[question] Recommendations for fasting

by Gunnar_Zarncke 5y30th Aug 20141 min read24 comments


I consider fasting for two weeks in October, but I'm unclear about it being beneficial in general or for what kind of fasting it might be beneficial and healthy. Thus this is a kind of request for rational discussion of this topic.

I looked for relevant LW posts but couldn't find clear evidence. I think this is an underrepresented and possibly underutilized lifestyle intervention.

As a starter you might look at

Wikipedia has fasting and intermittent fasting. The latter shows

health benefits include stress resistance, increased insulin sensitivity, reduced morbidity, and increased life span.

But as I'm healthy and lean the benefits of intermittent fasting are likely small for me. What other benefits could there be?

I understand that body cleansing is not a real thing, but I wonder about the effects of fasting on the gut flora. Could it be that fastig has a beneficial effect on your gut bacteria? Just because your body doesn't get rid of any poison this way as the greeks believed doesn't mean that fasting has no cleansing effects at all. It could be that you get rid of some harmful gut bacteria or other parasites (not that these are frequent these days).

Another thing is that fasting might activate and kind of train metabolism cycles which the body may loose over time otherwise. For me it might be too late (I'm 41) for that (mouse experiments show fasting tolerance is plastic with age), but maybe not. On the other hand I'm not very likely to ever need the ability to deal with lack of food (except possibly in case of severe illness of injury).

Links on LW: Low hanging fruit: analyzing your nutrition and If calorie restriction works in humans, should we have observed it already? both mention intermittent fasting but I gain little insight from these.

Also related is Lifestyle interventions to increase longevity. (Intermittent) fasting is also mentioned on Mental rebooting your brain.

My current plan is to use Buchinger style fasting with fruit juice, thin vegetable broth and protein additions (which kind of protein I'm still unclear). I will reduce exercise to balance and walking level types.

I'm also unclear how to measure and track the effect of this diet. Sure I will track weight. But should I track satisaction somehow?

What do you think?