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Eat Yourself – Why Fasting Is One Of The Best Things For You

Eat Yourself – Why Fasting Is One Of The Best Things For You

There is a word I literally only discovered about 3 weeks ago, thanks to a friend. That word is Autophagy. Having only ever seen it in print, we actually are not even sure how to pronounce it.

The word literally means “self eating”.  The process cleans out the gunk from the cells. This is happening all the time, to an extent (quite obviously). It has to happen otherwise your cells would fill up with gunk.

However there is happening and there is happening. As with other things at the cellular level things can sort of work but not be working at their best. And of course as we age the cell processes become not as efficient as they once were.

When it comes to cells cleansing themselves there are three things that can enhance it. First there is intense exercise, secondly there is restricting carbohydrates and third.. the big one to my mind.. fasting.

This has come to light recently for me because of a Japanese scientist who has just won a Nobel prize for his research into the mechanisms of Autophagy, Yoshinori Ohsumi. His work has determined the major role fasting plays in autophagy.

There has been work done with rats that has shown that cell autophagy in old rats is 1/6 that of young rats. With these rats,  scientists stimulated  autophagy by the use of fasting and the use of a drug called Acipimox, a derivative of vitamin B3, until their levels of autophagy was the same as 3 month old rats. What they observed when they did this was the the markers of cell damage were about the same in the old rats then as young rats.

That’s about as far as I want to go into the details of autophagy. Anyone with Google can verify what I’m saying and research further if they desire. The quick summary of it all is.. autophagy good – fasting causes autophagy.

To me, what this information does is gives me a very good reason for fasting. I’m all about being as healthy as I can for as long as I can. And when I joined the dots regarding cell health and fasting, I knew it was something that, if you didn’t do it, you were attempting to get healthy with one hand tied behind your back. Since I’m all about finding the most efficient ways to health, fasting was in.

It is something that I have tried in the past and found hard. I like food, but then don’t we all. I like all the bad foods, and I probably don’t eat as many greens as I should for someone who likes to keep healthy. It has always been my credo to cover up the sins of diet with exercise.

However, once I found out the central role fasting plays in such an important cell function, something that essentially would turn back the clock, I just had to do it.

It’s not actually as hard as it seems. There are various ways you can approach this but I’ll only discuss two.

The first one is the window of eating approach. This is where you limit your eating each day to within a certain window. For example you only eat between 12 and 8. I don’t like this approach personally because I find it too restrictive. On days I am eating, I want to be able to eat whatever I want whenever I want. I don’t want a cutoff point. If I want to be eating Doritos at 10pm I’m doing it. Similarly, if I want a bacon and egg breakfast, I’m doing it.

Far easier for me is the 5-2 diet protocol that has become more and more well known these days. The way I do it is I don’t eat from the time of my evening meal the night before my fast day until my evening meal on the fast day. So if I finish my meal at 7pm, the next food I have is at about 7 on the fasting day. During the day I have  couple of cups of tea (with sugar, probably shouldn’t but hey) and that’s about it.

The results for me? Too early to say. I think I feel more energetic and have more stamina now, but I’m not going to claim that yet.  It gives me the opportunity to write another article in the future on my progress. Which means you are going to have to become a regular reader to find out how I go.

More on autophagy from some other guy who agrees with what I say.


Image Source: Ewan Munro from London, UK – Yellow House, Surrey Quays, London Uploaded by tm, CC BY-SA 2.0,

About The Author


A guy obsessed with stripping down whatever field he studies to get the optimum return from effort expended. Sort of like Tim Ferriss, except with zero fame.

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