It’s not quite Fight Club, but there’s a community of people in Silicon Valley that undergo weekly fasts in order to live longer. In other words, they’re trying to hack death.
Geoffrey Woo, the CEO of Hvmn (“human”) went on the” Too Embarrassed to Ask” podcast recently to discuss, among other things, extreme dieting. He says his company adopted fasting about two years ago when they hired a guy who was obsessed with calorie restriction and fasting for longevity.
Related Story: Do Any Of These 5 Bizarre Fad Diets Actually Work?
He says fasting is one way to grow neurons as an adult.
With a new employee that was all gung-ho on fasting, and then me having a dialog with a researcher looking at fasting as a way to jumpstart neurogenesis, it was like, “Huh. As biohackers, let’s try this out.” Paul, who brought fasting to our group here, was doing a 60-hour fast. It was a Sunday night to a Wednesday morning fast. He was doing it by himself, gung-ho. If I heard that three years ago, I would have been like, “That’s insane. Am I going to die?”
Woo says the employee was ramping down from 500 calories to zero calories.
He would make this weird soylent protein powder shake to have exactly 500 calories at the time. He was feeling really good about it. I was like, “Oh, that’s interesting.” He wasn’t an overweight person trying to manage weight. He wasn’t necessarily looking sickly. He got me on the protocol, and then eventually the entire company started doing this fasting regimen.
Eventually, the company would engage in weekly breakfasts (big ones) where friends would join, which turned into a community.
A lot of human culture is built around food, but if you think about why we even have a three-meal-a-day system, it’s really a cultural artifact. The three-meal-a-day system is really an Industrial Revolution artifact where you had a meal before first shift, meal in the middle where there’s a break, and then a meal at the end of the second shift, if you actually look at how eating patterns change.
The community that subsequently formed is called WeFa.st which has thousands of members. Says Woo, “I think over 10,000 people fast with us on a weekly basis.”
Related Story: World’s Oldest Woman Reveals Her Raw Egg Diet
You can read Woo’s entire transcript online.
It goes without saying, if this type of extended fasting sounds like something you’d like to try out, consult your doctor first.