caffeine metabolism

Genes and caffeine metabolism

Perhaps it’s not news to you that genes affect caffeine metabolism. It makes intuitive sense as we all know that person who can have coffee right before going to bed and still sleep like a baby.

A little while ago I got an email announcing a new report derived from my myDNA genetic testing.

Which caffeine metabolism genes are tested?

myDNA analyses three genes (ADORA2A, CYP1A1-CYP1A2, CYP1A2 and AHR) to derive information about caffeine effect on the brain, caffeine metabolism and whether inducers (foods that boost caffeine metabolism) help or not.

My reaction to caffeine

I know from experience that whenever I drink coffee in the afternoon, my sleep suffers. Falling asleep might or might not be a problem, but my sleep quality is crap. I wake up multiple times during the night and usually find it hard to go back to sleep. Therefore, as a general rule, I usually have one cup of coffee between 8 and 9am and then switch to tea.

What do my genes say?

I was pleased to learn that, looking at the big picture, my genetic testing proved to be very accurate:

  • My caffeine metabolism is normal (~45 minutes to process caffeine)
  • I’m unlikely to get anxious from moderate caffeine consumption (<4 cups of coffee per day)
  • The effects of caffeine should last 6-8 hours in my body
  • I have high likelyhood of sleep disturbance if drinking > 4 cups of coffee
  • Inducers (such as cruciferous vegetables, tobacco smoke, certain drugs, charcoal-grilled meat) do nothing to boost caffeine metabolism in my case

The takeaway is that my last cup of coffee should be about 8-12 hours before going to bed, which is exactly what I know from experience.

Bottom line

The way our bodies metabolise particular substances, including caffeine, is highly individual. You don’t need to run genetic testing to find out how you react to caffeine, you can find out by observing how you react to different levels and timing of intake.

Want to know more?

If you are curious about what your genes say, you can invest in genetic testing by companies such as myDNA. The report will also tell you the percentage of the population that shares your alleles (e.g. your particular variation of the tested genes), how many kilojoules/calories, fat and sugar are in different types of coffees and the caffeine content in different beverages. You will also find the scientific evidence behind the analysis and recommendations.

Finally, the folks at Examine.com have also recently released an article entitled Caffeine consumption: how much is safe?. Note that these are general recommendations and don’t take into account individual variations. They include caffeine content for popular drinks, too. Worth a read.

carnivore diet

The carnivore diet (a.k.a. all meat diet)

If you’ve been paying attention to the nutrition world lately, you’d have heard of the carnivore diet (a.k.a. all meat diet). The baton holder at the moment is Dr Shawn Baker, an US orthopaedic surgeon and accomplished athlete. Dr Baker sells his fitness and nutrition plan at his website

The all meat diet seems to be popular with Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs/biohackers. The reason? My guess is that this is the crowd that seems to jump on the new trends, no matter what they are. Second, this is a male-dominated industry and meat (particularly red meat) continues to be a very “manly” thing to do in people’s minds.

What can you eat in the carnivore diet?

As outlined by Dr Baker, you can eat any meat, fish, butter, eggs, cream plus some other dairy products. I realised I had actually done the carnivore diet back in the early 90s (it was called “la dieta de las grasas” or “the fat diet” in the magazine I found it). I remember it being more enjoyable than the typical low-fat diets but my gall bladder/liver didn’t cope well with the switch. I might have done it for a week or so and then abandoned it.

Is the carnivore diet healthy?

Nutrition science has studied tribes like the Massai of central and southern Kenya and northern Tanzania and the Inuit of the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada and Alaska. People from these and other tribes are the original low-carbers and they have been found to be free(er) of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, etc.

So does that mean that we should mimic their diets in order to be healthy? Well, not necessarily, unless you have a similar ethnic background, participate in similar daily life activities (such as hunting, gathering, herding, etc.) and live in a similar environment (this includes same latitude or distance from the Equator). If you don’t tick all the boxes, I’m afraid you cannot tell this diet will be the silver bullet for you.

Will the carnivore kill me?

As said above, it’s impossible to say. There are clearly many people following an all meat diet who haven’t dropped dead and are, in fact, thriving.

It is important to note that individual requirements and tolerances vary from person to person. Some people are very resilient and can live on a diet of cigarettes, chips and Coke. This doesn’t mean this is a healthy option for most of us.

Having said that, governments and nutrition professionals are compelled to advocate for diets that are likely to benefit most of the population. This means, among other things, 5+ serves of vegetables per day and a wide variety of foods of plant and animal origin.

Pros of the carnivore diet

  • Good for people who like meat/fish/eggs/dairy and don’t care about vegetables
  • Good for people who suffer from decision fatigue and are happy to eat a limited variety of foods
  • This diet is likely to provide essential nutrients such as vitamins B12 and vitamin K (MK-4 form), as well as highly available complete protein, iron, zinc and calcium. Also omega-3 if fatty fish and/or grass-fed meat and/or enriched eggs are consumed.
  • There are a number of people following a carnivore diet that have reported improved body composition and athletic performance, including Dr Baker himself. I have also heard Dr Baker speak about improvements in a number of health markers, including testosterone levels and blood lipid composition (modest increase in HDL and decrease in triglycerides; no change in total cholesterol). This is, of course, anecdotal evidence that needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Cons of the carnivore diet

  • Lack of variety, not only taste-wise, but also nutrient-wise. A diet that excludes vegetables, fruits and other plant foods lacks important nutrients such as fibre and phytochemicals that are likely to play an important role in the prevention of chronic disease. A varied diet also ensures a more widespread exposure to potential food toxins.
  • Low sustainability (i.e. ability to follow it for life)
  • Low environmental sustainability
  • High cost if quality is a concern (and, in my opinion, it should be)
  • Difficulty navigating social situations
  • Potential issues for people with gall bladder/kidney issues or more rare nitrogen metabolism disorders

What if you want to give it a try?

You are free to do whatever you want but it would be a good idea to talk to your dietitian and/or physician (particularly if you suffer from a health condition) beforehand.

Please don’t expect to become as ripped or athletically accomplished as Dr Baker or any other carnivore ambassador. There are more things than just diet that play a role in body composition, athletic performance and health.

[Photo by Lukas Budimaier on Unsplash]

Future Whey

Product review: Future Whey

Future Whey is a newish sports supplement. I decided to try it mainly because I got a free sample, but also because the packaging got me intrigued. It looks like detergent. It looks like a prank product. It is not.

The name implies this is a whey powder product, but it claims to be dairy-free – this is confusing. Future Whey is really a collection of amino-acids, including the branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs, which are the ones preferentially taken up by muscle cells.

What is in Future Whey?

From the website: essential amino acid blend (L Leucine, L Threonine, L Valine, L Isoleucine, L Lysine, L Methionine, L Phenylalanine, L Histidine, L tryptophan), L Glutamine, L Glycine, L Alanine, flavouring, L Tyrosine, malitol, citrulline malate, citric acid, L Taurine, sweetener (sucralose).

I’m not sold on the “flavouring” and sweeteners (malitol and sucralose) but I guess they have to make it taste good somehow. The two currently available (and very unorthodox) flavours are cola and lemonade.

Future Whey - back

(Yes, “glutamine” is misspelled)

From the nutrition panel:
Per Serve (25g)
Energy (kj): 387
Protein (g): 22.8
Carbohydrates (g): 0
– Sugars (g): 0
Fats (g): 0
– Saturated (g): 0
Sodium (mg): 0

The taste test

Given I only tried one serving of the product, I can only comment on taste and not results. My sample was lemonade flavour. They suggest taking it with sparkling water but I drank it with room temperature tap water. It was not horrible but a) it did not taste like lemonade to me and b) it was a bit salty. Not that this bothers me, but just FYI.

Future Whey or regular whey?

I think this comes to individual preferences and results. Personally, I am not 100% comfortable with not knowing the source of the ingredients in the supplements I consume. Plus, I have no gut or moral issues with good quality whey protein. In addition, there is evidence that the cysteine content in whey protein may increase glutathione levels in the body (glutathione is a powerful antioxidant). For all of those reasons, I choose whey over Future Whey.

Want to learn more?

Head to Bulk Nutrient’s website.

The Bad Food Bible

Book review: The Bad Food Bible

I first heard about this book in a food-related podcast (can’t remember which one). The full name of the book – The Bad Food Bible: How and Why to Eat Sinfully – was totally unappealing to me but somehow the book showed in my Audible list of suggestions and I decided to give it a listen.

The book was written by paediatrician Aaron Carroll. I have some bias against doctors who think they know more about nutrition than everyone else, especially knowing that they don’t get much nutrition education in uni. However, I decided to chill out and just listen to what he had to say.

Turns out that Carroll is not a regular doctor. He does not rely on textbook information that is taken as gospel even though is based on outdated or unreliable research.

In this respect, the most valuable takeaway of The Bad Food Bible for the lay reader/listener is that not all studies are created equal. The author explains in an approachable way how to critically appraise a research depending on the study design (e.g. randomised controlled trial > observational study), the study subjects (e.g. humans > mice), etc. I think this is important information that everyone should be aware of because of the way research gets portrayed (and sometimes misrepresented) in the media.

For the bulk of the book, Carroll talks the foods/ingredients that are generally considered as poison. These foods tend to be highly controversial and polarising. One of the reasons the author gives is the fact that there is research published for and against many foods. He cites the article Is everything we eat associated with cancer? A systematic cookbook review, in which the authors selected 50 ingredients from a cookbook and found that 40 of them were associated with cancer risk. The problem is that associations went in both directions, i.e. increased or decreased risk and that evidence was weak or non-statistically significant for most of the studies.

The author also mentions other sources of noise in research, including researcher bias, the placebo/

asparagine asparagus

Should we avoid asparagine to stop breast cancer spread?

A recent study published in the prestigious journal Nature, entitled “Asparagine bioavailability governs metastasis in a model of breast cancer” (1) has been making the rounds lately. I first heard about it from a friend, who urged me not to eat asparagus out of a vegetable & dip platter at a party. Asparagine is an amino acid present, among other foods, in asparagus.

As usual, news media have latched on the study to publish eye-grabbing headlines, such as:

  • “Spread of breast cancer linked to compound in asparagus and other foods” (The Guardian)
  • “Food may influence cancer spread” (BBC News)
  • “Could cutting asparagus from your diet stop the spread of cancer?” (USA Today)
  • “Potential key to halting breast cancer’s spread discovered by scientists” (Independent – UK)
  • “Amino acid in asparagus could cause the spread of cancer, study says” (AJC.com)
  • “Compound found in asparagus linked to spread of breast cancer” (NY Daily News)

As it’s often the case, this particular study needs to be taken with a large pinch of salt for many reasons, including:

  • This is an animal/in vitro study. Animal and in vitro studies are valuable and easier to perform than human studies but people are not mice nor cell cultures.
  • “Foods rich in asparagine include dairy, whey, beef, poultry, eggs, fish, seafood, asparagus, potatoes, legumes, nuts, seeds, soy, and whole grains. Foods low in asparagine include most fruits and vegetables.” (2) Therefore, a low-asparagine diet would exclude most of the foods that form the base of a healthy diet.
  • The diets in the experiment included different levels of asparagine, presumably as an isolated amino acid, and not as part of a whole foods diet.
  • This should be pretty obvious but this study looked at the spread of already existing breast cancer. Please do not make the mistake of assuming asparagus (or any other food containing asparagine) will give you breast cancer.

References

  1. Knott SRV, Wagenblast E, Khan S, Kim SY, Soto M, Wagner M, et al. Asparagine bioavailability governs metastasis in a model of breast cancer. Nature. 2018;554:378.
  2. Diet & the Spread of Breast Cancer. Oncology Times. 2018;40(5):8.

[Photo by Christine Siracusa on Unsplash]

Low-carb or low-fat for weight loss? Whatevs!

This recently randomised clinical trial published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association, Effect of Low-Fat vs Low-Carbohydrate Diet on 12-Month Weight Loss in Overweight Adults and the Association With Genotype Pattern or Insulin Secretion: The DIETFITS Randomized Clinical Trial, looked to answer the million dollar question: is low-carb or low-fat better for weight loss given particular participant characteristics? These characteristics were measured via certain genetic variations (SNPs in genes PPARG, ADRB2, and FABP2) that predispose an individual toward carbohydrate or fat metabolism, and also via insulin levels 30 minutes after a glucose challenge as a measure of insulin resistance. Pretty robust study design, in my opinion.

The study was completed by 609 participants, a very good number. When I saw participants were instructed to eat 20g per day of either fat or carbohydrate for the first 8 weeks I was excited (finally a hardcore study, not another lowish-carb/fat one). However, participants were also instructed to add fat/carbs at a rate of 5-15g per day per week until reaching a level they believed sustainable. This translated to 96.6g (at 3 months) to 132.4g (at 12 months) carbs per day for the low-carb group and 42.0g (at 3 months) to 57.3g (at 12 months) fat per day for the low-fat group.

Participants were also instructed to eat a mostly unprocessed diet, which translated to a lowering of added sugars for both groups. Still, the low-fat group ended up consuming an average of 33.1g of added sugars per day, and the low-carb group 22.8g per day. This equals approx. 6-8 teaspoons added sugar per day. Food for thought.

This being a randomised clinical trial, there were people with both carbohydrate and fat-favouring metabolisms in both groups and also with different insulin levels. The study found that the weight loss was roughly the same in both groups, meaning the individual characteristics played no role in whether the diets were effective or not. Meaning the measured genes and insulin test are not reliable predictors of whether low-fat or low-carb would be the right fit for a person.

One interesting secondary measure was blood lipid levels. The low-fat group lowered LDL-cholesterol the most and the low-carb group lowered triglycerides the most. Perhaps current levels and genetic predisposition toward high LDL-cholesterol or high triglycerides are better indicators of which approach is best for an individual.

[Photo by David Di Veroli on Unsplash]

Supplementing creatine

One of the talks that caught my attention at the SDA Conference was Dr Tom Doering‘s work on creatine supplementation for master athletes. For those who are not into sports, the term “master” means old. The cut-off age depends on the sport; in my case (weightlifting) is 35.

As we age, we lose muscle mass and strength and creatine can be a useful supplement for older athletes, particularly those engaging in weightlifting and other power sports.

Dr Doering recommends taking creatine monohydrate with meals or a post-exercise snack containing carbohydrate and protein. The protocol is a 7-day loading phase (0.3g/kg/day) followed by a maintenance phase of 2g per day. I asked him if there would be any gender differences and he says there should be none as the dose is weight-based. I also asked if the loading phase should be matched with a more intense programming but once again the answer was no.

It’s well-known that creatine monohydrate can cause weight gain (gasp!) due to water retention. I was relieved to hear that this is about 1.8kg in men, which is not a lot. I decided the potential benefits were promising enough and started the experiment on Dec 3rd.

Creatine

I must say the loading phase was not very pleasant. The creatine I’m using has a mild orange flavour that makes its chalky texture more bearable. But 0.3g/kg (~17g for me) is a lot of creatine (2g = 1 tsp). I divided my daily intake into 4 doses to take with my 3 meals and 1 post-workout snack. I got some stomach upset (particularly when taking fewer larger doses) but it didn’t last long.

I took measurements at home and used the SiSU Wellness Station at my local Priceline to measure body composition (which is unlikely to be accurate but it’s a good indication). Below are the results.

Date Upper arm (cm) Waist (cm) Hip (cm) Right thigh (cm) Weight (kg) Fat %
2/12/17 (baseline) 27.8 69.8 87.8 50.5 58.3 13.10%
10/12/17 (post-loading phase) 27.8 71 88.4 51.8 59.1 11.20%
23/12/17 (maintenance) 28.6 71.2 89.8 52.1 59.3 9.81%
6/1/18 (maintenance) 27.5 69.8 88.9 51.5 58.8 14.10%
28/1/18 (maintenance) 27.5 71.5 91 52.9 59.9 11.80%

Yes, my weight has gone up but it’s hard to tell if it’s water or muscle mass. However, my thighs getting bigger while my body fat remaining low, could be an indication of true muscle gain. Subjectively, 10-rep sets of squats don’t suck as much as they used to.

Finally, I PBd in jerk off blocks heavy doubles and in the clean & jerk after 2 years. This happened in early January, during the maintenance phase. I feel stronger and I’m pretty sure I will get a PB in the snatch soon.

In summary, I think creatine can be a useful supplement, especially for “middle age warriors” (as my coach calls us) who would like to increase or maintain strength and muscle mass. Keep in mind that creatine won’t do miracles and that not everyone experience benefits from it, so try it and see how it works for you.

For more information about creatine, check Examine.com.

uBiome Explorer: Meet your gut bacteria

Several months ago a good friend let me know uBiome was offering kits for (almost) free.

What is uBiome? Hint: it’s not a personal care brand. uBiome is a company that sequences your stool sample to analyse the composition of your microbiome (ie, gut bacteria). They offer the following producs: SmartGut (doctor-ordered gut health test), SmartJane (doctor-ordered women’s health test) and Explorer (discover your microbiome without the help of a doctor). uBiome Explorer retails for US$89 as a one-off purchase but I only paid US$19.99 to cover shipping.

uBiome’s headquarters are located in the US, so it took a while for my kit to arrive (101 days after purchase). Sampling is the easier step, registering your sample will take a bit of time because it involves answering several questions about your diet and other lifestyle habits. I got a confirmation email when my sample was received (20 days after I mailed it) and another one when my report was ready (19 days after the sample was received).

The results can be viewed via a link in the confirmation email they send you and include the following sections:

Insights

  • Body weight
    • Ratio of Firmicutes:Bacteroidetes (a higher proportion of Bacteroidetes correlates with a leaner body). My ratio was 2.8:1, a bit higher than selected samples suggesting a tendency toward higher body weight.
    • Percentage of Akkermansia (bacteria that may act against weight gain and inflammation). My percentage was 7.51, ~4x higher than selected samples.
    • Recommendations including trying a low-fat or low-carb diet, avoiding meats with antibiotics, eating foods high in polyphenols. I already do all of those. They also recommend a type of fibre supplement if I choose to do so (I haven’t tried that).
  • Probiotics
    • Bifidobacterium, mine was zero (?!).
    • Lactobacillus, mine was zero (?!).
    • Recommendations including consuming yoghurt and other fermented dairy products, consuming raw fermented vegetables, taking probiotic supplements containing Lactobacillus acidophilus. I eat fermented dairy and vegetables most days and take probiotics here and there.
  • Microbiome diversity
    • When it comes to gut bacteria, diversity is generally an indication of good health. I was in the 95th centile, meaning that only 5% of the samples were more diverse than mine.
    • Recommendations to increase diversity included eating fibre and exercising, both of which I do and this time seem to correlate with my results.

Probiotics

This section shows the proportion of each category of probiotics in your sample: all species, top species, cheese, kefir, yoghurt, kimchi, pickles, raw cow’s milk, sauerkraut, bee products, commercial probiotics.

Timeline

This section is available if you have registered more than one sample (N/A in my case).

Compare

This is a dynamic comparison of your bacterial composition by phylum, class, order, family or genus against all samples, omnivores, vegans, vegetarians, paleo, raw food, pescetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, heavy drinkers, antibiotics, weight gain and weight loss. You can also compare your own samples against each other.

My bacteria

This is a dynamic doughnut chart showing the composition of your gut biome by phylum, class, order, family or genus. Several of the bacteria names are hyperlinks to more information.

Advanced

  • Predicted functions, an indication of how well your microbiome would perform a variety of biological functions (carbohydrate, lipid, amino acid and vitamin metabolism, secondary metabolite biosynthesis and degradation, and bacterial abilities) based on a molecular pathways database.
  • Interactive taxonomy tree
  • Bacteria search
  • Downloads (taxonomy and sequence data)

Below is a brief summary of the pros and cons of uBiome Explorer.

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Comprehensive information
  • Excellent interactive functions
  • Affordable one-off option

Cons

  • The whole process takes a long time
  • Recommendations are generic and do not seem to take into account responses to individual dietary habits
  • Our microbiome changes constantly, so one-off sampling is not terribly useful

Want to learn more? Head to uBiome.com

myDNA genetic testing

One of the industry sponsors at this year’s SDA Conference was myDNA, an Australian company offering genetic testing focused on nutrition.

I was curious to get my DNA sampled and compare myDNA’s report with the one I got from DNAFit. I met a couple of representatives from the company and they were kind enough to give me a complimentary kit.

myDNA

The kit is fairly simple to use. In essence, you just need to rub a cotton bud against the inside of your cheek, put it in a tube and send it off. It doesn’t say in the package, but in uni we were told not to drink or eat anything 2 hours prior to sampling.

myDNA

I got a confirmation email when my sample was received (5 days after I mailed it) and another one when my report was ready (12 days after the sample was received). My original intention was to do a detailed comparison between DNAFit and myDNA but, unfortunately, they had little in common. Below is a table summarizing the main differences.

Feature DNAFit myDNA
Optimal diet plan Yes (name only) Yes (detailed)
Serving sizes for meals N/A Yes
Sample meal plans N/A Yes
Dietary analysis Yes Yes
Fitness analysis Yes N/A (this option has been added recently)
Analysed items Optimal diet type
Carbohydrate & saturated fat sensitivity
Detoxification ability
Anti-oxidant requirements
Personal vitamin & micronutrient needs
Salt, alcohol & caffeine sensitivity
Lactose intolerance
Coeliac predisposition
Weight & appetite
Body size & weight regain
Fat storage
Fat burning
Triglyceride levels
Cholesterol & triglyceride levels
Fatty acids processing
Number of genes tested 38 7

There are ~30,000 genes in the human genome and, therefore, it is hard for different companies to agree in which genes to test. I could only find 2 genes in common between the 2 reports, and one of them (FTO, analysed under fat sensitivity – weight management by DNAFit and weight & appetite by myDNA) had different results (AT vs TT allele). It certainly makes me wonder how big is the margin of error in these tests.

The other discrepancy that caught my eye was the optimal diet that was recommended for my genetic makeup: Mediterranean according to DNAFit and lower carb (omega-3 rich) by myDNA. While a Mediterranean style diet is certainly omega-3 rich, it doesn’t quite fit myDNA’s specs for the diet suggested by myDNA (i.e. 20% of energy intake from fats). By trial and error I have found that I respond better to a lower carb, higher fat diet, but would be willing to try the recommended meal plans just for fun.

Below is a brief summary of the pros and cons of myDNA.

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Your sample gets processed in Australia (hence, it’s faster)
  • Target macronutrient intake and sample meal plan (with several options per meal) for weight loss and weight maintenance
  • Affordable ($99)

Cons

  • Only a handful of genes tested
  • Possible lack of accuracy when compared to other genetic tests
  • Focus on weight loss/fat metabolism and not on food sensitivities

Want to learn more? Head to myDNA’s website.

24-hour fasting experiment

What is fasting?

In simple words, fasting = not eating. There are several of protocols used as therapeutic fasting or fasting-mimicking diets (e.g. intermittent fasting, alternate day fasting, calorie/protein restriction).

Why fast?

There have been many experiments conducted in all sorts of critters (from yeast to humans) to study the impacts of fasting. Results from both non-human and human studies suggest that fasting could extend lifespan, reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, prevent neurodegenerative disease, improve cognition, reduce cancer growth and enhance metabolic function, among other health benefits. The mechanisms behind those effects include the production of ketones and their role as an energy source for the brain, the reduction of blood glucose and insulin, and the stimulation of apoptosis (programmed cell death) and autophagy (cellular cleanup process).

The aim of this post is not to cover all aspects of fasting therapies, but to report on my n=1 experiment. If you’re interested in learning more about fasting/fasting-mimicking diets, here are some resources:

On to the experiment

I have been thinking about doing this experiment for a few years but life always got in the way. The opportunity presented itself when my husband had to travel for a job interview (I find it easier to experiment with my diet when he’s not around).

My last meal was Sunday lunch. I had had neck and shoulder pain for a few weeks, so I went for a massage, then came back home, watched a documentary and did some work. I drank several cups of warm water and didn’t feel hungry until 20:30ish. I did a short meditation, prepared my stuff for the next day and went to bed around 21:30. I was expecting having trouble falling asleep due to:

  • Not having done any physical activity
  • Being slightly hungry
  • Having trouble sleeping when my neck hurts
  • My personal heater (i.e. husband) being away

I was awake until 3:00. My alarm buzzed at 6:00, so I had a grand total of 3 hours of sleep. I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t, so I decided to get up and go on with my day.

I got to work half hour earlier than usual. By then I could recognise the signs of full ketosis: a clear brain and low body temperature. Hunger came and went but didn’t last long. I contemplated having my morning coffee as per usual (after all, it has negligible energy and zero protein) but decided to stick to water.

The hardest part, surprisingly, was not flicking through Instagram food photos, but smelling my coworkers’ lunches around noon. I normally eat at noon but this time I had to wait until 13:00 to complete the 24 hours. I’d say the last hour was probably the hardest, also because I finished the work I was doing so had nothing pressing to keep me distracted. I ate my lunch plus a few handfuls of macadamias sprinkled with sea salt not because I was hungry, but to make sure I was making up for some of the calories that were not consumed during the experiment. I kept drinking water throughout the day.

That night I did a Krav Maga class as per usual, and surprisingly didn’t feel any shortage of energy nor strength, despite having slept only 3 hours and eaten just one meal within the previous ~30 hours. The lack of sleep didn’t hit me at all, but I’m not sure if I can attribute this to fasting.

Parting thoughts

From what I’ve read, I think there is compelling evidence to suggest fasting once in a while is beneficial. It makes sense that lack of energy intake would elicit a hormetic response and allow cellular cleaning processes to occur. It also makes sense from an evolutionary perspective that we should not have food in our bodies 24/7.

My plan is to implement fasting periods of varying durations whenever there is an opportunity (e.g. travel, periods off training such as dealing with injuries, etc.).