You are what you eat, or so people say, but what about what you don’t eat? Longevity experts believe that fasting can counteract the aging process. Not only that, but periodically abstaining from food can help protect against cancer too. Could not eating be the best diet of all?
What’s behind the science of fasting?
The effects of fasting rest upon how the body reacts to being starved of energy. When you stop eating, the body’s cells take action to conserve the energy they have stored, and they slow down their replication processes.
Also known as the “stress response,” this reaction to fasting reduces inflammation and oxidative stress (cell damage). Essentially, fasting puts your body into rapid reaction mode against a threat to its survival. If this reaction lasts for a couple of days, and you repeat it on a regular basis, it can have beneficial effects for long-term health.
When your cells replicate, they create a substance called IGF-1. While this “growth factor” helps the body grow, it also promotes aging. People who naturally create high levels of IGF-1 tend to live shorter lives and be more prone to developing cancer.
Does fasting have any other benefits?
Aside from helping people to live longer and protecting against cancer, fasting is also associated with higher energy levels. That’s probably also a reaction to starvation. When the body goes without food, it activates an emergency response, releasing more energy so that the person involved can seek out food supplies.
Scientists have also established a link between fasting and an enhanced ability to form memories. Others have found that it can help fight against fatty liver disease, and still other studies have linked fasting to better health outcomes for multiple-sclerosis sufferers.
How to fast without fasting
Fasting may be a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle, but as any dieter will tell you, it’s not easy to do. It turns out, however, that people may not need to abstain from all foods to enjoy the health benefits of fasting. Instead, they can use a technique called the Fasting Mimicking and Enhancing Diet (FMD), which tries to fool the body into thinking that it’s fasting.
FMD systems like Chemolieve are being used in hospitals across the world to prepare patients for chemotherapy and boost their T-cell counts. There are also FMD diets tailored to everyday life. Experts recommend an FMD diet be followed only for a few days a month, so it’s not likely to ruin your enjoyment of food.
If the science is right, the FMD diet could be a vital health intervention, adding years to your life, warding off disease, and combating the effects of aging. If you’re frustrated with conventional diets and want to follow the latest nutritional advice, mimicking fasting may be exactly what you’ve been searching for.