For centuries, we have been told that foods we eat (especially meat, sugar and dairy products) are the cause of all our ills. Today, if we look at science, we know that’s not the case. If you look at the science, the cause of most of our health problems lies in the foods we eat. What we eat can be the cause of our developing a condition (like diabetes or high cholesterol), or the cause of an existing condition (like heart disease or obesity).
The word “fasting” comes from the Latin “fainere,” meaning “to fast,” and every calorie restriction diet emphasizes reducing calorie intake to some extent. Most plans encourage eating only certain types of food, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains. Some say that eating non-starchy vegetables reduces chronic diseases and promotes weight loss, but others say the opposite is true and that eating starchy foods will keep you full.
You’ve probably read a lot about the benefits of intermittent fasting, like losing weight, reducing your risk of many diseases, and improving your overall health. But since this is a blog about food (duh), we’ll take a look at intermittent fasting and see where it falls short. If you’re interested in intermittent fasting, you’re probably already aware that it’s a tricky subject. There are a lot of myths about it, some of which have been around for so long that they’ve become widely accepted as fact. Some even claim that this “new” diet plan is the fountain of youth, which seems like a pretty outlandish notion. Let’s examine the most common misconceptions about intermittent fasting, and see if there is any truth to them.
Is it possible to live longer if we eat less? We examine two increasingly popular diets and their possible effect on longevity in this article.
For thousands of years, we have been looking for a fountain of youth as a species. If you ask your doctor what the key is to living to be 100, he or she would probably chuckle and tell you to eat well, stay active, and cross your fingers – luck and genetics play a big role.
However, you’ve undoubtedly heard of diets that claim to help you live a longer and healthier life.
People who practice calorie restriction and intermittent fasting believe that you can live much more (and better) with less food. I don’t want to upset them since they are happy to be fringe people.
If we want to live long enough to witness time travel and flying vehicles, should we all shrink and/or skip meals?
We’ll have to wait and see.
What exactly is aging, and why does it happen?
Our germ cells – the cells from which eggs and sperm are formed to create children – have a molecular clock set to zero. If this were not the case, infants would be born at the age of their mother or father!
If ageless cells already exist, humans may one day be able to live forever. At least in principle, it’s feasible.
So, what’s the deal with growing older?
We don’t know for sure.
We know that maintaining cells and repairing damage that happens throughout life requires a lot of energy. The signs of wear are visible. Cells, like automobiles, break down.
Our cells’ nuclei and mitochondria begin to accumulate DNA damage. Meanwhile, the older we grow, the more difficult it becomes to make things right. At some point, the damage is serious enough that our cells are unable to repair it.
Our cells (and tissues) become oxidized, irritated, and/or loaded with waste products as a result of this. Chronic illnesses such as cancer, metabolic, and/or neurological problems result as a result of this.
And, in case you hadn’t noticed, this decrease in function leads to death.
Of course, we’d all want to discover a method to avoid it.
It may not be too far away (and no, we won’t have to wait for robot avatars to take over our bodies).
If the processes that cause aging and death are linked to the variables that cause chronic illness, then we may concentrate on avoiding cellular damage and the health issues that it creates to delay aging and death.
It’s very lovely.
Of course, if you want to age gracefully, you should begin with a nutritious diet. You may, however, take it a step farther. Dietary restriction that is reasonable and well-thought out has been shown to be beneficial.
Let’s take a step back and define lifetime before we get into the specifics.
How are you doing?
Life expectancy has gradually risen in recent decades, thanks to advancements such as improved cleanliness, vaccines, the use of antibiotics and antivirals, and life-extending therapies for cancer and heart disease.
The average age of children born in 2013 is 78.7 years. That’s a five-year increase over life expectancy in 1980. According to one research, if medical advancements continue, life expectancy at birth may reach almost 90 years by 2050.
Why should we be concerned about aging, given this upward trend?
Our health – the number of years we are healthy and disease-free – is decreasing, despite the fact that our life expectancy is rising due to modern treatment.
More over one-third of the population in the United States is obese, according to the World Health Organization. If present lifestyle patterns continue, about the same amount of individuals will acquire diabetes by 2050.
Of course, we are living longer and longer as a population.
And, thankfully, we now believe it is critical. As soon as we become vulnerable, no one takes us out to sea on an iceberg and abandons us.
However, we do not necessarily live better lives.
We get it through thanks to the duct tape of medicine and surgery. With the assistance of life’s help and errors, we go ahead as best we can.
We make it through… yet we don’t always flourish.
There are, fortunately, alternative choices.
We can live longer and healthier lives by changing our nutrition and increasing our physical activity.
Restriction on calories
Calorie restriction (CR) is defined as decreasing food consumption while avoiding malnutrition, according to researchers.
This typically entails consuming 30-40% less calories than the average daily need in animal experiments. This equates to a daily calorie intake of approximately 1200 calories for women and 1400 calories for males.
Dogs, rodents, worms, flies, yeast, various species of beetles, and (potentially) non-human primates have all had their life prolonged by 30-50 percent because to CR.
Wow! If that’s the case, why aren’t we all dieting?
(Except for the fact that most of us like eating.)
First and foremost, it concerns animal experimentation. And just because something is true for an animal grown in a lab doesn’t imply it is true for people in the wild.
Humans outlive the animals used in the CR studies by a long shot. A mouse that has been on a low-calorie diet for a year has just spent half of his life doing so.
Furthermore, since the manufactured foods to which many people have grown hooked are not particularly healthy, a 30-50 percent decrease in calorie consumption of contemporary humans may quickly lead to malnutrition. In such scenario, CR has a better chance of reducing the length of your illness (and possibly your life expectancy).
Simply said, you are not a rat.
However, there is solid evidence that even a 15% reduction in calorie consumption may be beneficial in the long run. Let’s look at it more closely.
Trial in Okinawa
You’ve probably heard of Okinawa, a Japanese island. Only 50 Okinawans out of 100,000 will live to reach 100 years old.
This is five times higher than in the United States.
Researchers, of course, are not left out of the equation. Why do people in Okinawa live so long?
According to the findings of a study:
- In comparison to US inhabitants, Okinawans experienced 80% fewer deaths from coronary heart disease and 40% fewer deaths from cancer.
- Older Okinawans ate 1780 calories per day, which is 11-15 percent less than what is usually advised for body weight maintenance.
- Adults have a BMI of 21 (compared to 29 in the United States), and individuals reach their peak in early adulthood.
- The elderly were given a diet that was low in protein and rich in functional foods, which are foods that are thought to improve health (and therefore likely to enhance the effects of calorie restriction).
- At all ages, Okinawan children who did not follow the CR diet had a higher BMI, as well as a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes and a greater risk of heart disease.
It should be emphasized that this was not a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment. As a consequence, the relevance of these findings is still debatable.
Nonetheless, these findings are intriguing since they reach a large number of individuals.
Furthermore, a negative check was provided by the younger population, who ate more like normal contemporary people. He demonstrated that, for genetic or other reasons, Okinawans do not naturally live long lives.
Could Okinawans’ low-calorie diet be the reason they don’t get chronic diseases?
Protein, on the other hand, is an essential component that should not be ignored.
Is it all about the protein?
Of fact, elderly Okinawans consume very little. They don’t absorb a lot of protein in particular.
Reduced levels of the hormone insulin-like growth factor-1, or IGF-1, have been shown to influence lifespan in humans in controlled experiments. How may IGF-1 levels be reduced? Reduce your protein intake.
This indicates that if we don’t cut down on protein, cutting calories has little effect on our life expectancy. (This works differently for rodents, proving once again that you aren’t a rat.)
In humans, successful calorie restriction is basically a combination of calorie restriction and protein restriction.
Should we, like the Okinawans, cut our protein intake in order to reach the big 100?
It isn’t required.
To begin with, IGF-1 plays a critical function in infant development. It’s no surprise that Okinawans are short people. Even fewer people than the rest of Japan’s population.
IGF-1 is required for adult muscular growth.
This is why lowering protein intake and attempting to maintain (or increase) muscle mass are mutually incompatible objectives.
This may make you question whether you’re aiming for six sets or just increasing your strength.
It turns out that this isn’t the only disadvantage of a low-calorie, high-protein diet over time. We are likewise in danger under such a regime:
- Growth hormones, insulin, and thyroid hormones are all broken down.
- Muscle atrophy as people become older (called sarcopenia)
- Osteoporosis is characterized by a decrease in bone mass and a worsening of the disease.
- Health problems with the heart (IGF-1 helps support heart muscle).
- Amenorrhoea is a kind of amenorrhoea that occurs (absence of menstruation)
- Immune system deterioration and delayed repair
- Fertility and libido are both affected.
- Athletic performance is deteriorating, and strength is dwindling.
- Cognitive skills deteriorate as the person becomes more forgetful.
Why do Okinawans seem to be able to avoid these issues?
This is most likely due to your nutrient-dense diet. Aspects of the environment and lifestyle may also have an impact. They’ve been eating in this manner for generations, so it’s conceivable they’ve adapted.
Fortunately, calorie restriction is not the only option available to those of us who wish to live longer and stay healthy.
Fasting on a regular basis
Intermittent fasting (IF) may seem complicated. In actuality, it simply refers to a lengthy period without eating.
Many cultures throughout the globe naturally suffer IF in some way. Many of them exhibit no indications of cancer, neurodegeneration, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or high blood pressure, which are all common age-related issues.
Fasting is an important aspect of many people’s lives. In its most basic form, IF is known as…. sleep.
IF may be achieved in a variety of methods, including skipping meals, alternate fasting days, Stop Eating, and others. Intermittent Fasting Experiments, PN’s famous free e-book on the topic, has the entire tale.
According to recent studies, IF may help manage blood sugar, control blood lipids, lower the risk of coronary heart disease, control body weight, help us acquire (or maintain) lean body mass, lower the risk of cancer, and more when done properly.
Because this study is still in its early stages, there is a lot of opportunity for doubt. However, there is some evidence that FI may have a major effect on our health’s longevity.
As a result, FM may be a more effective way of extending life since it is non-invasive.
- Long-term CR has the same metabolic advantages as this.
- There aren’t many bad side effects. CR
- Psychologically, it’s simpler to control and, as a result, to respect.
- It won’t necessarily help you lose weight (though it will if that isn’t your aim), but it will protect you against metabolic harm.
Finally, intermittent fasting, often known as IG, is a similar regimen. The concept is the similar, but the fasting cycles are longer (typically 2 days or more) and spaced by at least a week to allow for the replenishment of lost weight.
According to research, PF causes more dramatic changes in growth factors and metabolic indicators than IF, implying that it may provide greater health benefits. However, it needs to be proven what is really optimal for long-term health.
We divide IF and PF into the following groups in general: Inconclusive….. But fascinating.
IF NOT FOR EVERYONE
For some people, intermittent fasting is not a healthy choice.
Women who lead active lives should be particularly cautious. We just don’t know whether the advantages of IF for female athletes outweigh the dangers.
And we strongly advise against using the IF if:
- You’re expecting a child.
- You’ve dealt with eating problems before.
- You have a long-term stress problem (which many of us do in the 21st century).
- You can’t get a good night’s sleep.
- You’re fresh to the worlds of diet and fitness.
If any of the above apply to you, there are many additional actions you may take to enhance your health. Before you consider fasting, concentrate on it.
What role does movement play?
Everyone should perform temperament exercises many times a week, it goes without saying.
Exercise and intermittent fasting, on the other hand, have a synergistic impact on insulin sensitivity and inflammation.
While there is no scientific evidence that exercise increases life expectancy in and of itself, the established health advantages of exercise, such as increased aerobic performance, muscle mass, strength, and bone density, are enough to persuade most individuals.
If you include exercise into your daily routine, you may reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Exercise is now the best recognized treatment for age-related muscle loss. No other medication even comes close.
What do animal research on exercise and FI reveal? It may surprise you to learn that our most popular exercise model, Mus musculus, or the common mouse, does not succumb to the same illnesses that we humans do. Kidney disease and cancer are the most common problems they face. Mickey’s desire for everlasting existence is not aided by the workout.
So, what did I say? You’re not a rat, believe it or not.
What should I do now?
There is currently inadequate data to suggest CR as a long-term anti-aging therapy with confidence.
Remember that CR puts you at risk for malnutrition. Because CR necessitates protein restriction, the dangers to one’s health are likely to exceed the possible advantages.
Not to mention the fact that CR is a significant commitment that may be difficult to balance with social obligations.
For those searching for a fountain of youth, FI seems to be a better choice than CR (and not afraid to experiment on their own).
Which of the IF protocols should I use?
Because various rodent species react to different dietary restrictions in different ways, the IF method that best suits your lifestyle may also be the best for you. (As well as genetics, but we haven’t gotten to that yet.)
We know that as soon as our glycogen (energy supply) is exhausted, our bodies begin to respond as though they are hungry – typically within 12 to 24 hours.
Since a result, a slightly longer overnight fast may be the best balanced option for most people, as it may offer the same advantages as the more severe IF diets while having little or no effect on our everyday routine.
The best piece of advise is to relax (remember, this is intermittent fasting, not intermittent eating).
To get started, follow these steps:
- Be open to new ways of defining IF for yourself. Try not to eat too late in the evening and have a larger breakfast in the morning as a starting point.
- Then skip breakfast a couple of times a week.
- Consider adopting a real 12-16 hour overnight fast after you’ve seen how you feel during a lengthy fast.
- Make a strategy when you break your fast. Consume complete, nutritious foods. It’s not healthy for you to eat peanuts.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle by being active and exercising on a regular basis.
- Consult your doctor before beginning any dietary restrictions, including these, if you are underweight, have type I diabetes, or have high blood pressure.
Intermittent fasting is not for everyone, yet again. However, for some individuals, it may help them become in shape and act as a fountain of youth.
To view the sources of information used in this article, go here.
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Better eating, moving, and living are all things that can be improved.
The realm of health and fitness may be perplexing at times. However, this isn’t always the case.
You’ll discover the ideal diet, exercise, and lifestyle recommendations for you, tailored to your specific needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is better intermittent fasting or calorie restriction?
The answer to this question is highly dependent on the individual. Some people find intermittent fasting easier and more sustainable than calorie restriction, while others find it difficult and unsustainable.
Is intermittent fasting just calorie restriction?
No, intermittent fasting is a different way to eat that has been shown to have many health benefits.
Is intermittent fasting good for youth?
Intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight and keep it off. It has been shown to have many health benefits, including increased longevity.