Dr. John Jaquish discusses fasting vs. calorie restriction with Gayle Guyardo, host of the nationally syndicated health and wellness show Bloom.
Gayle: A lot of people wonder when it comes to losing weight, which is better? Intermittent fasting or calorie restriction?
Joining us now is the inventor, scientist and the best-selling author of Weight Lifting Is a Waste of Time: So Is Cardio, and There’s a Better Way to Have the Body You Want, Dr. John Jaquish.
Gayle: Welcome back to Bloom, Dr. It’s great to see you again.
Dr. John Jaquish: Gayle, it’s great to be here.
Gayle: Let’s get right to it. Which is better? Calorie counting or intermittent fasting?
Dr. John Jaquish: Well, in a way.. there is a big argument going on about this in sports science and it’s a shame because it’s almost the same thing… The argument is over some nuance which doesn’t make a lot of sense so.. but both of them are trying to get you to a place of energy restriction.
Basically, your body is taking in less energy than your body using so your body is going to start to prefer to use body fat as its fuel.
The funny thing is that there are different approaches.
Intermittent fasting has some advantages over general calorie restriction.
With calorie restriction, let me know if you have a friend who can identify with this.
Let’s say someone diets for six months and they are at a 20% restriction on their calories and all of a sudden it stops working and they start gaining body fat again.. do you have any friends like that Gayle?
Gayle: Well, sure. And it’s happened to me before where I restrict it and I go back to a normal eating cycle and the weight comes just right back on.
Dr. John Jaquish: Very quickly. Right. And that’s called a metabolic adaptation. Your body is trying to get used to a lower level of calories so it deprioritizes things like regenerating skin and instead of trying to make you live on less, the problem is you are not expecting that when you are calculating calories and it gets worse and worse.
In fact, there was a study on the people who were on The Biggest Loser, the TV show, and their metabolism has been damaged for six years and has not recovered so that’s the downside of calorie restriction however when it comes to intermittent fasting your body cannot adapt to zero. That’s very important to understand because when you have no calories going into your system, your body isn’t like, ‘okay, we are going to have always zero calories’, it doesn’t work that way.
So instead of adapting, it gets through the period, and up-regulates your growth hormone so you don’t lose any muscle during that period because it’s giving you a signal.. ‘hey we gotta get you something to eat’.
So no metabolic adaptation with intermittent fasting because once you go off of intermittent fasting, you should be eating maintenance calories so you don’t make up for the last three days you didn’t eat.
It’s like sleep, you can still skip three days of sleep and still only need eight hours of sleep, you don’t need 3 full days of sleep.
Gayle: So what are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
Dr. John Jaquish: Well, you are not hungry. And that’s amazing because that’s why people fail. People who do calorie restrictions are angry all the time. They call it hangry because you are hungry and angry. And that does not happen when you do intermittent fasting. Maybe you do for a few hours but it goes away because your body goes to burning body fat.
And the other advantage is that you can be much more aggressive about it.
So for example, let’s say someone was doing a 3 1/2 fasting period, so no food for 3 1/2 half days and the rest of the week, they just ate normally. So that means you are at a 50% calorie deficit. You can’t do with a daily standard calorie deficit, otherwise, you will have a metabolic adaptation right away and you will feel torture but with 3 1/2 days of no food which I do frequently, and 3 1/2 days of regular nutrition…
Gayle: Wait.. you go 3 days without eating?
Dr. John Jaquish: Yes. Frequently?
Gayle: I was going to ask you how many hours you go without eating and you are talking days? That’s going to scare people away. But if we are just getting started, how many hours should we leave before we just get started getting eating to break the fast?
Dr. John Jaquish: One meal a day is a great first step. So plan on a dinner that would be whatever you would eat for dinner and don’t do breakfast and lunch. That’s a great start.
Now real results are the 72-hour fast.
Think of it this way., I have a protocol that I am working on and I haven’t published it yet but it emulates what’s been seen in a couple of studies where individuals do a dry fast, no food, no liquids for 5 straight days. They are losing on average 3 pounds of body fat per day.
So the question is, how bad it could it be if I can lose 15 pounds in a period, right?
Gayle: Right! Dr. Jaquish, we are out of time unfortunately and I could talk about this stuff all day. I’m hoping you’ll come back so we can take another deep dive.
Dr. Jaquish: Absolutely!!
Gayle: Take care Dr. John!
Optimize your health through science