Fasting vs Starvation

Fasting vs Starvation

Mention fasting to most people, and they immediately think starvation.

Panic sets in from fear of being hungry and doing without but fasting is very different to starvation.

Fasting happens when you stop eating for a certain amount of time – on AstonRX it’s 12 hours overnight or five hours between breakfast and lunch – but the body is still calling on its own stored fat for energy. Everything is still working, functioning, and continuing as normal.

Fasting uses the body’s own inner food tank and most people’s tank is full enough to last 30-40 days without being topped up.

Starvation happens when there’s no more fat in storage to feed the body, so it starts to cannibalise itself, munching up muscle and protein in the fight to stay alive. But that’s not going to happen with intermittent fasting. If you have plenty in reserve, you certainly won’t starve.

Instead, it gives the body some breathing space to cleanse and rest from the demands of constant digestion.

Generally, you also won’t be hungry while fasting. Hunger is hormone driven and when your insulin levels are high because you’re over feeding your body, you’re constantly hungry. That means more food, more insulin, more hunger, and the epidemic we see now of insulin resistance that is so common with being overweight and obese.

I understand why people are frightened of starving because they’re probably used to out-dated diets where they were randomly made to eat nothing but grapefruits and foods that caused insulin levels to spike, increasing hunger, stress, and sense of deprivation.

But if we reflect on our own evolution, it’s worth remembering that we weren’t designed to be eating constantly. Human beings have evolved through fast and famine. Primitive man would last hours, or days, before hunting fresh game to eat. He certainly wasn’t eating every two hours. He’d eat a meal, followed by a significant period before eating again. The stored body fat would be used as fuel to hunt and gather, calling on heightened cognitive function and a burst of hormones so all senses were alert in the face of danger.

We all know what it’s like when we’ve eaten a huge meal and want to curl up and go to sleep. In that state, we can’t imagine running wild and pitting ourselves against the elements. Fasting occasionally is one of the healthiest measures you can take for health, giving your body a break, sharpening mental clarity and allowing a Spring clean of your cells!