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Eat Fast and Live Longer



Eat, fast and live longer

reposted from – minus the speculative trash about evolutionary biology
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We’re currently in the midst of the Muslim month of Ramadan. The holy month of fasting. All Muslims – of capable age and health – are expected to fast from sunrise to sunset. No water. No food. No sex. No dirty thoughts!

Why am I mentioning this? I’m not exactly the religious type.

I’ve always thought of fasting as something unpleasant, with no obvious long-term benefits. However, scientists have recently begun uncovering evidence that short periods of fasting, if properly controlled, could achieve a number of spectacular health benefits.

I watched a fascinating ’Horizon’ documentary on BBC television today. It’s available on BBC iPlayer on the internet if you can get access. The documentary was called ‘Eat, Fast and live longer’. The presenter ‘Michael Mosley’ was examining the science behind fasting. What he found was mind-expanding to say the least. You might not think it but fasting – or calorie restriction – can drastically improve your life-span, and help you to age gracefully. It can increase your life-span by decades, drastically reduce the probability of you dying from a heart attack or cancer, and make your brain cells grow so that you are at much lower risk of contracting Alzheimers and other brain diseases associated with old age.

Science is beginning to catch up – and this is what the latest cutting-edge science has to say:

The normal daily recommended calorific intake of 2,000 calories for men puts the body in ‘work’ and ‘growth’ mode. When the body is in ‘growth mode’ cells divide, DNA replicates and the body burns calories and lays down fat deposits. Effectively the body is in go-go mode. In gear five. This is all triggered by a chemical called IGF-1 (Insulin like growth factor). When you eat the normal recommended amount of calories the blood IGF-1 levels are high. It is the IGF-1 that puts the body into growth mode.

If you go into fasting mode, or if you drastically reduce your calorific intake, blood IGF-1 levels are drastically reduced and; this is the key thing, the body then goes into ‘repair mode‘. Faced with a reduction in calories, the body instead of diverting resources to grow cells, replicate and all other growth responses, it starts to repair itself. It’s almost like the body has a breather and goes into gear 1, and starts to repair DNA damage, repair cell membranes, repair internal structures and even repair brain cells. As levels of IGF-1 hormone drop, a number of repair genes appear to get switched on.

But it’s not simply about eating less. It’s about stimulating the body to go into repair mode, and the way you do that is to take a drastic reduction in calories for a couple of days. You can help by eating less protein and more plant matter. One current area of research is the 5:2 diet. That’s 5 days of eating normally followed by 2 days of a restricted calorie diet of about 600 calories per day (500 for a woman). If you do this diet for say 5 weeks you’ll lose weight, your IGF-1 levels will drop so your body will go into repair mode for considerably longer, your blood glucose and cholesterol levels will also drop – and you’ll feel great. If you can sustain this diet the risk of you suffering from diabetes, cancer, heart disease and much much more – drops dramatically.


  • Hezzi

    i know its because those who say its easy have never tried foliowlng anything like that.i have been on different diets since i was like 13 my mom and dad and the whole community actually was giving pressure (i coma from very skinny people loving contry) and now i know it was all fad diets because none of them have a clue about nutrition everybody were just telling to eat less or dont eat at allnow i have been foliowlng this for about 2 years put it together myselffind daily calorie intake calculator on the net, enter all your stats and it will tell you how many calories you need a day to maintain, take off 300-400cal off that number and thats how much you need to 5-6 small meals a day (eat every 2-3 hours it optimizes your metabolism)5-8 servings of fruit and veggies a day8 glasses of waterhave complex carbs for breakfast they give you energyhave protein (lean meat, legumes etc) for dinner repairs musclecardio exercise 4-6 times a week for 30-50min (ideally 45min because the first 20-30min body burns carbs and only then starts burning fat), light weight training (more muscle=faster metabolism)dont consume foods that are made of white flour (white bread, cakes, pasta etc.), sugar loaded foods (cookies, icecream, candy etc) and nothing fried, oily.ofcourse you can spoil yourself once in a while with a little treat:)

  • Andres

    Ok..counting calories DOES work if you atlaluy stick to it! The trouble is, I can't stick to a calorie restricting diet! I try to eat around 1200 calories a day, but since I know that I CAN eat more without gaining any more weight..I do! So, then I have to start out all over again. I even have incorporated an hour of cardio in my workout..but I end up overeating on the days that I work out becuase I know that I can get away with it..isn't that so stupid!? I can't seem to stop..I really want to lose 15 pounds, but counting calories doesn't work for me because I simply can't stick to it! I've been trying this method for over six months!What should I do? when I was younger, I went on a totally fat free diet , elminating all fats, and processed sugar from my diet..I lost alot of weight! But, I have slowly gained back a little bit, because I've been eating junk..heheCan I go back on my old diet to lose the weight? Is it too unhealthy? for some reason, it works for me

    • Angus

      2 months later and my habits have changed a bit, but the weight has stayed off. What works for me is to drink a litre of water for breakfast. This kills any hunger feelings that exist. I tend to do this 3 or 4 weekday mornings. It also has the added bonus of freeing up time for me. I usually try and skip lunch 2-3 days per week by again resorting to the water bottle. This does mean that I am often ravenous in the evening. Sometimes I am better at controlling my hunger than other days. The net result is that I hover around the 74-76 kg mark (I am 1.86m). I do find I naturally eat more healthily nowadays, for the pure and simple reason that I am more conscious of what I am putting in my body. I have also found out the reducing calories lowers your metabolism rate, which means your body requires less energy to run itself. One consequence of this can be that you stop losing weight even if you are reducing the number of calories. This is for the simple reason that your body has become more efficient. This leaves you with 2 choices, to exercise more or to further cut the number of calories. I try to do a bit of both BTW 1200 calories is incredibly low. I am surprised there is anything left of you :)

      • online colleges

        You burn calories at rest. The higher your metabolism, the more calories you will burn while exercising, and the more you will burn at rest, the idea is to raise your metabolism.If you just QUIT eating, your body will go into starvation mode and think to itself “HEY no food coming in… all systems SLOW down we need to conserve what we’ve got” So you have to eat.If you have good muscle tone it is your goal not to lose it. You want to gain muscle and lose fat. Muscle also weighs more than fat, so instead of going so much by the ’scale’, you should be judging progress by how your clothes fit instead.So a person needs to eat… healthily. Every 4 hours, so you dont have that low blood sugar ‘crashing’ thing going on. No sugar, little fat, a lot of greens and veggies, drink much fluids (64 ounces a day plus an extra 8 ounces for every 20 pounds overweight), a ‘deck of cards’ sized portion worth of protein every day (only one day a week red meat) and complex carbohydrates (whole grains).IF you are taking in less food than the 2500 calories a person of normal weight would eat, then it is logical to assume you would be taking in less vitamins than you need, SO you need a daily vitamin supplement.The ideal exercise regimen would include 30 minutes of walking daily, three times a week aerobic training (get heart-rate up)and two or three times a week weight training. All this can be done at home (without a gym) but a gym with a personal fitness trainer is always nice. Oprah has one, why shouldn’t YOU?Also don’t forget about:-stress (dont need that… laughter best medicine, stay in good humor, be happy)-rest (need to sleep and get those REMs)-not smoking-little alcohol or caffieneI also say that you should do things to make yourself happy, like a nice hair trim (trip to salon for facial manicure pedicure etc.)buy a nice new shirt every time you lose five pounds and get your teeth bleached at the dentist office.Good luck on reaching your goal and congratulations on your progress thus far.

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