Autophagy and Fasting

If you have a lot of weight to lose while doing your low carb diet, then you may want to add in some intermittent and extended fasts. For example,  if you hit a weight loss plateau, adding intermittent fasting can help you get your weight loss moving again. But the benefit I want to talk about today is autophagy.

Fasting helps to promote autophagy which is a sort of “self-eating” and it is backed by a lot of science. Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel prize in 2016 for his studies on autophagy. So when someone does an extended fast and there is no food for the body, the body will live off of our own toxins and cells.

So fasting is really about healing the body. This is why humans have been fasting for many years. Many for spiritual reasons but also for the amazing healing effects. Our bodies are amazing and will regenerate itself! It really is miraculous!

Fasting is perfect for those whose weight loss has stalled or for those who have a lot of loose skin from losing weight quickly. Autophagy is the healing of loose skin.

Intermittent fasting or extended fasting seems to cause our cells to go into autophagy. This is very helpful to tighten and tone the loose skin. It takes time and patience. But autophagy helps in many other ways as well. It is a natural way to heal the body, mind, and soul.

Dr. Jason Fung

I first learned about intermittent fasting when reading up and learning about how to take my low carb diet to a higher level. If you want to learn more about intermittent fasting, I highly recommend you read his latest book The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting

Autophagy Fasting Hours

It seems that autophagy happens at 16 to 18 hours of intermittent fasting. So for example. If you finish eating your last meal at 6 pm and then don’t eat again until 11 or 12 the next day you will most likely be in the autophagy zone. Actually, it seems hard but really it isn’t. The longer you push your fast out the better the results you will get.

Intermittent Fasting Break Fast

You can break your fast however you want, but I prefer to break my fast with fat. This way it keeps my blood sugar level. So I will often have an avocado or some bacon then I wait another 2 hours before I have my meal. This helps me to sort of drag out the autophagy effects. I figure the longer the effects the better the benefits for my body.

Benefits of Fasting

Speaking about autophagy and intermittent fasting, let’s talk about how it helps the body in the long run.

I belong to several ketos and fasting groups on Facebook, Youtube, and other social sites. I just love hearing about all of the amazing results people talk about. Fasting has been done by many people for centuries. It isn’t anything new. I am just glad that I learned about it so I  can continue to heal my body and live a healthy lifestyle.  Here are some of the benefits of fasting that I have read about. Many I have experienced myself.

  • Weightloss
  • Blood sugar goes down, type 2 diabetes normalizes:
  • Gout goes away for some people
  • Eyesight gets better
  • Heartburn goes away for some people
  • Help with inflammation.
  • Helps with joint pain
  • Many people sleep better
  • Many people say fasting helps with improving anxiety and depression.
  • Fasting may help you be more focused.
  • Stomach issues like IBS go away.
  • Many people think that it pushes off aging and it helps you to look younger.
  • Fight cancer
  • More brain power

In Conclusion, I believe our bodies are made to heal themselves. We can lose weight and get healthy by changing what we eat. I believe eating real food that is very low in carbs and higher in fat heals. I also think intermittent fasting is healing. Fasting is something that humans have done for years. If fasting helps to heal through autophagy then it is worth trying.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you tried intermittent fasting? What were your results?

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38 thoughts on “Autophagy and Fasting”

  1. Lovely write up,

    A high rate of autophagy is characteristic of young organisms; with aging, autophagy decreases, and this allows cellular damage to accumulate. By fasting intermittently, autophagy rates can be reset to that of a younger person. I started regular fasting few months ago, after a lecture from my doctor.

  2. Hey there Wendy,

    Intermittent fasting is something that is completely new & uncharted to me. Prior to reading this article and I didn’t know nothing about it. Therefore, I am very happy that I’ve stumbled across Your article so I can discover some new & exciting for myself today! As far as intermittent fasting goes, well I have to say- it is rather very interesting and unusual eating pattern or diet if You will. I was very surprised to learn that it mainly focuses on shifting cycles between eating and fasting, which I assume would lead to people having constant breaks between these two things or having different periods which are scheduled for either fasting or eating (depending on the time and day of course). I also didn’t expect fasting to prioritize the time when a person should eat or do fasting rather than focusing on the actual daily healthy food consumption and balancing diet. However, the thing which shocked me the most is the fact that this eating pattern or diet ( I don’t know how to call it) actually has some great health benefits when done correctly, which is very weird to me as I would think that fasting could lead to body exhaustion, but apparently that’s not the case here. The whole idea and concept of fasting seems very interesting and I would like to try it, however as person who works out almost on a daily basis, will I suffer from significant muscle loss and decreased power? How can fasting can be mixed with intensive workout schedule?

    All in all, best of luck to You Wendy and keep up the great work 😉

    1. I felt the same way when I first learned about intermittent fasting. I learned about it after eating a low carb diet. One of the things I learned was to eat when your body tells you to eat. Most people who eat a high carb diet, break their fast in the morning because they wake up early. That is why it is called breakfast.

      You see we all fast. You do it now. If you last eat at 8:00 at night and eat again in the morning at 8:00 then you will have completed a fast. You break the fast when you eat. 

      When people do intermittent fasting, they simply wait longer to eat. 

      The cool thing is that our body can heal itself the longer we go without eating. This is why many people fast for religious reasons. It can be actually very spiritual. And if you can push your fast out over 16 hours you can get the benefits of autophagy. Your body begins to heal itself. It is pretty cool.

      And many people find when they do intermittent fasting they have incredible energy and are able to work out without feeling tired. 

  3. Thank you Wendy for this post. I will be 54 in July and currently on a 49 day fast so reading this post is very timely for me. My fast is for spiritual reasons but now I see that there so many additional benefits to what I am doing. You spoke about breaking your fast with avocado and bacon. Is it advisable to eat bacon being a processed meat? 

    1. Hi Juliet! Thank you for sharing your experience with fasting. Have you noticed any physical effects? Or are most of the benefits for you more spiritual? I’m just curious.

      As for the bacon, I like bacon because of the fat content. There are lots of kinds of bacon available that don’t have the nitrates and extra additives. I choose bacon that is cured with natural ingredient and from pasture-raised pigs.

  4. Hi there!

    A cool and great tips on how to reduce weight loss.  From this article which places emphasis on autophagy, I’m already engaged with the quality of the content. The way the writer crafted out the key points is making me fall in love with this article.  Autophagy is a great idea for weight loss. I have tried so many programs but none of them had proved effective. This information is topnotch. I’ll definitely go for it.

  5. Hi there, thanks for your dropping this your article about fasting and autophagy, religiously especially Christianity and Moslem actually believed in fasting as a mode of praying or making a request from God, but in the process, the fasting is contributing a lot of benefits to their body systems apart from praying. Intermittent fasting is like an act of self-consumption, our body can also, heal themselves truly, but fasting has some processes in the human body 

  6. thank you for sharing

    as far as fasting here with us is a month fasting that we make every year this tradition is from ancient times even in us Muslims is every year really is very successful fasting that heals many illnesses as you describe it on your blog sugar and some other illnesses like the way you explained it fasting from 4 night to sunset for one month

    1. Thank you for your comment. I had a friend who fasted for religious reasons for Ramadan. She fasted until sunset. I remember thinking it would be so hard, but this past week I had my first meal at 7 pm. It was way easier than I thought and I felt really great. I’m trying to do at least 18 hours so I can really get the autophagy effects. I agree it is very healing. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Excellent post on this topic. I know that fasting has been around for years but I had no idea ofall of the health benefits. I was thinking of going on a water diet, where you don’t eat for a period of days and just drink a lot of water. Is this the same sort of thing? Thanks, Kenny 

    1. It is the same sort of thing. I have never done a water fast but I want to do it soon. I understand that it feels amazing and is very healing. Please let me know how it works out for you, Kenny.

  8. Hello Wendy,

    This is the first time I have heard the term autophagy. I have tried intermittent fasting and it isn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I stopped eating around 7 pm and then waited 16 hours before eating again, which was usually a protein packed smoothie, some fruit and then my dinner. I was wondering how long you have to be on the intermittent to see any significant weight loss? Maybe I didn’t give it long enough as I didn’t really notice. How long would you recommend doing the intermittent fasting to see some results? Thanks for a very interesting article!

    1. Many people do intermittent fast daily others do it a few times a week. I typically have one meal a day 3 days a week. The other days my first meal is lunch. I don’t have any more weight to lose, but I find I’m not hungry most days since I’ve been eating low carb. Many people find that they can lose a couple pounds a week just doing intermittent fasting, but I think it works best when following a low carb lifestyle.

  9. Its amazing to know the health benefits of fasting which promotes autophagy. This is also the first time am learning that fasting can have something to do with tightening of loosed skin. You bulleted fourteen benefits of fasting , most of which i didn’t know one can derive those benefits from fasting. I seem to be a person who finds it hard to fast, but with this your educational post, i have gotten motivation to start fasting. I will discipline myself and try my best to start it. Thanks for this informative post, it has really being of tremendous help.

  10. Hey Wendy,

    I’m very intrigued by your post. 

    I do little many fasts daily since I eat supper at 6pm then don’t eat again until about 9-10am the next day. I have noticed quite a few health changes during this short time. I’m sleeping better and that was my main goal. I have only been doing this since November so I didn’t expect major changes yet. I was surprised by some of the other benefits I received such as more energy, less cravings, and others you listed.

    Thanks again for posting this article!!!


    1. You are already doing 15 to 16-hour fasts! See how easy it really is. If you wanted to push breakfast out further or simply skip breakfast and make lunch your first meal, you will begin to really see some of the effects of autophagy. Your energy will be off the roof and least it is for me. You will have to keep me posted on how it works out. 🙂

  11. Thank you for a very intriguing article.This is new information to me since I have never heard of Autophagy. I definitely want to learn more about intermittent fasting. However, I would like to know the benefits for a person like myself who is not overweight. I believe in a healthy lifestyle,healthy food,plenty of clean water and regular exercise. I am an older person,77 years young,who wants to remain physically and mentally active. Would fasting help with mental sharpness?. Should I be concerned with fasting depleting muscle cells ? At my age it is not easy to rebuild muscle exercising. But I will look into fasting since it has been practiced for centuries.Thank you for a very informative article.

    1. I am at my goal weight, yet I still fast for health issues. Autophagy is a natural process where our body heals and renews. And fasting helps to give our digestive system a rest. I have noticed more mental clarity and energy when I fast. I agree that the topic is very interesting. I read up on it daily because I just want to learn as much as I can. I have learned that fasting is thought to help slow down the aging process and it is also great for brain function. All I know is I feel amazing when I fast. I hope this helped to answer your questions.

  12. Your article came to me at the right moment. I am in my mid-50s and I am struggling to get my weight down. It seems, and I know that it does, that for women losing weight at a mature age is more problematic, including menopause.

    Three decades ago I did some fasting on a regular basis and by that I mean, every Springtime and in the Fall, I did, at least,  fasting for 7 days. Sometimes I extended it for another 7 days. I always felt great, energized and mentally as emotionally refreshed.

    A couple of weeks ago my cousin from Germany called me and we talked about how to eat more healthier. She mentioned the intermittent fasting and said that it does works for her and she had lost already some kilograms. She explained the time of fasting in between the last meal and when you can start again.

    I am intrigued since then and reading your article is actually a sign for me to start with it. However, I also will start with a complete Fasting for 7 days and then will move over to the intermittent fasting.

    Quick question, could you provide me with a good support group which is on facebook? I certainly would appreciate it.

    I have saved your website to read more articles on the subject matter. Like I said it isn’t easy to lose weight at a certain age, at least it is for me.

    Thank you for sharing this information.

    1. First of all, thank you so much for sharing your experience with extended fasting and also your struggles with weight loss. To answer your question, I highly recommend Dr. Jason Fung Fan Club. This is a Facebook group that focuses on intermittent fasting, alternate day fasting, and extended fasting. It is helpful if you have read the book. The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting

      Let me know if I can answer any other questions. I wish you all the best.

  13. Thank you for sharing this great article.

    I did not know about this method to lose weight and to heal our body, I usually eat dinner at 8:00 p.m. and normally I eat breakfast at 11:00 a.m. but I have not seen any weight loss, you think it is for what I have for breakfast and Do you have any diet to follow that you could share?. 

    Thank you.

    1. See you are fasting already! You probably need to fast a little bit longer in order for your body to get the benefits of autophagy. But fasting is a good thing as it gives our digestive system and liver a rest which is very healing. Are you wanting to lose weight? I tried many diets and the only one that really worked for me is following a very low carb diet that is higher in fats. It gave me the results I was looking for. Adding intermittent fasting just took it to the next level.

  14. Thanks for sharing this article on autophagy and fasting. Never knew aside taking fasting as a spiritual exercise, there are more benefits added. It’s surprising to know that fasting can contribute to healing in the body system. These added advantages are just unbelievable, now I know that fasting is really helpful beyond what is seems to be.

  15. Hi , 

    Always being in diet isn’t actually beneficial . Many people do so much of exercise and remain in diet . Some of them benefitted . But some people don’t have any effect of it . Fasting is the answer to it . Having minimum of foods and fasting will help the body lose fat . Body is a self healer . If this is done continued then there will be great effective . 


  16. Autophagy and fasting is the way for someone who reach their 50s or 60s to make a better healthier life.for example the Japanese people why they have a long lifespan because Japanese doing that way fasting .Way back Two year ago my fat belly issues makes me upset it’s hard to do anything from work to I decided to stop drinking and make a fasting now I’m happy for the result of my decision,I’m very alive at work…

  17. I just turned 52 in December and one of my new year’s resolution was to lose 15 pounds by March.  Well here we are in March and I have hit the “plateau” you talk about.  Autophagy is a new term for me but it seems that it’s what I have been missing in my diet.  I am willing to try it to lose those last extra pounds.  And with all the benefits that you list in your article, it will be both a blessing and a way to finally get to the weight I want.  Thanks for the great advice

    1. Hi Denis! I’m glad you found the information on Autophagy and Fasting helpful. I wish you all the best with your weight loss. I’d love it if you kept me updated.

  18. Thank you for sharing this great article.I know about this method to lose weight and to heal our body since I was young as a Muslim it’s compulsory to fast at least once a month in a year during RAMADAN.

    Then I I have my first child and my wife become so big that I have to tell her I need the “figure 8” married! we went to see a doctor behold eat small and excercise very little was the recommendation! we followed this with fasting in between and the result was amazing! it worked like a charm.

    Thank you.

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