To Slow the Aging Process Stopping Eating All the Time
Once when I was talking to someone about my book on aging and the actions that we can take to slow it, this person asked me what was my most important piece of anti-aging advice, it was and is: “Stop eating all the time.”
This piece of advice is also important when it comes to staying lean and/or losing fat.
The most robust (non-genetic) intervention known for prolonging the lifespan of lab animals is calorie restriction (CR). Animals that have their food restricted from 10 to 50% of that of fully-fed animals live much longer, in some cases 50% longer.
Many theories have arisen as to why CR increases lifespan.
One theory is that CR results in less fat tissue, and that this is crucial to longer life. Other theories have to do with repressed insulin signaling and/or increased autophagy, the cellular self-cleansing process that rids cells of junk.
Likely all of these theories are related to each other mechanistically you can’t have greater autophagy without reduced insulin signaling, which in turn leads to lower fat mass
I like to focus on autophagy, because this is a marker within our control to some extent.
Aging is characterized by a decline in the amount and amplitude of autophagy, which allows increased amounts of cellular damage and junk to accumulate.
Autophagy is strongly cyclical, rising and falling over periods of hours and days. Eating strongly decreases autophagy, and fasting increases it.
I hope you see where I am going with this.
If aging means less autophagy and more damage accumulation, and fasting increases autophagy, then fasting fights aging.
In fact, intermittent fasting is the most potent anti-aging strategy available.
Now, if we eat all the time, we never enter the fasting state and never up-regulate autophagy.
Eating constantly or every few hours, or “grazing” as it’s called, is one of the most potent pro-aging actions available. So stop eating all the time.
The Big Q: How often does eating have to be to constitute “all the time”?
The Big A: it’s helpful to look at what people did in the old days you know, about 40 years ago, before the obesity epidemic started or before the era of industrial processed food and cheap fast-food restaurants.
It was common for people to fast for 12 hours daily, from dinner in the evening until breakfast the next morning. Many mothers often told their children, “Better eat your dinner because there won’t be anything until breakfast.”
My mother did.
As we age, insulin resistance increases, fat tissue accumulates, and autophagy declines.
But we can fix that to a great extent by fasting longer than 12 hours. By 16 to 18 hours, autophagy proceeds at a rip-roaring pace, clearing out damage making cells young again.
Obesity has many causes, all working together to produce it.
But one factor that does not get enough attention is the frequency with which we eat. When we eat constantly, insulin never drops by much, and so lipolysis, the exit of fat from fat cells, cannot take place.
Contrary to popular belief, energy expenditure has not decreased in recent years and is similar in modern people to that of wild, non-overweight, mammals.
Westerners seem to expend the same amount of energy as hunter-gatherers. Hunter-gatherers of course eat different food from Westerners, but they also don’t eat all the time.
Furthermore, energy expenditure can increase with fasting. And our distant ancestors way back in the 1960’s had a far lower rate of obesity while eating, in general, lots of crappy food. They were not interested in “health food”, but largely managed to keep obesity at bay anyway.
The lesson is clear, to stay lean and/or lose weight, stop eating all the time.
Current mainstream advice on losing weight seems to be to eat constantly in order to keep your metabolism up.
In fact, the admonition to eat constantly, or graze, is the kind of BS weight-loss advice that’s perpetuating the obesity epidemic.
Can you really lose weight by eating more often?
No, you cannot.
Not only will someone who eats constantly fail to lose much weight, but he/she promote aging and the diseases that go with it.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively
By P. D. Mangan
Mr. Mangan has written 6 books on health and fitness
Paul Ebeling, Editor