There is only one thing nutritional scientists can agree on. They do not agree whether we should eat 3 or 5 times a day, they do not agree on fats, carbs, proteins, water intake, salt, plant oils, or baby food. They disagree on pretty much everything you can disagree on. But the one thing they all agree on is fasting. Fasting has been researched over 50 years and whether we studied fasting in mice or other animals, or in humans, the same results emerged. Fasting increases longevity, reduces ageing, reduces inflammation, improves energy production, and it obviously leads to fat loss.
When I talk about fasting, I do not mean the voodoo-type fasting with special teas or detox magic. I mean just not eating stuff for longer periods.
When we not eat for longer periods our body has to resort to energy pathways that have been rusty. We mobilise energy from other sources. This metabolic flexibility is great for our health and energy. A process called autophagy kicks in. This is our cells waste management system. When we constantly eat, this autophagy does not have time to kick in. It takes around 8-10 hours of not eating before it starts.
Fasting increases longevity, reduces ageing, reduces inflammation, improves energy production, and it obviously leads to fat loss. Click To Tweet
The first time I fasted was when I was on a „survival trip“ in Norway. We didn’t find food anymore and were forced to fast for many days. The crazy thing is that I felt great! Since then I always experimented with different types of fasting. I tried intermittent fasting for a long while, where you eat only during an 8-hour window during the day. That did not work out well with the way I live my life.
Around 1 year ago I started fasting for 36 hours once a week, and for 84 hours once a month. I usually have my last meal Saturday night and then eat again Monday morning. Once a month I go from Saturday-Wednesday Morning without food. After around 3 months the 36 hour fasts became really easy. What I noticed is that I have a completely different relationship to eating. I dont care if I dont eat anymore. My energy is constant. I doesn’t matter if I eat or not. The 84-hour fasts become hard on day 3, but I notice that it gets easier and easier, the more I do it.
Not constantly providing my body with food feels great for me and helps me keep the affluence of our modern times in perspective. Maybe fasting is something you can try as well.
May the FLOW be with you all!
Gerrit Keferstein is a Medical Doctor specialised in Performance & Functional Medicine. He is most known for his work on the optimisation of recovery and adaptation in elite athletes.