Posts tagged body fat

How to Do a One-Day Water Fast by Frederic Patenaude

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How to Do a One-Day Water Fast by Frederic Patenaude

When I fast, I don’t drink any juice. I find fasting easier that way, and I believe that juice fasting maintains hunger without leading to as many benefits.

I also never fast on a “schedule.” Even though last year I fasted every week for 36 hours for several months in a row, I stopped after doing enough of it. Always listen to your body when fasting. (But the trick is knowing how to listen!)

I also don’t practice such as eating only 500 calories for one day, such as in the 5:2 Diet. It’s easier to fast drinking only water. That way there is nothing to organize, nothing to think about, and you stop the fast whenever you are ready.

The Benefits of a 24 to 36 Hour Fast

A short fast is not true fasting because the body never fully enters into ketone metabolism, where it burns body fat exclusively for energy. So it’s more a “digestive rest.” But it offers quite a few benefits:

Reduced blood lipids (decreased triglycerides and LDL cholesterol)
Lower body fat
Reduced blood pressure
Reduced chronic inflammation (CRP, IL-6, TNF, BDNF, and more)
Reduced oxidative stress
Reduced cancer risk
Increased fat burning
Improved appetite control
Increased insulin sensitivity and decreased insulin levels
Improved cardiovascular function
Improved memory and cognitive function
My main reason for fasting fast is because it makes me feel good!

It’s the best way I found to reset real hunger and appetite, uplift mood and get some rest.

And even though fasting is never without some efforts, I have enough experience with it to slip into a 36 hour fast comfortably. Let me give you some tips.

The Easiest Way to Approach a Fast

First, you have to understand that you’ve conditioned your body to eat at certain times. If you feel hungry in the morning, that is not real hunger but rather conditioning. Your body is used to request food whether it’s truly hungry or not.

When you fast for 24 to 26 hours, your body uses its immediate reserves: food still being digested, glycogen in the muscles and liver. It might partly shift to ketone bodies as an energy source but not 100%.

So the first approach to fasting for a day is understanding that you’re not fasting. You’re only delaying your first meal of the day!

How Are You Feeling Now?

The most important piece of advice I can give you about fasting is that you should mentally “chunk it” into blocks of time of one or a few hours.

When you start your fast, you might be thinking to yourself, “Wow, this is difficult. I don’t think I’ll be able to make it.”

What you have to realize, and this comes with practice, is that whatever you’re feeling right now is temporary. The feelings will pass.

My goal when I fast for 24 to 36 hours is to reach the “euphoria” part of the fast when fasting becomes easy. This feeling usually occurs after 4 p.m. After that, fasting is a breeze. In fact, fasting is easy for MOST of the time when doing such a long fast. But it can be difficult some of the time. Here’s how to go about it.

Going to Bed

You can choose to eat a very light dinner or not, eat it early or eat it late. I say do whatever you normally do. Going to bed is the first part of the fast. It’s easy because we fast every night when we sleep!

Fasting Until Noon

The next chunk of the fast is fasting until noon — thereby skipping breakfast. Many people do this all the time, so it’s not that hard. If you regularly drink coffee, I say drink some then or drink some green tea. It’s not worth it going through a fast AND have to detox caffeine at the same time. But switching to green tea is a good idea.

Getting Over the Afternoon Crash

The most difficult part of a 1-day fast is the afternoon. You’ll feel good until right around 1 p.m. or when you start to feel genuine hunger. That’s when you’re starting to think that you won’t last until the end of the day.

If you continue, you might start to feel tired in the afternoon, which coincides with circadian rhythms.

I like to consider this fatigue as “rest.” That’s why I prefer to fast on a Sunday. I will nap at that time and get the most wonderful rest.

Whenever I feel like breaking the fast during that period, I tell myself, “Try another hour and decide then.” I know that whatever I’m feeling at the moment will pass.

The Evening High

This is when the fast becomes fun and exciting. The endorphins kick in, and you feel great. Your mood is positive, and it’s then no problem to continue the fast or break it.

You can decide to break the fast for a 24 hour fast.

Or you can choose to go to bed “hungry.” Listen to your body. I usually find that I feel good enough to go to sleep on an empty stomach and fast until the next day. But sometimes I want to eat and break the fast, so I do it.

Sleeping On An Empty Stomach

It’s not that difficult to fast through the night if you put your mind to it. For many people sleep is a bit lighter and for some deeper. I experience deeper sleep on the first days of the fast, so I do enjoy this night! Your energy should be good the next day because fasters don’t require as much sleep.

People who sleep well tend to sleep less during a fast and those who have sleep problems tend to sleep better.

If you wake up in the middle of the night and are genuinely hungry, then break the fast then with some fruit and go back to bed. Otherwise, you can fast until the morning.

The Morning

It’s surprising that most mornings, after fasting for over 32-36 hours, I am rarely hungry. I often have to decide to break the fast because I often feel like I could go on. Sometimes I do go on and wait for hunger to come back, which can take many hours and take me to a 40 or even 48 hour fast.

But if you have important work to do that day, break the fast no matter how hungry you are.

Breaking the Fast

Breaking a short fast is not something that requires a lot of planning. A longer fast weakens your digestion, so re-feeding becomes the most critical aspect of the fast.

I suggest that you eat whole fruit. It will taste amazing! And your energy will quickly come back.

Then act as if the fast never happened. Continue with your day but listen to your body. You may be hungrier than usual or not. Just follow your hunger and don’t question it. Try to eat as healthy as you can, and hopefully healthier than you did before the fast.

After a fast, you might recalibrate your taste buds enough to make a few changes, such as drinking less caffeine, switching to tea, quitting tea, eating more raw food, eating less salt, going vegan, going raw, etc. You’ll be more in tune with what your body needs!

A few people cannot fast for even just 24 hours. People with diabetes fall into that category. Your doctor can advise you.


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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All Rights Reserved. Advice and recommendations given in this website or in personal consultation by phone, email, in-person, online coaching, or otherwise, is at the reader’s sole discretion and risk. You should see a qualified, licensed doctor before starting any skin care, nutritional, diet, stretching, and/or exercise program. Information presented on this website is not to be interpreted as kind of attempt to prescribe or practice medicine. These statements and information have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. No product offerings are intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult with a competent, fully-informed medical professional or health practitioner when making decisions having to do with your health. You are advised to investigate and educate yourself about any health related actions and choices you make.

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Why No Oil? by Frederic Patenaude

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Why No Oil? by Frederic Patenaude

One of the most common questions that I get is: why don’t you recommend oil?
What about coconut oil? Or extra-virgin olive oil? Or flax seed oil?

Why I Don’t Recommend Any Oil, Including Olive or Coconut Oil

I follow the lead of excellent doctors and researchers such as Dr. Esselstyn, McDougall, Barnard, Campbell, Klaper, Goldhammer (and many others) in my stance against oil.

I don’t use any oil, including olive or coconut — and never eat any except in circumstances where I’m not in full control of the food that I’m eating.

Once you’ve experienced going oil-free, you don’t want to go back. The benefits of eliminating oil from the diet are numerous, and you will feel many of them immediately.

You’ll have more energy. Oil is 100% pure fat with no protein or carbohydrate, and very few other nutrients. Fat is twice as concentrated in calories as carbohydrates, containing nine calories per gram vs. four for carbohydrates. You’ll have more energy eliminating oil because you eliminate a concentrated source of calories. You will replace those calories with foods that give more energy, such as fruit, healthy starches, vegetables, and whole nuts and seeds or avocados.

Your mood will improve. Again, consuming liquid fat means consuming fewer carbohydrates and healthy sources of protein. Whole carbohydrates contribute positively to serotonin production.

Your digestion will improve. Oil makes digestion sluggish. Liquid fat takes a lot more time to digest than carbohydrates. On an oil-free diet, your digestion will be excellent! You will never feel too full or experience discomfort after a meal, even if it is big.

You’ll lose body fat. You might think that eating so many carbohydrates makes you fat. But in reality, it’s the combination of carbohydrates and fat that promotes fat gain. Carbohydrates are burned as energy whereas fat can be stored directly as body fat. If one consumes both carbohydrates and fat in significant quantities, the carbohydrates will be used as energy and the fats will be stored as body fat (as long as total calories exceed what the body needs). Liquid fat (oil) are the easiest types of calories for the body to store as body fat.

Your blood sugar will improve. I used to check my blood sugar every day. Eating fat and especially meat has always caused the greatest spike in blood sugar. That’s because a high-fat diet lowers insulin sensitivity. In fact, beef causes more insulin production than white sugar.

Why No Oil?

Here are some more reasons to avoid oil:

1) Oil is a refined product and the most concentrated source of calories available anywhere. One tablespoon of oil contains 120 calories of pure fat with almost no other nutrients. Refined sugar is only 50 calories per tablespoon.

A few splashes of olive oil here and there can quickly add up to hundreds of extra calories that you don’t need. Worst of all, those calories are missing all the fiber and essential nutrients and are empty.

Multiple studies have found that adding fat to food makes people over-consume calories without realizing it because fat has a very low satiety factor compared to carbohydrates or proteins. Many of these fascinating findings are described in the book “Salt, Sugar, Fat.”

Remember: it takes 24 olives to make 1 TBS of olive oil. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never once added 24 olives to a single serving of salad.

2) Vegetable oils contribute to inflammation. Omega 6 fats contribute to inflammation in the body while omega-3 fats reduce it. But most vegetable oils have a ratio that dramatically favor omega-6 fats. We should seek to a dietary ratio of no more than four times the omega 6s vs. 3. Olive oil contains over ten times the omega-6 as omega-3, and many other oils are worst.

3) Olive oil doesn’t lower LDL cholesterol, in fact, it increases it. It’s a myth to think that olive oil is “heart healthy.” Studies have only shown that it lowers LDL cholesterol when it replaces animal fats like butter. But to add olive oil (and other vegetable oils) to an otherwise healthy diet increases LDL levels. If you want to raise your LDL levels even faster, then eat some coconut oil. As Dr. Williams recently pointed out in an article published on Renegade Health, vegans tend to eat too much coconut oil, and it does raise their LDL levels. There’s a lot of hype around coconut oil, but in my opinion it’s just another good way to get to a heart attack faster. (For the lowdown on coconut oil, watch this video by Dr. Greger.) Note: whole coconuts are healthy. You can eat them.

4) Olive oil injures the inner lining of the arteries (called endothelium). A study conducted by Dr. Robert Vogel and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that a meal containing olive oil caused severe constrictions in arteries, contributing to heart disease. Consuming olive oil reduced blood flow by 31% in this study. It’s worth noting that canola oil or salmon didn’t cause this problem (however, all vegetable oils are unhealthy to some degree).

What studies found was that the protective components of the Mediterranean diet appear to be fruits and vegetables and nuts, and NOT the olive oil. Greek people only got away with eating olive oil because they consumed a lot of fruits and vegetables. They also replaced animal fats like butter with olive oil. But olive oil in itself isn’t healthy. (Note: Greece currently has the highest obesity levels in Europe and has the highest per-capita consumption of olive oil).

5) Oils release toxic compounds when heated. Many oils become carcinogenic when heated. And yes, every type of oil can withstand a different level of heat. But don’t believe for a second that nothing is happening to your oil when you start heating it. Udo Erasmus, one of the world’s most well-known experts on fats, always recommended to never heat any fat. He said: “If health is what we want, water is the only oil appropriate for frying. We’re back to steaming, poaching, boiling, or pressure cooking our foods. Or, even better in most cases, eating them raw.”

What about essential fats?

It’s true, we need some fats for good health. But all whole foods contain them to a certain degree, and in the perfect omega 3/6 ratio.

What’s my favorite source of essential fats? Green vegetables. Although the percentage is low, it contains omega 3s in the perfect ratio.

Additional fats should come from whole foods such as nuts, seeds, avocados, etc. Those foods contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, and so many other critical nutrients that are missing from liquid fat calories.

I only take two tablespoons of ground flax seeds every day. I have tested my Omega-3 levels using a blood test, and I’m getting optimal results. My theory is that removing oil in the diet improves the omega-3 ratio because there’s no omega-6 to compete with the omega 3s. The body can fully convert the small amount of fatty acids naturally found in every whole food, including vegetables. Including flax seeds and walnuts or hemp is a good idea.

How to Transition to an Oil-Free Diet

Now, does that mean you can never have a splash of olive oil? If you’re very active and burn a lot of calories, a bit of olive oil probably won’t hurt you. But it’s better to go without it. Try giving it up and you’ll notice that your taste for oil will disappear. If you crave something fatty, have whole nuts and seeds instead, or even some nut butter. Eat some avocado. And whole coconuts contain ALL of the benefits of the coconut. Coconut oil is just pure fat. What could be tastier than a fresh, young coconut?

When I make a batch of hummus, I only use some tahini, but I don’t add any oil. The traditional recipe for hummus doesn’t contain any oil. I stopped purchasing the tahini brands that contain oil (most of them).

When I eat a salad, I usually eat it plain or with a simple seasoning of balsamic vinegar and maybe nutritional yeast. But I don’t add olive oil to it. I might add some diced avocado.

When I make rice and beans, or marinara sauce, I don’t stir-fry the onion and garlic in olive oil. I dry-sautee the onions and garlic until a little brown and then deglaze it with vegetable broth. No oil.

My taste buds have adapted to this oil-free diet. I now enjoy my food more without oil. It takes about 60-90 days for a person used to a diet of 30+% fat to adjust to lower-fat diet. Then when the transition is over, you will start to dislike oil and enjoy the taste of real, unrefined foods without added liquid fat.
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I want to let you know that Frederic’s book, “How to Eat Well for Under $100 a Month on a Plant-Based Diet” with the companion book is available now for $29.95 instead of the usual price of $47.

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