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There is another way that recently gets a lot of attention, and it is drug-free. It's called "fasting". The practice is very old (holy books speak of it). Only recently one of fasting's method has been understood as "autophagy", which means "self-eating". When your body is starved for nutrients it turns to it's own tissues, and eats the weak/unhealthy cells first.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autophagy

The 2016 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Japan’s Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries of the underlying mechanisms of autophagy.

I found a lot of interest on YT for this topic, and related "fasting" topics. With alternative "healers" gaining huge following with treatments that include fasting. Note worthy are Dr Morse (mostly juice fasts) and the Master Fast System (mostly intermittent fasts). Also I see a lot of people doing long water-fasts in combination with strength training for rapid weight loss.

Its a very interesting subject to me, and I have done some experiments with it myself, not without results.




Would you have any nice references to the long-fast + strength training? Whenever I've tried longer than 3-day fasts, any sort of excess exercise would cause a significantly unpleasant feeling and light-headedness.


There is not too much scientific "papers" on this topic. But there's a guy named "Chris" on YT with a channel named "A Healthy Alternative" and he does interviews with people about their journey/progress/methods. I really like that channel for specifically this water-fast + strength training topic.

There is something about taking some salts/electrolites/minerals with your water at some point to counter some things like light-headedness.


Thanks for the suggestions! They're greatly appreciated.


Most welcome. I live for this stuff lately. It has empowered my a lot. "Kidney filtration", "mucoid plaque", "gall and liver stone purge"; and the names are Morse, MFS, Ehret, Spira. Search for the term just mentioned on YT - and do not follow blindly. I'm just getting started myself and already the results are amazing. There's also a lot about food when you are not fasting, and this more often IS backed by science (fasting is only recently picking up interest in the scientific comm); see names like: Greger(!), McDouggal, Fuhrman, Eisselstein, M. Klaper, Barbara Popper. The workout thing has also been very well researched (you do not need much time to get big results), here see the bodyweightfitness routine on reddit, and AthleanX. A couple of hours a week is all it takes. I do gym bouldering myself, as it is a more fun way to do strength training (and strength training give most bang for the hours). Good luck! I hope you get the same incredible results!


Oh, and check out Tim Shieff current videos, he's an athlete and now on a 35+ day water fast (prolly going for the biblical 40 days). Really cool guy also. He takes quite some inspiration from a guys named Shaun, who also documented some really long fasts lately.


Keto + intermittent fasting is a great combo. You just feel better and less bloated day to day.


The hypothesis I have heard is that fasting and keto both result in ketone bodies and ketone bodies result in the cellular optimization (culling old cells so not spent precious energy resources on less efficient older cells).

IF this is correct, it means keto and fasting both accomplish the same thing in terms of life extension, only with keto you get to eat bacon, steak and cabbage, spinach, brussel sprouts, etc rather than starve and be miserable. :D


Fasting have other benefits than keto: it activates your immune system, increase you hormone levels, allows many organs to rest and clean themself. On top of the ketose, you $ start a selective autophagy process that improves further the cellular optimization.

You can perfectly use both if you know what you are doing. They don't mutually exclude. Although day to day keto is a lot of fat and meat. You may want to favor the vegetable part of keto after a long fast for some time.


>Although day to day keto is a lot of fat and meat.

People who do keto do get a majority of their calories from fat, but a majority of long term ketors tend to eat mostly low NET carb vegetables by volume. For example, you could eat a whole small cabbage in a day and not fall outside macros that would allow for a ketogenic state.

>Fasting have other benefits than keto: it activates your immune system, increase you hormone levels, allows many organs to rest and clean themself.

I have seen studies that show many of these as the same benifits of keto. For example, NAFLD resolves within only slightly longer on keto than by fasting. Keto is pretty effective at resolving PCOS for example.

Now, it maybe the case that fasting is more actually effective, but keto unlike fasting is sustainable as a long term lifestyle (conserves LBM etc).

As you pointed out, intermittent fasting and keto are completely compatible.


Of course you can do both but why let that stop you assuming things that aren't true?


and neurons too?


I'm no keto fan. But it sure as hell works. My experience is that with fasting I do not feel so hungry. It seems that when my colon is empty, my hunger feeling also stops for a large part.


You might have already seen this BBC program, but if not I suspect you will enjoy it:

https://vimeo.com/170735109


Hmmm... perhaps the "self-eating" is consuming those weakened cells. They may be the first to get consumed when the body needs the nutrients it's deprived of.


Yes, autophagy is selective. That's the main selling point of long duration fasting. But it's only half useful. You have to go back to regular eating with a balanced diet, otherwise you don't get as much benefits as you could since reconstruction needs quality building blocks.


> Yes, autophagy is selective.

Is it? How does it affect lean body mass and muscle mass?


It will always eat a bit of it, even sane muscle, the process is not perfect. But old cells and sick cells are prioritized. That's one reason it has benefits in combination with chemo therapy : the body will target the cancer cells. Not only those, but it's enough to help.

Same with weak joints, old muscle bruises, etc.

But again, eating properly after the fast is important to let the body rebuild what it destroyed.


what about brain cells?


I haven't read any study on brain cells specifically. My guess would be that the mechanism is the same and is not locally different according to the different body parts but i can't be sure.


I hear so much of this fasting hype lately. People seem to conveniently forget that you:

1. Lose all your muscle mass.

2. Suffer malnutrition.

3. Destroy your stomach lining due to too much acid building up.

All for zero proven benefit.

But hey, people like TDD too, so I don't hold it against you.


1. Lose all your muscle mass.

Given that fasting is always temporary, and that in one week of fasting you only consume 25% more proteins than an entire active day (remember you are supposed to rest while fasting), it's doubtful. Especially since fasting activate the production of growth hormones.

Not that you won't loose a little muscle. Of course you will on long fasts. But "all your muscle mass" is just plain silly.

Also it just doesn't happen with intermittent fasting: you tend to gain muscle.

2. Suffer malnutrition.

Malnutrition is a condition you get on the long run. Not on a few weeks on not eating a year. Besides, the improvement you get on your digestive systems after putting it to rest improve your ability to absorb nutriments after the fact, so if you follow a balanced nutrition after your fast, you should actually be better off.

And any fast minded person will tell you that what you eat after a fast is as much important as the fast itself. Once you empty the body, you gotta fill it with good things to allow it to rebuild clean what the autophagy removed.

3. Destroy your stomach lining due to too much acid building up.

Acid production stops after a few days because there is nothing to digest. The rare cases where people suffered from stomach lining were people with terrible eating habits that had acid problems already and went full throttle on fasting. Nobody knowledgeable about the practice would forget to tell you how important it is to prepare your body days or weeks before you fast. Especially if you are not used to it.

Have you ever read any study about fasting at all ?


Regarding your 3rd point, there was a recent study that made the rounds here finding that fasting may actually be beneficial to intestinal wall lining (but no word on stomach lining): http://news.mit.edu/2018/fasting-boosts-stem-cells-regenerat...


I do a three day fast about twice a year. I started it as a way to burn up weak white blood cells, so I get new fresh ones. This is also a common regimen for cancer patients, fasting before they start a new round of chemo.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/12/fasting-for-t...

I have anecdotal evidence that it helps, as I seem to get sick less than I used to.


Fair enough. I'm going to edit it.

> This is also a common regimen for cancer patients, fasting before they start a new round of chemo.

Yes, not only fasting has a positive effect on cancer, but it lower the side effects of the chemo.


Thanks! Edited mine too.

I also suffer from heartburn that started way before I ever fasted the first time. In contradiction to the poster you were responding to, I find that it goes away, not gets worse, when I'm fasting. As you say, the acid does seem to stop getting produced during fasting.


I don't know how you were fasting (or if you actually tried fasting)

I have been doing intermittent fasting 3 days a week, each time 24 hours, for 6 months. I've lost 35 pounds thus far.

1.) I am still doing the same weights as 6 months ago, some muscle groups even more. I make sure I have a protein shake after.

2.) I did blood testing for everything with my doctor 3 months ago and last week. My doctor says i'm perfectly healthy

3.) again, if you're eating alot of complex carbohydrates after fasting, or before, your stomach will have more acids. the key is to reduce your complex carbs as well


Your criticisms are valid, however given the audience I doubt most Americans would actually 'fast,' and instead would simply skip dinner, wake up actually-hungry instead of just salty-fat-hungry, and perhaps lose a few pounds.

Plus, light fasting (aka, skipping a couple of meals) actually feels really good!


The fasting hype is mostly short term intermitten fasting. That doesn't lead to muscle loss. Leangains by Martin Berkhan is the most famous system of muscle building that used fasted training.


You seem to be extremely misinformed, and everything you have said is demonstrably false.

Please stop spreading fear and ignorance if you haven't taken the time to do the research.


People also seem to conveniently forget that being overweight is a problem. Also, intermittent fasting has none of the downsides you've mentioned.


Exactly how long do you need to fast to "lose all muscle mass" and "suffer malnutrition". You mean continual intermittent fasting or just not eating for a long duration? Any sources on this?


I have been intermittent fasting (one to two 24 hour periods a week) for several months and have lost fat and increased muscle mass with really no negative side effects. The key is to lift weights to prevent muscle loss and to eat reasonably balanced diets (and enough calories) on non fasting-days. “Eat Stop Eat” has a good overview of the science behind it all (I have no association with the author)


I think you will need to source all those claims, all the evidence I've seen is to the contrary.

For 1. you can see MMA fighters cut weight and not 'lose all their muscle mass' so that one seems to have some pretty stark evidence against it. Not to mention that body builders routinely go on bulking and cutting cycles specifically to put on more muscle.


MMA fighters and bodybuilders do lose significant muscle mass during their cutting phase, not to mention dehydrating the shit out of themselves. It's not a healthy way to live, and it's not undertaken by these athletes unless strictly necesssry.


Fat goes first. Saying that a theoretical body builder who isn't even trying to make a certain weight loses 'significant' muscle is not something that's backed up by even common sense. If that were true, how does anyone end up with more muscle after they lose weight?

> It's not a healthy way to live, and it's not undertaken by these athletes unless strictly necesssry

That's not the discussion, this has nothing to do with whether fasting destroys muscle mass.

Do you have anything to back up your claim?


MMA cutting is a terrible example.

They try to rid their body of as much water as possible to lower their weight.

When we say fasting for health it usually means lots of water, but no calories.


You are completely missing the point.

It isn't that MMA cutting is healthy, it is that fat is burned first, not muscle. Fasting for a day here and there isn't going to make someone 'lose all their muscle mass'.


I am too lazy to reply to everyone making stuff up, but you went way, way overboard. Bulking is eating a calorie surplus, cutting is eating at a light calorie deficit, it has nothing to do with fasting.

When fighters cut just before weight in, they do so to make sure that they make their weight class cut off or they can't compete. This has nothing to do with fasting - they are forced to do it to stay in weight class, but at the very top of it (being as heavy as possible is overall a boon in the ring).


I'm not sure what exactly you are saying. Fighters rapidly lose fat weeks out from the fight and they don't lose muscle (then they lose water weight, which is irrelevant here).

The idea that you think 'fasting' loses muscle mass is an idea that is not backed up by any evidence. Fasting isn't a diet, it is about when you eat.

Also, you didn't source anything. Don't you think maybe the dozen people replying to you might be less likely to be 'making stuff up?'




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