What Insidetracker Taught Me About My Five-Day Fast
diet and weight loss | metabolism
Kyrill Potapov underwent a five-day fast to measure the impact of cell death (apoptosis) on cholesterol and hormone levels, using two InsideTracker panels to show before and after states.
So, I just had raspberry ketones in capsule form just in terms of the experience. The first day I cycled to the gym, did lots of cardio, then went for a swim to get myself into ketosis properly. Woke up the second day very clear headed and just sat and wrote for 10 hours without my usual meal breaks and that was really good.
Third day woke up and the hunger set in and it was really challenging. And the darkest hour was around 8 PM when I got a knock on the door and I opened it and there was a delivery man there, and he said, I’ve got some food for you, and I said I didn’t order any food. And he said, no it’s Indian food. Take it, and I said okay, but I honestly didn’t order any food. And he said, it’s your address, just take the food. By the time that I managed to convince him to leave, this omen made me search Google for stuff that you’re allowed to eat whilst on a fast.
I found out that it was okay for me to eat yummy MCT oil, which is coconut oil extract, so I had a few spoons of that and the first observation is eating vast amounts of oil on an empty stomach take some getting used to.
That kind of got me through day four and five which was very miserable. But I was doing it for the data. I had mirages of solid foods, but I didn’t manage to last the whole time. And I had the opportunity, thanks to Inside Tracker to actually do some blood tests. And I did one before my fast then one after refeeding after my fast so to see okay, did it have any impact on me.
And so first I did actually look at my testosterone and there the reference range is 250 to 1110. Mine before was fine and then afterwards it did drop down either because of my lower sleep quality or evolution telling me I have other priorities right now with my yeah, reduced diet.
Cortisol, top range there is meant to be 22, and mine before I started fasting was 19.9, so high cortisol for some reason. After the fast, I’m kind of subjecting my body to stress but it went right down to 8.2.
My inflammation stayed very low. Total cholesterol, a typical range 125 to 200 and before it was pretty high, it was 184.
And then two days after refeeding it was 154 and my triglycerides, the reference range there is zero to 150 and mine before.
The philosopher John Hoagland has what he calls mundane skills that we follow when we’re just following the rules of the practice and how to use a tool. So, you look at your Fitbit and you see you’ve done 8,000 steps and that tells you okay, I need to do another 2,000 steps.
When we get an unexpected result, we can either follow the rule and say okay, I think I’ve walked a lot but it says I’ve got 4,000 steps. I’d better walk another 6,000 or we might question the method. That’s the first thing we do. And we might think I don’t need to wear this Fitbit on my hip or there’s something wrong with how I’ve measured it.
And my first thought was okay, I must have confused the results. This is my after result because I’ve been guzzling oil and I have lower blood volume so it would make sense that there’s lots of fat in my blood.
I looked at my other set of results and it went up. And this was kind of no laughing matter because this was reflected in my HDL levels as well in a kind of dangerously low range.
What John Hoagland talks about is how sometimes in an unexpected result we try a new method, but the new method isn’t the appropriate response. And we suddenly realize a lot of the assumptions that we’ve been making, and it’s kind of our whole world view that gets blown, and until you have a new paradigm for making sense of things you can’t really move forward.
And I’ve realized that in a way, these results were the accumulated effect of not just this five-day fad, but all the fads from all the internet gurus that I’ve been following, because I think of myself as such a rational person which I’m sure many of us here do. But also like I think as many of us do when I hear, ‘don’t try this at home’, I imagine the homes are people far less sophisticated than myself.
And what I realized is just how little I know. I’ve been going along with all of this stuff, and in defense of these gurus they say, every person is different. So just don’t go ahead and do this. But thankfully I just went through like ordinary what they teach you at school balanced diet, and my data is moving in the right direction. But what my five day fast taught me is how little I know. And there is a word I recently learnt of what had happened to my world view and that is apoptosis.