• I have traditionally not been interested in exploring fasting, in significant part because I associate it with asceticism and/or mystical eastern religious practices. I've been a reader and fan of low-carb diet theory, but I've not expanded that to fasting.

    In recent years however I've become interested in the work of Dr. Jason Fung, especially with intermittent fasting such as here. Anyone here have any experience with that? Here's their main Facebook group, which I hate to recommend but which has good info.

  • I have family who swear by fasting, but they're devout Christians. I occasionally go a day without eating, but not on purpose. (Either because of work, or because of binging video games.)

  • A couple of years ago my doctor suggested that I try a ketogenic diet along with intermittent fasting. I enjoyed both, but a cholesterol test showed that my bad cholesterol levels had skyrocketed. Apparently some percentage of people have this reaction to keto; I've stopped and would recommend to anybody doing keto that they monitor their cholesterol levels.

    I'm thinking of giving intermittent fasting another try. For me it was as simple as having a late breakfast and slightly early dinner. I'm not doing it for weight loss but for energy.

    I've never done any multi-day fasting but have read about the benefits. The hedonic calculus doesn't add up for me on that, though. ;)

  • I've read a pretty good amount from Jason Fung and other low-carb doctors, and I gather that they say that sometime when we are losing weight the cholesterol numbers can go up. I am certainly no expert but I wouldn't give up without researching that aspect further, because the benefits of a method that actually works ought to be worth temporary number changes. I know in my own experience I have tested my blood sugars after a variety of types of high carb vs low carb foods, and so I have seen for myself how high-carb makes the blood sugar numbers skyrocket. To me doing the tests on your own body to see how you react to types of food is an excellent illustration of an Epicurean attitude in gathering evidence for oneself.

  • I've read that the reason why people lose their appetite when they're sick is because the body conserves all its energy for healing / for the immune system to use. Digestion takes up a huge amount of energy, so by giving the stomach a break, the body does not have to use its energy for digestion and instead works to get rid of toxins.

    There's also research on cancer patients and how fasting, together with juicing, helps to diminish the side effects of chemotherapy. So again, it goes on healing mode (the shamans of most ancient peoples also use fasting, so apparently this is a very ancient practice).

    "Please always remember my doctrines!" - Epicurus' last words

  • Being hypoglycemic, fasting becomes dangerous for me within 4-6 hours.

    This is a good example of the importance of the individualized, hedonic calculus.

    I tend to identify with Cassius, that I associate fasting with Christian monasticism and Indian ascetic practices, which marginalize the importance of the body. Clearly though, there seem to be reasonable applications.

    I suspect our general capacity to tolerate fasting corresponds with the evolution of hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists. Hunter-gatherers would have had to have adapted to days of movement without significant calorie intake. If we weren't engineered to "fast" at a certain level, we would never have made effective hunters. Similarly, agriculturalists had to wait for the maturation of crops; a dry season could lead to a dangerous decrease in calorie intake. Fasting––as a physical act, removed from the theological context––seems to be a trait that many humans would have been forced into through multiple periods of natural history. It seems likely that a large portion of contemporary people have inherited this tolerance.

    So, even though my mind associates [ fasting = illness],it seems reasonable that others could benefit from whichever physiological switches click according to the anticipated response in our bodies––BINGO. I didn't even mean to use that word, but, again, it seems automatic to acknowledge that our genetic nature "anticipates" the possibility of fasting, and is geared to respond to the emergence of this possibility according to billions of years of genetic "anticipation".

    Surely, there are some positives to fasting for many.