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Telegram founder gives up eating food to come up with 'great ideas' for messaging app

Six days into the extreme fast Pavel Durov says he is 'feeling great', but experts warn of dangers

Anthony Cuthbertson
Thursday 06 June 2019 16:38 BST
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Telegram founder Pavel Durov has lived in self-imposed exile from Russia since 2014
Telegram founder Pavel Durov has lived in self-imposed exile from Russia since 2014 (Pavel Durov/ VK)

The founder of Telegram has given up eating food in the hope of coming up with new ideas for the messaging app.

Pavel Durov, who is sometimes referred to as the Russian Mark Zuckerberg after founding the social network VK, has lived in self-imposed exile from his home country since 2014 after refusing to allow authorities to access people's private data.

He is known for his dietary restraint, having given up caffeine, meat, drugs, alcohol and fast food over 15 years ago. Last month he revealed he was limiting the food he eats to fish and seafood, but on Thursday he announced he had given up food altogether.

"This month I'm trying something more radical, with consuming no food at all," he wrote on his Telegram channel.

"I've been on a water fast for the last six days and am feeling great so far. Since zero food consumption improves clarity of thought, I also got many things done on the product-management side."

Such an extreme fast like the one Mr Durov is undertaking is not recommended by medical professionals and there is little evidence to suggest it could increase creatiivity.

The NHS warns that even intermittent fasting comes with numerous health risks, such as heartburn, and can also trigger eating disorders.

Survivalist experts often cite the 'rule of three' as a rough estimation for how long the human body can survive in an emergency.

It states that someone can last roughly three minutes without oxygen, three days without water and three weeks without food before they die.

A person's ability to survive without these essentials is dependant on their physical condition.

Doctor and author Alan D. Lieberson noted in a 2004 Scientific American article that "the duration of survival without food is greatly influenced by factors such as body weight, genetic variation, other health considerations and, most importantly, the presence of absence of dehydration."

Mr Durov acknowledged certain physical side effects to his radical regime but claimed it would ultimately be for the greater good of Telegram users.

"Obviously I might lose some muscle mass as a result, but I believe that if I manage to come up with new great ideas for Telegram during the fast, it will be beneficial for all of the millions of Telegram users," he wrote.

"And making the lives of our users more enjoyable has been and will be my number one priority."

For information and support about eating disorders, you can ring the Beat helpline from the UK on 0808 801 0677 or visit the website.

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