Tag Archives: fasting

Lessons from 3 episodes of fasting for ~44 hours.

Lessons from 3 episodes of fasting for ~44 hours.

Recall that the Antifragile likes stochasticity and variability (by Jensens’s Inequality), up to a point. So in order to allow myself to comment on the literature on Intermittent Fasting and modeling it mathematically (skin-in-the-game), I just completed today 3 fasts of ~44 hours each over 11 days (only water & black coffee) and I can report the following.

1) BARBELL – It is easier to fast completely than diet. The idea of life is to never have the brakes on when eating. But also when fasting, it is not a good idea to be tempted: you put yourself in a state of arousal for food by eating “a little bit”. Hunger comes and then goes away after a cup of coffee.

I would say the combination fast+good meals with no inhibition was absolutely thrilling.

2) MAIN INSIGHT- The body is effectively an information machine, food brings metabolic noise, and it thanks you for resting.Fasting is like silence after being in NYC’s Time Square. It is like not watching the news. Then food becomes more differentiated…

3) HEALTH BENEFITS – I may be subjected to placebo effect, so I can’t comment except via negativa: nothing wrong.

4) WEIGHT LOSS – beyond expectation, and in the right places, but that was not the point. I lifted weights during fasts to signal the system to avoid cannibalizing muscles, but maybe it’s a bad idea.


A- Caloric restriction may not extend life expectancy, and it is a completely different mechanism from IF (Intermittent Fasting). We are made for unsteadiness, not to be “thin”. Data shows that thin people don’t outlive slightly overweight ones. We have hints that diabetes seems more the result of hunger-deprivation than being overweight since diabetics can be cured after a long fast and weight loss and do not immediately relapse upon gaining back the weight. It takes ~ 3-6 months which hints to us the frequency of famine. So it looks like we are made for a cycle of deprivation, on which next:

B- Matching the randomness in nature, it is silly to want to inject routine into fasting. We need (say) 1 day a week, 2 days a month, …, and 1 week a year, with powerlaw frequency. My next fast will be 4 days, etc.

C- The video below has some focus on metrics like IGF shIGH, but it includes the best researchers. Valter Longo is the most rigorous and understands proteins are bad for us, see Orthodox fasts. Proteins harm our kidneys, but we recover if we ingest them-then rest, like acute-stressor-with-recovery vs. a constant-dull one.

D- Discovered that there is a huge Russian literature on fasting as it was clinical practice (21 days), discounted because it doesn’t follow modern protocols, but should be replicated.

Eat, Fast and Live Longer – Horizon from Steve Hartman on Vimeo.

via Lessons from 3 episodes of fasting for ~44… – Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

The New Cavemen Lifestyle Has Found a Home in the City – NYTimes.com

Shared by JohnH

HatTip to Dave Lull.
Context is the Paleo Diet.
I first read about Taleb’s approach to health and fitness in this interview he did with Tim Penn. http://knackeredhack.com/2007/05/15/caveman-lunch-with-taleb/

“New York is the only city in America where you can walk,” said Nassim Taleb, an investor who gained a measure of celebrity for his theories, described in “The Black Swan,” that extreme events can roil financial markets. “People treat walking like exercise,” he said, “but walking is how humans become humans.”

Mr. Taleb, who rejects the label “caveman” in favor of “paleo,” avoids offices (including his own) as much as he can. He prefers to think on the go. Dressed in a tweed coat and Italian loafers, this paleo man is a flâneur, sometimes walking miles a day, ranging from SoHo to 86th Street.