There has been a lot of blood stirred up since I posted an interview i did with author, Brad Pilon, as we discussed his “anti diet” program called Eat Stop Eat. I’m sure you’re initial reaction to his program was, “This guy is crazy…”
If you’ve read the book, you’ll discover how brainwashed we’ve become by misinformation and Brad’s ESE book is one of the best nutrition resources I’ve ever read. I read the entire booklet on Sunday afternoon and was fascinated by the science, most of all by the dieting myths he destroyed.
I got a chance to email Brad with some questions I wanted him to touch on before you follow his plan:
Vince: Are you sure fasting will not cause me to lose muscle mass?
A: No, short term flexible intermittent fasting like the kind I recommend in Eat Stop Eat will not cause any muscle loss for two reasons. First the fasts are very short and aren’t long enough cause any muscle loss. Second, I always recommend some form of weight training that will ensure you never lose muscle. As a matter of fact you can build muscle while fasting if you are following a good muscle building program like Vince’s.
Vince: Can you reassure my skinny guys that you can’t lose muscle? I know that people are so afraid to “lose muscle” so share the truth on how to avoid losing muscle.
Brad: Your body burns muscle when you are inactive so if your arm were put in a cast, then you would lose muscle in your arm. Similarly if you were to be in a situation like a famine where you have had so little food for so long you can barely walk or stand, that’s when you start losing muscle because the lack of food has forced you to become inactive.
Its all dependent on your activity levels. So it’s exactly the opposite of what most people think – being active while dieting is how you save your muscle, doing nothing is how you lose muscle.
Vince: Why is fasting such a powerful way to lose body fat?
Brad: When you don’t have any food in your system to burn as fuel then your body shifts to burning fat as its primary fuel source, this is the whole reason your body stores fat in the first place. When you eat your body prefers to burn the fuel you ate first, but if you don’t have any food in your system your body still has to burn something, and it chooses to burn fat first.
Vince: Is this a detox plan or fat loss plan?
Brad: If detox can be taken as a simple statement for helping balance the system and rejuvenate your body, then I would say it does have some benefits like that. However it is first and foremost a plan for losing weight with minimal rules that still allows you to eat all the foods you like without feeling guilty. So I think you can call it a simple effective weight loss program that also promotes overall health benefits.
Vince: What did you talk about on the Mike and Juliet show?
Brad: We covered a lot of topics in a small amount of time. Firstly we talked about the three major misconceptions about short term fasting (that your metabolism will slow down, that you will lose muscle and three that you will go hypoglycemic).
Secondly and probably most importantly, we talked about how dozens of cultures and hundreds of millions of people around the world already do short fasts as part of their culture, and have been doing so for centuries. This is important because it proves that flexible intermittent fasting can be part of a healthy lifestyle.
Vince: How can this help my skinny guys muscle up?
Brad: The Eat Stop Eat style of eating has been scientifically shown to increase growth hormone. And I mean a lot, by the end of a 24 hour fast research shows growth hormone can increase as much as 10 fold! This is the same growth hormone that so many celebrities and bodybuilders are taking to build muscle mass. The only difference is in this case you are using a special eating technique to coax your body into increasing its own growth hormone levels instead of buying it on the black market and injecting it into yourself every week.
Growth Hormone is important for muscle building because along with testosterone it is one of the most potent muscle building hormones in your body. For anyone looking to build muscle, Eat Stop Eat is a great way to spike your own natural growth hormone to get a muscle building effect.
Vince: How can this help me get a six pack faster?
Brad: In order to let your abs show through you must burn all the fat off of your midsection. One of the best ways to boost fat burning is a short term fast. It shifts your metabolism to burning mostly fat. During your fasts your body is burning a very high percentage of fat and one of the places it preferentially burns it from is your belly/stomach area.
Another way Eat Stop Eat can help get your six pack faster is through portion size control. We’ve noticed that after a fast it takes less food to fill you up and feel satisfied, some people even report they have less cravings for sweets and fatty foods. In a sense it trains your body to learn to eat just the right amount of food and no more.
Vince: What are the major health benefits and risks with your program?
Brad: Fasting has many health benefits from increasing growth hormone and fat burning to lowering your insulin levels, it also helps to reduce chronic inflammation. In a way it’s a good strategy for giving your system a break and letting it reset and refresh.
I actually went back to university to study the effects of short term intermittent fasting on the human body with a specific eye towards fat loss. I can honestly say when done correctly I can’t really find any risk involved with short term fasting, and there is a host of beneficial effects.
On that note I would like to point out that all the research I reviewed was in healthy people at varying body weights (normal to obese) with normal blood sugar regulation. So I cannot technically recommend this program to diabetics or people with a diagnosed blood sugar problem, in these cases I always recommend you check with your physician or health care provider before starting any new diet or exercise programs. However with that said I have received emails from diabetics who have used Eat Stop Eat with good success.
You’ll really love his program if you hate the “bodybuilding lifestyle” of six small meals every 3 hours. Overall, I think you’ll find his 24 hour fasting method much easier than you think and it might improve your productivity too.
Personally, I probably won’t use Brad’s plan every week because I have a hard enough time gaining muscle weight but I know his plan will be a part of my lifestyle if and when I need to lose any belly fat without having to suffer through it. I think you’ll appreciate Brad’s refreshing take on dieting and weight loss.
P.S. The whole point of this program is to take the stress of eating and not obsess about the clock every 3 hours so make sure you add this to your arsenal for fat loss:
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