Biohacking: New Silicon Valley Obsession

The new system of making changes to a lifestyle that has occupied the minds of many a Silicon Valley CEO has a sci-fi name of biohacking. However, despite the name, it does not mean mad scientists enhancing your body with weird implants. What does this “hacking” actually mean and is there anything to it? Let’s take a look at this trend.

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What is biohacking?

While most of us are likely to imagine a laboratory full of robots transmogrifying a person into a new terminator version when we hear about the curious “biohacking”, the trend is more trivial than it sounds.

Actually, all it implies is making your lifestyle healthier by an in-depth analysis of what elements in your bloodstream might benefit from a little tweaking, what changes should be made to your eating pattern, how much you should sleep, and what kind of exercises can help you achieve your health goals. The aim of such a comprehensive approach is to increase productivity, lose extra pounds (if there are any), and make a person feel better.

It does not sound that innovative, because following a healthy diet, exercising regularly and not skipping your 7-hour routine is what is recommended in any article on what a healthy lifestyle implies. The difference is in the details, i.e. the individual approach, following a special intermittent diet with periods of fasting, professional analysis of the body composition, and, of course, price.

Fashionable fasting

Those involved in biohacking track what they consume, monitor levels of glucose in their blood on a regular basis, and are really interested in their ketone levels. One of the distinctive features of biohacking is intermittent fasting: many of the Silicone Valley execs who practice it shun food for several days. They report feeling better and having their productivity increased by doing so. Such an eating pattern is based on another diet that became popular some time ago: it is called a 5:2 diet, and it implies eating the way you usually do for 5 days and reducing the amount of calories consumed within the following 2 days to 500 kcal. Fasting can be both beneficial and dangerous, but some execs, like Phil Libin, for example, are happy with what they are doing. However, biohacking is not limited to fasting alone: it means you should wear special gadgets monitoring your glucose and ketone levels, and track other vitals, which means quite a significant investment in frequent health exams, individual programs, and equipment.

Dangers of biohacking

From the medical point of view, there is not enough evidence suggesting intermittent diets are safe. Yet it’s not the only aspect of biohacking that poses a threat: if a person is obsessed with what he or she eats, such a passion can lead to orthorexia, an eating disorder characterized by obsession with the type of food you eat and whether it is healthy. It causes anxiety and makes a person think only about their body and what can benefit it. In many cases, such people suffer because of social isolation, the inability to eat with others in public places or even at home if the food is regarded as “inappropriate”, and other consequences of such behavior.

The message here is that it is not bad to avoid unhealthy food, but it is a terrible idea to turn healthy food into passion: by doing so, you risk losing what is really valuable.

If you want to make your lifestyle healthier, it is a much better option to start with changing yourself, trying to become a better person, exercising more, and yes – eating healthy food, but not at the cost of turning into a nutrient-obsessed person.

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