A man intermitting fasting while looking at a plate of veggies and water.

Do you know how to fast safely? How do you maximize the benefits of fasting?

While fasting doesn’t seem complicated, Mindy Pelz has a couple of tips for maximizing the benefits of fasting. These are incorporating different-length fasts into your routine, and paying attention to the foods you eat when you’re not fasting.

Let’s explore these two tips in detail.

Tip #1: Incorporate Different-Length Fasts Into Your Routine

According to Pelz, incorporating different-length fasts into your routine prevents your body from adapting to the fasting state, ensuring continued long-term benefits. To clarify how to fast safely by doing this, we’ll explore how your cells respond to both glucose and ketones, then explain how strategically switching between these two fuel sources (by varying fasting lengths) guarantees ongoing benefits.

Up until now, we’ve touched on the downsides of relying solely on glucose as an energy source. However, this doesn’t mean you should always prevent your body from burning glucose. Both fuel sources are essential for your body to function optimally.

  • When your body burns glucose, it activates mTOR signaling, a process that builds new cellular structures and contributes to hormone production, muscle building, and cell regeneration. 
  • When your body burns ketones, it activates autophagy, the cellular detox process we discussed above that breaks down and removes damaged components.

Pelz explains that switching between these two states (by eating and fasting) creates hormetic stress, a beneficial form of stress that encourages cellular adaptation and resilience—like the way new exercises challenge muscles. However, sticking to the same fasting routine every day reduces this stress, causing you to miss out on the beneficial effects of switching between fuel sources. This is because your body gets too comfortable with routine—just as doing the same exercises every day stops having an effect. Therefore, Pelz argues that incorporating different-length fasts prevents your body from adapting to a specific fasting pattern, ensuring it benefits from fasting over the long term.

Tip #2: Pay Attention to What You Eat

While fasting alone offers benefits, paying close attention to your post-fast meals can elevate those gains. Pelz explains that being mindful about what you eat can prolong and enhance the positive effects of fasting. She suggests two key pieces of advice:

1) Prioritize healthy, organic foods over processed, chemical-laden ones, such as those containing hydrogenated oils, preservatives, or artificial dyes and flavors. Consuming nutrients in their natural form enables efficient absorption without the burden of processing harmful additives, thereby minimizing the cleanup workload for your body.

2) Maintain stable blood sugar levels by balancing your intake of complex carbohydrates (including fiber), grass-fed proteins, and “good” fats (such as olive oil, nut butter or oil, or grass-fed butter). According to Pelz, this supports a smooth transition from the fasting state and prevents energy crashes by slowing the absorption of glucose into your bloodstream.

How to Fast Safely: 2 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Diet

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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