Intrigued by EF .... but why bother?

(Joey) #1

The idea of extended fasting (e.g., 2-3 days) is intriguing. But reflecting on my (very fortunate) situation, I wonder why I should even try? I’ve read a lot about the benefits for those addressing a range of health challenges, but honestly, I don’t face any of those issues. So if you’ll bear with me I’ll explain why I’m asking. Sorry for the lengthy post, but context here probably matters a lot.

First, I’ll clearly state my question:

QUESTION: If there’s no need to lose weight, no chronic health issues to address, and nothing about one’s metabolism to fix, are there still compelling reasons to incorporate Extended Fasting into one’s life? And by “compelling reasons” I mean demonstrated science.

CONTEXT: I’m still new to keto after 5-6 weeks but have had amazing outcomes in every way. I did not appreciate how low-level inflammation had been dragging down my otherwise active lifestyle (I felt older, stiffer, and sorer than my 60+ age would suggest). Now: my joints/muscles feel fantastic. Energy level = high. Concentration/focus = phenomenal. Also lost 13+ lbs and 3-4" at waist. At 5’9" am now just under 150lbs with 32" waist. Blood pressure low. NMR lipid panel (@ 4 weeks) = awesome across the board. And, as before, no meds of any kind.

So I’m a very lucky dude, to be sure. I’m also one of those fortunate people who suffered no discernible “keto flu” during transition to ketosis … perhaps in part because I wasn’t especially unhealthy to begin with (ate loads of complex carbs, but not so much refined sugars)… and also PERHAPS because - for the last decade - I’d fallen into the habit of one&one-half meals daily eating pattern: I’d typically eat a very light first meal around 1pm (shredded wheat, 1% milk, banana) and then my big meal (dinner) around 6-7pm … loaded with “healthy” carbs, lean meat, veggies, (like a big cobb salad).

In other words: Without having a name for it, I’d been eating along the lines of 18/6 or 16/8 “IF” for years before switching to keto. Also: for decades I’ve done daily cardio, tai chi, 1-2x weekly free weights, skiing, hiking, etc.

Now, having moved to ketogenic eating, I’ve got “no complaints” about anything going on inside my body - and I intend to continue my comfortable “IF” daily eating pattern with keto ingredients (am loving it!). Hence, to rephrase my original question…

Is there any scientific evidence that - absent weight loss goals or other health concerns to be addressed - EXTENDED fasting provides meaningful health benefits beyond those that are achieved through INTERMITTENT fasting? If not, perhaps I’ll limit my focus in learning more about extended fasting to intellectual curiosity and its applicability for others - as opposed to something I need to try for myself.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

(Dee FORMER T2D. Started keto June 14, 2019) #2

Read the posts on autophagy. That’s a very good reason for fasts of at least 32 hours.

(Joey) #3

@DeeCS Will do - thank you!

(John) #4

Sounds like you’re already healthy. If I were in your shoes, I would not do any extended fasts either.


Dr. Fung’s clinic has lots of people who can only do IFing. They are successful, just takes them a bit longer to get there. Megan has addressed that in a lot of podcasts.

I had to get into extended fasting to lose the last 15 lbs. I still do some EFing to gain the benefits of autophagy. Makes staying below my goal weight easier too. I do IFing because I don’t like eating when I am not hungry and most mornings a cup of coffee is just fine.

(Susan) #6

Several people doing EF have found that autophagy helps them with many things; including destroying cancer cells (could also stop them from appearing if you don’t have it apparently), and getting rid of skin tags, other skin conditions, help to make your saggy skin tighten and not appear saggy anymore, and other reasons, but there are a lot of benefits to autophagy =)).

(Dirty Lazy Keto Sucralose freak ;)) #7

IMPO, the answer is, you don’t have “as many reasons” to do an extended fast. But unless you try it, you wont know if it would actually help you or not.

I’ve only done one medium length fast… 50 hours. And the second day just flat out sucked ! I hear it gets easier on the third day… but I don’t have that many days that I can just lay around like a brick, while starving myself :slight_smile: lol

I’m pretty close to being in the same boat as you though. I feel good. I really don’t want to lose a lot more weight… maybe 8 lbs, but not in a huge hurry.
Plan to just keep it like I have, for at least another month or so. I do a 26-30 hour fast once a week though.

(Joey) #8

Thanks for you reply! I don’t really require many reasons … I’ll settle for just one good one :wink:

That’s why autophagy sounds intriguing, e.g., if perhaps there are some asymptomatic “unhealthy” things going on internally that autophagy might quietly address. Then again, that might just be magical thinking for me. :upside_down_face:

I have no doubt that EF can be a powerful tool for many. And so I’ll follow up on the suggestions above, including spending more time exploring what Jason Fung has to say (I’ve heard him in brief snippets - will do a deeper dive).

On a personal level, what I’m trying to better understand is whether there is an explicit objective I can reasonably establish for myself before embarking on EF (specifically, an objective not achievable with the IF I’ve settled into nicely for many years).

In your case @FishChris are you trying to break through and lose some of those 8 pesky pounds? Or perhaps you have another motivation for continuing those 26-30 hour weekly fasts?

Frankly, without setting a clear objective for myself, it would be hard for me to know if and when I’ve arrived :wink:

(Robert C) #9

I know you’re looking for something technical as motivation but - something to think on…

Why run a marathon (arguably unhealthy)?
Why climb a mountain (arguably dangerous)?

Think of it as a personal challenge instead of anything else - what is life like after completing a marathon, climbing some mountain, doing an extended fast?

Why not join the “I fasted for X hours club”?
You’ll never know what is on the other side if you don’t even do it once.

(In terms of any help with potential cancer prevention - better to do it sooner rather than put it on a bucket list.)

(Joey) #10

@RobC More good food for thought. Thx!

(Todd Allen) #11

You might check out Dr. Peter Attia’s writings on fasting. He’s young and in excellent shape and from extensive review of scientific literature believes there is likely long term benefit improving healthspan and longevity with extended fasts. I think his current practice is once every 3 months or so he does a week of strict keto followed by a week of fasting and then another week of strict keto.

(Joey) #12

@brownfat Looks like a wealth of info here… will spend time with it. Thank you.