Does Collagen Break a Fast? - Part 2 - Amandean

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February 22, 2022 8 min read

In this article:

  • Why should we consider fasting?
  • What is intermittent fasting & its health benefits
  • What happens in your body when you fast?
  • Popular forms of intermittent fasting
  • What is collagen and what are its benefits?
  • Does collagen break a fast?
  • Why you should consider collagen protein while fasting

Why Should We Consider Fasting?

When I was a personal trainer in college, I diligently followed the standard advice of that time: eat 5-6 small meals every 2-3 hours throughout the day. 

The supposed reasons for this eating pattern were to keep your metabolism high and prevent yourself from getting too hungry (which would cause you to overeat or get hangry). While that sounds logical, it doesn't appear to be helping people stay healthy, nor does it consider the history of human eating patterns.

Unlike our ancestors, most of us are 

  1. Eating all the time.
  2. Eating processed foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.
  3. Eating while multitasking.
  4. Sitting all day.

Do you remember that moms used to tell their kids not to eat in between meals so they wouldn't spoil their appetites? So instead of snacking in front of YouTube, they were sent out to play for hours on end.

And that's just recent history! Thousands of years ago, humans had to do the hard work of hunting and gathering to survive. From there, we progressed to labor-intensive agriculture and industry. Our lifestyles have changed only very recently in the grand scheme of things.

Now, instead of sitting down for designated meals three times a day, many of us are distractedly eating in front of screens all day. As a result, we suffer more from obesity, insulin resistance,type II diabetes, and other health conditions than ever before. And the problem isn't just the total number of calories we consume. Our health dilemma also stems from the quality of our food (which is highly refined and processed) and how constant eating affects our hormones and digestive system.

So, could intermittent fasting be a tool to help us break out of the bad habits we've developed?

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting (IF for short) is a dietary pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and not eating. Another term for this type of fasting is "time-restricted eating," meaning your day is broken up into eating windows and fasting windows.

An intermittent fasting plan is highly attractive for many people since it’s not bogged down with tracking calories, macros, or obsessing over every bite. Instead, the focus is on only eating during designated periods.

Health Benefits of Fasting

Some people fast to lose weight, while others do it for general health benefits. The potential benefits of fasting include:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased lifespan
  • Improved mental clarity and focus
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Improved insulin sensitivity

While all of these benefits sound fantastic, it's important to remember that the length and frequency of your fasting protocol will impact the results. More in-depth research will help us clarify the ideal time windows for fasting in order to achieve specific health benefits.

Many people experience greater mental clarity andenhanced energy when fasting, and this has certainly been my personal experience. In addition to feeling sharper and more clear-headed, I've also gained a better understanding of why I eat. I’ve learned it's ok to tolerate hunger from time to time. Also, my triggers for eating are often boredom, stress, or habit - not physical hunger. With every fast, I've become more in tune with what my body is actually craving and how much I need to eat for optimal energy.

This is a good place to remind you that if you have any health conditions, take medication, or have a history of disordered eating, you should talk to a medical professional before fasting.  Also, fasting is not recommended for children or while pregnant or breastfeeding.

What Happens in Your Body When You Fast?

Let's talk about what's happening within your body as you fast. When you stop feeding your body, it will use up all the available glucose and switch to fat-burning mode. Research shows that this process can take from 12 hours to two days, depending on how much glucose is stored in your body.

It's essential to understand how the processes of ketosis and autophagy relate to fasting:

  • Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body uses up available glucose and starts burning fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. Ketones are produced by the liver when you use fat as fuel. (Yes, this is the same process triggered in the popular keto diet.)
  • Autophagy is a process that literally means "self-eating." It's when your body starts to consume old or damaged cells. Autophagy is beneficial because it clears outcellular debris and damaged cell structures that could otherwise lead to inflammation and disease.

Staying in the metabolic state of ketosis and allowing autophagy to kick in is key to fastinghealth benefits. Because once you start eating again, you'll "break your fast." That's why there's debate among fasting enthusiasts about how many calories (if any) you can consume and still be in a fasted state. Hence the question on collagen we'll address below.

Popular Forms of Intermittent Fasting

But first, let's briefly highlight the most popular intermittent fasting methods. You can read up on each of these in much more detail.

If you're a complete newbie, you can start by intentionally fasting for 12 hours each day (for example, 7pm to 7am). This will break you from the habit of snacking after dinner, and give you some time to wake up before you eat.

You can then gradually increase your fasting window and shorten your eating window. Some of the more popular IF methods include:

  • 16/8 Method: You eat for eight hours each day (say between 11 am and 7 pm) and then fast for the other 16 hours.
  • 20/4 or Warrior Diet: You fast all day and eat one large meal. Also called "OMAD" or "One Meal a Day" fasting.
  • 5:2 or Eat Stop Eat Method: You eat normally five days a week and then fast for 24 hours, two days each week. The5:2 method allows 500-600 calories on fasting days.

Remember that everyone is different! First, you have to see how your unique body reacts to fasting. What’s more, you may not always be able to fast the same way. For example, if you're under stress, training hard, or at a particular phase of your menstrual cycle, you may need a less restrictive approach to fasting.

While longer fasts may have additional benefits, a shorter fasting period is still beneficial for your body. In fact, afour week study with male distance runners following a 16/8 time restricted eating pattern reported decreased fat mass, maintained fat-free mass, and didn't affect running performance.

What is Collagen and What Are Its Benefits?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your connective tissues and in fact, your body. It's found in muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments, and skin. As a structural protein, collagen helps tissues maintain their shape and strength. It also plays a vital role in helping wounds heal. Many people takecollagen supplements to maintain muscle mass, reduce joint pain, improve the gut lining, improve skin elasticity, and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and cellulite.

The amino acids proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline are the building blocks of collagen protein. There are28 different types of collagen, but the most common types are I-V. In fact, 90% of the collagen in your body is type I.

Because collagen peptides are pure protein, low calorie, and have many health benefits, they can be an excellent addition to a fasting regimen. But the critical question is: will you still befasting if you take collagen?

Does Collagen Break a Fast?

Although consuming collagen protein powder will technically break a water-only fast, many IF methods allow for a small number of calories during the fasted state. For example, the 5:2 method allows for up to 500-600 calories on fasting days.

Other intermittent fasting methods allow for around 100-200 calories during the fasting window. In addition, you can stay in ketosis while eating up to50 grams of carbohydrates per day. So while bulletproof coffee recipes can include high amounts of fat and even sweeteners,  collagen powder has no carbohydrates, just pure protein.

If you're following a fasting protocol that allows a minimal amount of calories, there's room for collagen protein powder. In fact, it can be a great way to maintain muscle mass and promote satiety, helping you feel full.

Amandean collagen contains 10 grams of hydrolyzed collagen protein per scoop. Each serving contains 35 calories and 18 amino acids. This is true for both bovine collagen peptides, from pasture-raised South American cattle and marine collagen, from wild-caught fish.

BecauseAmandean collagen powders are odorless and flavorless, they can easily be added to zero-calorie beverages like coffee, tea, or even water. In addition, Amandean collagen is gluten-free, non-GMO, and produced in a cGMP facility so you can rest assured you’re consuming pure ingredients.

Why You Should Consider Collagen Protein While Fasting

A serving of collagen protein powder shouldn't break a fast, as long as you're following a plan that allows for small amounts of calories during the fasting window.

If you're new to fasting, taking some collagen protein can give you a physical and mental boost. The protein can help you feel fuller. Having a scoop of collagen in your black coffee or tea can also remove the pressure and anxiety many people have about how their bodies will react to zero-calorie intake.

The truth is, there is a massive chasm between water-only fasting and the standard western diet. Making this leap can not only be mentally intimidating, but it can also be a physical shock to your system. The results can include adverse side effects like fatigue, mental fog, nausea, irritability, and more.

The bottom line: Collagen peptides and collagen supplements are an excellent choice for fasting as they are carb-free, provide a good source of protein, and have anti-inflammatory properties. Your fast can still "count" if you take in small amounts of protein during the fasting window.

Intermittent fasting has incredible potential health benefits and could be a successful weight loss method for many people (with doctor approval). Remember to gradually increase your fasting window over time. Be sure to check out thegrass-fed collagen peptides andmarine collagen available in the Amandean shop. 

- Stephanie C. Hodges, MS Nutrition and Exercise Science

Summary Points:

  • Intermittent fasting (IF for short) is a dietary pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and not eating
  • When you stop feeding your body, it will use up all the available glucose and switch to fat-burning mode
  • Autophagy is beneficial because it clears out cellular debris and damaged cell structures that could otherwise lead to inflammation and disease
  • While longer fasts may have additional benefits, a shorter fasting period is still beneficial for your body
  • As a structural protein, collagen helps tissues maintain their shape and strength
  • Amandean collagen contains 10 grams of hydrolyzed collagen protein per scoop, while each serving contains 35 calories and 18 amino acids

Article References:

  1. Alternate-day fasting in nonobese subjects: effects on body weight, body composition, and energy metabolism. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15640462/
  2. Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3106288/
  3. Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1568163716302513
  4. Short-Term, Intermittent Fasting Induces Long-Lasting Gut Health and TOR-Independent Lifespan Extension. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982218304433
  5. Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413116302509
  6. Four Weeks of 16/8 Time-Restrictive Feeding in Endurance Trained Male Runners Decreases Fat Mass, without Affecting Exercise Performance. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/13/9/2941
  7. The Collagen Family. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3003457/



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