Fasting has had a firm placement in the health industry for a while now, with the origins of fasting dating back to our ancestry, fasting has come back around to be used as a wellness practise to get back to our roots and give our digestive system’s a rest.
As hunter gatherers approach to feast and famine, the modern day wellness world has backed research results that have found that some types of fasting may have positive effects on aspects of health like blood sugar control, blood pressure, and inflammation .
You may have heard of the popular method of eating called Intermittent fasting, but what is reverse fasting? Reverse fasting is a type of intermittent fasting that uses the power of our circadian rhythms. In simple terms, instead of fasting late into the day, you start by ending your meals early in the day.
Also known as the sun cycle diet or circadian rythmn fasting, reverse fasting is for people who want to stay in shape and maintain a healthy weight, prevent disease, and have optimal energy all day long. This way of eating, comprises a few simple steps which are: Eating when it’s light outside and stopping when it’s dark. For some people this is easy to skip dinner instead of breakfast but benefits are still optimal if an earlier dinner is chosen.
Our body clock controls more than our sleep
Our internal biological timekeeper or circadian clock, regulates many aspects of our physiology and behaviour. It tells us to be awake and active during the day, and rest and sleep during the night. It can also tell us the best time to eat.
Our body is biologically prepared to have food during the day. Food digestion, nutrient uptake and energy metabolism is optimised to occur when we’re supposed to be active and awake.
Working against this default stage, by regularly eating when we’re supposed to sleep and fast, can compromise these processes and impact our health. Erratic eating patterns, including late-night meals, have been linked to weight gain and a greater risk of metabolic disease. Night shift-workers, for example, and people who work evening, night or rotating shifts, have a higher risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. But adopting an eating pattern that aligns with our circadian rhythm can reduce these risks.
Having An Early Dinner
Taken from the Eastern world of places such as India, where a yogic lifestyle is in their heritage, having an early dinner is something many westerners are getting behind due to its health promoting benefits. Some of these include:
- Aiding weight management and weight Loss.
- Improved Sleep quality.
- Reduced Risk Of Chronic Diseases.
- Improved digestion.
- More Energy through out the day.
By having anaearly dinner (around 3-4 hours before bed) we program our bodies to become prepared for rest opposed to creating energy to digest our food. Some of the research shows the effect of late night eating, studies show the time of eating is intrinsically linked to the circadian rhythm in humans, as we normally sleep when it’s dark out and eat when it’s daylight. When we eat late, this could challenge the natural circadian rhythm, causing disruptions to the body’s hunger signals and the way it uses calories and stores fat. By stopping food intake those extra few hours before bed we not only are preparing ourselves for deeper sleep but also working with our natural rhythms opposed to against them.
The Issue With Intermitted Fasting
Have you ever thought about the effect of waiting till lunch time is having on your circadian rhythm? Some people can experience issues with fasting in the morning with low energy levels and then bursts of energy at night and episodes of insomina . Fasting into the morning can also effect with our body’s natural cortisol production and decrease our ability with blood sugar control. Many IT fasters rely heavily on coffee throughout the morning to give them energy and focus. This is ignoring our bodies natural signals and giving it the opportunity to provide steady balanced energy opposed to up and down caffeine crashes.
Benefits of Reverse Fasting
One idea is that consuming food early, in alignment with our circadian rhythm, helps to synchronise our circadian clock. This restores the rhythm of our autonomous nervous system, which regulates essential functions such as breathing and heart rate, to keep our physiology tuned, grounded, stable and balanced. If you are one to run anxious, eating earlier on, can actually be a game changer for anxiety.
The Method & How Too’s
Reverse fasting is a little bit different from the traditional type of intermittent fasting because instead of eating dinner around 8 p.m and skipping breakfast, you start your fast earlier in the day (preferably around 5 or 6 p.m.) and then fast for 12 to 15 hours. This structure can change with the seasons or culture you are within, for example when earlier nights draw in in the fall or lighter evenings in the summer. Allowing our body to have an earlier dinner, also has its hosts of benefits.
Maybe it’s time to rethink Intermittent fasting and approach this cycle through a new lease which supports our natural biology and energy patters as we with with our circadian rhythms and nature’s natural cycles, opposed to against them.
Categorised in: Nutrition
This post was written by Amelia Crossley