Fasting & Ketosis. Nobel Prize.

What a coincidence.

On the October 3rd I have finished my 12 days water fast and on the same day mr. Yoshinori Ohsumi got a Nobel Prize for his discoveries concerning the processes happening in the fasting cells:

Press Release


The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has today decided to award

the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine


Yoshinori Ohsumi

for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy

This year’s Nobel Laureate discovered and elucidated mechanisms underlying autophagy, a fundamental process for degrading and recycling cellular components.  

The word autophagy originates from the Greek words auto-, meaning “self”, and phagein, meaning “to eat”. Thus,autophagy denotes “self eating”. This concept emerged during the 1960’s, when researchers first observed that the cell could destroy its own contents by enclosing it in membranes, forming sack-like vesicles that were transported to a recycling compartment, called the lysosome, for degradation.

Difficulties in studying the phenomenon meant that little was known until, in a series of brilliant experiments in the early 1990’s, Yoshinori Ohsumi used baker’s yeast to identify genes essential for autophagy. He then went on to elucidate the underlying mechanisms for autophagy in yeast and showed that similar sophisticated machinery is used in our cells.

Ohsumi’s discoveries led to a new paradigm in our understanding of how the cell recycles its content. His discoveries opened the path to understanding the fundamental importance of autophagy in many physiological processes, such as in the adaptation to starvation or response to infection. Mutations in autophagy genes can cause disease, and the autophagic process is involved in several conditions including cancer and neurological disease.


Because of this occasion let me put a light on some information about fasting process.

Read, think, be skeptical, critical, get your own conclusions.

Then dig deeper. I just want to poke you 🙂

Disclaimer. Fasting and being on keto diet is an individual process. It is highly recommended to consult it with your physician if you can do it or what form of fasting or diet fits you the best. All information provided here have educational character only.

People use fasting mode/diets for hundreds of years for:

  • Health reasons – digestive system is resting and immune system becomes more active what helps body to regenerate
  • Weight loss – relaying on fat degradation to ketones
  • Mind  thoughnes test – mind is in power over the body
  • Spiritual reasons

What Dr Jason Fung has to say about Therapeutic fasting

Myth 1 – fasting means starvation mode and muscle burning. Let’s take a closer look.


Resting energy expenditure (REE) does not drop during 4 days fast. It even goes opposite.

Look at this scheme by Dr Kevin Hall.


Proteins are not the main source of energy in fasting mode although you can see  short peak of proteins breakdown in the beginning. That’s all.

The same here. Watch the numbers for fat mass and muscle mass breakdown during 70 day fast period.


Fasting advantages:

  • Simplicity
  • Freedom – you do not need money, cooking skills etc
  • Time save – you do not buy food, eat, clean after eating etc
  • Flexibility – whenever, where ever, different modes
  • Diet friendly – it suits your needs if you are a meat eater, vegetarian, have food allergy etc
  • 😉 funny but true right?

Interesting fact! 

World fasting record – 382 days (the length of fasting relays strictly on your starting fat mass percentage and obviously on many other medical factors)

Dr Jason Fung full lecture:

On the other hand  Dr Daniel Pompa tells us:

“Want to leave long –  keep your glucose low.

Fast kills bacteria, viruses and implicates “restorative” DNA changes.”

Dr Herbert Shelton – naturopath and fasting precursor

“Long term fast (> 30 days) induces autolysys of tumors, cysts,  abscesses selectively self-digesting and removing unwanted material and accumulations without touching vital structures.“

Who knows, maybe fasting can even increase telomere length? More research is needed.

Even if fasting can be some way of being somehow immortal, is our society ready for this sacrifice? The cost takes a strong will and strong mind.

Is it possible at all – nowadays – in the epoch of high level food addiction? 😉

What Dr Mark Mattson says about fasting?

Fasting can increase number of mitochondria in nervous and muscle system.

This is important. Stop here. Focus. Mitochodria are the power industries in our body. Better working mitochondria = more energy every day, better concentration, better work efficiency, sport results etc.

Interesting information:  undisputable fasting brainiacs are: Platon, Pythagoras, Gandhi (you can add Jesus and Buddha too). Wanna join?

Fasting article for paleo lovers:

Now, let’s see what dr Jeff Volek tells us about ketosis, that accompanies fasting and ketogenic diet. 

Dr. JEFF VOLEK is an Associate Professor in the #1 ranked Department of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut where he teaches and leads a research team that explores the physiologic impact of various dietary and exercise regimens and nutritional supplements.


Provocative effects of ketones

  • Clean burning fuel
  • Less generation of reactive oxygen species (ros)
  • Increased antioxidant defense
  • Greater efficiency in providing cellular energy
  • Regulator of gene expression

Blood ketones in different situations:

Moderate carb diet (fed state) <0.1

Moderate carb diet (fasted) 0.1-0.3

Fasting for few weeks (2-5about) 5-7

Very low carb diet [below 50g carbs per day] 0.5-3.0

Very low carb diet [below 50g carbs per day] after exercising 1-5

Ketosis – hepatically derived energy containing substances from fatty acids that provide fuel nearly to every cell in the body

Nutritional Ketosis –  process of accelerating production of ketone through restriction of carbs,  marked by blood level ketones >0,5mM

Keto Adaptation – process of shifting to using predominantly fat for fuel. It takes at least several weeks if not months to fully develop

Keto-acidosis – dangerous side effect of type I diabetes, ketone level >10mM

Full lecture:

Talking about ketosis and sugar restrictions: Tired after lunch? See why:



Now let’s have a closer look on sugar:

Sugar…an addiction like alcohol and drugs?

Possible actions of sugar:

Raises cholesterol.
Increase the risk of diabetes.
Kidney disease.
Depression & anxiety.
Fluid retention.
Induce headaches & weakens eyesight.
Causes gall & kidney stones.
Hormonal imbalances.
Tooth decay
Several types of cancer.
Yeast infections.
Weight gain.
Coronary heart disease

What does it all mean?

Food is a blessing but like everything else it can be a medicine or a poison. It depends of source and amount.

Overuse is always dangerous – alcohol, drugs, food etc. It is hard but necessary nowadays – in the time of excess – to control your cravings and body temptation and choose your nutrition strategy. Be free of sugar cravings. Eat clean. Discover more in life than just food and fed body state.

It is good to fast sometimes. How long it depends on you. Even few hours are beneficial. You can start wherever you want but you have to start somewhere and make it smart. Consult it with your physician before you start.

You and you only should be in charge of your body, not the opposite. 

Eat to live not live to eat.

Check out this article as well: Facts about fasting

Coach Lucy, PhD

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