Fasting / Food Psychology
Guest host Lisa Garr (email) welcomed Bulletproof founder and world-renowned biohacker Dave Asprey for a discussion on the ins and outs of intermittent fasting. Fasting has been around for thousands of years, either from lack of food or as part of religious traditions, Asprey pointed out. “If you don’t eat anything… for at least two days, your body will go into ketosis,” he said. Ketosis is a metabolic state that sends extra power to the neurons in the brain, freeing the body to utilize its energy for thinking and feeling, he explained. Intermittent fasting raises ketone levels which can reset the body’s hunger level to one’s current body weight, he added.
In order to benefit from ketones the minimum effective fast must be at least 12 hours, Asprey continued, noting 14 to 16 hours for three days a week is ideal. He warned against too much fasting which can easily trigger the body’s starvation response. For a 12-hour fast Asprey suggested scheduling an early dinner and avoid snacking before bed. Asprey warned about a period of suffering (cravings, dizziness, etc.) during a fast which usually lasts for a couple of days and is caused by low glycemic levels. This happens before the ketones are triggered, he revealed. Asprey also recommended adding a teaspoon of grass-fed butter and Brain Octane (MCT) oil to one’s morning cup of coffee.
During the latter half of the program, Harvard-trained psychiatrist, professional chef, and nutrition consultant, Dr. Uma Naidoo, talked about the kinds of foods to avoid for stress, depression, or anxiety, and how these foods affect the brain. Research shows a connection between what goes into the gut and mental well-being, Naidoo explained. Some foods, such as added/refined sugars and artificial sweeteners, can drive anxiety, gluten sensitivity has been correlated with OCD, ADHD is exacerbated by consuming dairy-based milk, and transfats have been linked to worsening symptoms, she added.
“Sometimes we miss the cues that our body is giving us about how when we eat we may be having… sensitive symptoms in our body and ignoring it,” Naidoo continued. It is imperative to pay attention to those signals as many foods may not be agreeing with one’s mental health, she reiterated. According to Naidoo, feelings of uncertainty may drive the need for comfort foods. When we are under stress the brain becomes hypersensitive to high-fat and high-sugar foods, she noted. Naidoo recommended finding healthy alternatives to unhealthy food cravings as well as working on the emotional triggers which drive it.