Fasting is the latest and greatest bio-hack for health, performance, wellbeing and longevity.
Mind you, it has come into fashion relatively recently, but it’s been around as a health-protocol for hundreds of years.
Fasting is so old, that it’s new!
There are different types of fasting.
- Intermittent fasting – fasting for up to 24 hours
- Prolonged fasting – when you start fasting for 2 days or longer
- Time-restricted eating – involves eating when your metabolism is optimal, and when you’re not eating, you’re fasting
- Fasting mimicking diet
Intermittent fasting, arguably covers Time-restricted eating as well.
People use the terms interchangably anyway.
Many of the popular Time-Restricted Eating Protocols include:
- 16 Hour Fasts. Typically only eating between 12pm & 8pm each day
- 5:2 Day Fasts. Consuming 10-20% of caloric requirements 2 days a week and eating normally the rest of the time
- OMAD – one meal a day. Usually eaten early afternoon.
Prolonged fasting will shift metabolism from glucose to ketones/fatty acids.
Ketone production and metabolism has a range of benefits. For example they have strong anti inflammatory effects and can help inhibit specific types of cancer.
The main danger of fasting is the low blood sugar levels (which are also what drive many of the health benefits!).
It’s best to start of with smaller and shorter fasts and build up to longer ones. Dizziness and fatigue are the main side effects, which can obviously be dangerous if operating a machine, car etc.
Joe Rogan Experience & Dr. Peter Attia on Fasting
Dr Attia states on the JRE that he only eats once per day when he is in New York, or at least within a 2 hour window.
He will fast for 22 hours, then eat within a 2 hour window.
When he is at home – he is based in California, he will typically fast for at least 16 hours per day and eat within an 8 hour window.
His diet is not especially low in calories however, he tends to eat around 3,000 calories per day.
He’ll eat a huge salad, with meat such as game meat and some starchy carbohydrates.
- There is no specific evidence to suggest time-restricted eating increases lifespan in people
- Caloric restriction – eating slightly less calories than those required to cover your proposed caloric demand; does increase lifespan
- During fasting our epinepherine and norepinepherine rise – making us more focused
- Dr Attia also mentions a drug call rapamycin; that increases life-span
Joe Rogan Experience & Dr. Rhonda Patrick on Fasting
Dr Rhonda Patrick has popularised the use of vitamin D as a supplement and arguably the original proponent of fasting that reached the MMA community.
Some notes from her podcasts on the JRE
- Fasting Mimicking Diet has been shown to improve symptoms of multiple sclerosis
- Fasting has a positive impact upon the gut microbiome/flora (study here)
- Time restricted eating can also work in line with the circadian rhythm – i.e. eating during daylight hours – ideally, don’t eat after 7pm
- One of the main benefits of fasting is called autophagy. This process clears away damaged cells & activates stem cells
- Fasting is still beneficial, even when you drink black coffee – although it could have an impact upon the benefits
- caffeine can also shift the circadian rhythm/clock
- Do Not consume any protein or amino acid supplements whilst fasting
- Aerobic exercise appears to be beneficial during fasting
- End your fast with some protein & some carbohydrates
- It’s good to consume an electrolyte supplement during longer fasts (3-10 days)
- You don’t need to consume food before you exercise – there’s no benefit for aerobic exercise lasting less than an hour
- There is benefit of eating prior to weight-lifting & sprinting training session and aerobic exercise (e.g. jogging) for more than an hour
Joe Rogan GSP – Intermittent Fasting
In this podcast George Saint Pierre (GSP) stated that he had terrible gastric issues whilst trying to bulk up for jis middleweight fight with Michael Bisping.
He even states that he’d be sick in his mouth a bit whilst still trying to eat and that he had blood in his stools.
Since starting intermittent fasting, his gastric/digestive issuew have cleared up and his body fat has actually gone down
The Fasting Mimicking Diet
Designed by Dr Longo, the Prolon fasting mimicking diet is designed to replicate the benefits of a longer fast.
To be completed several times per year (ideally once per month), the commercial version involves ordering nutritionally-dense, low carb pre-prepared meals that provide 35 to 50% of normal daily calories.
The 5 day’s meals cost over $240 at the time of writing.
The diet is designed to help increase wellbeing and lifespan and is backed by decades of research.
You can find more information about the Fasting Mimicking Diet on the Prolon website
Dr Rhonda Patrick has recently published a comprehensive article on time restricted eating here.
Consult a doctor and diet at your own risk