By now, you’ve probably heard about intermittent fasting in one way or another. Fasting, which focuses less on what you eat and more on when you eat it, has been a popular topic in recent years (and for good reason!). 

Research supports this simple, effective, and cost-free biohacking tool to help individuals both lose weight and maintain healthy body weight. In a world where we’re told “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, it can seem defiant to go without food for many hours.

However, the origins of fasting directly align with our ancestors in the primal era, who were required to go extended periods without food as they hunted and gathered their meals. Our ancestors may have gone hours, days, or even weeks without food.

When it comes to fasting, there’s no one size fits all. A variety of different fasting protocols can be effective for weight loss, allowing each person to experiment with various methods to establish a personalized routine that fits their lifestyle. Below, learn a bit more as we dive into one of the most powerful biohacking “tools” to keep in your tool belt.

The Idea Behind Fasting

Before diving into the various fasting protocols, it’s first important to understand the ultimate goal behind fasting. Intermittent fasting, or fasting, is simply refraining from consuming food for an extended period. 

This time period could be 14 or 16 hours, or it could even be several days. By fasting, you allow your body to run through its stored glucose (from the food you’ve consumed), transitioning your body into a fat-burning mode known as ketosis. Over time, keeping your body in this “fasted state” allows you to effectively burn fat and maintain a healthy weight.

Healthy foods surrounding a chalkboard drawing of intestines.

As an added bonus, fasting protocols for weight loss offer so many additional health benefits. As the body and brain transition to running on fat for fuel instead of glucose, many people also benefit from the mental effects of fasting, including improved concentration and mental focus. In addition, fasting offers powerful effects to support gut health and even longevity.

Standard Fasting Protocols

Jumping into fasting too quickly can leave you feeling hungry and tired. For most people, it can take time to adapt to going for prolonged periods without eating. For this reason, many people begin to experiment with intermittent fasting starting at 10 to 12 hours without eating. This protocol is easy for many people to start with, as most of the hours of “fasting” are during sleeping hours.

One of the most popular intermittent fasting protocols is known as 16:8, which means all food is consumed within an 8-hour window and no food is consumed during the other 16 hours of the day. Within the 8-hour period, most people consume one or two meals. 

Over time, you may find that you prefer to go longer periods than 16 hours without eating. Your body will become metabolically flexible, making it easier to go longer without becoming hungry. A 16-hour fast can then elevate to an 18-hour, 20, or sometimes even 24-hour fast.

Other Fasting Options

Finding the best intermittent fasting protocol for your needs can take time. It may require experimenting to see how your body responds. Instead of hourly fasts such as a 16:8 or 20:4 protocol, many people dive deeper into biohacking with prolonged fasts. 

Prolonged fasts can induce autophagy, a process where your cells recycle themselves. The benefits of autophagy go beyond weight loss, offering many benefits for preventing chronic disease and potentially longevity benefits. Other options include alternate day fasting or 5:2 methods. 

Alternate day fasting means a person eats to satiety on one day (until full) and then eats no more than 500 calories on the next. On the other hand, a 5:2 fasting protocol involves eating as normal for five days of the week and practicing fasting on the other two days of the week (usually between 500 to 600 calories consumed).

Curious about Fasting for Biohacking?

Unlike other dieting strategies which focus on which foods to consume or not to consume, intermittent fasting can help you reduce your overall calories consumed per day. Many people find that fasting is a powerful tool that can be strategically implemented which needed. While some choose to fast every day, some may prefer an every-other-day pattern or even twice weekly.

Ready to get started? Check out our recommended fasting support supplements to help guide your fasting journey. In addition, combining intermittent fasting with other biohacking efforts can produce even greater effects. Learn more about other ways to change your habits, build long-lasting exercise routines, and other ways to help you manage a healthy weight through biohacking.