Feast Or Fasting?.A New Outlook

Finding An Answer

For many years,people have bought into the idea that fasting can be harmful to us in ways that could lead to malnutriton,Obesity,yo-yo diets and other nutritional deficiencies based on studies and past medical reports over the years. While it’s still true,an outright hunger-strike or starvation and excessive periods of not eating can have dertrimental consequnces on our health and longevity,researchers now believe Intermitent or Strategically Timed  fasts may not only improve our health but coud actually be used to treat age-related diseases.

Mechanisms of Fasting

Studies have proved that one of the key reasons we shouldn’t stop eating was because when that happens the body goes into a “survival mode”and starts to change your metabolism,slowing down the rate at which you burn calories per hour. After extended periods of time we start using up fat reserves. When the body detects the presence of food finally,it metabolizes all the calories we’re taking in,to be stored as fat cells,obviously in preparation for the next fast,which in the 1980’s and 90’s lead to the classic”Yo-Yo” Diet.

Modern Day Fasting 

Today,thanks to the efforts of Dr.Paolo Sassone-Corsi,Ph.D,a researcher in molecular biology,evidence now tells us fasting may have healthy long-term effects on our bodies and quite possibly could be used to treat age related illnesses. Born in 1956,this native son of Naples Italy began his career at the University of Naples and in 1979,stongly defended his thesis on molecular biology,until 2006 where he was professor at University of California,Irvine.Since 1994 he has received several awards and in 2011 became Director of University of California,Irvine’s Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism.

Our Biological Clock

Our bodies are comprised of trillions of cells,each with it’s own separate clock.In a healthy body,all the cells must be synchronized and working together.Unfortunately, consequences in the way we live our lives today can cause those internal clocks to..“misalign,” or desynchronize leaving us open to a host of age related disease. The Circadian Rhythm,or what we refer to as our internal clock is the internal master clock and dictates our sleep and wake cycles to all the other indivdual cells and controls when to sleep, rise,burn calories and so on. This master clock is in turn controlled by a large group of neurons in the brain. In his paper Sassone-Corsi showed that the circadian clock was the main clock,controlling a whole framework of internal clocks in our bodies.

Protiens in our cells called “core clock protiens” help keep all the internal clocks synchronized and are crucial for a healthy body.Sassone-Corsi and co-authors of the paper concluded that fasting could re-boot or reset our internal clocks if they get out of sync.When the clocks are out of rhythm it can cause a range of inflamatory reactions and metabolic disorders,most of which are associated with aging.

In one study done with mice and turtles,it was proven that high fat,high calorie diets have been shown to throw the cells out of balance. When the mice fasted,he noticed a “rhythmicity” of the core clock genes in the muscle and liver cells which appeared to be adhereing to different rhythms  than they otherwise would during a normal feeding cyle,but after the mice were re-fed the clocks in those two tissues synced back up again.

A New Outlook

When all is said and done,the results of the study shouldn’t be used to justify starving ourselves as a means to punish our cells to reset themselves,but more to finding a new answer and to give us a new perspective on fasting as a tool for battling age associated illness when strategically timed and preferably under medical supervision. Sassone-Corsi and his co-authors say intermittent fasting could hit a hard reset on an internal clock that might have gone off on it’s own. Efforts to better understand how nutrition currently affects our circadian bilology in various tissues are still ongoing.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”

Benjamin Franklin.


Although all material mentioned herein is based on scientific fact,it is for information purposes Only! And not intended to be a substitute to diagnose,treat or cure any health problems or mental disorders or any sympyoms thereof. Consult your Family or General Practitioner and/or Dietitian before starting any form of health regime.







About the author: NORMAND SAVOIE

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