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For years, a conventional dietary recommendation stated to stabilize your blood glucose and insulin levels (thereby optimizing power and maintaining a healthy weight) is to eat three square meals a day with little snacks in between. In addition to that, health specialists (affected by the food industry) claimed that processed foods fortified with RDA nutrients are just as good as, and possibly even better than, cooking from scratch.
Vegetable oil instead of saturated animal fats, low-fat rather than full-fat, and products fortified with iron and other minerals and vitamins are but a couple of examples. Today, science is obviously pointing out the fallacies of those strategies.
The most obvious danger with spreading your foods to morning, noon and evening is overeating. Other less obvious risks are biological changes that result in metabolic breakdown and the inability to burn off fat.
Bear in mind, our early ancestors didn't have access to food round the clock, year round, and from a historical perspective it's beyond obvious that the body was designed for intermittent periods of fasting -- either daily or seasonally, or both. In reality, modern research reveals several beneficial effects occur when you go for periods of time without eating, and the timing of those periods of fasting also seems to have a considerable influence in your biology.
In one, this singular meal period change was found to fight weight gain. In another, it was found to have a substantial influence in your cancer risk. There are logical reasons for these effects, which I will review here.
The first study1 discovered that eating a very early dinner, or skipping it completely, alters the way your body burns off fat and carbohydrates, leading to reduced hunger and enhanced fat burning. The crucial timing feature of the early time-restricted feeding (eTRF) regimen is to eat your last meal of the day by midafternoon, then quickly until the following morning.
I really prefer the term time limited eating (TRE) and will use it in this report.
"Eating only through a much smaller chunk of time than individuals are usually utilised to may assist with weight loss. We discovered that eating between 2 a.m. and two p.m. followed by an 18-hour daily quickly kept appetite levels more even during the day, compared to eating between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., and that's exactly what the median American does."
To investigate the impact of TRE, Peterson and her team followed 11 obese volunteers for a total of eight days. During the first four days, they ate all their meals between 8 a.m. and two p.m..
The one thing that changed was that the timing of the foods; the total calories stayed the same throughout. Info on calorie burning, fat burning and appetite revealed that Though the participants ate the same amount of calories each day, and burned about the same amount of calories, the TRE program
The study points to the influence of your circadian rhythm, and how taking advantage of these peaks and peaks of the rhythm can help you maximize your metabolism.
But there's even more to it than that. Preventing food before bed will also help you Boost your mitochondrial function, and that is key for all kinds of disease prevention. Essentially, once you're sleeping, your body requires the least amount of energy, and if you feed it when energy isn't needed, your mitochondria wind up generating excessive amounts of harmful free radicals.
So, avoiding late-night ingestion is a very easy way to prevent cellular damage from happening -- damage which may otherwise impair your mitochondrial functioning, decrease your energy level, and finally promote all sorts of degenerative disease, such as cancer.
This brings us to the next study printed in the International Journal of Cancer a month. Here, they researched"whether timing of meals is associated with prostate and breast cancer risk taking into consideration lifestyle and chronotype, a feature correlating with preference for morning or evening activity."
To analyze this possible link, they ran a population‐based case‐control study involving 1,800 individuals with breast and prostate cancer, who were subsequently compared to 2,100 cancer-free controllers who had never worked a night shift. Subjects completed a food frequency questionnaire and answered questions regarding the timing of the meals, activity levels, sleep habits and chronotype.
"Compared with issues sleeping immediately after dinner, those sleeping a couple of hours after dinner had a 20 percent decrease in cancer risk for prostate and breast cancer combined... A similar protection was observed in areas having dinner before 9 p.m. compared with dinner after 10 p.m....
Adherence to diurnal eating routines and a lengthy interval between last meal and sleep are associated with a lower cancer risk, stressing the importance of assessing timing in studies on cancer and diet."
Indeed, according to Dr. Ganesh Palapattu, chief of urologic oncology at the University of Michigan Medical School (who wasn't involved in this research ),"Not only are you what you eat. 5
What is more,"morning larks," individuals who have a natural affinity for getting up early in the morning, were at especially higher risk for cancer when eating dinner too near bedtime, in comparison to"evening individuals" who normally get more lively later at night.
While research author Manolis Kogevinas, Ph.D., a research professor in the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, told CNN6 the mechanisms are unclear, this decrease in cancer risk makes sense when you think about the impact late-night eating has in your mitochondria.
Chronic inflammation is a hallmark of cancer, and by feeding your body at night, the excess free radicals generated on your mitochondria will just fuel that inflammation. Mitochondrial dysfunction generally has also been demonstrated to be a central issue which enables cancer to occur.
In recent decades, it has become increasingly apparent your body simply is not designed to operate optimally when always fed. If you consume during the day and never skip a meal, your body adjusts to burning sugar as its main fuel, which downregulates enzymes which use and burn stored fat. Consequently, you start gaining weight, and attempts at weight loss are usually ineffective.
To shed body fat, your body needs to have the ability to burn fat. Without this metabolic versatility, the fat remains and no amount of exercise will budge it from place.
What is more, many biological rejuvenation and repair procedures occur while you're fasting, and this is just another reason why all-day grazing triggers disease. In brief, your body has been designed to a) run on fat as its primary fuel, while still using the metabolic versatility to burn carbs (you want to have the ability to burn ), and b) cycle during periods of feast and famine.
Today, most individuals do the complete opposite -- their bodies burn primarily carbs, having dropped or severely impaired their capacity to burn off fat, and they consume a whole lot, daily, year-round. Intermittent fastingis a term that covers a range of different meal timing programs. As a rule of thumb, it involves cutting calories in whole or in part, either a few times a week, every other day, or daily.
The TRE employed in the first featured research is but one case of intermittent fasting, and it is very similar to my"summit fasting" regimen, which involves fasting for 16 to 18 hours every day and eating all your meals within the rest of the window of six to eight hours, making certain your last meal is at least three hours before bed.
To make this schedule work, you will need to bypass either breakfast or dinner, and a strong case could be made for skipping dinner. Bear in mind, because these new studies show it's crucial to prevent eating your last meal within three hours of your bedtime. Having said that, the essential point of intermittent fasting is that the cycling of feasting (consuming ) and famine (fasting), which mimics the eating habits of our ancestors and restores your body to a natural condition which enables a plethora of biochemical advantages to occur.
Weight loss is truly just the start, but it is often very radical. A recent Today article7 discusses Dr. Kevin Gendreau lost 125 pounds in 18 months with intermittent fasting.
Cut Diabetes and Heart Disease Risk Only by Changing Timing Your Meals
At the close of the trial, their insulin had become more effective at managing blood glucose.
According to the authors, this confirms that the concept of"thrifty genes," that is very similar to Dr. Richard Johnson's discovering that metabolic syndrome is in fact a healthy elastic condition that animals undergo to keep fat to help them survive periods of famine. The issue is that most all people are eating rather than fasting. According to the Danish researchers:
"Insulin resistance is presently a significant health issue. This might be due to a marked reduction in daily physical activity during recent years together with continuous food abundance. This lifestyle collides with our genome, which was probably chosen from the late Paleolithic era (50000 -- 10000 B.C.) by standards that favored survival in an environment characterized by changes between times of feast and famine.
The concept of thrifty genes says that these changes are needed for optimal metabolic function... This experiment is the first in humans to demonstrate that intermittent fasting increases insulin-mediated sugar uptake rates, and the findings are compatible with the thrifty gene idea."
So, by mimicking the natural changes in food availability with an intermittent fasting program, you obviously optimize your metabolic function without really changing what or how much you eat whenever you do eat, bearing in mind that the quality of the nutrients you consume, of course.
Studies also have found compelling links between fasting and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. One 2012 research 10 found people who snore on a regular basis had a 58 percent lower risk of coronary disease compared to people who never fasted (90 percent of the participants were Mormons who are invited to fast 1 day a month). Regular fasting was also shown to be associated with lower glucose levels and reduced body mass index in general.
There is also plenty of research showing that fasting has a favorable effect on longevity. There are a range of mechanisms contributing to the result. Normalizing insulin sensitivity is a significant one, but fasting also inhibits the mTOR pathway, which plays a significant role in driving the aging process when it's excessively activated. That it improves a range of powerful disease markers also results in fasting general beneficial effects on overall health.
Traditional medicine tells us should be as low as possible to prevent cardiovascular disease, but that is more myth than truth.
"Fasting causes hunger or anxiety. In response, the body releases more cholesterol, enabling it to use fat as a source of fuel, rather than sugar. This decreases the amount of fat cells within the body... This is significant because the fewer fat cells a body gets, the less likely it will experience insulin resistance, or diabetes."
Horne also discovered that fasting activates a dramatic increase in human growth hormone (HGH) -- 1,300 percent in girls, and 2,000 percent in men. HGH, commonly called"the fitness hormone," plays a significant role in maintaining health, fitness and endurance, including promotion of muscle growth and fostering fat reduction by revving up your metabolism.
Fasting also upregulates autophagy and mitophagy -- natural cleansing procedures required for optimal cellular renewal and operate -- and activates the creation of stem cells.
Importantly, the majority of these rejuvenating and regenerating benefits happen during the refeeding phase, not the fasting period. The same is true for nutrient ketosis, which generates the best advantages when pulsed (cycling between low net-carb and higher net-carb intakes).
For Optimal Outcomes, Combine Fasting Having a Ketogenic Diet
This brings us to another important point: Recent research indicates that intermittent fasting is the most valuable when combined with a ketogenic diet.
In general, participants consumed about 350 fewer calories daily and dropped just under 3% of their body weight after three months. Although this might seem"good enough," there is an important detail that must be addressed.
One of the key advantages of intermittent fasting is normalizing your sugar and insulin levels -- along with several other biological metrics, including all the ones cited above -- which simply did not happen here. While the authors did not give an explanation, I think the answer is fairly obvious, based on the evidence.
The participants weren't instructed to change WHAT they ate, and when they were anything like the vast majority of Americans, a large part of their diet was processed food and likely even fast food. I have repeatedly emphasized the importance of eating a diet high in healthy fats, moderate in protein with unrestricted quantities of fresh vegetables to maximize general health on any intermittent fasting plan. This study essentially shows you what happens when you are not able to deal with your food choices.
In a nutshell, if you don't balance your macronutrient ratios, you may lose weight but you are going to forgo many of the main health benefits. If you drop weight but do not move the needle on glucose, insulin and other disease risk parameters, then you are not impacting your chronic disease risk. So, for optimum health and wellbeing, I feel it is really important to unite intermittent fasting with cyclical supplements ketosis.
Cyclical is the keyword here, as once you're metabolically flexible I feel the research is clear that you don't need to stay in chronic ketosis as that's counterproductive to long-term health. You need to regularly cycle in and out of ketosis, ideally on days when you do strength training.
The cyclical ketogenic diet offers lots of the same health advantages related to fasting and intermittent fasting, and when performed collectively, most individuals will experience substantial improvements in their health -- including not only weight loss,14 that is more of an inevitable side effect of the metabolic improvements that happen, but also improved insulin sensitivity,15 increased muscle mass, reduced inflammation and oxidative damage,16 reduced risk of cancer and Alzheimer's,17 and improved longevity.
A ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting both enable your body to change from sugar- to fat-burning -- a significant metabolic versatility that consequently promotes optimal functioning of all of the cells and systems in the body. And, while there's evidence supporting both of these as standalone strategies, it appears clear to me that combining them will produce the best results overall.
Because there are caveats with intermittent fasting, like the importance of eating healthy whole or minimally processed foods if you do eat, you will find caveats when it comes to nutritional ketosis also.
Most individuals believe constant keto is the key to success, but mounting evidence suggests this isn't the case. There are two major reasons for the pulsed strategy:
1. When insulin is suppressed long-term, your liver begins to compensate for the shortage by making more sugar. Because of this, your blood glucose can start to rise even though you're not eating any carbohydrates.
In this circumstance, eating carbs will actually reduce your blood glucose, as the carbohydrates will trigger insulin, which will then suppress your liver's production of sugar. Long-term chronic reduction of insulin is an unhealthy metabolic condition that's easily avoidable by cycling in and out of keto.
2. More importantly, a number of the metabolic benefits related to nutritional ketosis in general really happen during the refeeding phase. During the fasting period, clearance of damaged cell and mobile content happens, but the true rejuvenation procedure occurs during refeeding.
To put it differently, cells and tissues are restored and rebuilt to a healthy state when your consumption of net carbohydrates increases. (The rejuvenation that happens during refeeding is also one reason intermittent fasting is indeed beneficial, as you are biking between feast and famine.)
To sum up, while eating actual food is the foundation for a healthy lifestyle, you are able to significantly leverage the advantages of a healthy entire diet by making small tweaks to your meal time, macronutrient ratios, and biking in and out of ketosis when your body regains its ability to burn off fat.
Again, nutritional and fasting ketosis provide lots of the very same advantages, and both work best when implemented in a pulsed fashion.
Significantly, when picking your intermittent fasting program, don't forget to eat your last meal as early in the day as possible, to maximize your metabolism and prevent the side effects of late night eating, including increased hunger, inflammation and an increased cancer risk.