The Silicon Valley CEO of Evernote and part time biohacker, Phil Libin, lost 40 kg while experimenting with periodic bouts of intermittent fasting (IF) for eight months.
We’ve lost count of the number of Silicon Valley execs, trying to hack their way into a longer life and reduce their risk of chronic disease and type 2 diabetes, who are being swept along by this trend.
IF allows followers to eat within a certain window of time, which often means either skipping breakfast or dinner in the case of daily fasting, alternate day fast or go on for even longer stretches of time, for the bravest.
These Silicon Valley’s titans working in the San Francisco (SF) Bay Area are smart, into science, and at the forefront of technology. Not surprising then that they embrace IF. As many people there understand, a well-functioning inner-technology leads to creative and innovative outer-technologies that they build.
Libin himself has been fasting for anywhere between two and eight days periodically, first for five months, after which time he already saw great results, and decided to stick with it for another three months.
Consuming just water, coffee and black tea during these fasting periods or calorie restricting to under 500 calories, Mr Libin shed 40 kilos in total during his eight-month IF weight loss journey.
Last February, for the first time since high school, Libin weighed less than 200 lbs. He also reported experiencing fewer mood swings and improved productivity when fasting for extended periods.
Some venture capitalists and biohacking companies in SF take it a step further and combine IF with tracking of vitals, like body composition, blood glucose and ketones — a compound produced when the body burns fat for energy or fuel during fasting.
The fasting is said to be a mild energetic stress, and the body responds adaptively by increasing the activity of certain pathways that help produce (and expend) more energy which translates into better mental acuity, form and physical ability.
So why is it that the normal diet is three meals a day plus snacks? It isn’t that it’s the healthiest way of eating based on most available evidence. There is just a lot of external pressure to have that eating pattern.
Is the food industry going to make money from skipping breakfast, like Libin did to lose all this weight? What about the pharmaceutical industry? They’d lose money too if people started doing some IF, exercised periodically and became very healthy.
However, labs are already moving forward to capture the protective effects of IF and zero-carb diets in a pill form, something pharma companies could get behind.
In the meantime, one challenge for society is to better understand IF as a tool for boosting the immune system, preventing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes and slowing down aging, as well as how to use it.