They say Silicon Valley is home to some of the smartest people in the world. But recently many of its executives have taken to fasting, or not eating anything for days on end. They claim that it not only helps them feel healthier and more alert, but that it also increases productivity. And for some, it has been a life-changing experience.
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Phil Libin hasn’t eaten in days, but he says he feels euphoric and full of energy. Libin is one of many Silicon Valley executives who swear that regular fasting is changing their lives. He even claims that forgoing food has made him a better CEO.
New research supports what Libin says he’s experiencing first-hand – that fasting can have very powerful benefits. Reports show that fasting for 3 days at a time can regenerate our immune systems.
Fasting also slows aging and reduces the risk of cancer. Dr. Rhonda Patrick says we don’t have to go the whole nine yards and eliminate food for days to see the benefits of fasting. Simply eating for a shorter window every day (eating all meals within a 10 hour-period) can have similar, but less drastic benefits.
Describing the first time he fasted Libin says, “The first day I felt so hungry I was going to die. The second day I was starving. But I woke up on the third day feeling better than I had in 20 years.”
Libin has fasted anywhere from 2 to 8 days at a time. During fasts, he sticks to water, coffee, and black tea, forgoing any other food or drink. Even though he’s lost 90 pounds on this new eating regimen, he says for him, it’s not about losing weight. Libin says when he fasts he has more energy, his moods are more stable, and he often feels at least mildly euphoric.
Libin’s doctor said he looked 25 years younger. And after comparing his before and after blood test results, Libin’s doctor said he was fit as a fiddle.
Geoff Woo is another Silicon Valley exec that considers fasting a life-changing bio-hack. Woo fasts for three to four days quarterly, and for 36 hours weekly.
He feels so good, he led his entire company in a fast, in part because he believes that fasting increases productivity.
In Silicon Valley, fasters are a dime a dozen. So many people have gotten into the fasting fad that there are now groups who meet up for special “breakfasts” where they break their fasts together and share their first meal in days.
While supporters of fasting seem to be growing daily, some doctors say there isn’t enough evidence for these claims and that new findings should be taken with a grain of salt. Women should be especially cautious because caloric intake is closely linked to a woman’s fertility and reproductive health.
Despite concerns from some health professionals, people like Libin and Woo believe that fasting is the key to health, longevity and productivity.