescription medication.
  • If you have gout or high uric acid.


My  top tips for intermittent fasting are:


  • Drink water
  • Stay busy
  • Drink coffee or tea
  • Ride out the hunger waves
  • Don’t tell anybody who is not supportive that you are fasting
  • Give yourself one month
  • Follow a whole food plant based diet between fasting periods. This reduces hunger and makes fasting much easier. It may also increase the effect on weight loss and type 2 diabetes reversal, etc.
  • Don’t binge after fasting



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Ted Edwards, DO is a board certified Physiatrist who specializes in Interventional Pain Management. He is a graduate of Southern University and Des Moines University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is in private practice and integrates his extensive knowledge of healthy eating, a vegan lifestyle and exercise with the art of medicine in the treatment of patients with chronic pain.

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