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  1. #1
    Get big or die trying JacqueAttack's Avatar
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    To what extent does nutrient timing not affect body composition?

    Hours might not matter, but what about for longer durations? Obviously you can't pinpoint a specific time but this is something I've always wondered. Would body composition be different from someone who were to eat one day a week hitting all their macros and calories for the given week(imagine that it were physically possible) compared to someone who ate 7 days a week?


    Obviously it wouldn't be practical to do every single week, but holiday feasts come to mind.
    Last edited by JacqueAttack; 12-25-2012 at 10:41 PM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User nobrah's Avatar
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    Hours might not matter, but what about for longer durations?
    It matters.

    Obviously you can't pinpoint a specific time
    Sure you can. After about 24-48 hours of no food you enter a fasting state where muscle tissue (and adipose tissue, to a smaller extent) is cannibalized for gluconeogenesis materials due to glycogen depletion in both your muscles and liver, and also to meet amino acid needs. After another 24-72ish hours the fasting state turns into a starvation state where the body adapts from gluconeogenesis to lypolysis as a means for preserving protein stores. However, muscles are still broken down at an accelerated rate to meet amino acid needs.

    Would body composition be different from someone who were to eat one day a week hitting all their macros and calories for the given week(imagine that it were physically possible) compared to someone who ate 7 days a week?
    I'd wager that the former would have a very hard time building or even maintaining muscle mass since he'd be in a fasting or starvation state for most of the week.
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  3. #3
    Registered User snorkelman's Avatar
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    A week-long fast is a pretty extreme example. Is that really what you are interested in discussing, or are you really interested in binging for one day and adjusting the rest of the week caloric intake to compensate?

    In the event you are contemplating binging for multiple days/an entire week, I think you must know that no amount of adjusting during one week will result in optimal balance for the damage done from a lengthy binge.
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  4. #4
    Registered User darkcloudcover's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by nobrah View Post
    After about 24-48 hours of no food you enter a fasting state where muscle tissue (and adipose tissue, to a smaller extent) is cannibalized for gluconeogenesis materials due to glycogen depletion in both your muscles and liver, and also to meet amino acid needs. After another 24-72ish hours the fasting state turns into a starvation state where the body adapts from gluconeogenesis to lypolysis as a means for preserving protein stores. However, muscles are still broken down at an accelerated rate to meet amino acid needs.
    Some of these claims are not correct.
    Search google for: Starvation response

    And here you mean Ketosis not Lipolysis (which is the hydrolysis of stored triglycerides in adipocytes).
    You also forgot the Glycerol conversion to Glucose.
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  5. #5
    Revolver Ocelot EjnarKolinkar's Avatar
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    Why would the best nutrition plan going forward take into account what I ate yesterday? Seems like it would always be second rate?

    No info to help OP, just curiosity. Long periods of not eating don't agree with me so never researched.
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  6. #6
    Registered User nobrah's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by darkcloudcover View Post
    Some of these claims are not correct.
    When simplified for a lay audience, slight inaccuracy is expected.

    Originally Posted by darkcloudcover View Post
    Search google for: Starvation response
    I decided to double check my facts through Wikipedia before posting (silly, I know) and chose to remain with what I recall from Advanced Nutrition & Human Metabolism even though the two don't agree completely. Do you have a specific complaint about the correctness of my "claims"? Because I'm not going to go down the list of Google hits and guess at what you think is wrong.

    Originally Posted by darkcloudcover View Post
    And here you mean Ketosis not Lipolysis (which is the hydrolysis of stored triglycerides in adipocytes).
    I meant lipolysis. That's why I wrote lipolysis.

    Originally Posted by darkcloudcover View Post
    You also forgot the Glycerol conversion to Glucose.
    It seems you misunderstood the intent of my description. It wasn't a detailed explanation of every possible thing that happens when fasting and starved, it was a general overview to elaborate a bit on how muscle tissue is affected in those situations. As such, I intentionally left out a large number of processes that occur.
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  7. #7
    Registered User rand18m's Avatar
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    It seems you misunderstood the intent of my description. It wasn't a detailed explanation of every possible thing that happens when fasting and starved, it was a general overview to elaborate a bit on how muscle tissue is affected in those situations. As such, I intentionally left out a large number of processes that occur.
    Yes, and it was all correct and a very broad view as it should be! It is of no value to to get more detailed in the mechanisms and pathways of fasted and starved metabolic responses past stating what happens overall. As always Nobrah, you are correct!
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  8. #8
    Registered User darkcloudcover's Avatar
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    The bottom line here is that our bodies won’t "cannibalize" the muscle mass in any significant way during periods where food is not present (unless the individual is very lean). The reason is simple, it's because fat is a very good & dense source of energy, and is used very efficiently for fuel, unlike protein.

    Originally Posted by nobrah View Post
    you enter a fasting state where muscle tissue (and adipose tissue, to a smaller extent) is cannibalized for gluconeogenesis materials due to glycogen depletion in both your muscles and liver
    Here you missed the use of glycerol for gluconeogenesis (why did you jump that fast to amino acids?)

    Originally Posted by nobrah View Post
    After another 24-72ish hours the fasting state turns into a starvation state where the body adapts from gluconeogenesis to lypolysis as a means for preserving protein stores.
    Lipolysis will be induced as soon as glucagon & epinephrine rise, and this takes far less time than you noted.

    Originally Posted by nobrah View Post
    However, muscles are still broken down at an accelerated rate to meet amino acid needs.
    After the time you mentioned, the body will be entirely fueled by ketone bodies except the red blood cells and 5% of the brain (they run solely on glucose). This small amount of glucose will be converted from glycerol and amino acids (to a lesser extent).

    Keep in mind that the only anabolic hormone that rises during fasting is growth hormone, and it will be there to protect your muscles, because it knows that you love them! Lol
    Interesting study here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9853522

    The body is a very smart organism that works using priorities, it will do whatever it takes to preserve muscle. Stop stressing too much about muscle loss because it won’t happen (it's the last option for survival). This issue will become more serious and "accelerated" when bodyfat gets depleted.

    The most drastic thing that will happen as a response to lack of food will be a slowdown in metabolism.
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  9. #9
    Registered User snorkelman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by darkcloudcover View Post
    The bottom line here is that our bodies won’t "cannibalize" the muscle mass in any significant way during periods where food is not present (unless the individual is very lean). The reason is simple, it's because fat is a very good & dense source of energy, and is used very efficiently for fuel, unlike protein.
    I'm not sure I agree with that. Even when there is no fasting involved, I recall at least two studies on obese individuals wherein they followed a VLCD and I believe that the weight loss breakdown was about 75% fat loss and 25% muscle loss. 25% of muscle loss sure is significant, but alas, I think those obese folk were not even engaging in resistance exercise. That being said, I think once you cross about a 2 day period with no food, you will begin to experience statistically significant LBM loss.
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  10. #10
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    ^^^ And the obese will likely be less prone to muscle wasting (adjusted for activity level) than a lean individual during sustained fasting as larger stores of adiposity makes it more practical to liberate sufficient energy stores without cannibalizing lean tissue mass.
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  11. #11
    Registered User darkcloudcover's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by snorkelman View Post
    I'm not sure I agree with that. Even when there is no fasting involved, I recall at least two studies on obese individuals wherein they followed a VLCD and I believe that the weight loss breakdown was about 75% fat loss and 25% muscle loss. 25% of muscle loss sure is significant, but alas, I think those obese folk were not even engaging in resistance exercise. That being said, I think once you cross about a 2 day period with no food, you will begin to experience statistically significant LBM loss.
    Well yes, there is a lot of studies that actually contradict each others. I'd rather go with the optimistic ones HAHA! Kidding. No but seriously, the needed glucose will be just to fuel 5% of the brain and the red blood cells (nothing significant to cause that huge muscle loss). The rest of the cells run perfectly fine on ketone bodies.

    When the bodyfat runs low (below 7% if I'm not mistaken), the situation becomes alarming and muscle loss will occur as a reponse to lack of food & low bodyfat. Plus it will become very dangerous for the vital organs!

    A normal person won't be affected that much, however someone in contest condition should not mess with prolonged fasting at all.
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by darkcloudcover View Post
    Well yes, there is a lot of studies that actually contradict each others. I'd rather go with the optimistic ones HAHA! Kidding. No but seriously, the needed glucose will be just to fuel 5% of the brain and the red blood cells (nothing significant to cause that huge muscle loss). The rest of the cells run perfectly fine on ketone bodies.

    When the bodyfat runs low (below 7% if I'm not mistaken), the situation becomes alarming and muscle loss will occur as a reponse to lack of food & low bodyfat. Plus it will become very dangerous for the vital organs!

    A normal person won't be affected that much, however someone in contest condition should not mess with prolonged fasting at all.
    Actually again you are mistaken and Nobrah was correct, as I pointed out. You are correct that when bf gets very low then proteins will be cannibalized to amino acids and glucose production, but you are leaving out the entire earlier processes that was discussed above, and what she described is the steps that are well documented and accepted.

    During brief fasting, liver glycogen will be restored by the means of protein degradation (from tissues such as muscle) and the use of those amino acids for gluconeogenesis. When fasting is prolonged and liver glycogen stores are depleted, then the body will use muscle protein to meet most needs for glucose. (of course during this time lipolysis will be happening but the glycerol component can't keep up). As we move into a starvation situation then lipolysis will accelerate and ketone bodies will be formed and used for fuel. When those stores begin to run low, then protein degradation will once again ramp up, and if adequate feeding doesn't begin at that point, then death will ensue.

    You're not entirely wrong with what you are saying, you are just leaving out portions of the process and jumping to situations such as ketosis without understanding or overlooking the processes that lead to ketosis.
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by rand18m View Post
    You're not entirely wrong with what you are saying, you are just leaving out portions of the process and jumping to situations such as ketosis without understanding or overlooking the processes that lead to ketosis.
    Trust me man I really know what I’m talking about, especially the pre-ketosis phase. Please take into consideration the GH rise that protects the muscles (GH will not stay elevated the whole time, just the necessary time to block the muscle breakdown pre-ketosis).

    There is also another factor that plays a vital role in keeping the muscles during brief fasting; it is testosterone in a healthy adult guy. It will be at a level to retain the muscles (a normal amount of muscle, let’s say a natural guy). Now this does not apply to females.

    What about the free fatty acids that will be present in the bloodstream after HSL Hydrolize? (before ketosis) Those also are used very efficiently for ATP generation in the whole body except red blood cells & the brain (which in reality does not need that much energy; around 19% of the RMR), and this energy will be provided mostly by the glycerol part of broken triglycerides, and amino acids to a lesser extent (GH will be blocking the process).

    People insist on attacking the muscle mass (especially supplement companies, lol at those!). It won’t happen in an adult male (very minimally, nothing worth noting). It gets more serious on leaner individuals (<7%), older people or unhealthy people who have the metabolic disorder. A young normal person who lifts is not concerned at all.

    I just want to give some real life examples, I know people who fast for their religion, they eat 1 meal a day at night (so every 24 hours, which is brief fasting), no more than 1000 cal per day, for 40 days, and they lift before eating. No one of them experienced any muscle loss, they've been doing it for years. All what happens is a significant decrease in bodyfat. However, I have another friend who has done a 21 day water fast (for meditation), he started when he was at 8% bodyfat, he lost all his muscle mass (and made serious damage to his health, won't enter details here).

    Conclusion: A young healthy body will not give up its muscles while bodyfat is still present. Hope people will get over it.
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    Originally Posted by darkcloudcover View Post
    Trust me man I really know what I’m talking about, especially the pre-ketosis phase. Please take into consideration the GH rise that protects the muscles (GH will not stay elevated the whole time, just the necessary time to block the muscle breakdown pre-ketosis).

    There is also another factor that plays a vital role in keeping the muscles during brief fasting; it is testosterone in a healthy adult guy. It will be at a level to retain the muscles (a normal amount of muscle, let’s say a natural guy). Now this does not apply to females.

    What about the free fatty acids that will be present in the bloodstream after HSL Hydrolize? (before ketosis) Those also are used very efficiently for ATP generation in the whole body except red blood cells & the brain (which in reality does not need that much energy; around 19% of the RMR), and this energy will be provided mostly by the glycerol part of broken triglycerides, and amino acids to a lesser extent (GH will be blocking the process).

    People insist on attacking the muscle mass (especially supplement companies, lol at those!). It won’t happen in an adult male (very minimally, nothing worth noting). It gets more serious on leaner individuals (<7%), older people or unhealthy people who have the metabolic disorder. A young normal person who lifts is not concerned at all.

    I just want to give some real life examples, I know people who fast for their religion, they eat 1 meal a day at night (so every 24 hours, which is brief fasting), no more than 1000 cal per day, for 40 days, and they lift before eating. No one of them experienced any muscle loss, they've been doing it for years. All what happens is a significant decrease in bodyfat. However, I have another friend who has done a 21 day water fast (for meditation), he started when he was at 8% bodyfat, he lost all his muscle mass (and made serious damage to his health, won't enter details here).

    Conclusion: A young healthy body will not give up its muscles while bodyfat is still present. Hope people will get over it.
    Uhh if anything it's not <7%.

    lol "he lost all his muscle mass"

    reminds me of a couple sayings like "OR ALL YOUR MUSCLE WILL FALL OFF, AND YOU WILL DIE"
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    Originally Posted by darkcloudcover View Post
    I just want to give some real life examples, I know people who fast for their religion, they eat 1 meal a day at night (so every 24 hours, which is brief fasting), no more than 1000 cal per day, for 40 days, and they lift before eating. No one of them experienced any muscle loss, they've been doing it for years. All what happens is a significant decrease in bodyfat. However, I have another friend who has done a 21 day water fast (for meditation), he started when he was at 8% bodyfat, he lost all his muscle mass (and made serious damage to his health, won't enter details here).
    I don't disagree with you, but I think you're looking at a different question than the one asked by the OP. A warrior-type diet (one meal per day) is a reasonable form of intermittent fasting. The example given by the OP was essentially a 6 day water fast followed by one day of binging. I'd wager that this kind of mid-length fast and then a refeed would produce similar results to your second real life example using a 21 day water fast. The muscle losses would probably be less pronounced, and it may be that one can maintain muscle mass while making gains difficult, but I would be surprised if someone could grow on such a diet.

    On a side note, I want to make it clear that when I say "accelerated muscle loss", I don't mean that you'll shrink to nothing in a matter of days, but that there will be a measurable difference after about a few weeks. Whether that measure is significant depends on a great many factors, but a diet that encourages muscle loss doesn't help.
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    Originally Posted by darkcloudcover View Post
    Trust me man I really know what I’m talking about, especially the pre-ketosis phase. Please take into consideration the GH rise that protects the muscles (GH will not stay elevated the whole time, just the necessary time to block the muscle breakdown pre-ketosis).

    There is also another factor that plays a vital role in keeping the muscles during brief fasting; it is testosterone in a healthy adult guy. It will be at a level to retain the muscles (a normal amount of muscle, let’s say a natural guy). Now this does not apply to females.

    What about the free fatty acids that will be present in the bloodstream after HSL Hydrolize? (before ketosis) Those also are used very efficiently for ATP generation in the whole body except red blood cells & the brain (which in reality does not need that much energy; around 19% of the RMR), and this energy will be provided mostly by the glycerol part of broken triglycerides, and amino acids to a lesser extent (GH will be blocking the process).

    People insist on attacking the muscle mass (especially supplement companies, lol at those!). It won’t happen in an adult male (very minimally, nothing worth noting). It gets more serious on leaner individuals (<7%), older people or unhealthy people who have the metabolic disorder. A young normal person who lifts is not concerned at all.

    I just want to give some real life examples, I know people who fast for their religion, they eat 1 meal a day at night (so every 24 hours, which is brief fasting), no more than 1000 cal per day, for 40 days, and they lift before eating. No one of them experienced any muscle loss, they've been doing it for years. All what happens is a significant decrease in bodyfat. However, I have another friend who has done a 21 day water fast (for meditation), he started when he was at 8% bodyfat, he lost all his muscle mass (and made serious damage to his health, won't enter details here).

    Conclusion: A young healthy body will not give up its muscles while bodyfat is still present. Hope people will get over it.
    The discussion is not around someone eating one meal a day, that would not be the type fasting we are discussing, I don't consider that fasting at all. I personally ate one meal a day for 25 years.

    We are discussing in the absence of any substrate for extended periods in which the body has to rely on stored energy. I get the feeling you are discussing a keto diet in general. Anyway, without substrate available for extended periods, the body goes through a series similar to what I described above.

    On a side note, my son was recently ill, he went almost 12 days with virtually nothing to eat, (esophageal ulcers, couldn't swallow anything, had to force water down) he has a low bf% at 21 and is very strong, very well built, (lifts). Anyway he lost 20lbs and I promise you more than I could believe is muscle. As you might imagine he is quite weak compared to what he was, it's going to take time getting him back to fighting weight!
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    Originally Posted by rand18m View Post
    On a side note, my son was recently ill, he went almost 12 days with virtually nothing to eat, (esophageal ulcers, couldn't swallow anything, had to force water down) he has a low bf% at 21 and is very strong, very well built, (lifts). Anyway he lost 20lbs and I promise you more than I could believe is muscle. As you might imagine he is quite weak compared to what he was, it's going to take time getting him back to fighting weight!
    You think muscle memory may lead to accelerated initial gains in LBM though?
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    Originally Posted by germaine07 View Post
    You think muscle memory may lead to accelerated initial gains in LBM though?
    Yes I do, and it's amazing how fast he builds muscle. His college room mate is a offensive lineman and he was recently commenting on how he wished he could do it as easily as my son. For some reason he has been that way since a young teenager. Once he gets his calorie intake back and starts lifting he should be fine, right now he is still having some trouble.
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    Originally Posted by rand18m View Post
    Yes I do, and it's amazing how fast he builds muscle. His college room mate is a offensive lineman and he was recently commenting on how he wished he could do it as easily as my son. For some reason he has been that way since a young teenager. Once he gets his calorie intake back and starts lifting he should be fine, right now he is still having some trouble.
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    Originally Posted by germaine07 View Post
    Genetic elite Envious!
    Me too!! Gets it from his Momma! Tried to get her to compete earlier this year, (as trainers in her gym have been trying for years) Got her ready for her first show other than cutting, which for her wouldn't amount to more than a few pounds. She decided not to do it! Oh well, she'd have done fantastic in her group and much younger I promise you!
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    I remember Alan referencing a friend of his that would fast for multiple days then have a 10K day and so on that got

    "Ripped as hell"


    so there's that
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    Originally Posted by rand18m View Post
    On a side note, my son was recently ill, he went almost 12 days with virtually nothing to eat, (esophageal ulcers, couldn't swallow anything, had to force water down) he has a low bf% at 21 and is very strong, very well built, (lifts). Anyway he lost 20lbs and I promise you more than I could believe is muscle. As you might imagine he is quite weak compared to what he was, it's going to take time getting him back to fighting weight!
    Sorry to hear that! I wish he recovers soon, and have all the good health! I'm not surprised about his muscle loss, since he is lean as you say. As I told you, my friend lost all his muscles because he was fasting for prolonged periods at 8% bodyfat, he did his meditation thing in Asia and when he came back we did not recognize him, he looked like a starving refugee.

    As I said I'm not sure about the 7% I noted in #13, I heard it from a doctor, I will do more research about it to confirm. Bottom line is, if the person has more than this "whatever lean" percentage, muscle won't be touched in any significant way in a disorder-free adult male.

    Originally Posted by rand18m View Post
    I get the feeling you are discussing a keto diet in general.
    Not at all man, I'm talking purely fasting here, Keto shares similar metabolism after the digestive-Lipase breaks down dietary fat into glycerol & fatty acids. (However during fasting when glucagon & epinephrine rise, the Hormone-sensitive lipase breaks down stored fat into the same components). The interesting thing is that on Keto, unlike fasting, there won't be the GH rise for several reasons.

    Originally Posted by rand18m View Post
    I personally ate one meal a day for 25 years.
    Impressed by your discipline!

    Originally Posted by DaBubzy View Post
    I remember Alan referencing a friend of his that would fast for multiple days then have a 10K day and so on that got

    "Ripped as hell"


    so there's that
    I have no doubt this happened. Bodyfat will be used for energy, and muscle will go nowhere, it will stay where it is.
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    OP are you reading the posts ?
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    Originally Posted by darkcloudcover View Post
    Sorry to hear that! I wish he recovers soon, and have all the good health! I'm not surprised about his muscle loss, since he is lean as you say. As I told you, my friend lost all his muscles because he was fasting for prolonged periods at 8% bodyfat, he did his meditation thing in Asia and when he came back we did not recognize him, he looked like a starving refugee.

    As I said I'm not sure about the 7% I noted in #13, I heard it from a doctor, I will do more research about it to confirm. Bottom line is, if the person has more than this "whatever lean" percentage, muscle won't be touched in any significant way in a disorder-free adult male.


    Not at all man, I'm talking purely fasting here, Keto shares similar metabolism after the digestive-Lipase breaks down dietary fat into glycerol & fatty acids. (However during fasting when glucagon & epinephrine rise, the Hormone-sensitive lipase breaks down stored fat into the same components). The interesting thing is that on Keto, unlike fasting, there won't be the GH rise for several reasons.


    Impressed by your discipline!


    I have no doubt this happened. Bodyfat will be used for energy, and muscle will go nowhere, it will stay where it is.
    Well this discussion has gone on long enough, but I caution you in making statements that suggest you won't lose muscle tissue during prolonged fasting because this mechanism happens, then this mechanism happens etc. The body doesn't work that way, it's not a set of switches that suddenly turn off and as in it's either all lipolysis or all glycolytic etc. I will admit you had me referencing back through an old biochem/physio text book which did confirm what Nobrah and I pointed out. Enjoyed the debate!!

    I will also add, we need more of this type dialogue around here, it's healthy!
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    Originally Posted by rand18m View Post
    Well this discussion has gone on long enough
    True, that's why I asked the OP if he's reading the posts lol!

    Originally Posted by rand18m View Post
    but I caution you in making statements that suggest you won't lose muscle tissue during prolonged fasting because this mechanism happens, then this mechanism happens etc.
    I respect your knowledge, but I still believe that it happens very minimally in adult males with healthy bf%. Nothing alarming in my book.

    Originally Posted by rand18m View Post
    I will admit you had me referencing back through an old biochem/physio text book which did confirm what Nobrah and I pointed out.
    I often read books that contradict each others. However, I do think you are a very educated person.

    Originally Posted by rand18m View Post
    Enjoyed the debate!!
    Same here. Hope Nobrah did too. Sorry Nobrah but some of your knowledge contradicts mine.

    Originally Posted by rand18m View Post
    I will also add, we need more of this type dialogue around here, it's healthy!
    Yes! But unfortunately most guys here want to get cut muscles without knowing what's happening behind it. People who like this kind of discussion are few.

    Thanks a lot for everything you wrote, and Nobrah too. Enjoyed it
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    Originally Posted by rand18m View Post
    I will also add, we need more of this type dialogue around here, it's healthy!
    Also helps some of us who are less informed to learn a bit more!
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    The most interesting thing here is that the OP is not reading what's happening in his thread!
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    Interesting discussion thank you.
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