Fasting and Silicon Valley

iFasting, Mouth Timer, Grumbli, Foodless Lite, Pizza Prison, Fork Busters. These are the names of companies which are based on a current craze in Silicon Valley: Fasting. Silicon Valley is filled with young, affluent, pampered, intelligent people who, among other things, are always on the lookout of what could improve their comfort, physical, emotional or intellectual—and for many it also includes what among what is new can be monetized and bring them the rewards it has for some already well-known people. The current research behind fasting, however, explains much and one cannot be surprised that it is a current fad.  The research says that fasting, reduced caloric intake or restricted diets boost energy and cognitive ability. There is also the research on mice indicating that low caloric intake promotes longevity.  I wouldn’t want to live in a world without science, but I am aware that scientific notions do often alter with time. When I was these people’s age, for example, the prevailing notion about fasting was that it  fulfilled the need to detoxify your body and because detoxification prevented disease it could therefore be a boon to health.

Why shouldn’t these young enterprising people fast if they want to? I can’t tell them not to. Not only is it their right, it is after all their freewill, their decision. In addition for all I or anyone knows it may be a necessary phase they need to undergo. The whole issue of fasting and restricted intake is not one of right or wrong. Yet, for someone like me, it is one of thoughtfulness, awareness and social consciousness. I wonder how refugees and migrants would feel about such topics, and how they would react should the research about reduced caloric intake be shared with them. In fact I doubt that the life expectancy in many poor countries (and I realize there are other factors at work) would correlate restricted food intake and longevity. And too there’s the whole issue of turning a fad into profits. It may be so emblematic of our contemporary culture, still it leaves me with how much these young entrepreneurs could accomplish to reduce human suffering if  they would turn their abilities towards reducing inequalities and evening out opportunities.

One thought on “Fasting and Silicon Valley”

  1. Love this comparison of how fasting is seen by the affluent or at least the comfortable versus by the most vulnerable of us. The difference is telling and shows up the fad for what it is, which includes monetary rewards for its promoters and excessive absorption with health and/or appearance by followers.
    In a time when there are so many people living insecure lives, fasting with all its apps, gizmos etc seems more like misplaced energy.

    Fasting as a hunger strike or quietly doing it just by say drinking juice for a few days can serve a purpose. But monetizing fasting as a business is harmful in the face of global need.

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