Is fasting all about food? How long should you fast and on what occasions? Many questions pop up in your head, Dave Asprey, Bestselling Author, Founder & Chairman, Bulletproof, and “father-of-biohacking” opened some curtain on this topic at his lecture at our previous Biohacking Congress in Silicon Valley.
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Back in 2011, Dave started talking about intermittent fasting as a part of the bulletproof diet, including this idea of bulletproof intermittent fasting. “You can do some things that give you the autophagy benefits of fasting but allow you to have more energy than you would typically have,” Dave says.
There are some opinions, based on studies made on mice, that fasting is when you have only water, otherwise, it is not fasting. It doesn't make any sense. It turns out that throughout recorded history, there have been various kinds of fasts. Let's think for a minute about one of the most famous types of fasting. For some reason or another, it's called the vegan diet. All fasting means is going without.
You will do better as a biohacker if you say: "I can choose to go without any specific thing whether it's a category of food, whether it's a dry fast which is fasting from water and food, or a social media fast. You could also go on an exercise intermittent fast; it’s called recovery.
Having something omnipresent in your life does something and having something that is not present in your life does something else. You can also fast from a specific type of amino acid, and it turns out amino acid restriction therapy has all sorts of exciting benefits. Depending on which amino acids you go without for a brief period and with that lens of fasting, the world becomes different. You can also fast from oxygen. It turns out, intermittent hypoxic training is a thing. It's something that Dave does at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and soon in Victoria.
There's a voice in our head around food, there's a voice in our head around sugar, there's a voice in our head around almost everything that says we need it long before we do need it. We have systems in place that are designed to keep us alive. If we don't have a conscious human mind and allow the signals from those to always drive our behavior, our body gets weak. The body gets weak because it's designed to be lazy. Lazy is truly a fantastic motivator. It's one of the best things you could do. Lazy means: "I don't want to do more work than is necessary to get the results I want." That's fantastic if the results you want are the ones you choose in your head. If the results allow your body to choose using the algorithm, it'll be alive long enough to reproduce and then get out of the way.
In terms of Dave's non-acceptance of that algorithm regarding his longevity, aging, his hack is to use that laziness to don't do more work than is necessary to live to at least 180 years old.
Dave introduced the main fasting hacks.
There are some days when you want the metabolic benefits of fasting, but you don't want to suffer and be hungry. Once you're inexperienced faster, you can pretty much skip breakfast and skip black coffee and skip everything else, and you're fine. However, for most of us, especially as intermittent fasting as biohacking becomes bigger, many people in our communities are metabolically not very well suited to start intermittent fasting. To avoid experiencing the pain while fasting but to get either all or most of the benefits depending on the goals you're looking for, Dave presented three key hacks.
One of the most exciting and easy hacks that mice don't usually get is just black coffee. According to a study from the University of California at San Diego, the amount of caffeine present in two small black coffee cups is enough to double ketone productionю. This is why coffee and fasting just go together. You care about ketone production during an intermittent fast because you may have had ice-cream last night, but you're intermittent fasting today.
You're not going to go into ketosis, but that caffeine can give your ketones a little bump. If you decided that wasn't quite enough and use MCT Oil with your coffee. Coffee doubles ketone production and the right kind of MCT Oil the C8 form ( the same as in Bulletproof), which raises ketone production four times more than coconut oil. The coconut oil only raises ketones as much as eight hours of sleep. In other words, coconut oil isn't very ketogenic because it's only about five percent C8 MCT.
Most people end up between coffee and coffee with MCT Oil - get a bump of ketones. If you were to measure it by sticking your finger, you'd have about 0.5 nm, it's not as much as full nutritional ketosis, but something exciting happens at 0.38 and 0.48 nm. Two major hunger hormones turn off, and one of the hunger hormones, ghrelin, is an important thing that causes cravings and CCK the other one that increases is the satiety hormone. It is a significant fasting hack.
Another hack is to turn off the cravings and hunger fasting and benefit from fasting just without distractions.
The steady-state is terrible for the human body.
From a habit-forming perspective, it is perfect. However, from a biological perspective, once the body realizes it doesn’t get carbs anymore, it’ll down-regulate your ability to eat carbohydrates.
The same happens when you eat sugar all the time, you down-regulate your ability to metabolize fat. You want to be highly resilient, highly flexible, and the same thing goes for your fasting schedule. The trick is to learn when you're hungry versus when you have a craving.
It is a wonderful nuance the other thing that Dave covers in his book Fast This Way. There are categories of foods that cause you to be starving if you eat a meal containing a toxin that requires more glucose to break down in the liver or cause inflammation that takes energy that should have gone into energy production and turns it into inflammation.
How do you know how much fasting to do? How do you know when to do it?
One of the easiest ways to know whether it's a good day to do a shorter intermittent fast or a good day to have some protein and some fat for breakfast, to have carbs for dinner, is to look at your heart rate variability score.
If you feel bad going out and doing a hefty workout is a bad idea. "I used to do that, and I worked out an hour and a half a day, six days a week for 18 months. When I weighed 300 pounds because I decided it would make me thin. It didn't work. I still had a 46-inch waist at the end of that time, and I was overtrained even though I was stronger - I was still fat," Dave shared his experience.
You don't want to get caught in that trap because it lessens your health. It is not good for you, but you do get opiates and endorphins from it. You can get exercise addiction, and it's a major issue.
One of the significant facts to look at - fasting is a useful tool, but it's not a tool that you need to use all the time. Dave recommends that unless you're doing some longer extended fast for a short period of time, at least two days a week, take it easy and have some breakfast.
BiohackingCongress’s Team is very grateful to Dave Asprey for joining the congress and giving an incredible lecture.
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Based on the lecture by Dave Asprey.