Healthy eating and fasting

This is something I’m quite interested in and this transcript from a recent interview with Tim Ferriss I found quite fascinating:

Dr Patrick explains quite a bit about her own diet and the effects that fasting has on a person, their health and what is happening to the body at a very deep level. She also spoke in length about time restricted eating and I’ll put the brief of that below. It’s worth reading the whole transcript, but here is the bit about time restricted fasting that most caught my attention:

Recent studies suggest that…

  • Eating within an 11-hour window was associated with a decreased breast cancer risk and reduction in recurrence by as much as 36%.
  • Earlier meal timing associates with improved effectiveness of weight-loss therapy in overweight and obese patients.
  • For each 3-hour increase in nighttime fasting duration was linked to a 20% lower odds of elevated glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C), which is a more long-term marker of blood glucose levels.
  • For each 10% increase in the proportion of calories consumed after 5pm there was a 3% increase in the inflammatory biomarker c-reactive protein otherwise known as CRP.
  • Eating one additional meal during the day (instead of the evening) was associated with an 8% decrease in CRP.
  • Eating within a 12-hour window improved sleep and increased weight loss in normal weight people.

The restricted eating window ties in with fasting – i.e. you get just enough time over night to get into a fasting state and your body then starts to run a number of different processes.

The benefits of fasting include (just summarising from Dr Patrick’s interview):

  • increase in autophagy and apoptosis, and a massive boost in stem cell production. Autophagy is the process of damaged cells being cleared away and used for energy. Apoptosis is a genetic program that causes cells to self destruct. Both these processes clean up cells which are damaged or non-functional. These cells can cause aging in nearby cells and potentially promote tumor growth.
  • The increase in stem cell production is critical for organ and tissue repair and function. The numbers of stem cells we have decreases over time so anything that gives them a boost is excellent
  • increases of mitophagy – this is the process that causes damaged mitochondria (the power part of a cell) to clear away and become energy, leaving space for new young mitochondria to replace them.
  • Increases the levels of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). This is related to a whole bunch of metabolic enzymes and NAD+ works with them.

I’ve simplified some of this a bit – check out the detailed information Dr Patrick gives. I recommend listening to the podcast – it’s 2 hours long but she’s very organised in her thinking and presentation of so much data. Well worth the listen. You can probably see a bit of a theme emerging – fasting causes repair in the body. The 11 hour eating window links to this by giving the body enough time overnight to go in a fasting state (albeit not a full on 3-5 day effect fast) that will help repair damaged tissues at the very least. It’s something I’m very interested in, weight loss etc aside.

Probably the other most interesting thing that Dr Patrick talks about is the effect of using a sauna on health. See this for a fairly comprehensive report, but the high point for me was that a sauna 2-3 times a week reduces cardiovascular diseases by 27% and a reduction in all sorts of different issues that cause death. A sauna 2 or 3 times a week does all sorts of good things including improving heart health, blood pressure, can help produce proteins that help with longevity and help prevent symptoms of Alzheimer’s! I’m going to build me a sauna!

I urge you to listen / read the interview with Dr Patrick and then listen to or read the follow up. The first interview is here: and the follow up interview is here:


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.