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Preservation of muscle in a water-only fast.

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Mighty.Sun.Tzu Views: 7,423
Published: 11 years ago
Status:       RRR [Message recommended by a moderator!]
This is a reply to # 1,672,044

Preservation of muscle in a water-only fast.

Today is the start of Day 5 for me and I have been tracking my weight, bodyfat percentage, and muscle weight every day. These are all done on my home scale.

At the beginning of Day 1 I was at ...
Weight: 230.2 lbs
Bodyfat: 36.1%
Muscle: 70.2 lbs

At the beginning of Day 5 (today) I am at...
Weight: 219.6 lbs
Bodyfat: 41.3%
Muscle: 64.8 lbs

From what I have read most people only experience a 1-2 pound loss of muscle mass. I have lost 5.4 pounds of muscle mass."

Hi 132115 : ),

230.2 x 36.1% fat = 83.10 pounds of fat.
219.6 x 41.3% fat = 90.69 pounds of fat.

If your scale is accurate, then you have gained 7.59 pounds of fat over the past 5 days, so something is definately amiss there. My theory is that the temporary water loss throws the readings off fantastically. 

You are right that the fasting body preserves our muscle extraordinarily and that we will lose only about 1-2 pounds of this lean mass over a fast of about 30 days.

The Physiological Changes of Fasting from:

"Many of the most dramatic changes that occur in the body during fasting take place on the first three days of the fast. These occur as the body switches from one fuel source to another. Normally, the primary form of energy the body uses for energy is glucose, a type of sugar. Most of this is extracted or converted from the food we eat. Throughout the day, the liver stores excess sugar in a special form called glycogen that it can call on as energy levels fall between meals. There is enough of this sugar source for 8-12 hours of energy and usually, it is completely exhausted within the first 24 hours of fasting. (However, once the body shifts over to ketosis or fat as fuel, this new fuel is used to also restore the body's glycogen reserves.)
Once the liver's stores of glycogen are gone, the body begins to shift over to what is called ketosis or ketone production - the use of fatty acids as fuel instead of glucose. This shift generally begins on the second day of fasting and completed by the third. In this interim period there is no glucose available and energy from fat conversion is insufficient but the body still needs fuel. So it accesses glucose from two sources. It first converts glycerol, available in the body's fat stores, to glucose but this is still insufficient. So it makes the rest that it needs from catabolizing, or breaking down, the amino acids in muscle tissue, using them in the liver for gluconeogenesis, or the making of glucose. Between 60 and 84 grams of protein are used on this second day, 2-3 ounces of muscle tissue. By the third day ketone production is sufficient to provide nearly all the energy the body needs and the body's protein begins to be strongly conserved. The body still needs a tiny amount of glucose for some functions, however, so a very small amount of protein, 18-24 grams, is still catabolized to supply it - from 1/2 to 1 ounce of muscle tissue per day. Over a 30 day water fast a person generally loses a maximum of 1-2 pounds of muscle mass. This conservation of the body's protein is an evolutionary development that exists to protect muscle tissue and vital organs from damage during periods of insufficient food availability.
From the third day onward the rate of the breakdown of fatty acids from adipose or fat tissue continues to increase, hitting its peak on the tenth day. This seven day period, after the body has shifted completely over to ketosis, is where the maximum breakdown of fat tissue occurs. As part of protein conservation, the body also begins seeking out all non-body-protein sources of fuel: nonessential cellular masses such as fibroid tumors and degenerative tissues, bacteria, viruses, or any other compounds in the body that can be used for fuel. This is part of the reason that fasting produces the kind of health effects it does. Also, during this period of heightened ketosis the body is in a similar state as the one that occurs during sleep - a rest and detoxification cycle. It begins to focus on the removal of toxins from the body and the healing and regeneration of damaged tissues and organs."

132115: "I should also mention that I have had only water except for day 2 I had a glass of green tea and yesterday I caved in and had a cup of chicken broth for 10 calories.

I have been taking a multi-vitamin every day. Could that keep ketosis from occurring?"

You should know that all of this... tea, chicken broth and vitamins... is contra-indicated in a water-only fast. Water-only allows our body to transition magnificently into a state of relying on it's internal reserves. Taste and especially digestion will interfere with this desired process and keep you instead on an extremely low calorie starvation diet.

Best wishes to you.


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