When I was I student, I ate one meal a day, maybe some snacks in between. Very often, I went without food for a day, simply because I was too lazy / too emerged in some project to leave the house to buy food. Eating the last meal on Sunday evening, not eating on Monday, eating again on Tuesday evening - 48 hours without food. I did this many, many times, and still (in my early 30ies) do it occasionally, again just because I am too lazy to buy food sometimes. It never occurred to me that this could be considered "fasting", because neither did I feel any different after going 48 hours without food, nor did I lose any measurable amount of weight from it.
Days, weeks or even months without food was pretty much the norm until ~150 years ago. If a day, or even a week without eating would be seriously dangerous to your body, mankind would've become extinct a long, long time ago.
I was doing short weekend hike with a friend and the shop we intended to visit was closed. We had to walk six hours without eating. My fried started to panic and would have called emergency services because he was feeling so weak that his hands started shaking. I had to explain it to him several times that if you sit down for a 15-20 minutes the shaking goes away as the body converts fat to glucose. He was convinced that he would die from walking hungry. Yes, physical exercise while hungry sucks, but you don't die in several days.
Do you think that this is a cultural phenomenon? I cannot imagine a person having constant access to food, everywhere, so that he never walked a few hours without eating. You would have to carry a backpack full a snacks everywhere, or you would somehow make sure that a store or some food place is near you, which seems pretty inconvenient.
I think it's very common in urban environment with middle class people. You may feel little hungry but you eat within hour or so, never hunger pangs or real weakness. When you do hard exercise, you carry sport drinks and snacks. It's not that hard.
It can be different for poor people in the same culture. Maybe the lack of shared experience contributes to the lack of empathy. When people see poor person walking on the street with hunger pain expression in their face, how do people interpret it? If they don't have a shared experience, hungry person may look just angry.
I do know people that seemingly need to eat constantly but their diet consists of mountains of refined carbs and are borderline diabetic, so that probably is a factor. Refined carbs have been a negligible part of my diet for a long time.
Now I'm married with kids, and my wife loves food, so I eat regularly. When she left for a month to visit far away family, I reverted to my old self and ate one meal a day, if that. I just don't see food as being as important as other things, so I neglect it unless providing it for someone else (kids or wife).
And my wife is still surprised when I have no preference for a meal (I usually default to fried eggs or cereal, occasionally with a spinach smoothie when she's gone because they're cheap, easy, and reasonably healthy).
People also died younger 150 years ago. Humans as a population are much healthier today overall—we shouldn't look to how we lived 100+ years ago for health guidance.
(I'm not necessarily disagreeing with the crux of your post, as I don't feel knowledgable enough to weigh in)
The philosophy behind "paleo" and various fasting regimens (as well as different modalities of physical training) is that living close to what our primate ancestors lived like is probably something like optimal. Starving yourself from time to time, something which is actually practiced by almost all agricultural societies as a form of religious devotion, is probably a good idea. The whole "3 square meals" thing is mostly a product of marketing departments rather than any scientific research.
>> To our knowledge, this is the most comprehensive analysis of adverse events experienced during medically supervised, water-only fasting conducted to date. Overall, our data indicate that the majority of adverse events experienced were mild to moderate and known reactions to fasting. This suggests that the protocol used in this study can be safely implemented in a medical setting with minimal risk of a serious adverse event.
If only "the majority" of adverse events were mild to moderate known reactions, how many were severe? How many were unusual? And what does the medical setting provide (clearance, planning, monitoring, intervention) that people fasting on their own might lack?
When you read books in history winter sucked because the lack of food. They would normally ration and it would literally be feast or famine. Just the way we evolved was to be able to do this.
It's safe because humans had no access to dental hygiene. Think about it, humans had neither toothbrush or toothpaste. And there where no dentist. Humans had to go through life without proper dental hygiene.
Obviously, not taking good care of your teeth is not a good idea. Even though our ancestors didn't.
TBF our ancestors weren't eating much
Also looks like cleaning our teeth goes much further back then tooth paste (19th Century Invention) https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/ancestors-eat-to-clean-tee...
Edit: It seems HN as a culture has a dislike of self confidence when it comes to health.
Yes, you can take care of yourself for the most part.
Fasting is done by many people in many cultures all over the world.
It seems this is a new concept to US citzens and maybe they are afraid of the idea that health is mostly a personal choice.
If fasting can be undertaken safely by an individual not in a health care setting, how? What is the mechanism for safety? What are some signs that fasting is veering towards unsafe- for that matter, what's unsafe fasting, anyway?
You should probably be asking is not fasting safe.
We live a lot longer than we used to, it's important to have data that backs up your claims. Just saying that people have done it for a long time doesn't mean much.
He specifically mentioned religions that have safe fasting practices, as demonstrated by people who have been fasting for thousands of years. Your argument is a strawman fallacy.
There is more than one type of fasting (more than one protocol - thowing this here: IF with 16:8/18:6/omad, ADF, 5/2, Extended) and there is some science backing this up. some of the benefits of fasting are mind blowing but it’s hard to “swim upstream” when some of our beliefs are so entrenched (examples: not eating is going to slow your metabolism down, not eating is going to make you lose muscle mass, it’s a sing of mental health issues, it’s a eating disorder, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you need to eat X time per day to keep your metabolism working)
go to reddit and read the side bar for r/fasting and r/intermittentfasting and do a little bit of research/keep an open mind.
I'm 42 and I feel better than ever.
Tuesday: snack and dinner
Thursday: snack and dinner
Friday: three full meals
Saturday: three full meals
Are you able to focus by Tuesday? I feel like I would struggle to be productive.
So skipping breakfast is super easy (IMHO) and skipping dinner is nigh impossible.
Skipping lunch highly depends on how pressured you feel to eat with your colleagues. I think one meal a day (usually named OMAD) is also not hard if you don't have lunch at work.
I'm able to focus any day. Some months I do 1 week when I fast Monday, Tuesday and I eat dinner on Wednesday; body reboot.
I began to fast gradually and this is what I consider my optimal IF method.
most people undestand eating all your food for the day in a certain time window (8 hours) to be IF. The 8 hours eat + 16 hours fast is labeled 16:8.
but you know what, you can call it whatever you want as long as it works for you :)
IMHO all diets fail. If you attack it as a problem, you find a solution, do that, it works and you considered it solved you’re gonna fallback to your own habbits.
the way I look at eating and other aspects of my life is that I want sustainable change. If I see me doing something for the rest of my life and incorporating it into my routine/lifestyle I do it. If not I will not.
Sustainable change is what you want. Not a quick fix. Not a miracle. Not a pill.
i can tell you that when you eat matters a lot. i can also tell you that a calorie from sugar is not the same as a calorie from lean meat.
it’s not the energy value, but the hormonal effect it has on you and the results cravings/hunger/binge eating.
if I’m ever going to become a minimalistic nutrition guru my advice would be this: cut out sugar and refined carbs, sleep, exercise. that is all. good luck pedaling this and makinf money of of it :)
The meta studies show that IF offers no additional benefits over similar caloric deficit approaches
It's dangerous because it will dilute electrolyte concentrations in your body. Drink tap/bottled water. Distilled water is completely unnatural to the body and should only be consumed in emergencies when you literally have nothing else. Even then it's still probably not a good idea.
There's literally no benefit to choosing distilled water over tap/bottled water.
Idiocracy was right. You need the electrolytes. In other words, you should drink water with enough magnesium, sodium and, potassium. Many mineral waters, zero-calorie sports-drinks and low-sodium salts like Pansalt contain the right mix.
I think this should help with the common complaints they saw like headache, fatigue, even the cardiovascular related issues. I gotta admit that as far as 'insomnia' goes I don't think electrolytes will help with that... you probably need some combination of fat/protein/carbs to get good sleep.
The better question: is it safe to eat/snack/graze chronically? Type 2 Diabetes seems to indicate it is not.
You just have to get over the fear of not eating and understand that missing a few meals or not eating for a few days can make you feel better. It's sort of the same as quitting smoking, you free yourself from destructive living.
In my own experience, somewhat unintuitively, total fasting is a lot easier than water-only fasting. I ascribe this to the digsetive system kind of shutting down after several hours of complete fasting. It feels like the stomach shrivels up, and hunger pangs become fewer and further between as time passes. Whereas going without proper food, but consuming water or small snacks, I feel very uncomfortable and usually get a headache.
Traditional eastern and western christian practices did require a fast from water before liturgies but the church services were always held at noon or before due to this.
I see Ramadan does involve a fast from water, but only during daylight. Not sure about other practices.
Dehydration is real and will harm and kill quickly. I wouldn’t equate small snacks with water from this perspective - maybe snacks are keeping your body from entering ketosis and burning fat efficiently, thus the headache?
Indeed, it makes no sense to me. But it does exist.
An interesting side effect is an increased number of deliveries among fasting late-term pregnant women (which are not required to fast -- in fact, are required NOT to fast, but some do so anyway) -- as if there's delivery mechanism that says ("oops, mommy can't find food with you inside, perhaps if you go outside it'll work better").
It also makes sense from religious perspective, since a religion will prepare you for another life which is only attainable by dying, with no apparent intention to give you a good and healthy life on Earth.
Did you study all of the religions out there to make this claim? If so, I'm interested in seeing a summary or a write up. Otherwise, do not make blanket statements full of conjectures and imply that all religions are suicide cults of some sort.
The most simple way to refute this is that any religion interested in sustaining itself is not interested in harming its followers. Not to mentions some religions that establish not just dietary practices, but also financial, economic, and social practices for balance and prosperity.
I will be more than happy to relay my opinions and discuss further with a video conference if you do not find this medium adequate for discussion.
"You owe a duty to your Rubb (Lord), you owe a duty to your body; you owe a duty to your family; so you should give to every one his due. Abud-Darda' came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and reported the whole story. Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Salman is right".
There are many more examples, but this is what came to my mind in a couple of minutes.
The whole idea of halal meat is disputed (since almost all of europe, china and american continent as well as australia thrives on pork) so I am beyond a doubt convinced it is a middle eastern bubble of safe-space where any opposing idea triggers people.
Anyway what I mean by wellness is a holy book commandment (not skme hadith) to stay healthy without emphasizing afterlife, djinns, devils or angels. Would be nice if you have another two minutes to write a dissertation about that.
I think this is enough to settle the discussion, as the Hadith I listed in my previous post mentions an action of a companion that was explicitly approved and encouraged by the Prophet ﷺ. In other words, this is part of the religion.
Here is another authentic Hadith that explicitly requires balance between rituals and physical needs:
but still I observe fast and break it; perform Salat (prayers) and sleep at night and take wives. So whoever turns away from my Sunnah (Path) does not belong to me
Allah is Beautiful, He loves beauty
A strong believer is better and dearer to Allah than a weak one, and both are good
As far as fasting goes, the Quran explicitly mentions that Muslims are required to fast the same way as those before them were required to fast (e.g. Jews and Christians). It then goes on to exempt those who are weak or unable to fast (e.g. the elderly), or those who are traveling. Clearly a form of caring for its followers and not overburdening them.
I don't see what Halal meat has to do with this discussion to be honest. Pork is prohibited, I don't think there is a text stating the reason behind it, be it health related or not. Different people may have different conjectures about the rationale behind the prohibition. At the end of the day; however, this prohibition is a form of submission if one wants to adhere to the teachings of the religion.
I feel the discussion veered off the original point. I mentioned Islam as an example to refute your point that all religions are cults that want their followers to suffer and live miserable lives, so as to shorten their lifespans. I then gave counter points that is not the case, as Islam exempts certain requirements at the time of need. It also provides mechanisms to preserve social balance, not just at the individual level, but at the social level by prohibiting certain exploitative and destructive practices, requiring financially able people to donate to charity, requiring that people treat their neighbors well, and many more.
A final example that comes to mind is that there were many Companions that were wealthy. Not once were they discouraged from pursuing wealth, or had their money taken away from them. As a matter of fact, we see the opposite. A man wanted to write in his will to give away his entire wealth to charity, the Prophet ﷺ told him that he should donate at most 1/3rd of it, and keep the rest for his heirs.
I'm not seeing the connection; religion allegedly prepares people for life after this one, so it encourages suicidal tendencies like fasting? I's biased because I'm religious and have generally fasted once a month or so, but I imagine it's more to develop delayed gratification and gain insight into the self, similar to meditation.
if you fast totally (dry fasting) things go bad pretty quickly. Dehydration is the thing that it’s going to get you and there is a non-zero chance you are going to die because of it. Short of experimenting with this 1, maybe 2 days I would not recommend it.
seriously, as someone that has done extended fasting at times (think weeks) my advice is not to jump into the deep end of the pool.
Try eating all your food in an 8 hour window for starters and after that do several fasts with increasing duration s 1,2,3,5,8... days of fasting (fibonnaci fasting)
the other thing to consider is that if you think or see something is wrong yoh stop. fasting is mostly safe, but there are edge cases were yoh will have a bad time.
and last piece of advice is that I have noticed people that eat sugar (lots of sugar) have an exceptional hard time fasting (the hunger is unbearable). So one thing to try is to kick the sugar habit before fasting (at that point even if you decide fasting is bullshit you’ve kicked sugar to the curb and that’s huge in its own way)
Body needs fibre to maintain a healthy gut flora. So when the body lose the flora, it will struggle to digest the food, take the vitamins and nutritions from it etc. at the end of the fasting period.
This is not only something I read from articles but also something I have experienced for a long time by the way. So please bear that in mind, keep your gut flora healthy and your life will be easier.
Do you have a good link that explains that further?
> Cancer: Breast (11), Andrologic (10), Lymphoma (3)
> Tumor: Neck (6), Breast (1), Colon (1)
So a nontrivial number of people reported cancer as a side effect of water fasting.
I suppose you'd probably want to review the standard correlation-does-not-equal-causation fallacy, but still.
> Table 1 describes chief complaint categories as total counts and as a percentage of total visits. A patient could have had more than one chief complaint per visit. Quality of life, including prevention and fatigue, was the primary reason patients visited TNHC (n = 384, 50%). Other major chief complaint categories included the cardiovascular (n = 193, 25.1%), musculoskeletal (n = 147, 19.1%), gastrointestinal (n = 122, 15.9%), and endocrine (n = 107, 13.9%) systems. Following prevention (n = 358, 46.7%), hypertension (n = 152, 19.7%) was the largest chief complaint category.
Reporting each and every condition, however unlikely to be caused by the subject of study, is a necessary part of a study into adverse effects. And for good reason, because it allows later research into surprising causal links, by evaluating mere correlations from different studies.
It doesn't mean the participant thought the adverse effect had anything to do with fasting.
While the conclusion seems reasonable (ie, some people have adverse affects to not eating) it's by no means a condemnation of fasting.
Fasting is the universal method of allowing the body to heal itself, animals fast to heal naturally. (ie, no medicine actually heals only compliments/supports healing, the body does all the real work)
This sounds like folkloric nonsense.
How often do home remedies "work" because of placebo and/or simply time?
Wive's tales and home remedies still circulate because they often work. Of course, you're not going to read that on Hacker News because it's biased by people wearing modern American blinders that don't have the humility, courage, awareness or something else, to just try for themselves. I was that way until I tried psychedelics, meditation, pranayama breathing, lucid dreaming and many other alternative modalities just two years ago.
All love--good luck on your journey!
No, it's about having some degree of scientific rigor, as opposed to blind anecdote.
Thanks for the conversation, best to you.
A positive impact from entering a massive caloric deficit when the body is actively burning calories is counter-intuitive.
Not GP. I don't remember where I read it about wild animals, but my dog would have the occasional "low energy, don't want to play" day, followed by a couple of days of not eating, and then being super-energetic when he went back to eating.
On one of these occasions, I took him to the vet, who said he had a fever, likely of viral cause, and that him losing appetite was perfectly natural and likely helping him heal.
When I'm sick I lose my appetite (and don't eat, sometimes for a few days).
Don't you lose your appetite when you are sick?
lack of will to eat --> not eating until will returns --> feeling better
is supposed to be analogous to
lack of ability to poop --> trying not to poop --> ?
Is it safe to eat 3 times a day + snacks, mostly over processed, calorie dense, low micro nutrients food ?
Food is like most things, moderation/balance is key.
I have no doubt fasting can be beneficial in some cases just as I have no doubt that the typical western diet is universally bad.
This new fasting trend is just the blowback of the over abundance / over consumption of low quality food we experience pretty much everywhere in US / Europe.
Discussions based on headlines alone tend to be accepted (especially if the poster mentions they haven't read the article), but "the article addresses your questions <here> and <here>" is usually the top reply.
Please don't insinuate that someone hasn't read an article. "Did you even read the article? It mentions that" can be shortened to "The article mentions that."
One of the kind you mention - “the article actually says ...”, in which the respondent goes to the effort of basically summarizing the article OP didn’t bother to read. Those generally catch moderate upvotes.
Then there’s the more blunt variety, along the lines of RTFM. Those catch solid downvotes.
Frankly, I’d rather neither existed, and posts that clearly didn’t bother looking at anything but the headline were just flagged and deleted.
As if there is a "western" diet.
Even just remaining in Europe, the typical diet in Italy has nothing to do with the typical diet in Germany.
And while southern countries and northern countries tend to have more similar diets, even between them they have big differences.
Same goes for "eastern diets". China and India, to pick just two, have completely different diets.
Criticize overcompsuntion of low quality food all you want when it occurs, but I think that broad-stroke generalizations like "western diet bad" are not useful.
At the end of the day >50% of people in Europe and in the US are overweight or obese. Every country adopting our diets are following the trend, have a look at Latin america and Maghreb.
We can argue all day long about the details but it doesn't change the facts that we're fucking up in major ways.
I'm not talking about traditional dishes that take 24 hours to prepare and that you eat once a month when you visit your grandma, I'm talking about what people actually put in their mouth days in days out, and it's frozen junk, fast food, over processed meat, excessive amount of carbs, etc ...
Damn, my colleagues can't stop asking me why I eat "so healthy" but I just eat fresh food / things I cook myself. There are 300-400 people in my office, we're literally ~20 to do that.
That's not really true. Both build a lot of their meals around a boiled starch, a grilled or fried protein and a vegetable dish, often prepared separately. It is not uncommon that this dish is primarily made up of raw vegetables. The starch and protein component almost always makes up the bulk of the meal. Both use a lot of dairy based sauces and/or a sauce made by thickening a meat stock (either pre-made or by de-glazing the pan they fired their protein in). Bread and other baked goods are a common component in many meals in both counties, often served with vegetable or dairy fat.
Protein is used this way quite a bit when talking about diet.
The study was published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and none of its authors are affiliated with the NIH, judging from their affiliation statement in the paper itself:
1 AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, Austin, TX 78745, USA.
2 NoviSci, Durham, NC, USA.
3 TrueNorth Health Center, Santa Rosa, CA 95404, USA.
4 TrueNorth Health Foundation, 1501 Pacific Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95404, USA.
As to controls:
>"the relative safety of water-only fasting is necessarily descriptive in nature as we did not identify a comparison group(s)"
It's a good paper.
I was left wondering why people attended the facility. A 9 day water only fast, with limited activity, sounds pretty extreme for a 70+ yo.