How to hack Eat Stop Eat

Written by: Brad Pilon

Today I want to start a series of posts covering some of my more personalized approaches to Eat Stop Eat.

Hopefully this will clear up some questions you may have.

Today, lets talk about Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) during a fast.

People ask me about this a lot – can they, or should they take BCAAs during their fasts as a way to prevent muscle loss or even accelerate muscle growth.

And my answer is (as always)…. it depends.

Muscle loss is NOT a major issue with a 24 hour fast. However, those at most risk would be people with very low body fat who are active.

So my solution is this:

Look in the mirror – are you ‘lean’ by your standards, and would you say you have ‘lower than average body fat’. If yes, measure your waist.

Guys: If your waist circumference at your navel is under 46.5% of your height then you can consider taking BCAAs during your fast. I wouldn’t do more than 8 grams unless you are over 200 pounds (and lean), and I would only take them once every 6-8 hours.

Women: If your waist circumference at its narrowest point just below your rib cage is under 41.5% of your height then you can consider taking BCAAs during your fast. I wouldn’t do more than 5 grams unless you are over 150 pounds (and lean) and I would only take them once every 6-8 hours.

I’m still not sure how much of a difference they would make, but this would be the ideal time to try them out.

Now, if you are NOT lean, then I would NOT recommend BCAAs… ESPECIALLY if you have a large amount of weight to lose.

Here’s why – When you fast you activate a compound in your body called FGF-21 and FGF-21 has recently been found to improve Leptin sensivitiy.

People who are very overweight often have reduced leptin sensitivity which seems to hurt their ability to lose weight… so it makes sense that improving leptin sensitivity is just one of the ways that fasting can help people lose weight.

However, FGF-21 is highly sensitive to protein – it is fasting from protein (including BCAAs) that is needed for a rise in FGF-21.

So the BCAAs might interfere with the way a fast can improve Leptin Sensitivity… NOT COOL if you are overweight and really struggling with weight loss.

Also, even low doses of BCAAs can cause a spike in insulin levels, this is probably not an issue for someone who is lean with good insulin sensitivity (your insulin would go back down quickly), but for someone who is even slightly insulin resistant, your insulin levels could stay elevated long enough to affect your GH levels, which would affect your ability to burn body fat.

So there you have it. A quick Eat Stop Eat ‘hack’ – if you are really lean and active and fasting, you could try BCAAs and see if they help, but if you have a lot of weight t lose (waist circumference is over 55% of your height) then I would avoid trying BCAAs until you have lost some more weight.


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