Fasting and Dieting Hacks with Dr. Dan Pompa

Content By: Ari Whitten & Dr. Dan Pompa

In this episode, I am speaking with Dr. Daniel Pompa – who is a global health leader and innovator on a mission to educate practitioners and the public on the origins of inflammation-driven diseases, cellular detoxification, fasting strategies, and diet variation principles.

Table of Contents

In this podcast, Dr. Pompa and I discuss:

  • The 7 reasons to fast 
  • The importance of feasting and fasting days
  • 4 things no one wants to talk about with regards to fasting 
  • When and why to use “diet variation”

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Ari: Hey there. This is Ari. Welcome back to the Energy Blueprint Podcast. Right now, I’m with Doctor Daniel Pompa, who is a global health leader and innovator on a mission to educate practitioners and the public on the origins of inflammation-driven diseases, cellular detoxification, fasting strategies, and diet variation principles. Although trained as a chiropractor, his authority comes from the victory within his own battle, having overcome neurotoxic illness that was rooted in heavy metal poisoning. Doctor Pompa is the host of Cellular Healing TV and the author of the books, Beyond Fasting and The Cellular Healing Diet.

In this presentation, he’s going to be talking to you all about fasting and diet variation for superhuman energy. And he’s going to be talking about some of the myths and misinformation out there and debunking that and some of the supposed problems with fasting and the way to do it optimally and who it’s best for. So lots of great information we’re going to get into, and I’m very excited to have you on Doctor Pompa. Welcome.

Dr. Pompa: Glad to be here. I love these topics, so let’s dig in, man. 

Ari: Let’s do it.

Going beyond fasting

Dr. Pompa: I think your viewing audience, listening audience, followers understand the value of keto, low cab, fasting, intermittent fasting. I have been teaching fasting strategies since the ‘90s, believe it or not so I kind of date myself. I will say jokingly, Ari, that I was into fasting. It was just me and some natural hygiene society people. We disagreed because they were big vegans and I wasn’t, but we united around fasting. And I’ll say this, every religion on the planet disagrees about everything even prayer, except one thing, fasting. It is the oldest therapy known to man. However, the topic of this conversation is, the beat on the street is women have trouble fasting. Can women fast? What about perimenopausal women? Can they fast or should they fast or even be keto or low carb? What about just anybody with thyroid hormone problems? Should they fast? Should they be in low carb keto? The answer is, they can. However, there are some strategies that I’ve learned over the years doing this, but I train hundreds of doctors from around the world. And I’ll tell you, the strategies I’m going to teach you today are strategies that we utilize, not just with all those conditions I mentioned, but even how to take fasting strategies, intermittent fasting daily, longer fast, keto, any of it, paleo, to the next level with results. So that is what you get to look forward to. 

When we look here at the first slide, Beyond Fasting, is actually my book name. So it really does go beyond fasting. Two ultimate biohacks for hormone optimization, because that’s the key, Ari, that if we can optimize our hormones, then we’re going to maximize our results from any of these strategies, low carb, keto, paleo, fasting, intermittent, fasting, whatever it is. So that’s the answer. The question then becomes the, how to. I always start off by saying, all this information you can learn so much by reading studies and books, but truth be told, I got very sick and challenge myself. And everything I teach, even my detox strategies have really come out of my own battle. And I love this quote and really no one knows who said it, but it’s kind of been thrown around, but, “It’s not genius, but courage that changes the heart”. I believe we have to change the hearts of people to move people, whether it’s get them to change their diet, their life, happiness, you name it. And I love the phrase, from pain to purpose, because that’s my life. 

I always tell a story, Ari, about when I was in Africa and I was blessed to be invited to be a speaker at this huge leadership conference with presidents of different countries in Africa. It was a very important conference. And first time I spoke with a translator, so that could go a bunch of ways. But after I was done speaking, the gentleman, he was in Zimbabwe. He’s probably the second most powerful man there. There was Mugabe and there was him. He comes not running, but a brisk pace down the aisle to the stage to meet me, I’m thinking, my God, what did I say? My excuse, no matter what is, I didn’t mean that. It was lost in the translation. 

But he said, “Doctor Pompa, I have to tell you something, that your authority doesn’t come from your years of learning, it comes from the victory God gave you.” I didn’t know at the time exactly what he meant by that. But knowing that everything that I teach, even the reason I’m here today and blessed to teach thousands of doctors, it came out of my own battle. And that’s where my courage, my boldness comes from, in what I teach and definitely not genius. So I love that saying and a place to start there.

I’d like to start with this because it just lays a foundation. When we talk about fasting, I talk in my book about the seven reasons why I believe that all of us are programmed to go into fasting states, famine states. Today unfortunately always we’re in a state of feast. And there’s a lot of consequences to that even where I cite a study that it’s setting up different diseases, even cancer, because we don’t change our diets and also because we don’t fast. So ancient cultures were forced into these states, but we need to learnt, so pay attention. Autophagy is a big one. And I think most people have heard the word, but just as a review, your body gets rid of bad cells, bad DNA, even the rubbish that our body accumulates, even bad bacteria in our gut. Matter of fact, what you see down there, the last one, number seven, resets our microbiome. During a fasting state literally we reset our microbiome.

I just did a lecture actually today on the fact that, and this was to doctors, where does real immunity come from? And I talked about the gut, but I said, it’s not just as easy as taking bacteria or probiotics, it’s not so simple. We have to reset the microbiome, create more diversity. And that is really the expression of really good health and immunity. But really I went on to teach how fasting strategies is the only way we add enough stress to the microbiome to actually create the diversity. So we get this microbiome reset and diversity with fasting. Even oddly, because when you’re in a fasting state, you actually starved down all bacteria, but the reset is where the magic is. You actually turn off bad genes. So if we’re going backwards now, if you look at number six and I’ll put my cursor there, in case you can’t see it, but resets the DNA. You actually turn off genes that get turned on because of stressors in our life. Whether it’s a thyroid gene, weight loss resistant gene. Those genes, epigenetically stressors, turn them on. 

We really need times of fasting to actually turn them off. So studies show this and I cite many of those studies. The hormone optimization, number five, is massive. So in a fasting state we actually raise up growth hormone and our cells become more hormone sensitive. And all these hormonal magical things happen with the stress of fasting. And four is one of my favorites, energy diversion. It takes all this massive amounts of energy to actually digest and assimilate food. And when you’re not eating, it just doesn’t sit on that energy. No, it takes it and diverts it into healing, healing that it wanted to do years ago, but it just said, I’m just keeping you alive here. But okay, I have this extra energy I’m going to heal that liver now or whatever it is that it needed to heal, but literally prioritize its energy just to keep you live.

And then elevated ketones. When we look at studies on ketones, fixing the brain, fixing the gut, even turning off bad genes, it’s really levels that you typically don’t hit in just a ketosis diet. You typically need higher levels that you can only reach in a state of fasting or famine. So we’ll talk about that. And then stem cells surge when you get rid of a bad cell via autophagy. So your body in a fasting state, as I already mentioned, gets rid of bad cells. But it doesn’t just get rid of them, it recreates a new one from a stem cell. So literally you get rid of bad and create new. We know that happens because in a fasting state, we see this drop in immune cells, which in the old days, when I used to teach fasting in the ‘90s they said, fasting is no good. It lowers your immune system, right? We didn’t have an answer except look, all we know is it shuts off autoimmune and your good immune gets better. 

But now we have an answer. Studies show that it’s getting rid of these senescent immune cells. These are immune cells that live too long and drive hyperimmunity, inflammation, food allergies, autoimmune, all that’s bad. It gets rid of those cells. And then via the stem cell, it creates a new immune cell that’s vigilant. It’s not overactive, it’s young, it’s naive. It doesn’t hyperreactive certain foods. So we as a group of doctors, we could never get people well without fasting and fasting strategy. So just as a key point there.

Ari: Let me ask you real quick and maybe this is something you’ll address later on, but to what extent are the benefits that you’re talking about, things that we get from adequate time-restricted eating windows? So if we have, let’s say, a 14-hour, 16-hour nightly fasting window, I assume that there’s at least some degree of overlap in these mechanisms that are at play. But to what extent do you think that people would get all of these same benefits from a daily or nightly 16-hour fasting window versus doing, let’s say, a three-day, five-day, 10-day water fast?

Dr. Pompa: Great question. I think right now intermittent fasting daily is very in vogue. I do it. I’ve done it for many years. I typically eat in a four-hour window. You’ll see one of my strategies talks about why if you do that, you need these feast days. They’re as important as those days where you just eat one meal, for example. But to answer your question, I found studies all the way down to about 15 hours you get some autophagy and stem cell recreation. Not as much is more of an extended fast. So I do about four fasts a year, two of which are partial fast, where I get my calories around six to 800 a day, protein to stay in autophagy. I have to reduce calories to stimulate autophagy, but you also have to reduce protein because it will knock you out of autophagy.

For me, I keep my protein right around 15 g a day. Depending on body size, bigger people could do a little more, smaller people might need a little less. But decreasing protein and calories is what I call partial fast. I learned it from a French guy, [Albert Missouri] years ago. Valter Longo and his group have made it more popular with the ProLon diet, which is a partial fast that they put in boxes, which is great. But restricting calories is a five-day fast that I do twice a year. I do two water fasts a year. So extended fast, which I like five days and I’ve done five days for years. Now some of Valter Longo who developed the fasting mimicking diet, ProLon, if you will, has really found in their research that day four of a fast, you get this max autophagy. So yes, you do get someone autophagy in a 50-hour fast, but four days you see this massive number.

And in my book, I talk about how to measure that when you hit max autophagy, when you’re looking at glucose and ketones, you can do it at home. Then day five, you get a maximum stem cell. So that’s why I like more five-day fast, especially to reverse certain conditions. But to your point though, you get some of the same benefits, all of which even fasting 15 hours, which is intermittent fasting. 

Ari: Thank you. 

Dr. Pompa: It was a great question though, because I think that even with this topic that I’m going to show you here, are the tricks that we learned around fasting strategies and low carb. It works for the same for intermittent fasting than it does longer fast. So if we look at this next PowerPoint and these are the things no one wants to talk about in our world, oftentimes right now. I’ve spoken to Low Carb USA, all the keto things, Bulletproof, KetoCon, all of them. And when I say to the audience, how many people, and I see a show of hands. It’s stunning how many people are affected by this? So let’s look at the four problems, Weight loss resistance. Meaning you stop losing weight or you can’t lose weight even when you’re in super low carb, on long-term low carb diets like ketosis. Muscle loss and fat storage, I call it skinny fat, with longterm intermittent fasting and/or low carb. So these are the pitfalls that people run into and they kind of don’t know what’s going on. So either you get, stopped losing weight, you can’t lose weight at all or you start actually losing muscle.

In fact, that happened to me. I was majorly in ketosis. Ari, I’m very disciplined and I’m down to five grams of carbs a day, and I’m going, I’m getting weaker in the gym and I’m now getting this belly fat. Like what the heck? I’m getting more discipline and searching around, I found low carb diets cause insulin resistance. And I’m like, wait a minute. It doesn’t cause an insulin resistance like it does from a disease process like diabetes, but it does it from an intelligence. The DNA of the cell literally will shut down and tone down an insulin receptor. Why? Because when you’re low carb or doing a lot of fasting, the body can think it’s starving. You have to understand, the cells can use two things for energy, sugar or fat. So when you shift over to where it’s mostly

95% of its energy is fat, it eventually goes, my only goal for you is to survive and keep you alive. So if this is my only energy, I’m going to start using less of it. So it blunts the insulin receptor creates a resistance and insulin is a fat storing hormone. So all of a sudden you’re holding onto your fat even at the cost of taking muscle through gluconeogenesis and breaking it down to sugar. 

It happened to me that I was at, it was at a conference in Florida, it was Orlando. And then Joe Mercola comes out and says, “Dan, I’m doing keto. Does this ever happen to you? I’m getting weaker. I feel like I’m putting on more fat. Do you any tricks around that?” I said, “I know exactly what’s going on Joe.” And basically told him, okay, here’s what you have to do. I’m getting to the answer. So I’m going to teach you what I taught Joe. It worked for him, it worked for me. But anyways, these are real problems that everyone eventually is affected by. It just really depends on your genetics oftentimes. But women’s success in general on low carb diets or fasting becomes a problem more so than men, admittedly. Hormone issues, such as thyroid adrenals, while on low carb diets are fasting. These people run into problems sooner than others. 

So what are the problems and really more importantly, I would say, what are the answers? I kind of tipped you off here. Problem number one, I kind of went into this, Ari, a little bit. During low carb, the body will try to preserve its precious fuel. Because in low carb state, remember you shift from being sugar burner, carbohydrates, to mostly burning fat. So it wants to preserve that because it’s number one thing is always survival. So it will slow down lipolysis, AKA fat burning, by taking up more water to fat cell. 

So what does that look like? I’ll tell you what that looks like. It’s very annoying because you get this dimply fat that you never had before. And you’re like, what is that? even if you’re skinny, it’s like what is this right here? Well, it’s just, you’re literally your body is trying to slow down fat burning by filling the fat cells with a little bit of water and you get this weird, dimply fat. Not pleasant to look at I assure you. And then I already went over this one, it will blunt the insulin receptor to hold onto fat. The little woodpile there example, if you look at the PowerPoint here. So if you look at the pile to the right, it’s dwindled down to nothing. And if you look at this abundance pile here on the left picture. The example is this, Ari, if you’re in a cabin in the middle of the woods in Alaska, and you saved up enough wood to go through your typical winter. Then you had that wood, knows it. Makes it through the winter, keeps your cabin warm.

But this winter is extremely cold. And you’re saying, my woodpile is diminishing fast. That’s what’s left. I better slow down burning it, AKA slow down fat burning. I need this precious fuel to survive. I’m going to slow down burning it. This is your metabolism saying, I’m going to burn less fat. Then a friend comes over and I’m tipping my hand now to the answer, a friend comes over and says, gosh man, you’re almost out of wood. I have so much. Listen, I’l dump some more off at you. And then all of a sudden, your woodpile looks like that one on the left. What are you going to do? You’re not going to keep your cabinet at 55 anymore. You’re going to rev up the metabolism. You’re going to start burning more wood because you know you know have plenty. So keep that in your mind because that’s what a feast day can actually do or a month. We’ll talk about that.

Problem number two though, is this study and many others shows that low insulin actually can increase glucose. So if you’re low insulin long enough, one of insulin’s jobs according to this study is, one of its main jobs, is shutting off gluconeogenesis. So that means that in a low insulin state, you can all of a sudden start to dump glucose out of your liver, random, not good times. You could start making glucose from muscle. So all of these things happen. And when insulin gets too low, it doesn’t down-regulate gluconeogenesis. All that means folks is that you’ll start making glucose from other places. And we start to see a rise in glucose, which isn’t good. That can actually lead to muscle loss and stop weight loss. So we don’t like that. 

Problem three, hormones need insulin to actually convert to other more active hormones. And the example I gave here, Ari, is T4 is an inactive form of thyroid hormone. To convert that to an active form, T3, which that’s the one that connects to your cell and makes you burn fat and feel better, well, it needs insulin to do that. So when you’re low insulin for a long time and you already have a thyroid challenge of some sort, where your thyroid hormones are just low, maybe because of toxicity or other stressors, those are the people that get really hit by this. And that’s why we say thyroid people can’t fast.

Thyroid people can’t be low carb. They can you just need these biohacks. Other hormones also need insulin to convert. So therefore it can be this fire that we need for hormones. And let’s look at the answers. Any comments on that, Ari? I just opened up the problems. I am going to talk about the answer here.

The pros and cons of the keto diet

Ari: Yeah, on the thyroid issue specifically, let’s say. If it is the case that longterm keto diets reduce conversion from T4 to T3 three, such that many people get symptoms. And I know that there’s a number of studies showing that longterm keto diets do indeed reduce T3. Is there any takeaway that we can glean from that insight that may suggest whether this is a good approach long-term or not? What is your take on whether a keto diet is something to adhere to as sort of your baseline normal diet long-term or whether this is something to do short-term as a short-term strategy to ramp up fat loss or get other benefits of keto diets?

Dr. Pompa: Gosh, it’s like we rehearsed this. You must be a really good interviewer. You’re setting me up perfectly. 

Ari: That’s just the question that came naturally to my mind, but I’ve talked a lot about this topic over the years.

Dr. Pompa: That’s great. And twice I said, that’s a great question. Honestly, I really mean it, that’s a great question. Because I’m a believer and do you see the word here, if you look at the next PowerPoint. Let’s look at it and pull away. It says diet variation. I’m a believer in varying the diet weekly, monthly, and seasonally. So the answer to your question, is I’m not a believer in staying in a low carb state always, especially as strict as keto. With that said, I love keto, I use it for thyroid conditions. I use it for hormone conditions. I use it for a lot of things. However, I believe no culture stayed in a state of ketosis long. The moment they had carbohydrates, they busted out of it. So Alaskans, you name it.

Ari: To that note, I’ve talked to some people over the years that and this perspective used to be more common many years ago within the paleo and ancestral movement and the early keto movement. But it was common to encounter people who would say things like, keto diets are our ancestral diet. We’re meant to be in ketosis all the time. Ketones are the preferred fuel of our cells, and this is how our body is supposed to operate all the time. This is the way our ancestors did it all the time. As you alluded to there, the reality is, pretty much all the research on modern day hunter-gatherer tribes has shown that basically none of them are eating anything close to a ketogenic diet on a long-term basis. Some of them definitely go into fasting and periods of ketosis by virtue of fasting, but not a ketogenic diet.

And even the, I think you were getting at this, but even the Inuits have been shown not to be in a state of ketosis, despite living in a place that’s basically all ice with almost no plant foods available and eating whale blubber and things like that. They’ve they found that even the amount of glycogen carbs in just the meat that they’re consuming, like from seals and fish and things like that, when you eat those things fresh you get enough carb content from that to keep you out of keto genesis. I think the ancestral argument is periods of ketosis, as a result of primarily fasting rather than a prolonged ketogenic diet, absolutely has a large amount of evidence to support the idea that that would have benefits. 

Dr. Pompa: I couldn’t agree more with you. Again, keto people or paleo people they hate us for that, but I believe the science backs us and I will show some of that. I believe when we study ancient cultures, to your point, that backs up what we’re saying as well. The magic is really in varying the diet. So the lecture that I gave to the doctors today was really, when we look at improving real immunity, there’s diversity in the microbiome, but we don’t create it by just taking pills. It’s impossible actually. We do it by creating this hormetic stress where the body has to adapt. How do we do that? We put people in and out of fasting states and then it forces the microbiome to adapt to it. And just like exercise, you get stronger if you adapt. If you keep your exercise routine the same, you actually not only plateau, but you actually lose results. So diet variation works the same way we adapt. 

One of the ways the body does adapt to survive is the via the microbiome. So we can create a diversity in the microbiome, which has a dramatic effect on our hormones and in fact our gut health and our immune health in general. So when you look at this and I’m going to show you the strategies, there are weekly strategies. And I really dedicate two chapters to my book, Beyond Fasting to this principle. And there’s monthly strategies that I’ll show you that are just amazing. Taking five to seven days a month and doing high carb or high protein. And I believe doing different ones at different times is worth the magic right there. Ladies, I’m addressing you again because this really pertains to you. If you look at the time right before your cycle, that’s when you would say, that’s when I fall off my diet. That’s when I have all the cravings. Well, there might be a reason for that. 

Your innate intelligence knows. Because remember I said, you need insulin to make a lot of hormone conversions. Well, guess when all these hormone conversions are happening? Right then. Therefore, the body instinctively gives you cravings. So what we’ve learned is to take those five days and drive up with some high, and again, healthy carbs during that time. The time to eat the chocolate it’d be now. But what happens is you make better hormone conversions. This is really true for women are already have low hormone levels. And when we do this magic, the rest of their month, it’s hormone magic. So I’ll go through that again. And then we just kind of discuss seasonally, even why it’s really important to move in and out of these states.

The role of hormetic stress on energy

But I want you to fully understand why it works. We kind of talked about this, Ari, and I can tell already that you and I really resonate on this, but the body, all it wants to do really is survive. It’s number one priority, is adapt or die. We can utilize that for our advantage, but it could also work against us. Major diet shifts drive survival adaptation mechanism. Adaptation occurs due to hormone optimization. So let me give you an example. I think your followers, you guys talk a lot about dipping into cold water at times.

Ari: Absolutely, hormesis is a big area of emphasis of mine.

Dr. Pompa: Absolutely. So what’s happening? I cited just to study here to prove my point. One of the things that happens is you have this upregulation of norepinephrine. That’s a hormone that actually downregulates inflammation and it upregulates growth hormone. You even get luteinizing hormone that rises, which raises testosterone. All these great things from cold. In this study, they looked at animals that were not able to lose weight. They genetically triggered the gene actually, but they put them in cold temperatures and they realized that they were able to start losing weight. So the question became why? One of the things they discover is one bacteria associated with obesity and diabetes virtually disappear. So the Akkermansia of bacteria disappeared. Why? Because one of the ways the body adapts is changing the microbiome. So we know that is part of this incredible adaptation process that affects your hormones. 

Then I know all your viewers can relate to this. So what happens during exercise, if you adapt not if you over train? If you adapt, you have a rising growth hormone, norepinephrine, which downregulates inflammation. Your cells become more hormone sensitive. That’s what we want. We don’t like hormone resistance. Luteinizing, hormone rises, which raises T, your testosterone. You increase your mitochondrial function. But if exercise stays the same, Ari, what’s going to happen is you don’t force adaptation. Therefore, you don’t get results. Matter of fact, studies show they actually taper off. So we have to change exercise. Any good trainer knows this. You do some days high intensity, some days low. Some days higher-reps some days low. These movements, these movements. The more you change, the more the body has to go, I have to change. I have to adapt. The adaptation is what creates the hormone optimization. Everyone following me? I know you are.

Does the body have to adapt to diet change? I think I’ve proved the point of saying, yes, it does. The microbiome is part of that adaptation. That’s the first example I gave you. Your metabolism gets a benefit from this diet change. Your mitochondria, literally the bad ones that have trouble burning fat, they don’t adapt. Bad mitochondria don’t make this dietary shift. It’s pretty cool. So our DNA are programmed for these changes, I really do believe that. And these changes are just based on survival. So ultimately the body wants to survive. So what do we see? That this looks familiar. That looks like what I just showed you for exercise, right? So when you change your diet, we see a rising growth hormone. Rise in norepinephrine. Hormone sensitivity. Increase in luteinizing hormone. An increase in microbiome production. So it looks the same is what happens when we exercise, when we do a diet change. I don’t know how I’ll focus on this. You tell me how educated your people are.

Ari: High level is good. 

Dr. Pompa: Okay. There’s a word called mTOR Tor and plant-based people hate this word. They think mTOR, it ages you prematurely. I mean, which if you stay in mTOR there right. Bodybuilders, they love mTOR. So let’s look at what stimulates it. Of course, feasting, a lot of calories in general. Increase calories, yes. High carb will throw us into this state. High protein throws us in this state. Now there’s an opposite pathway called autophagy. I already mentioned it. This is a catabolic pathway. This is where your body gets rid of bad cells, we talked about it. Fasting does this. Restricted calories does this. Low carb does this. Low protein does this. So exact opposite pathways. See that? The mTOR people, the bodybuilders they hate autophagy. My God, I don’t want to get rid of cells. They work so hard to keep them. Plant-based people hate them mTOR. My God, you age prematurely.

The balance is both. The fact is, we need times of anabolic. We need times of catabolic. And during these feast famine cycles where we forced dietary change we actually drive both of these pathways and can benefit from this anabolic healing. When you put a bodybuilder on steroids, short-term, he will say, first, my God, my joints feel better. They’re experiencing this mTOR pathway that’s healing. Then they continue down that road. They get into new problems, the autophagy. I’ll give you an example here. Do you remember, Ari, the Biosphere 2 project? 

Ari: The one that the movie Bio-Dome movie was made of.

Dr. Pompa: Yeah. So they built this pristine environment. Seven scientists go in here for two years. The whole point of it was restricted calories. Fasting states create such an anti-aging. Out of everything we’ve studied, the only thing that really works in anti-aging is caloric restriction. So they go in there on a 30% deficit. Two years later fail. They became catabolic. Their organs shrunk. Their immune systems were lower and they were basically heading more towards death. Proves that autophagy too long is bad. Bodybuilders, what’s the average age? 62. mTOR too long is bad. But what if we do a little bit of mTOR, a little bit of autophagy? That’s the magic. So that really is the deep answer of why this is-

How to balance mTOR

Ari: I think that’s a really excellent way of explaining it. You get these longterm consequences of excessive mTOR activation. You got proneness to cancer, excessive self-growth. Hanging on to damaged and dysfunctional cells that should have been gotten rid of via autophagy. And then on the other hand, frailty and sarcopenia is the leading causes of death in old age. So we really need to hang on to muscle and make sure we’re doing enough tissue building. So how do you balance those? It’s just understanding things are not good or bad. They’re meant to be in the proper balance.

Dr. Pompa: Absolutely. That’s it. Before I get into the how to here, I just want to remind people, when are these diet variations? And again, I’m going to teach you the weekly, monthly and the seasonal. We’re talking still about when and why. Not fat adapting, meaning maybe not getting in ketosis or just simply stop losing weight, even on low carb or whatever diet you’re on for that matter. That’s the second point, not losing weight. Losing weight, muscle weight, but getting skinny fat. I talked about that. That was me. I was losing muscle and Joe losing muscle, gaining fat in the wrong places. Even if you want to just gain muscle and therefore gain weight, this is a strategy. It actually works to gain muscle.

No energy and in whatever diet you’re on, ketosis, whatever it is. And I already said hormone conditions, especially thyroid conditions, adrenal conditions. The how to. I kind of tipped my hand at this as well. The 5:1:1is just the most basic form that everyone listening can start this right away. So let’s say you’re doing five days of paleo, keto, low carb, you name it. You pick it as a matter of fact. And we already talked about it’s good to change. So I’m just using keto as an example, because I use this for a group of keto people. So I had to use their diet. But whatever five days. So here you are in a low carb for five days. Then you take one random day a week and just eat one meal. So what you’re doing, and that was Ari’s question earlier, is you’re getting some autophagy that catabolic state for about 23 hours. And there’s magic in that. Your body will utilize the bad cells and clean some rubbish up. 

But if you do that strategy too long, your body will think it’s starving.

Remember the woodpile? So you take one random day of the week and you feast. Mine’s always Saturday. But I’m going to say right now that, if you have some of those challenges that I mentioned, thyroid adrenals, perimenopause, hormone problems in general, I’m going to say more feast days that actually work better for you. So maybe you add in two or three feast days. So you can do any random combination. 

Ari, I interviewed Krista Varady, she’s on a lot of the studies. She studied high-fat diets, low-fat diets, different diets against a feast famine diet where it’s high calories, low, high calories, low. Actually what they did is standard American diet 500 calories a day, standard American dads 500 calories a day. And it worked for weight loss better than all the other diets. I said, “Why do you think that is?” And she says, “Well, it forces adaptation.” The microbiome shifts, your hormones shifts, that’s exactly right. It forces the body to adapt and you get a hormone optimization, which creates you to burn fat more efficiently, everything that I just showed you. So more random oftentimes works better, but you can adjust it.

Ari: And it could be further optimized by maybe not doing the standard American diet, but doing something healthy. 

Dr. Pompa: Exactly. Of course, I don’t do that.

Ari: I get that’s what you’re saying. You’re saying, you’re taking that and extending it and saying let’s do a better, more optimal, healthier version of that.

Dr. Pompa: Exactly. And you can do you can add more stress by adding two more days of fasting. So you have 4:2:1. So the two could then represent one meal a day, two days, I do about two or three days a week. But let me express this. The feast days are as important as the fast days. You have two camps of people, Ari. You have your people that you have to beg them to do feast days. And then you have the group over here where you have to beg them to do fast days. So you have to find out where you are and lean into it from there. But the magic truly is in this variation, the feast-famine works. It reminds the body it’s not starving, yes, but it also forces adaptation just like how you would adjust your exercise routine during the week.

Ari: Good stuff.

Finding the best way to fast

Dr. Pompa: Here is the monthly variation. I talked a little bit about it, but let’s put some numbers to it or some ideas to it here. So five days a month of a feast, I think is magic for male, female, doesn’t matter. Little bit longer, you do get more of the shock to the system. So of course where I learned it was working with perimenopausal women, adrenal or thyroid cases. Where we take five days and drive up the carbs and for women, yes, it is best to do it the five days before their cycle. Randomly any five days for anyone else. But again, just as a reminder, the theory is you increase insulin and it helps many hormones. The conversion such as estrogen, T4 to T3, et cetera. And then the other magic here is you could take it to the next level.

If that’s all you did, you you’re going to do better. But if you say, you know what? I’m going to do five days a month of a famine, really imitate ancient cultures. To your point, this is really the keto magic because you get much higher keto levels in a famine or fasting state than you do just being in ketosis. So I do this, whether I’m in ketosis or not, get more benefit from ketones. So five days a month of a famine, do a partial fast. Get your calories under 1,000, protein under 20 for five days a month. Watch what happens. I’m telling you and then add the five days of feast in.

Ari: Do you take the fasting days, right after the five feasting days?

Dr. Pompa: I’ve had many people do it that way. And we’ve experimented with a bunch of different ways and you what? It seems like it doesn’t matter much.

Ari: Got you.

Dr. Pompa: So have fun with it. Whatever works for schedule. It doesn’t even have to be perfect much. You do five days of a feast. Maybe it takes you a whole nother month to do a five fasting days. I like just doing pure water fast, do partial fast, mix it up, have fun with it. But I’m telling you, you add this variation and magic happens hormonally and it’s all about adaptation. You asked me this question, what about seasonal variation? I believe it’s a must. This study, I think is great. If you just read from the abstract, I quoted it here. It’s just says, the last half century has brought stark changes in lifestyle that depart from normal diurnal cycles, meaning eating seasonally, and periodic fluctuations in food availability. Thus modern times maybe characterize it as being constantly in a feast environment. Of course we are. We have food all the time. But the cellular consequences may be an increase at risk for several diseases, including cancer. 

More and more studies are showing that just staying on the same diet is one of the most dangerous things we can actually do. And if you look at this, Ari, you and I kind of tipped our hand at where we both feel is right. Who is right? The vegans? Is it the paleo? Is it the plant-based people? The keto? What about the new carnivore diet, the super-carb diet? All of these diets can be shown to actually lose weight. Everyone hangs their shingle in one of those diets. Ari, it’s typically the diet helped you. Listen, my life was horrible and I became a vegan. I feel so much better. Now what they forget is, a year later now they have new symptoms and they don’t think it’s vegan diet because that helped them. But meanwhile, it could be the vegan diet for multiple reasons. And I’ll pick on paleo, I’ll pick on keto the same way, we already did. The point is the magic is in the change not as much the diet. Every one of those diets have benefits.

Ari: Well said.

Dr. Pompa: Even the carnivore diet. You get these people and they follow the carnivore diet and they show their blood work. My cholesterol dropped, this drop, that dropped. So they make this thing that we should be in a carnivore diet all the time. And I just go, oh my gosh. It’s like, I get it. Short-term, carnivore diet will clean the house, man. But stay there, you’re going to have new problems.

Ari: For sure. Maybe with that one more than anything.

Dr. Pompa: I agree with you. This is one of the things that woke me up. I spent some time with a little hunting-gathering tribe in Zimbabwe, it was North? We drove eight hours into the bush to get to this tribe that had recently just come out of the deep mountains because of a severe drought. Those cloths that you’re seeing were given to them because they came down into where these other tribes exist and World Vision gave them the clothes.

But the people that brought me there said something unique. And they said, Doctor Pompa, I know you have a hard stop. This is my last point, by the way. Doctor Pompa, we noticed that this tribe has no disease even to speak of, and yet they don’t even eat. And I said, no, they eat. They’re still hunting, gathering. Let them go. Do not give them food. He said they don’t accept it. They don’t want it. They want to stick to their ways. I said, that’s smart. So it was just amazing. I could tell you a story after story about that tribe. But anyways, this is the last one. Neurotoxins, and I’ll just say this because it’s huge in my tree.

Ari: I should mention, we have Warren Phillips doing another presentation on cellular detox. I know you guys are, I think business partners.

Dr. Pompa: Exactly. Him and I developed a product called CytoDetox, which helps detox. Toxins can affect hormone and start hormone problems. It will absolutely lead to failure and fasting and weight gain problems, hormone problems. So CytoDetox is what I’ve taught for 20 years. Matter of fact, I got Warren’s life back. He was working in environmental industry and he got very sick. And anyways, I had him read some of my work and he’s been a passionate partner of mine in spreading the message because of his own story. So, thank you Ari. I hope this is a blessing.

Ari: Yeah, this was awesome. And I think it’s such a perfect addition and supplement to all the other information that we’re getting. No one else has talked on this topic of diet variation. And I agree with you. I think it’s a really critical factor. Very powerful, very overlooked. So I really appreciate you sharing this information. I think it’s awesome stuff. It’s brilliant. Thank you so much, Doctor Pompa. For people who are interested in following your work or learning more from you and the products, books, and programs you offer, where’s the best place to do that? 

Dr. Pompa: Just go to my website, D-R, Pompa, P-O-M-P-A .com. SO and you could find my book there. You could find my other things, my Facebook where I have a huge following. But check it out.

Ari: Beautiful. Thanks so much. That was great.

Dr. Pompa: Awesome. Thanks, Ari.

Show Notes

Going beyond fasting (04:55)
The pros and cons of the keto diet (24:13)
How to balance mTOR (34:25)
Finding the best way to fast (41:44)


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