Yesterday in my article, Breaking a Fast, I mentioned that Dr. Fung allows his patients to drink bone broth as part of the fasting regiment. I also said that I don’t use bone broth at least until day 4 of a fast, and said I would explain why in a future post. So, today I thought I would delve into that explanation.
It all comes down to one word: Autophagy.
If you don’t know what autophagy is, don’t worry, few people do, even most doctors. Autophagy was discovered only a short time ago, by a team of medical researchers. I know that at least one of the members of the team was Japanese, but am not sure of the composition of the entire team. The team was awarded the a Nobel prize in 2016 for the discovery of Autophagy.
Basically, autophagy means that while fasting, your body “consumes” the unhealthy cells in your body, and also cells that are no longer used. Due to the large amounts of growth hormone that the human body produces while fasting (about 1000% more than normal growth hormone production) your body can use the consumption of these unhealthy cells to create new healthy cells, more muscle, etc.
What unhealthy cells?
Well, any cells in your body that are unhealthy and also those that are no longer needed.
- Excess skin that would normally be hanging when a person loses a lot of weight.
- I used to have a lot of skin tags, but they have all disappeared, except for one.
- I have scar tissue that has disappeared, even the scar from my heart surgery last year is fading away fast.
- I have seen dramatic improvement in my eyesight occurring during long fasts. In other words the improvements happen during the fasting, and continue afterwards. I believe that is is due to autophagy.
Relation to Bone Broth?
Well, let me explain why this means that I do not consume bone broth at least until day 4.
You see, Autophagy only occurs during fasting.
For a person who is in Ketosis (their body is burning fat not carbohydrates), it is said that autophagy begins occurring after fasting for about 16 hours. For a person who is not in Ketosis, autophagy starts after about 3 days of fasting.
Well, my body is pretty much always in Ketosis now, because I just don’t eat much in the way of carbs. Of course while fasting, I eat nothing, so no carbs at all. Even on my eating days, I rarely eat more than 5 grams of carbs a day, that is almost nothing in the way of carbs. So, basically, my body is always in Ketosis, at least now. The day might come when I can eat more in the way of carbs, we’ll see.
Now, the thing about bone broth is that it contains protein. Consuming any protein at all will halt the work of autophagy in your body. The same is true if you eat any carbs.
Bone broth is protein.
So the reason why I don’t use any bone broth at least until day 4 of a fast is that I want to give autophagy a chance to work its magic in my body! The biggest reason that I want the autophagy to have plenty of time to work is so that I won’t have a lot of loose skin when I finish losing weight. Dr. Fung treats thousands of patients, and he has said on some various videos that it has been very rare that people need skin removal surgery after losing even massive amounts of weight through fasting. I want this magic to happen in my body too!
I try not to use bone broth at all while fasting. But, if I am feeling a desire to eat, bone broth is what I will turn to if needed. It tastes like food, nice and savory, but it helps me extend my fast. During a 6 day fast, like I am mostly doing now, if I do use bone broth, I will use it on day 4 and probably won’t have the need to do it again until I am ready to break my fast on day 6.
What about fat?
What about consuming fat during a fast? Will that halt autophagy? Well, you have to keep in mind that the research on autophagy is still very young, and new things are being learned all of the time. However, Dr. Fung says that he feels that taking in a small amount of fat will not halt autophagy, especially since fat really does not trigger an insulin response at all.
So, another thing you can do (and I do from time to time) is consume something like Bulletproof Coffee. Bulletproof Coffee is black coffee with fat in it, like butter and coconut oil. When you take in bulletproof coffee, it really does fill you up a lot! If this is needed to help you through the fast, by all means, you can do it! No shame in doing something that will help you extend your fasting time.
So it all comes down to autophagy for me. I want to do all I can to take advantage of the benefits that I can experience through autophagy. That is why I don’t use bone broth until it is absolutely necessary.