There are a lot of articles that list biohacking diet secrets and tips, and believe me, I have tried my fair share of them. Over the last fifteen years, I have experimented with how various diet, fitness, and lifestyle secrets affect my health and performance, as well as a few technologies that claim to have certain benefits as well, which is basically what biohacking is.
While I have written quite a bit about which biohacking secrets can help you to become your best self, which is what we – at The Hart of Health – like to call becoming the superhuman version of yourself, there are some tips and secrets that I have found just did not work for me. Here they are:
Biohacking Secret #1: Eat Small Meals, Five to Six Times a Day
This is one of the secrets that I have probably come across the most throughout my many years of doing research on health and wellness. I was particularly fascinated with diet, and at a young age, I started aiming to eat every three hours. Almost every article I read about how a certain celebrity lost weight said that they ate small meals, frequently throughout the day.
The reason why this idea started to spread around was that claims were made that it was a way to stabilise your blood sugar and insulin levels. The idea is that by eating regularly, your body should have a steady supply of energy, which should help to reduce hunger and cravings, and prevent you from feeling weak due to low blood glucose levels.
This belief has contributed to an epidemic of snacking throughout the world. Many people frequently go past the five or six meal recommendation, and actually end up grazing throughout the day. Eating too frequently can have a few negative effects to consider:
When you eat, regardless of whether it is just carbs, protein, or fat, or a combination of these macronutrients, your insulin levels will rise. Fat has the lowest impact, but it still breaks your fast and triggers some elevation.
With the health condition that I have, which is known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), symptoms are made worse by elevated insulin levels. By eating too frequently throughout the day, my condition was possibly made worse thanks to my insulin levels being high more than necessary.
It can make it a lot easier to overeat or eat too many calories when you eat too often. The less often you eat throughout the day, the fewer opportunities you have to overeat. Grazing throughout the day can also make it much easier to sneak in extra calories into your daily diet.
I highly recommend that you start experimenting with reducing your meal frequency. The ideal number of times to eat in a day is two or three. If you are currently eating six meals a day, you can gradually move down by first going down to five meals, then four, and then three and two if you want to. This is only if benefits, such as reducing insulin and overeating less often are part of your biohacking goals.
Biohacking Secret #2: Eat A Low-Fat Diet
Until about six years ago, I still believed that if you wanted to be as healthy as possible, you needed to follow a relatively low-fat diet. This is one of the worst biohacking secrets that I believed. I would longingly look at the fat on my meat at times, desperately wanting to eat it, but feeling too guilty to or embarrassed that others would judge me for eating it. My salvation came the day that I learned that you do not need to fear fat, but that the big enemies were, in fact, sugar and processed foods. The secrets were out, and I was free to enjoy fat while still following a healthy, biohacking diet.
There are many negative side effects of not consuming enough, or any, fat in your diet, which includes:
Poor Nutrient Absorption: A lot of micronutrients are fat-soluble, which means that you need to consume them along with fat in order to absorb them properly. These nutrients include vitamin A (found in liver, eggs, and cod liver oil), vitamin D (which you can get in eggs and mushrooms and from sunlight), vitamin E (found in nuts, seeds, and avocados), and vitamin K (which you can find in leafy green vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage). You do not have to memorise which foods these nutrients are found in. Just know that if you do eat, pair the meal with fat, so you will be sure that you will be able to absorb any fat-soluble nutrients that are present.
Impaired Brain Health and Functioning: Your brain is mostly made up of fat, and if you do follow a low-fat diet, then you will starve your brain of the building blocks that it needs in order to maintain its structure and function optimally. You want to consume a variety of different sources of fat, such as nuts, seeds, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, full-fat cheese and yoghurt, eggs, and various meats like chicken, beef, and fatty fish (like mackerel or salmon). That way, you will ensure that you consume a combination of saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fats.
You Become a Sugar Burner, not a Fat Burner: Trying to lose fat can be much harder on a low-fat diet. Most diet articles listing secrets for weight loss that I read while growing up claimed that a low-fat diet was best for fat loss, but the problem is that if you do not eat fat regularly, your body will not be used to burning fat to be used for fuel.
What happens then is that when you do run out of glucose that your body can use for energy, your blood sugar levels will drop, you will start to feel bad, and your body will start to break down muscle for energy (which can be turned into glucose easier) before it will start to burn your fat. By eating fat regularly, you are training your body to burn fat for energy, and then when you need energy in the future, your body will be able to access stored energy far easier. Adding enough healthy fat to your diet is one of the best biohacking secrets surrounding what you eat that you will come across.
There are many articles out there that claim they have the biohacking diet secrets that you need to transform your health, appearance, performance, and wellbeing, but it is your job to do your research properly, to look at a variety of sources, to experiment on yourself, and to throw out the biohacking secrets that do not work for you or that you have discovered do not work through thorough research. Secrets are sometimes meant to be shared, especially when it comes to biohacking.