Fasting has a pretty interesting reputation in the health and fitness world.
A huge body of evidence suggests that fasting – limiting your caloric intake for a prolonged period can have numerous benefits including weight loss, improved immune function, improved cognitive function, and even an increased life-space.
And yet, many people don't fast.
Why? Put simply: it feels wrong. Years of fitness mythology and general, but wrong, advice has led to a misconception that if you don't eat for a mere four hours your muscles will start to disappear and your metabolism with slow to a halt.
This has led people to avoid taking advantage of this proven health strategy because they are confused and scared.
How can you do it safely? If you follow these guidelines, you can pull off a safe protein shake fast and reap the rewards.
Get a Quality Protein
As the name suggests, a protein shake fast is a fast in which you ingest nothing but protein shakes. That's it. If you're only going to have one source of nutrients, doesn't it make sense that it would be the best possible source?
Select a whey protein concentrate that has been minimally processed so that it still has all the healthful fats and carbs that are stripped out of isolates to increase the protein content.
At the same time, you'll what a whey protein derived from grass-fed cows so that the fats are healthy omega-3 and conjugated linoleic fatty acids – found in higher concentrations in grass-fed milk.
Stick To One Day
The idea behind the fast is to expose your system to a controlled stimulus that makes it increase all the positive functions but not overreact in a negative way. To do that, you need to keep your fast short – only about 24 hours.
Ideally, you'll do this once each week so try to commit one day as your “fast day” and make that part of your routine. Now, what day of the week – based on your usual schedule – would allow you to live on only protein shakes?
Recognize that, especially at first, you might experience a dip in energy and mood that could impact your other activities. So plan around that.
Of course, you might feel just fine - no adjustment period necessary.
Now, you might be wondering; “If I'm drinking protein shakes, how is that a fast?”
The key is to keep your total calorie intake below 500 for the entire day – this will still put your body in a fasted state. So, figure out how many scoops you can have on your fast day and how you will spread them out.
Of course, the traditional 3 meals set a pattern that most people follow when timing their shakes. In order to combat the extra thirst that comes along with high protein intake, be sure to drink plenty of water during your fast day.
This will also help to lighten to load on your kidneys, which can be stressed during periods of high protein intake.
And finally, talk to your doctor or another qualified healthcare professional before embarking on this or any diet program.