2 simple steps for healhtier and longer life
- control a frequency of eating (intermittent fasting)
- don’t eat processed food and refined sugar (eat organic food)
There are more factors of course like sleep, stress, excersice, etc. that all boil down to the lenght of your telomeres eventually. But these 2 points above are quite important. How many times per day do you eat? And more importantly, when and what? I will assume that an avarage would be 5–6 times a day starting at 8am and having a last meal or snack at 10pm. I used to eat quite a lot and quite often. I have always had a slim figure and never had a problem with overweight, but now I know that I was poisoning myself when I consumed bread with nutella right before going to bed. I was able to finish this delicious meal with snickers and coca-cola. It looks like I was addicted to sugar. Some studies have been conducted on rats that show sugar is more addictive than cocaine. If you want to know more about sugar, its history and politics in sugar industry, read a book The case against sugar by Gary Taubes. It seems that sugar is responsible for a lot of diseases. There was a time when I had a high blood pressure and I like to think that just by reducing refined sugar from my diet it went back to normal. It could be something else of course, but I will let you do your own research. But let’s now focus a bit more on a meal frequency. Check out the following statement:
The chronically fed state is further encouraged by the common notion that ‘‘nutrition is an emergency’’ and that frequent feeding is beneficial, despite numerous studies suggesting the beneficial effects of intermittent fasting, diets that mimic fasting, calorie restriction, protein restriction, and prolonged medically supervised water fasts. However, not only do calorie restriction, alternate day fasting, and periodic fasting have a long history in society, they are the only mechanisms by which life/healthspan has been extended in the laboratory. [resource]
Let’s imagine you have your first meal at 8am. If you skip a lunch and have a dinner at 6pm as a last meal (I mean no snacks afterwards), we are talking about intermittent fasting. That’s just one possible form of it. You could skip breakfast instead of lunch, you could fast 12, 16, 20 hours, or go even for a longer fasts that last more than 1 day. The idea is to give your system some time for cleansing (check out also autophagy and apoptosis). If you bombard it with processed food and refined sugar, it doesn’t have time to rest and it’s clearly not good for you. But if I crave those delicious snacks how could I go without food for such a long time? You may ask. Well, human body goes to state of ketosis when fasting. Have you heard of ketogenic diet? It is low carb (avoid sugar, pasta, bread, etc.), high fat diet (eat avocados, coconut oil, eggs, grass fed beef, etc.) that could help you stay away from food for a longer period of time, because the gut cells store lipids for like 18 hours. Your body will slowly shift the source of energy. Glucose, a fuel that keeps you functioning will be replaced by ketone bodies ( beta-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate, acetone) produced by a liver from fatty acids. Keep in mind that there are differences between ketogenic diet and fasting. Even people on ketogenic diet can get fat for example if they eat too frequently.
In the fasted state, metabolic energy is completely sourced from body stores. If the fast continues, glycogen stores will eventually be depleted and a shift to fat oxidation will ensue. Fatty acid-derived ketones can not only contribute to metabolic activity but also provide up to 60%–70% of brain energy needs during long periods of glycogen depletion; blood glucose concentrations are maintained by gluconeogenesis and glucogenic amino acids sourced from protein stores. [resource]
To sum it up, a brain would use up to 70% of ketones as a source of energy, and even if you didn’t get any glucose from food, a body is capable of creating its own resources thanks to gluconeogenesis. Keto adapted people report mental clarity, more energy, performence enhancments etc. Moreover beta-hydroxybutyrate plays a significant role in affecting gene expressions, but I am not gonna dig into epigenetics.
There is also a common misconception about loosing muscles in the fasted state. But as you can see, when you fast you burn fat that is transformed to ketones. Of course if you decided to do an extremly long fast and your body fat percentage would drop to around 4% (elite male runners have like 8%) then you would burn also protein. Our ancestors went days without food and they were ok. Or just imagine people in concentration camps. In one of my favourite books Man’s search for meaning doctor V.Frankl describes his experience of how much they could endure:
We were unable to clean our teeth, and yet inspite of that and a severe vitamin deficiency we had healthier gums than ever before.
Interesting. I have personaly tried to fast for almost 2 days. After several waves of hunger I didn’t feel hunger at all and I felt pretty good and energized. Just remember when you have a big pizza and a beer for a lunch, do you feel energized afterwards? It’s the opposite right? There is also a great book The complete guide to fasting, so check it out if you are interested.
In this post I just wanted to point out a few key points about intermittent fasting and sugar. I didn’t cover things too much in detail but I provided some links and references to topics that you can dig into yourself . If you find it interesting, do your research, experiment a little bit to see what works best for you and maybe you will change your lifestyle so you can live healthier and longer life.