Sunday, July 6, 2008

Calorie Restriction and Fasting, Keys to Health and Longevity

A 2 day conference was held at UCLA recently on the lastest research on increasing health and longevity. Lots of things are being looked at, including understanding the very biology of how and why we age. Right now, the only proven way to increase health and longevity is through calorie restriction. Eat less, be lean and live longer, assuming you eat the right things, like vegetables and grains with the right protein, complex carboydrates and unsaturated fats.

Mini-fasts, or not eating for 12-24 hours, is also gaining attention. Many Mormans fast one day each month, only taking in water. In a study presented at the American Heart Association annual conference, those that do this have a 40 per cent reduction in cardiovascular disease (clogged arteries). Similar benefits have been found in those who practice the Islamic fasting of the Ramadan season (12 hour daylight fasting for about one month).

The bottom line here is that in our modern society, we eat too much. Food is abundant, even if it is getting more expensive. We eat out more than ever before and many studies show that when we eat out more, we consume more fat and total calories.

The evidence for calorie restriction and brief fasting is mounting and I think you will hear and read much more about this. Anyone can cut down on calories and eat the right things, we all know about that. It just takes discipline. If you want to fast more than skipping a few meals, talk with your physician if you have diabetes. Your medication may need to be adjusted.

I'm going to be 58 next month, and while I exercise a lot, I know that my 190 lbs are too much (I'm 5 ft, 11 in). My goal is to get to between 165 and 175 this year. How about you? This is not just about losing weight and looking better. This is about living longer and healthier.


Anonymous said...

This is very interesting.

I have always thought that if you fast, that your body "panics" and slows down fat burning, storing any fat that is taken in after?

I regularly exercise, but my nutrition is horrible. I am interested to learn more about fasting.

Thank you for the thought provocation!

jscherger said...

It is true that if you fast, your body's metabolism does slow down. This helps keep you alive at a time of famine or other starvation. But, fasting is still a viable way to lose weight.