Sign Up For Our FREE Webinar & Start Your Journey Towards Healing & Wellness

Are You Fasting Too Much

Are You Fasting Too Much?

Are You Fasting Too Much – How Feasting Complements Fasting

When I attend health conferences all over the country, I always see people who are fasting too much. I attribute this to the mainstream obsession with fasting in recent years, particularly among health conscious individuals. Fasting has so many health benefits, but like everything else, moderation is the key. How much fasting is too much? Can fasting become a health hazard if overdone?

If you aren’t eating enough calories overall, you are fasting too much. The idea behind both fasting and feasting is to benefit from both autophagy and the mTor pathway, building the body back up stronger than before. The best way to benefit from both is through diet variation and feast-famine cycles. This focuses on cycling between periods of fasting and feasting which mimic our ancestors’ way of eating. This not only improves body composition, but leads to an overall improvement in health markers.1

Diet Variation – Fasting And Autophagy

Autophagy plays a crucial role in maintaining our overall cellular health and preventing diseases. When autophagy is impaired or dysregulated, it leads to an accumulation of damaged cellular components, which contributes to the development of various health conditions.

Fasting, particularly prolonged fasting or intermittent fasting, has been shown to stimulate autophagy. During a fast, when there are no incoming nutrients from food, our body turns to its stored energy sources. This process triggers a series of metabolic changes in the body, including an increase in ketone production.

Ketones are small molecules produced by the liver when the body is in a state of fasting or low carbohydrate intake. These molecules have been found to stimulate autophagy and promote cellular health. In addition, fasting has also been shown to increase the production of growth hormone, which plays a key role in regulating autophagy.2 3

The Link Between Autophagy And Senescent Cells

Autophagy plays a vital role in removing damaged organelles and proteins, preventing them from accumulating in the cell and causing cellular dysfunction. As we age, the efficiency of autophagy decreases, leading to an accumulation of damaged molecules, which contribute to cellular senescence.

On the other hand, senescent cells have been shown to impair autophagy, which further exacerbates their dysfunctional state. This results in a vicious cycle where senescent cells become more abundant and contribute to aging while also hindering the process of autophagy that could potentially remove them.4

The Role Of Autophagy In Clearing Senescent Cells

Studies have shown that inducing autophagy helps to clear senescent cells. This is achieved through the process of selective autophagy, where only specific targets, such as dysfunctional organelles or proteins, are targeted for degradation. In the case of senescent cells, inducing autophagy selectively targets and remove these “zombie” cells, thus improving cellular function and slowing down the aging process.5

Autophagy In Clearing Senescent Cells

Diet Variation – Feasting And mTor

Our bodies are designed to adapt to changes in diet and food availability. This ability has enabled human beings to survive in different environments and thrive as a species. One of the ways our bodies have evolved is through changes in the mTor pathway.

mTor stands for mammalian target of rapamycin, which is a protein that regulates cell growth and metabolism. It is involved in various cellular processes such as protein synthesis and nutrient assimilation. When this pathway is constantly activated due to a high-calorie diet, it leads to chronic inflammation and other health issues. However, short-term activation of mTor is required to build the body back up, making it the perfect complement for autophagy.

Feasting or overeating triggers the mTor pathway, causing an increase in protein synthesis and cell growth. This is beneficial for muscle building and tissue repair. On the other hand, fasting or calorie restriction activates autophagy and turns down the mTor pathway. This allows for cellular repair and regeneration, promoting longevity and reducing the risk of age-related diseases.6

Therefore, incorporating periods of feasting and fasting into our diets provides a balance for our bodies and optimizes the function of both the mTor pathway and autophagy.7

Read more about how fasting reduces inflammation.

Diet Variation – Mixing Up Food Choices

As humans, we tend to stick with what’s familiar and comfortable, especially when it comes to our diets. We often get into routines where we eat the same foods day in and day out. While it may seem convenient, this kind of diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies and potential health issues. This is where diet variation comes in. By mixing up our food choices, we can ensure that our bodies are receiving a wide range of nutrients to support overall health and well-being.

Our bodies require a variety of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) to function properly. When we continually eat the same foods, we are limiting the nutrients our bodies receive. Additionally, our bodies are designed to adapt to different food sources. By sticking to a strict diet, we are not challenging our body’s ability to adapt and may become sensitive or intolerant to certain foods.

In addition to mixing up days of fasting with days of feasting, also change up your diet. For example, some days, consume a high protein diet, other days, a high fat diet, and on other days, a high carbohydrate-based diet. This keeps the body guessing and adapting to what we are putting into it.

A high protein diet involves consuming a higher percentage of calories from protein sources, such as grass-fed meats, eggs, grass-fed dairy products, and nuts. By incorporating a high protein day into your diet variation plan, you are providing your body with essential amino acids to help build and repair tissue. However, a high protein diet should be consumed sparingly, as a diet that is constantly high in protein is linked to premature aging.

A high fat diet is often associated with the keto or ketogenic diet. This type of diet involves consuming a higher percentage of calories from healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish. By including a high fat day in your diet variation, you are providing your body with a different energy source and helping to improve insulin sensitivity.

A high carbohydrate diet involves consuming a higher percentage of calories from sources such as fruits and starchy vegetables. By incorporating a high carbohydrate day into your diet variation plan, you are providing your body with quick energy sources to fuel physical activity.

Diet variation is all about finding the right balance for your body’s unique needs. Incorporating diet variation helps prevent food boredom and keeps your meals interesting. It allows for flexibility in your diet while still providing the nutrients your body needs to function at its best.

Read more about consuming an ideal diet.

Are You Fasting Too Much - Diet Variation - Mixing Up Food Choices

Combining Intermittent Fasting With Diet Variation

While Intermittent Fasting (IF) is effective on its own, combining it with diet variation can further enhance its effects. One of the main reasons why combining IF with diet variation is beneficial is because it helps prevent metabolic adaptation. This occurs when your body gets used to a specific caloric intake and adjusts its metabolism accordingly. By varying your diet, you constantly challenge your body and prevent it from adapting to a certain calorie level.8

In addition, incorporating both IF and diet variation can also help with compliance. Following a strict and monotonous diet can be mentally challenging and make it easier to fall off track. However, by including periods of fasting and varying your food choices, you may find it easier to stick to a healthier eating pattern in the long run.

Moreover, both IF and diet variation have been shown to have similar health benefits, such as reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases, improving cognitive function, and promoting longevity. By combining the two practices, you can experience even greater improvements in your overall health and well-being.9 10

It is also important to note that combining IF with diet variation does not mean restricting yourself too much. It is important to still have a balanced and nutritious diet, while incorporating occasional periods of fasting and varying the types of foods you eat.

Diet Variation Methods 5-1-1, 4-2-1, and 3-2-2

The 5-1-1 diet has gained popularity for its simplicity and flexibility. Breaking it down, the 5-1-1 diet involves eating normally or intermittent fasting 5 days a week, fasting 1 day a week, and feasting 1 day a week. Unlike other strict diets, the 5-1-1 allows for a balance between fasting and feasting, making it easier to stick to in the long run.

One common misconception about the 5-1-1 diet is that it promotes extreme calorie restriction. However, this is not the case as it encourages excessive caloric intake on feast days to complement the fasting days. What we are focused on is balancing autophagy with mTor to maximize the elimination of senescent cells as well as promote anabolic repair and growth.

The ideas behind the 4-2-1 and the 3-2-2 are similar. In the 4-2-1 diet variation, 4 days are dedicated to intermittent fasting, 2 days for fasting, and 1 feast day. The 3-2-2 diet variation consists of 3 intermittent fasting days, 2 fasting days, and 2 feasting days. Again, with any of these diet variations, avoid under consuming calories by putting all the emphasis on fasting, as feasting is just as important.

Are You Fasting Too Much – How Feasting Complements Fasting

As you can see, fasting is only one side of the coin. By combining feasting and diet variation with fasting, the body has what it needs to both perform autophagy and build back up again. So avoid fasting too much by complementing it with feasting.

Read more about how fasting reduces inflammation.


1 Mulas A, Cienfuegos S, Ezpeleta M, Lin S, Pavlou V, Varady KA. Effect of intermittent fasting on circulating inflammatory markers in obesity: A review of human trials. Front Nutr. 2023 Apr 17;10:1146924. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2023.1146924. PMID: 37139450; PMCID: PMC10149732.

2 Vasim I, Majeed CN, DeBoer MD. Intermittent Fasting and Metabolic Health. Nutrients. 2022 Jan 31;14(3):631. doi: 10.3390/nu14030631. PMID: 35276989; PMCID: PMC8839325.

3 Ho KY, Veldhuis JD, Johnson ML, Furlanetto R, Evans WS, Alberti KG, Thorner MO. Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man. J Clin Invest. 1988 Apr;81(4):968-75. doi: 10.1172/JCI113450. PMID: 3127426; PMCID: PMC329619.

4 Kang C, Elledge SJ. How autophagy both activates and inhibits cellular senescence. Autophagy. 2016 May 3;12(5):898-9. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2015.1121361. PMID: 27129029; PMCID: PMC4854549.

5 Kwon Y, Kim JW, Jeoung JA, Kim MS, Kang C. Autophagy Is Pro-Senescence When Seen in Close-Up, but Anti-Senescence in Long-Shot. Mol Cells. 2017 Sep 30;40(9):607-612. doi: 10.14348/molcells.2017.0151. Epub 2017 Sep 20. PMID: 28927262; PMCID: PMC5638768.

6 Saxton RA, Sabatini DM. mTOR Signaling in Growth, Metabolism, and Disease. Cell. 2017 Mar 9;168(6):960-976. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.02.004. Erratum in: Cell. 2017 Apr 6;169(2):361-371. PMID: 28283069; PMCID: PMC5394987.

7 Wang Y, Zhang H. Regulation of Autophagy by mTOR Signaling Pathway. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2019;1206:67-83. doi: 10.1007/978-981-15-0602-4_3. PMID: 31776980.

8 Vasim I, Majeed CN, DeBoer MD. Intermittent Fasting and Metabolic Health. Nutrients. 2022 Jan 31;14(3):631. doi: 10.3390/nu14030631. PMID: 35276989; PMCID: PMC8839325.

9 Dong TA, Sandesara PB, Dhindsa DS, Mehta A, Arneson LC, Dollar AL, Taub PR, Sperling LS. Intermittent Fasting: A Heart Healthy Dietary Pattern? Am J Med. 2020 Aug;133(8):901-907. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2020.03.030. Epub 2020 Apr 21. PMID: 32330491; PMCID: PMC7415631.

10 Abdelhamid A, Jennings A, Hayhoe RPG, Awuzudike VE, Welch AA. High variability of food and nutrient intake exists across the Mediterranean Dietary Pattern-A systematic review. Food Sci Nutr. 2020 Jul 29;8(9):4907-4918. doi: 10.1002/fsn3.1784. PMID: 32994952; PMCID: PMC7500794.

Related posts