Fasting: the new Silicon Valley fad practiced by the founder of Twitter
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If there is something certain in this life, it is that sooner or later everything repeats itself. Something that today seems new and striking to us turns out to be invented a long time ago and the act of abstaining totally or partially from food - yes, fasting - is no exception. The practice of fasting has been carried out in many civilizations throughout human history, sometimes for reasons of spiritual enlightenment , sometimes for self-discipline, sometimes for religious or health reasons, and even for political purposes.
However, it seems that in Silicon Valley and a new type of fasting is becoming popular, the purpose of which does not seem to be to lose weight, worship or claim any rights, but to improve productivity. It is called intermittent fasting, which consists of eating during a specific time of day and the rest of the time drinking only water or liquids without calories.
The most common model of intermittent fasting is known as 8/16, that is, fasting for 16 hours a day and eating the remaining 8 hours (eating twice during these eight hours and adding a snack between meals) . What is usually done is to eliminate breakfast and eat all the nutrients in a lunch and dinner. However, there are other more or less strict forms of intermittent fasting.
Recently the media has echoed the tweet of Jack Dorsey , the CEO of Twitter, in which he claims to be experimenting with this type of fasting. However, it seems that he has opted for a more extreme model: the leader states that he does not eat for 22 hours and ingests all his nutrients only once a day (at dinner time), drinking water during the rest of the hours. In his tweet he reveals that he has even gone three whole days without eating - drinking only water - and that he has noticed how the days lengthen without the interruption of meals.
Also Vinod Khosla, founder of Sun Microsystems - another iconic Silicon Valley software company - spoke of the feeling of "slowdown" that food causes on his profile in the New York Times . It is clear that what worries Silicon Valley CEOs who have adopted this type of diet is not body weight but the time they lose with meals.
We can say, then, that in Silicon Valley intermittent fasting would be one more biohacking technique, a trend that is having a great development in the bay and that refers to the possibility of hacking the body through science or with behaviors to improve productivity and work longer more efficiently. To give other examples of biohacking, we could talk about shakes with engineering designs to increase physical and mental capacities, or even subdermal implants to obtain biomedical data and be able to monitor them through an app.
Faced with this trend, we can't help but ask ourselves the million dollar question: is intermittent fasting good for your health? In fact, neither Dorsey nor Khosla ever talk about the risk of long-term disease or losing too much weight, only the benefit of buying time.
Today there are multiple blogs and articles that talk about the benefits of this type of diet, such as the positive or preventive effect on autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. The same is true of other food trends such as veganism, which Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and responsible for the growth of the search engine with the most used advertising platform in the world, considers "the number one game-changing trend of the future. ".
However, let's always look at the scientific evidence. A study conducted by the University of Southern California - one of the few that has been published on the subject - reveals that actually "different forms of dietary restriction can lengthen life and protect multiple systems from aging", however, the authors affirm That the opinion that all types of fasting can produce similar changes, including those related to autoimmune abilities, is a simplistic view and probably incorrect.
Fasting can be a double-edged sword, so doing it without proper knowledge or professional advice can be both beneficial and dangerous. When we stop eating, our body only feeds on the glucose and fats present in it. This deprivation, for many, can translate into stress that later leads to other health problems. Keep in mind that not all fasts are made for everyone, nor is everyone made to fast.