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Longevity benefits of periodic fasting? (eg- monthly)

RaegoldRaegold Member Posts: 191 Member Member Posts: 191 Member
I know there is info about the potential benefits of various kinds of fasting, but I'm wondering if anyone knows about periodic fasting, like once a month? I feel like the science on fasting in general is SO contradictory, when I look for specific articles, it seems that there are some conclusions in mice, some with studies on obese subjects, and a lot of studies were on men, not women. I'm debating doing periodic fasts but not sure as a woman whether this is helpful or harmful overall. I was overwhelmed sifting through the research.

Also, if you do a 24 hour fast, does the timing matter? Specifically wondering about circadian rhythms and stuff like that, so would the fast need to be overnight and through the next night, or could it be 8pm to 8pm so you are eating before bed both days?

EDITED: I'm NOT interested in fasting for weight loss, I meant the research in terms of longevity benefits specifically.
edited September 11
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Replies

  • harper16harper16 Member Posts: 2,568 Member Member Posts: 2,568 Member
    I honestly don't see any benefit to periodically starving myself. Weight loss is caused by being in a calorie deficit. Eat the foods that you like, and track your calories.
  • RaegoldRaegold Member Posts: 191 Member Member Posts: 191 Member
    harper16 wrote: »
    I honestly don't see any benefit to periodically starving myself. Weight loss is caused by being in a calorie deficit. Eat the foods that you like, and track your calories.

    I was thinking of fasting more in terms of the longevity benefits, NOT for weight loss. I should specify that in the initial comment
  • MaltedTeaMaltedTea Member, Premium Posts: 3,362 Member Member, Premium Posts: 3,362 Member
    Some recents from SuppVersity...

    * Intermittent Fasting in Trained Women Adds Same Amount of Muscle, Strips Extra Body Fat (4-6%) | No Effect of HMB
    * Alternate Day Fasting & Classic Dieting: Same >5% Weight Loss in 57 vs. 67 Days W/ Unwittingly Increased Deficits

    The TLDRs are at the bottom of the page if you're not a niche nerd and tags abound so that you can see related info. The site's been around a long while though so if you're into big doses of recency with your evidence-based medicine then just remember to look at the dates.

    In the long run, it really is just about caloric deficits as @harper16 wisely pointed out. No need to make it more complicated than that unless the "complication" is what's going to allow you to safely keep your deficit going for the weight loss portion of your health program.
  • NovusDiesNovusDies Member, Premium Posts: 8,755 Member Member, Premium Posts: 8,755 Member
    So setting weight loss aside completely and focusing only on the issue of longevity.

    1) Genetics
    2) Overall lifestyle NOT one component.
    3) Luck / Fate / Higher Power whichever you believe.

    You can't fast for a day each month and expect it to offset things like stressful jobs, stressful relationships, living with more pollution, smoking, not exercising enough, not eating a reasonably good diet, no to minimal tobacco, moderated drinking, not getting good quality sleep, and I am sure I am forgetting a few things.

  • RaegoldRaegold Member Posts: 191 Member Member Posts: 191 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    So setting weight loss aside completely and focusing only on the issue of longevity.

    1) Genetics
    2) Overall lifestyle NOT one component.
    3) Luck / Fate / Higher Power whichever you believe.

    You can't fast for a day each month and expect it to offset things like stressful jobs, stressful relationships, living with more pollution, smoking, not exercising enough, not eating a reasonably good diet, no to minimal tobacco, moderated drinking, not getting good quality sleep, and I am sure I am forgetting a few things.

    Very good points
  • LoveyCharLoveyChar Member Posts: 1,458 Member Member Posts: 1,458 Member
    Starving is starving and fasting is not starving.

    1) Speeds up metabolism.
    2) Improved brain function.
    3) Longer life.
    4) Improves insulin sensitivity.
    5) Promotes longetivity.
    6) Allows you to experience real hunger (some people will swear they're dying after a few hours with no food but it's probably because they've never actually been truly hungry).
    7) Improves eating patterns.
    8) Improves your immune system.
    9) Contributes to self-enlightenment.
    10) Helps clear the skin.

    I got this, all of this, off of the internet. However, I am someone who fasts and maintains between 105-107 pounds at 5 feet. I run long distances, Marathon runner here! My last physical was in November and my results could not have been better. I'm not bragging. I'm just stating that fasting works for me! I fasted for 25 hours, started at 1 pm yesterday and ended at 2 pm today. I wish you luck. I stick to small fasts once a week, usually 24-28 hours long but I know people who've successfully done them for several days at a time.
  • paperpuddingpaperpudding Member Posts: 6,186 Member Member Posts: 6,186 Member
    Could you be more specific than 'off the internet' please?

    I mean you can get anything off the internet but that doesnt make it a credible source.

    I think it unlikely not eating food for 24 hours or longer does anything physically benificial (spiritually and mentally maybe - that is a subjective and personal expereince) - but I am prepared to read real evidence dispelling my view.

    out of interest only - for me, any possible small benifits would be outweighed by the disadvantages of doing such a thing and I have no intention of trying it.
  • cgvet37cgvet37 Member Posts: 1,185 Member Member Posts: 1,185 Member
    The word breakfast is just that, breaking your fast. So, unless you are eating through the night and into morning, you are fasting. Obviously it differs it you work a different shift. Does fasting help you lose weight any more then non-fasting? I'm going to say likely not. Find what helps you reach your goals. If fasting does that, then have at it.
  • paperpuddingpaperpudding Member Posts: 6,186 Member Member Posts: 6,186 Member
    cgvet37 wrote: »
    The word breakfast is just that, breaking your fast. So, unless you are eating through the night and into morning, you are fasting. Obviously it differs it you work a different shift. Does fasting help you lose weight any more then non-fasting? I'm going to say likely not. Find what helps you reach your goals. If fasting does that, then have at it.

    Well, yes - but I am assuming people mean more than not eating from evening until breakfast

    Lovely char did specify 24 hours or longer.
  • kimny72kimny72 Member Posts: 15,533 Member Member Posts: 15,533 Member
    Raegold wrote: »
    harper16 wrote: »
    I honestly don't see any benefit to periodically starving myself. Weight loss is caused by being in a calorie deficit. Eat the foods that you like, and track your calories.

    I was thinking of fasting more in terms of the longevity benefits, NOT for weight loss. I should specify that in the initial comment

    While there have been some studies that showed longevity benefits in mice, and there is some anecdotal stuff out there, there is no scientific conclusion around this question. Other studies have shown no difference, and many long living cultures don't incorporate frequent fasting.

    To second what @NovusDies was saying, there are probably a bunch of things you can do or change that are either proven or strongly correlate with a longer, healthier life. Before spending too much time on something fringe that may or may not make a difference, focus on the sure things.

    Now if you occasionally have a day anyway where you don't have much appetite and want to try to throw in a one day fast on the off chance it has some kind of benefit, go for it (assuming you don't have any medical conditions that would make it foolish and you make sure you eat something if it makes you lightheaded or weak). But I wouldn't force it or put too much effort into it if your current habits, lifestyle, and environment haven't already been maxxed out on the longevity quest :smile:
    edited September 13
  • thebiblewithtinathebiblewithtina Member Posts: 43 Member Member Posts: 43 Member
    I fast from 8p.m to 4p.m the next day, everyday. Started on 3 August. Only drink water during my fasting hours. Appears to be working for me. I've lost almost 1 stone/ 6KG/ 14 Ibs.
  • RaegoldRaegold Member Posts: 191 Member Member Posts: 191 Member
    Thanks for everyone's responses, it's interesting to see the variety in opinions/info.

    The only reason I was considering a monthly fast was for specifically potential cellular benefits that I have heard about, but can't really find a definite on. I've read that like mice in a lab who they had fasting periodically lived longer, but obviously you can't say that means it would be the same for humans.

    I do have an ED history in the past, so it's definitely not something I would consider doing regularly or at all related to weight loss. I mean, maybe I just shouldn't do it period, bc there are other things one can do for longevity and cellular health
  • paperpuddingpaperpudding Member Posts: 6,186 Member Member Posts: 6,186 Member
    What do you mean by 'potential cellular benifits'?
  • RaegoldRaegold Member Posts: 191 Member Member Posts: 191 Member
    What do you mean by 'potential cellular benifits'?

    I've read things about fasting promoting "autophagy" and other sort of cellular 'house cleaning' sorts of things that may -potentially- lead to some hypothetical improvements. But, just like cwolfman13 said above, I guess the hypothetical benefits that don't have any high quality evidence yet are probably not worth it. I do agree that there are certain things that ARE proven in the research and that continually show up in various studies, like maintaining a healthy weight, activity, things like the Mediterranean diet (lots of veggies, unsaturated fats, etc), so it's prob more worth my time focusing on those things versus things that may or may not actually help anything.
  • RaegoldRaegold Member Posts: 191 Member Member Posts: 191 Member
    kimny72 wrote: »

    I would say if you have an ED history, just don't do it. It's not worth the risk of triggering a binge/restrict cycle. Maintaining a healthy relationship with food will increase your longevity too :smile: .
    Focus on getting more servings of veg and fruit. Are you hitting your fiber goal? Getting at least 150 minutes of activity per week? Do you drink more than one serving of alcohol per day and could cut back? Are you getting enough sleep? Do you handle your stress well? All of these things are either proven or highly correlated with a longer healthier life. Keep working on those!

    Honestly, pre COVID, I would say, yes to all of those things, but I can't say I'm handling stress well or sleeping well lately! But I get what you are saying, I'm hitting the veg and fruits, fiber, water, healthy fats, exercise, etc. And good point, prob longevity wise would be better to spend that mental energy on having a good relationship with food and my body!

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