Fasting promotes health, longevity | News, Sports, Jobs

America is considered by many around the world to be the land of plenty, dare I say, even excess. This can be demonstrated by the size of a typical entree in a European restaurant compared to an American establishment. A nutrition concept as old as Neanderthals is making a comeback and getting a lot of press for its health benefits. The feast and famine cycle of food intake was normal for thousands of years. Therefore, this is what our body is built for. Evolution has taught our bodies to expect periods of deprivation.

Many studies have suggested that intermittent fasting can be good for us. It helps reset your body to using fat as its primary fuel, and growing evidence confirms that when your body adapts to burning fat instead of sugar, you significantly reduce your risk of chronic disease. . Not only do people see improvements in heart health, blood pressure and cholesterol, with occasional periods of reduced food intake, but even in their insulin sensitivity. Numerous studies seem to indicate that fasting can reduce the risk of diabetes in those most at risk.

During fasting, the body is unable to get its energy from the food eaten, it draws on glucose which is stored in the liver and muscles, but once depleted the fat is turned into the primary energy source. Obviously, this appeals to those who wish to lose weight. In the end, you will consume fewer calories (unless you compensate by eating a lot more at other meals). Plus, short-term fasting increases your metabolic rate by about 8%, helping you burn even more calories. This “program” Food consumption works on both ends of the calorie equation: fewer calories consumed and more calories burned (due to an increased metabolic rate).

This change in fat burning has a number of other important effects. When you are constantly “feast mode”, meaning if you eat 3 full meals a day and snack once or twice a day, your body is actually giving up a lot of its natural resources. “repair and rejuvenation programming”. When you fast, your body initiates repair processes for damaged cells, such as removing waste from cells. It also decreases the accumulation of free radicals in the cell, substances that can degrade our cells. An increase in human growth hormone, which also slows the aging process, is another way fasting increases longevity. Fasting appears to be associated with greater longevity and a reduction in the adverse effects of aging and disease.

As mentioned earlier, intermittent fasting can reduce the body’s sensitivity to insulin, thereby lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes. This is critically important, given the current diabetes epidemic in our society. Studies show a significant reduction in blood sugar associated with occasional fasting. Other benefits appear to include cancer prevention, improved brain function, and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Some studies also indicate that it produces an increase in nerve cell growth.

A starvation diet promotes both weight loss and greater longevity in animal studies, but is not very appealing to most humans. The latest research shows that you can get most if not all of the same benefits from severe calorie restriction through intermittent fasting, which is an eating schedule in which you feast on certain days and drastically cut calories on others. The 5:2 plan, in which 500 calories or less are consumed two days a week, has become increasingly popular and much more accessible.

Certainly, there are those who shouldn’t attempt such a plan (although some degree of calorie restriction is important for everyone). People who are underweight, hypoglycemic, or insulin dependent should not attempt such a diet, nor should those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. And consulting your doctor before attempting this is always a good idea. People with certain hormonal issues should refrain from this type of calorie restriction, but it seems from all available evidence that it is a way to promote true health and longevity for most of us. we. And it doesn’t require any pills or new equipment; just one “in good health” dose of will.

Dr. Conway McLean is a physician who practices foot and ankle medicine in the Upper Peninsula, with an upcoming expansion into the Hancock-Houghton area. McLean has lectured internationally on wound care and surgery, being certified in surgery, orthotics and wound care. He has a sub-specialty in foot-ankle orthotics. Dr. McLean welcomes topic requests for future articles at [email protected]

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