Does cream in my coffee confound a fast?

(Doug) #61

While I don’t think a little fat totally “stops” a fast, per se, it is counter-productive in that some of the beneficial hormones that increase during a fast are damped down by ingesting fat. One is also consuming fat, and to some extent that means one will burn less of one’s stored fat.

I had never heard that before, Traci. It does not sound right to me - proteins (especially leucine) are a very potent inhibitor of autophagy. Carbs cause insulin levels to rise, and for autophagy we want insulin to be doing down, and glucagon going up. Fats cause a relatively small insulin increase, but it’s still going to act against autophagy.

Autophagy gets going in the absence of nutrients - protein, carbs and fats. I say keep them all at zero, as far as what we eat, if autophagy is what’s desired.

(Traci ) #62

Here is the research behind fast Mimicking Diet. and here is a link to an interesting n=1

Do you have any research to point to. I’d be interested in reading it for sure!

(Doug) #63

The PubMed/NIH link doesn’t say anything about autophagy. I don’t doubt that people see some benefits, as described, but that’s compared to “an unrestricted diet.”

Fast-Mimicking Diet is a fairly severe calorie restriction, but still with a significantly high carbohydrate content. On both those scores, I think it’s going to be a bad deal for a lot of people, especially the longer one does it. Concerns would be much higher insulin response (due to the carbohydrates) and potential metabolic slowdown, from the calorie restriction. Lesser amounts of insulinogenic foods will be of some benefit, but that’s not the same as really targeting insulin resistance, as does ketogenic eating and fasting.

Good general information there. Dr. Fung has a lot of blog posts, perhaps the best single free printed source of information, in my opinion.

Informative thread there.

On consuming fat and having it decrease growth hormone - today I cannot find any studies that bear on it… :neutral_face:

(Norma Laming) #64

That’s helpful, thank you

(Norma Laming) #65

Both the Fasting Mimicking Diet and Longo’s Longevity Diet are quite high in carbs, relative to what we eat. I’ve adopted his use of a cup of almond or hazelnut milk , which I drink sometimes in the evening instead of eating.


I think the milk issue has already been addressed. As for yogurt, I assume you are eating full fat plain? I have heard mixed reviews on that. Some claim that the bacteria in the plain yogurt are consuming the sugar while they are waiting to be eaten. So the 5 or 7 grams of sugar is not accurate but in a good way.

It is good you have eliminated snacking. I personally try to avoid anything artificial such as protein from a box. I would also reduce your eating window so if you get up at 10, wait a couple of hours to have morning coffee (wait a half an hour more each day, delay it gradually so you avoid a headache). Eventually you can have coffee at 12 with heavy whipping cream, no sugar. Then at 7 have dinner and you are done. If you get hungry in between have a meal at some point between 12 and 7. You will still be fasting 16 hours a day

(Traci ) #67

I know Dr. Fung quite well but the FMD was specifically designed so that you get the same results (autophagy) while eating that you would get by fasting which is why it is called Fast “Mimicking” Diet. I was turning my keto strips purple after the second day my DIY version of the diet.

Anyway to wrap it up, Dr. Longo has proven that you can induce autophagy by eating up to 725 calories a day consisting of 9% protein, 44% fat, 47% carb, then having cream in your coffee wouldn’t stop it. Here is the link on the mouse studies that prompted the human studies and the creation of the diet.

Depending on your age, you might want to decrease HGH and not increase it. and

I may have to do an n=1 experiment doing a fat fast and water fast and lab testing for HGH after both. Here is a lab that does the testing:

(Doug) #68

Traci, thanks for the response. :slightly_smiling_face: Lots of good reading there, and I think this is a great topic.

Human growth hormone - injection or other external supplementation usually does have some bad consequences. We definitely want our bodies to produce more of it (if we want more in the first place) rather than be taking it in from the outside. The ubiquitous Dr. Fung weighed in on this:

As for ingesting fat suppressing it - I again searched for information on this, and I really don’t see any confirmation. Eating carbs or protein, yes, but a little fat, by itself, doesn’t seem to “confound a fast” to me - other than the fact that we’ll then be burning the ingested fat, rather than our own. Not a big deal, often, considering the small amount eaten.

Great idea - and that applies to so many things in this realm. As individuals we’ll often diverge from the median effects of a study or what we read most commonly on this forum.

Not sure if you’re talking about ketosis or autophagy, or both, there. Being in ketosis, by itself, is no guaranteee that autophagy is induced/increased. No argument that one will burn fat on the FMD, or that one will be in ketosis - that all makes sense to me. Yet carbs and proteins are potent inhibitors of autophagy, and I think that there is the rub.

There’s a lot there, and I read it all. Some “wow” stuff - like the mice on the FMD reducing their visceral fat by over 75%.

That there are health benefits to the FMD is no surprise. Similar good effects were achieved by Dr. Roy Taylor and the Newcastle Experiment/protocol/diet. 800 calories per day, and the subjects also had some “wow” good effects. The concern there, for many of us, is the potential for metabolic slowdown, and the reduced time periods for the FMD is a good thing on that score, IMO.

Yet the connection with autophagy in humans for the FMD is quite tenuous, I think. In the manuscript about the study, the word appears 17 times, 12 of them in the references and footnotes. Of the remaining 5, 4 of them appear in general comments about autophagy. Only 1 is related to the FMD, and that’s with respect to mice muscle cells.

p62 (protein) is consistently increased in autophagy deficient cells (Komatsu et al., 2007). An age-dependent increase in muscle p62 was observed in 20 month-old mice from the ad lib but not FMD group (Fig. 1 R), indicating that the FMD and possibly the associated regeneration protects muscle cells from age-dependent functional decline including the ability to maintain normal expression of autophagy proteins.

I think it’s an enormous leap, here, to assert that the FMD is causing autophagy. Agreed that reduced p62 is observed during autophagy, and then in mice muscle cells among the mice on the FMD, but that is a long way from proving anything. Is it a coincidental observation? Does it even go so far as actually being correlated, and then aren’t we still faced with the fact that correlation is not the same thing as causation? Autophagy is massively more complex than the relative p62 levels.

Autophagy is also quite responsive to the Insulin/Glucagon ratio, and with the high percentage of carbohydrates and much greater overall calories versus fasting, the FMD cannot approach the autophagy-inducing character of fasting, from everything I’ve read.

In the study, the FMD was compared with mice and people continuing their normal diets. What I’d like to see - and what I think would constitute far more substantial proof, would be a study comparing the FMD with fasting subjects.


I think I’d like to see more results on a cross-section of females… A lot of the science is based on animals or males. Yes I like the fasting and yes I’ve seen results, but in terms of how’s and why’s and can’s, can’t’s and shouldn’t s there are so many variables in relation to female anatomy, hormones etc,

(Traci ) #70

[quote=“OldDoug, post:68, topic:23134, full:true”]
Traci, thanks for the response. :slightly_smiling_face: Lots of good reading there, and I think this is a great topic.

Human growth hormone - injection or other external supplementation usually does have some bad consequences. We definitely want our bodies to produce more of it (if we want more in the first place) rather than be taking it in from the outside. The ubiquitous Dr. Fung weighed in on this:[/quote]

It might be more than just supplemental GH that has a negative effect:
Links to human studies but understand GH action on IGF-1

Have you ever considered that early humans probably ate very low calories more often than completely fasted? How likely is it that an early human passed up the opportunity to eat the random bug, berry, blade of grass or whatever they found along the way. It’s a well known fact that calorie restriction in of itself increases longevity. Here are some studies:

Calorie Restriction and authophagy

It’s very relevant that calorie restriction, keto diet, and fasting BOTH produce ketones which was the point.

I’m aware the proteins inhibit autophagy thus the low protein amount in the FMD diet and carbs are also low enough on the diet. Please link studies to proof that carbs inhibit autophagy.

Actually the study compared results of fasted mice.

(Doug) #71

Yes, Traci, from the standpoint of lifespan alone, perhaps. If we are wanting improved bone density and/or to increase muscle mass, however, for example, then growth hormone is essential, just as it is for the maintenance of those tissues.

In this entire thread, we have to keep track of what is desired, and from what standpoint would a fast be “confounded.” If people never ate too much of anything, then many of the issues we’re now dealing with - obesity, hormonal problems, etc., would not be present or would be vastly less pervasive. If one’s context is “the extention of lifespan to the exclusion of all else,” then some answers will be different, compared to when one wants weight loss, hormonal balancing, muscle gain or maintenance, not to slow one’s metabolism, etc.

:slightly_smiling_face: I have no doubt - they generally didn’t pass anything by, if it looked even halfway decent. They weren’t concerned with autophagy, though.


It seems we are missing each other, or somehow talking past each other, or else I just plain disagree. We were talking about autophagy, and you said,

I think the evidence for the Fast-Mimicking Diet giving the same results as far as autophagy is incredibly weak, but aside from that, you mentioned turning keto strips purple as if it had some bearing on it. Ketosis and autophagy are two different things. I said I believed that one could be in ketosis on the FMD - no argument on that. But we have not even gotten to the considerations of autophagy, there, yet.

First, on protein - it does not take much protein at all to put the brakes on autophagy.

In this study, two groups of people each ingested 10 grams of protein. One group’s protein included 1.8 grams of leucine, the most anabolic of the amino acids. The other’s had 3.5 grams. Both groups had reduced autophagy, with the most reduction in the 3.5 grams of leucine group.

Overall, 10 grams of protein. In the study on the Fast-Mimicking Diet, I saw the protein as being 27 grams on the first day, and 16 for the remainder of the study. This is more than enough to make a substantial difference.

For autophagy, we want insulin to go down, and for glucagon to go up. We want mTOR to be suppressed, and AMPK to be activated. We want to stimulate catabolic processes, and to supress those that are anabolic. These facts are fairly well known, despite the fact that we have much to learn about autophagy.

Dr. Fung: "One of the key regulators of autophagy is the kinase called mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). When mTOR is activated, it suppresses autophagy, and when dormant, it promotes it.

Nutrient deprivation is the key activator of autophagy. Remember that glucagon is kind of the opposite hormone to insulin. It’s like the game we played as kids – ‘opposite day’. If insulin goes up, glucagon goes down. If insulin goes down, glucagon goes up. As we eat insulin goes up and glucagon goes down. When we don’t eat (fast) insulin goes down and glucagon goes up. This increase in glucagon stimulates the process of autophagy. In fact, fasting (raises glucagon) provides the greatest known boost to autophagy."

Here’s a quote from Richard:

It’s from this thread, which has some good information in it:

Okay, carbohydrates: the digestible ones get digested down to monosaccharides, then absorbed through the small intestine into the bloodstream. mTOR and AMPK are energy sensors. The presence of the increased number of monosaccharides up-regulates mTOR and down-regulates AMPK, directly affecting autophagy.

Insulin levels rise in response to the increased number of monosaccharides as well. This also affects autophagy, as does mTOR activation.

We know that ingestion of carbohydrates is the most potent stimulator of insulin secretion. In the study, the Fast-Mimicking Diet had 93 grams of carbs on the first day, and 85 for the remainder of the days.

So, versus fasting, the FMD will have higher insulin, higher mTOR activity, higher levels of nutrients being sensed in the body - all of which mean less autophagy. It will also have lower glucagon and AMPK activity - both of which also mean less autophagy.

Indeed - while they make some general comments about autophagy, the authors of the study manuscript give almost nothing relating the FMD to autophagy. There’s only that one thing - that the FMD group of mice didn’t have one specific type of protein increase in muscle cells, versus the non-FMD group. As it happens, when cells are deficient in autophagy, they sometime have increases in that protein. It doesn’t always happen, though, and thus is not a really good indicator of autophagy or not, let alone that it’s just a coincident observation, lending no proof at all that the FMD causes autophagy.

Thus my saying it’s an enormous leap to maintain that the FMD causes autophagy. It’s like claiming that
“Person X was on a certain diet and it caused him to swell up” (possibly because of a relatively high salt content, for example), without controlling for allergies, hives, congestive heart failure, frostbite, sprains and strains, gout, pseudogout, actinomycosis, staph infection, fractures, soft tissue inflammation, cirrhosis, snakebites, peripheral vascular disease, bruises, burns, thyroid problems, kidney problems, tumors, hormonal issues in general, and osteosarcoma - ALL of which can cause swelling.

The first one doesn’t say “more beneficial to autophagy than fasting.” It says that in human skeletal muscle, exercise can induce autophagy regardless of nutritional status. Well yeah - exercise affects nutrient levels, whether one is fed or fasted, and we have mTOR and AMPK suppression and activation and there you go. And there’s nothing there that bears on the FMD.

Fasting stimulates autophagy just about everywhere in the body, a far different thing.

The second study does say, “the most effective strategy to activate autophagy in human skeletal muscle seems to rely on exercise intensity more than diet.

Okay, but again - skeletal muscles rather than the human body as a whole. Two of the areas which generate the most interest about autophagy are as it may apply to cancers and to nervous system problems, i.e. Alzheimer’s, etc. These are substantially less or totally not to do with skeletal muscle. And still nothing that would apply to the FMD versus fasting.

Not that I see. There were two groups of mice: the control group that was fed a certain formulated rodent chow (there’s a description in the write-up), as much as they wanted to eat. The other group periodically ate reduced calories in the “Fast-Mimicking Diet” formulation, and then between the FMD periods they were given the same chow as the control group, also as much as they wanted to eat.

(Traci ) #72

Wow Doug, you sure complicate the basics here. Here is a breakdown of everything to simplify it for you and everyone:

  1. FMD is Caloric Restriction
  2. Caloric Restriction induces autophaghy
  3. If you’re producing ketones by eating FMD, then you are most definitely not raising insulin. So no need to worry about insulin shutting off autophaghy.
  4. There are enough studies suggest that the existence of ketones suppress mTOR.
  5. Caloric Restriction activates AMPK and so does the FMD
  6. There is much less than 1.8 grams of leucine in FMD diet. The diet excludes all animal protein. (Note the studies regarding leucine is not 100% conclusive and only included 14 young subjects.)

Even if the studies on leucine were 100% conclusive and applied to all humans of all ages, shapes
and sizes consider the following:

There are 16 tablespoons in a cup of half and half, 7 grams of protein and only 0.7 grams of leucine. I very highly doubt that autophagy comes to a screeching halt with a little cream in your coffee.

I’m done here. Have a nice day!

(bulkbiker) #73

Except that absolutely none of what you have said is in any way “proveable” it is all conjecture.
There is no magic “autophagy meter” that tells us when it is happening and like everything else I suspect that we are all unique little snowflakes when autophagy comes into the equation.
Whilst Prof Longo may make various claims, like everything else in nutrition science he can’t prove one of them.

(Doug) #74

Well, things are not always simple, Traci.

The evidence for autophagy from the Fast-Mimicking Diet is incredibly weak. People want a “magic pill” - promising benefits without them having to change, exercise, put in time, etc., and the marketing of FMD stuff at least partially plays on that.

FMD is calorie restriction, yes, but not all that severe. The difference in hormonal response between ingesting zero calories and 700 or 1100 is huge. Between the FMD levels and one’s normal caloric intake is a much lesser hormonal change - it’s not a strictly linear deal.

Producing ketones only means that fat is being burned. Insulin will still rise from eating carbohydrates, and that directly works against autophagy.

I agree that a little cream in one’s coffee is not a big deal, here, but the difference between fasting (with only water or black coffee or tea) and the FMD is enormous.

Richard has made the point that there are very few “binary switches” in the body, i.e. it’s not usually Off to On, or the reverse - things are a continuum, most frequently. Most tissue has a basal level of autophagy going on all the time, especially cells that can’t divide to increase tissue and dilute the effects of faulty or old cellular parts.

Beyond that, autophagy is a response - a negative feedback loop - to nutrient deprivation, with it being very sensitive to proteins, and to carbohydrates due to the stimulus to insulin secretion. For increased autophagy, the pool of circulating amino acids has to decline substantially - the body has to think it really needs to scavenge proteins.

The FMD doesn’t “mimick fasting,” it only starts toward it a little. In a mouse, with its much faster metabolism, ten times faster heart rate, etc., autophagy is still increasing in some tissues at 48 hours of fasting, and that’s about two-thirds of the way to be dead from starvation. In humans, autophagy is still increasing after multiple days of total, water-only fasting - zero calories per day. Compare that with eating 16 to 27 grams of protein and 85 to 93 grams of carbohydrates every day.

(Traci ) #75

I want to see the HUMAN studies that support water fasting is superior for autophagy and that offer proof beyond a shadow of doubt that you can not get the same results from FMD. Do not link me to a Fung article.

Yes let us see the side by side comparisons in the study that you’re obviously quoting.

(bulkbiker) #76

Show me the way to measure/monitor autophagy first…


nope! fasting is considered cruel and unsafe - Fung couldn’t even get the approval to publish the stats on the patients that he has - so you won’t find any studies.

I think for fasting and autophagy, we’re kind of all in an n=1 of personal experimentations, guided by our own reading of the available science and our own experience. Some of the more remarkable anecdotes about joint pain recovery and skin inflammation reversal seem to come from water fasts, and intuitively that makes most sense to me.

(Robert C) #78

My opinion…

If I were fasting for autophagy as a measure to deal with cancer in my body - I would (at this point, with what I know up to now) do a strict water fast (not even black coffee). Someone selling something or promoting something that they were willing to say was “equivalent” would get ignored. This is because I have heard so many times on podcasts recently that “X stops autophagy” (where X could be protein, an insulin spike, calories,… anything other than water).

If I were fasting for autophagy just to lose weight and “renew” my body - I would chose one of the suggested schemes that I would actually be willing to comply with and see if I feel better during and have less lose skin afterward etc. (N=1 approach).

(Jane) #79

Studies are usually funded by companies looking for a way to profit from the outcome of the study (no bias there! snort) and there is no money to be made from not eating… unless they can figure out a way to induce autophagy with a pill.

(Traci ) #80

Yes the problem here with some of the posters is that they continue to speak with authority on the subject of autophagy in humans; when it starts, what is regenerated, what you can and cannot eat in order for it to occur when there are very few studies to support their conclusions.

And Longo based his FMD mouse studies on mice that had been water fasted for four days. I can’t think of another person that is more interested in fasting for longevity than Longo.