Not medical advice. Why would it be? I’m not a doctor. Do your own research. Consult a real doctor.
The model of human bodies that we currently possess was probably built somewhere around 10,000 - 50,000 years ago.
That technology is ancient.
The major criteria for selection of certain traits probably had to do with environment, where fluctuations between periods of feast and famine where the norm.
It might be somewhat shocking to hear this, but in the past, humanity starved from lack of food. In the first world countries, there’s another problem today - lack of stressors.
Your body (and mind) need signals to grow stronger.
And what kind of signals are you sending, when they only energy you expend to get food, is the energy you spend to click 3 buttons on a phone and 5 steps you take to open the door to the delivery guy.
Just as stressors of exercise are good for you, the same principle must apply to food deprivation.
Think about it.
How does it make sense to eat three meals a day, every day?
Benefits of fasting
Gen Z folks will be happy to know that fasting can “make you feel something”.
For everyone else, the big benefit is autophagy (eating oneself).
Autophagy is believed to be one of the keys to longevity. Numerous studies show that restricting caloric intake increases lifespan. While reduced autophagy leads to accelerated cell aging.
Fasting also improves your insulin sensitivity, which means your body can better process food, so you won’t lose next time your friends decide to compare how many “rings” of fat their stomachs have.
Then there’s the obvious fat loss benefit. I lost 1kg per week during Lent, which is basically a 7-week fast.
Religion gets a bad rap for being this almost “useless” thing in 21 century. But it probably has more answers than assumed, if you’re ready not to look at things too literally.
For example religions with ritual fasts.
What these seemingly ancient traditions do, is bring non-linearities in food consumption, which can match our biological properties.
Also, they come with a built-in manual of what you can and can’t eat, when and for how long.
It’s also easier to explain that you’re fasting because of Lent to your uncles and aunts, otherwise everyone just assumes it’s to lose weight, which can be a bit annoying.
Sharing only the side-effects that I experienced first hand.
Weight loss, increased irritability, desire to eat meat after 1 week, headaches during water fast stage.
During last days of the 7-week fast, I had nosebleeds in the mornings, my nails got a bit discolored at the tips, so there was definitely some vitamin deficiency going on.
But it’s my fault, because I chose to do the hardcore version, where you need to only eat raw (uncooked) food for 3 days per week. And the very last week you have 5 days of eating raw food + 1 day of water fast.
Next time I won’t be making that mistake.
Can you drink coffee when water fasting?
Just black espresso. Can’t deal with headaches from caffeine withdrawal and lack of food at the same time.
Some people think it breaks the fast, as “anything other than water turns on digestion which defeats the goal of autophagy.”
Personally, I don’t buy into that.
How to end fast “safely”
Again, there’s some conflicting advice about that. Most people will probably be fine. From what I’ve heard it’s best not to try to catch up for all the lost time not eating meat. Definitely don’t do that on the first day.
What I did is introduce meat back slowly into my diet. Can’t say that the first piece of meat that I had after fasting was amazing. So the “palate cleansing” didn’t exactly help me to enjoy meat more.