Intermittent Fasting- How I started

At the end of 2018, I was preparing to undertake my first experiment with intermittent radical fasting: a 60-hour stay, from Sunday evening to Wednesday morning. It is called as intermittent fasting.

“At first, I wondered if Intermittent Fasting was possible,” a company that sells nootropic supplements and which, according to the company, “can help to keep my brain in shape in the long term.

“But I have seen some of my colleagues do it successfully, saying they were clearer and more productive.”

I did not start fasting only for the reasons that science temporarily recommends: to live longer or to lose weight. I was as skinny a few years ago as I am today at the age of 28. What I wanted was cognitive hacking. “The plan was longevity and cognitive benefit,”. I wanted to eliminate the “brain fog”, as it is commonly called, and optimize my mental agility.

Problems Faced When I started Intermittent Fasting

“The  very first two times I tried to fast, it was horrible. It was difficult. “The third time was pretty refreshing. I felt pretty clear.”

I now cut all food for 24 hours once or twice a week. Every three months, I spends 36 to 72 hours without a meal. I justify my cleaning based on several years of monitoring my blood sugar using a continuous meter on my arm. During fasting, my blood sugar remains stable throughout the day, instead of skyrocketing and crashing after a big lunch.

As a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, I may be the ideal guinea pig for this type of food experiment. It is part of an ever-increasing movement of biohackers who end up with nutrition serving a part of our anatomy that no one ever sees: the brain.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Eating for brain energy and concentration has become one of the central foundations of a series of increasingly popular dietary trends. There is intermittent fasting; the low-carbohydrate, high-fat ketogenic diet; the MIND diet, which combines the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (Healthy Approaches to Stop High Blood Pressure); and the Bulletproof Coffee diet, founded by Dave Asprey, a biohacker who prescribes adding a touch of butter to your morning coffee to improve your energy and cognitive function. Diets have a particularly notable audience among technocrats like me. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, says he has a 22-hour daily fast, and Kevin Rose, co-founder of Digg, has launched an application called Zero to help people follow the daily fast.

“If somebody really feels like it works for them, honestly, you can’t argue with that.”

The data suggest that lifestyle behaviors’, including diet, can play an important role in maintaining brain health and preventing cognitive decline, although dietitians and researchers caution against using small studies on unique dietary trends to inform an entirely new diet. “More than ever, people are looking for a quick solution,” says Marjorie Cohn, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “I think a lot of what explains it is our access to information and social media. Many of these dietary hacks are promoted and disseminated not by professionals, but by non-professionals who promote non-professionals.”

 

Intermittent Fasting – elaborated

Nevertheless, eating habits such as occasional fasting or occasional consumption of fat and protein – although perhaps unnecessarily strict – can improve a person’s energy and attention. The question of whether they actually change the brain is still being developed. Meanwhile, I around the world am eagerly adapting to new ways of eating before the results are clear. “Who did the randomized controlled trial on the FDA’s food pyramid?”.

There are many anecdotal observations of the effects of extreme diets and, in some cases, short-term randomized trials that highlight the effects of various diets. But long-term randomized trials – the gold standard of scientific research, where people are monitored for more than 20 years to see how certain diets can influence diseases or conditions later in life – are rare.

Mental Clarity by Intermittent Fasting

A salient feature of mental clarity diets is that they eliminate a certain type of food or food group. There is virtually no room for processed foods for all of them. Some explicitly prohibit sugar and white flour products, such as pizza and cereals. Experts say that it is probably the elimination of these food groups that creates lucidity and counters what is called brain fog.

Last September, I spent a whole month on the carnivorous diet all the time. I could only eat foods like steak, chicken, eggs, game, salmon, beef breast, and absolutely nothing that could be classified as a fruit, grain or vegetable. It was in the service of journalism – an article I wrote for Outside magazine, although I was personally curious to know how I would feel if I had meals rich in protein, without carbohydrates, sugar or vegetables.

 

My mother was sure I would get seriously ill, but after eating a diet rich in ribeye steak, I felt less groggy and more energetic. Other people on the same diet told me that their brain fog had also dissipated and they were less sleepy. People who follow the Ketogenic diet – which is essentially a portion of carbohydrate away from the lifestyle of full carnivores – report similar effects.

The best thing is to understand that for your brain to feel clear, you need to cut down on the sugars, your gut needs to be happy, and you need to have a nutrient-rich diet.”

 What Experts say about intermittent fasting

Nutrition experts like to explain why people on a low-carbohydrate or carbohydrate-free diet may feel more alert throughout the day: Glucose is the fuel chosen by the brain, and it usually comes from carbohydrates and sugar. The Western diet tends to be rich in simple carbohydrates. If you eat a slice of pizza and water it with a soda for lunch, your glucose will skyrocket, resulting in an overcompensation of the amount of insulin your body produces to treat this blood sugar. By mid-afternoon, you will start to feel lethargic because your blood sugar has dropped.

 

When you eat highly processed foods, such as potato chips or a fast food hamburger, your body reacts as if they were foreign objects invading its lawn, causing inflammation. Inflammation itself is linked to many chronic diseases that appear over time, such as diabetes, arthritis and coronary heart disease.

 

“The best way to make your brain feel clear is to reduce sugars, your intestines must be happy and you must have a nutrient-rich diet,” says Dr. Eva Selhub, a former instructor at Harvard Medical School who now runs her own wellness consulting practice. “If we are sick, it is because everything contains carbohydrates, and that’s why people feel better when they go on these diets.”

 

In keto and carnivorous diets – the body uses fat as an energy source, transforming it into liver chemicals called ketones, which the brain can also use as fuel. In a small study published in 2017, researchers placed 23 adults on a high or very low carbohydrate diet and found that men and women on the low carbohydrate diet had better memory function.

 

Your brain prefers glucose over everything else,” says Rachele Pojednic, assistant professor of nutrition at Simmons University. “If you are on a ketogenic diet, ketones may help you feel better, but we don’t know yet because we haven’t studied this path. Most of the ketogenic data we have is on weight loss.”

 

Bullet-proof coffee lovers generally say that the fat in butter causes your body to absorb caffeine at a slower rate, creating lasting alertness instead of a sudden energy shock. Although there is no research to indicate that the butter in your coffee is harmful, there is no conclusive research to indicate that butter coffee leads to better brain concentration.

 

“You may not be hungry because you have just eaten a ton of calories in the morning and when you arrive in the afternoon, you are not tired,” says Pojednic. “What the data show overall is that it is not an isolated nutrient, which is what many of these diets really focus on.

Although there is convincing evidence that diet has an impact on the brain, there is little evidence that extreme eating habits are better than other, more discreet methods. “I don’t believe anything until I see the scientific evidence,” says Martha Clare Morris, professor of epidemiology at Rush University Medical Center (RUMC) in Chicago.  “It’s amazing how many people say they follow a keto diet when you don’t know the long-term effects.”

In his quest for evidence on a diet that nourishes the brain, Morris teamed up with other researchers at RUMC and Harvard School of Public Health to find an answer in 2018: the MIND diet. It combines foods from the Mediterranean diet, such as whole grains, legumes and fish, and the low-fat DASH plant diet, designed to fight high blood pressure. Traditionally, both diets are recommended to prevent heart disease.

 

“These are two excellent diets whose beneficial effects on chronic diseases of aging, reducing inflammation and preventing diabetes in people with high blood sugar levels have been demonstrated in randomized trials,” says Morris, who spent 25 years studying the effects of diets on brain aging.

 

Antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamins C, E and B, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, have positive effects on our cognitive abilities by neutralizing two of the factors suspected of causing neuro degenerative diseases: oxidative stress and inflammation.

 

In a study of the MIND diet that lasted nearly five years and included more than 900 people aged 58 to 98, Morris and his team demonstrated that even moderate adherence to the MIND diet reduced the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 35%. Now they are conducting a randomized follow-up trial of the MIND diet to measure cognition over a three-year period. Morris says research like this is necessary to truly assess the effects of diet on brain health.

 

What is remarkable about the MIND diet is that the food plan is not revolutionary. It follows what has long been recommended as part of a healthy diet. Meal plans with antioxidant-rich foods such as berries, nuts, seeds and leafy vegetables, as well as nutrient-rich foods such as beans and foods containing omega-3s, such as fish, all seem to help the brain.

 

“Honestly, solid research only goes back to what our grandparents and great-grandparents ate,” says Cohn of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “We should eat fat; we should eat eggs. More whole foods, less processed foods.

If the best way for the brain to eat is to follow the usual advice – eat more fruits and vegetables – then why are restrictive diets so sustainable? After politics and religion, the virtues of the respective diets are perhaps the next easiest subject to raise vehement disagreements.

 

“A lot of it all comes down to a subjective experience,” says Cohn. “If someone really feels like it’s working for him, honestly, we can’t argue with that.”

 

Pojednic from Simmons University says there may be a psychological component that makes mental clarity diets more effective for people who follow them than standard healthy eating. “Is having this sense of control enough to help your brain?” she says.

“It gives you confidence to be able to do something impossible.”

I agree that fasting stimulates morale. The longest fast I have ever had was seven days. “It gives you confidence to be able to do something that seems impossible. “It is a psychological side effect of being able to control your animal instinct and channel it productively.”

Conclusion:

The bottom line is that these different hacks to unblock brain power share a strong redeemable feature: they all call for the elimination of raw vegetables that make you feel misty, groggy, or lethargic. They are also looking at fatty foods that contain omega-3s, which are believed to be important for brain health by preserving cell membranes and promoting communication between brain cells. “These diets are wonderful because they allow people to be more aware of what they are putting into their bodies,” says Selhub, the doctor and wellness consultant. “The key is, what do I learn from this diet about how my body feels?”

It’s about testing what works best for you. Not a single person I have spoken to has advocated absolute adherence to any of these regimes, not even me. “It’s less religious,” he says. Get more health related post here